Everybody still awake?
When Ken Hitchcock took over from Davis Payne in St. Louis, it was assumed he'd instill a strong work ethic and disciplined defensive system not seen since his championship teams in Dallas. Unfortunately, what we got was the high-tempo style of play normally reserved for bocce ball tournaments.
I guess one would have to say it's effective, at least against the Red Wings, as they found themselves on the wrong end of the decision for the second straight meeting with the Blues, this time by a score of 3-2.
After nearly 28 minutes of defensive hockey, the Wings opened the scoring. Johan Franzen drove the net and lifted the puck over Brian Elliott, giving the Wings a 1-0 lead. Less than 2 minutes, later, the Blues tied things up when Alex Steen blasted a shot through Jimmy Howard after a faceoff win by Jason Arnott.
After blacking out for a while, I came to only to find that the Blues had scored 2 goals to take a 3-1 lead. When asked what happened, the response was simply "Errorcsson". The Wings would get a power play goal from Jiri Hudler late in the third to get within one, but it was too little too late, and the Wings are once again mired in a losing streak.
- Another game against the Blues, another lackluster effort. Look, we all know that they aren't going to do anything this year in terms of the playoffs, and we know that there's no rivalry anymore (at least from the Wings' perspective), but these are points that the Wings need if they're going to win yet another division title. Getting stymied by the Blues' trap may make for tedious hockey to watch, but there's 4 more games where the Wings can get some points and put St Louis out of their misery.
- Christ, what a limp-dick power play performance tonight. Yea, I saw the 2 goals. But are you happy with the way they played? Entering the zone looked like a bunch of blind 8 year olds learning to drive, and there was absolutely no net presence. The Blues did a good job of taking away the point, but where were Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk tonight? Dats has been amazing the past few weeks, but he was pretty much invisible tonight, and Z, well, who knows any more.
- On the other end, nothing like giving up 2 power play goals to the league's worst PP unit to inspire confidence in the PK. For as stingy as the Wings have been defensively this year, their PK is still a problem, currently sitting at 80.2% after tonight's 2/8 showing. That it came against a team that scored 20% of their season's power play goals tonight is just awful.
- It sure was nice of Jimmy Howard to show some fight since the rest of his team didn't look particularly interested in being engaged physically tonight. The Blues are a tough team and they don't mind laying the body or using their sticks, but the Wings just looked as if they did not want anything to do with getting involved physically. It's a shame that Howard's intensity was with 3 minutes left in the game, because the Wings did seem to get a slight spark from it. It was also nice of him to show Brian Elliott how to respond like a man to being run over.
- Insert obligatory mention of the Wings being a streaky team here. We all know the story; we're 26 games into the season, and the Wings have yet to go 3 games alternating wins and losses. Fortunately, this is only the Wings' third losing streak of the season, and if the last time they lost their second game in a row is any indication, the Wings won't lose again until Christmas.
- Get well soon, Valtteri Filppula. Since Flip got injured, the Wings have been outscored 7-2, and have not looked good in the process. Filppula's absence is not just felt on the scoresheet; he's one of the more underrated defensive players, and Zetterberg looks lost without the Gorgeous One on his wing.
- Jonathan Ericsson: whatever.
With the loss, the Wings missed out on a chance to not only put some distance between themselves and the Blues (who are now tied with Detroit at 33 points) but they also remain 3 points behind the Blackhawks after spending one of their games in hand. The fun doesn't stop as the Wings will welcome a familiar foe on Thursday night when the Phoenix Coyotes bring their firebrand style of hockey to the Joe on Thursday. It's a Dave Tippett-coached team, so if you can't catch the game, just re-watch this one.