You've got a Saturday to get to. I've got a recap to get through. Let's do this, I guess.
I'm not sure which narrative I'm supposed to follow. Is it that the Detroit Red Wings have started off slowly for pretty much 90% of the last how many games? Is it that the Red Wings are currently mired in some depressing slump and can't buy success even if they tried to circumvent the salary cap? Is it that the Red Wings' play just somehow goes to hell every single time Darren Helm gets injured and has to be out of the lineup for a while?
Either way, Detroit gave up another power play goal thanks to Brayden Schenn* tipping a Mark Streit point shot, making it nine straight games with a PPG against. Later, a breakdown in communication meant Kyle Quincey and Danny DeKeyser went to Sean Couturier, who was very happy to find an streaking Nicklas Grossmann on a breakaway for a 2-0 Philadelphia Flyers lead. Detroit seemed incapable of winning board battles for the puck, and it resulted in Philadelphia dominating the first.
Justin Abdelkader scored. DeKeyser found Henrik Zetterberg at the defensive blue line and Z found Abby streaking up the ice. Justin fell down upon scoring that goal and then hit the boards awkwardly, so of course he gets hurt for his efforts.
Another Philadelphia power play saw Claude Giroux fire a shot from the left circle, and Brayden Schenn swatted in the rebound. Niklas Kronwall got hit into the glass, and I'm pretty sure he suffered a concussion, but . . .
Kronwall started the third, and maybe it was a sign of a concussion or maybe it was something else because the Flyers scored 11 seconds in. Brayden Schenn got the hat trick*, except he didn't because the first goal was credited instead to Wayne Simmonds AS THE HATS WERE RAINING DOWN ON THE ICE. SHUT UP, I NEED SOMETHING TO LAUGH ABOUT.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored a goal too, and shrugged because it's just so easy to score on Detroit these days. Hey, our trade deadline acquisitions got a power play goal, making it eight straight apparently with a power play goal for Detroit? I still can't believe, probably because I'm wrong.
Philadelphia's third power play goal came courtesy of a Matt Read tap-in. And for good measure, Zac Rinaldo tacks on the extra point.
- God bless Teemu Pulkkinen's willingness to shoot the puck on a team that tries to pass it into the net. He'll learn soon enough — preferably the easy way — that he doesn't have enough time to wind up like he does unless it's a well-executed one-timer.
- I'm still stunned that our special teams produces so many goals — both for and against.
- Brendan Smith is probably this team's No. 1 defenseman at this point, and it's not the end of the world thinking that. One shift especially in the third period — yeah, it was when the game was barely within reach, but credit where it's due — Smith absolutely controlled and dominated and helped the Red Wings generate a lot of pressure.
- I think it was after the Rinaldo goal that the FSD camera panned to a fan in a glass seat with his head in his hands and in utter disbelief at the performance of the team in white claiming to be the Detroit Red Wings. We feel you, fan. We feel you.
It's put up-or-shut-up time for Mike Babcock. The so-called best coach in hockey is dealing with a team that can't start games on time, that is getting back to getting down on itself the way they did last season, that can't seem to play with any sense of urgency. I won't ever question the effort of the players unless it's patently obvious someone's disinterested, but the execution is so far from where it needs to be, it's comical. It's his job to put these players in a position to succeed, and while I'll put some of the responsibility for showing up on the players, it's also Babcock's job to adjust and get them to where they need to be for Detroit to have success. The Red Wings, once in position to contend for the Atlantic Division title, are now only three points up on the Boston Bruins to avoid a wild card spot.
Pittsburgh tomorrow morning. Wakey-wakey.