Someone call the cops, because there was a robbery in Philadelphia tonight.
In a classic case of "all things even out in the end", the Wings played a fantastic game, dominating shots and possession, yet found themselves losers against the Flyers in Philadelphia for the 56th time in a row. 2 nights after staging a stunning comeback against the Penguins and earning a victory that was surprising and not entirely deserved, fate combined with defensive breakdowns served to remind us all that hockey is a funny game and when you think you've figured it all out, you're reminded that you're in fact quite stupid.
Tonight was an interesting game in that we saw the Wings control the puck for the vast majority of the game, whether tied, leading or behind, and yet we saw that this team is still not good enough to overcome big mistakes, such as those that led to the Flyers first two goals. No one player on the Red Wings played a fantastic game, and yet no one player was so terrible as to be blamed for the loss. Ultimately this turned out to not just be the Wings' night, which is a nice way of saying they probably should have won but didn't.
On to the observations:
- Only allowing 9 shots on goal through the first 2 periods is great for team defense, but when one of those shots is a result of a complete defensive breakdown by multiple players on the ice, it hurts the old PDO something fierce. The save percentage for Jonas Gustavsson won't look pretty, but the first two Flyer goals were the result of the Wings' defense allowing a Flyer player to be completely open behind them with time and space to make a good shot.
- However, that third goal was a killer. That's a pretty good redirect, but any time a puck goes through a goalie, it's hard not to think that the save should have been made.
- The Wings' second goal is a perfect example of why Mike Babcock wanted to try Darren Helm on the top line. He has the speed to retrieve pucks and good enough vision to make passes like the one he made to Pavel Datsyuk to create offense.
- Who gets benched first: Andrej Nestrasil or Joakim Andersson? Now, who deserves to be benched first?
- As I watched the Wings' PP fumble their way through another dreadful performance, I wondered how long it is before they get it fixed, because at this point their inability to score is costing them valuable points. Consider the following: in the Wings' 3 losses before tonight (Anaheim, Boston and Montreal), they scored a grand total of 1 power play goal. They lost those games by a combined 2 goals (they lost to the Bruins in a shootout). Even a league average power play probably results in them winning at least one of those games, including tonight.
- I don't know what's happened to them, but Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist are just not right at the moment. Neither of them looks dangerous, at least not in the way we've come to expect. Tatar is making a thousand moves every time he touches the puck, and Nyquist looks far too content to make passes than take the puck to the net. If the Wings are going to be successful, those two have to be contributors.
- This just makes me sad:
For the record, that's 5v5 Corsi for the evening. It's been a long time since the Wings dominated possession like this and still lost. Almost makes me long for the good old days where a hot goalie was all that stood between the Wings and certain victory.
- For the 6th time in 8 games, the Red Wings failed to score more than 2 goals in a game. Part of that is tied in to the power play, but overall the Wings' inability to generate offense did them in during a game they could have easily won. The team defense has been strong to start the season, but if the Wings are going to compete in the East this year, they are going to have to start getting offensive contributions from just about everyone not named Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg. It's time to see what Stephen Weiss can do with a regular shift, and one can only hope that Johan Franzen is back from short-term IR very soon.