The last week has shown us that the Red Wings are not, in fact, the Stanley Cup contender that we thought they are. After 7 straight games that can only be described as being excellent efforts, the Wings went 0-1-2 in losing to, in order, Buffalo, Ottawa and the Rangers. Worse, their performance against the Sabres and Senators were so poor that thoughts of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel began to enter my head.
However, the Wings returned home for their 4th game in 6 nights against a tired Devils team, and after a first sloppy 10 minutes, Detroit took over the game and dominated the Devils on the way to a 4-2 victory and the end of the three game losing streak.
It was fun to watch a game where the Wings were good and the score really wasn't in doubt and the referees weren't a factor at all. So much fun that I wrote about it.
- First and foremost, a giant thank you to all the veterans and military personnel currently serving and protecting us. This shouldn't be something we say simply because it was Military Appreciation Night.
- Pavel Datsyuk was a last-minute scratch with a groin injury. This is a comment copied from 9 recaps I wrote last year.
- Jonathan Ericsson has had such a tough start to the season that even when he does something right like block a pass, it still results in the other team scoring.
- One day Darren Helm is going to score a goal again and then he'll go on a 10-goals-in-15-games kind of tear and we'll say "he was in a slump?" (I wrote this before the missed empty net but I'm keeping it in the recap.
- No matter what Jakub Kindl's issues have been in the past, one thing that he's always done has shot the puck at the net. The coaching staff had to have noticed this, because he's been put back on the power play and responded with goals in 2 straight games. This isn't something I ever thought I'd write and mean, but if Kyle Quincey is going to be out for a while, Kindl's good play should be able to offset Q's absence.
- I'm as happy as the next guy that the power play found a way to get a goal, but it's against the 30th ranked penalty killing team in the league, so it's not so much happiness as it is expecting them to not suck against inferior competition.
- The one thing that is different about this team versus the last couple of years is how fast they are overall. On the 4-on-4 early in the second period, Nyquist and Franzen had a couple of very good chances and that was due in large part to being able to get to pucks and skate away from the Devils' defenders.
- We live in a world where Kyle Quincey is missed in the lineup, Jakub Kindl has emerged as a steady presence on the Wings' blueline, and Dan Cleary has been a calming influence on a young team going through a slump. Let that all sink in.
- It was nice to see a Red Wing player standing near the crease when the puck went in the net and not throw a bag of chips at the TV because the goal was called off.
- Don't look now, but the Wings are now 7 for their last 25 on the PP, including 2 tonight for the 2nd straight game. With the PK returning to non-historic levels, the PP rising to be closer to league average will be a big reason why they make a push for the playoffs.
- That third period brought to you by "Score Effects: making teams that are getting blown out look a little better since 2007".