Game Recap: Red Wings poor fatigue puts nail in the coffin against Islanders in 4-1 loss

The Red Wings won a game less than 24 hours ago. They won a game where they were scored on five times, and their starting goaltender looked horrendous. Detroit has never been a team who plays particularly well in afternoon games. This one was a bit different - 1 pm start on a Monday, after having some difficulties at the team hotel:

Does that factor into the way they played today? Absolutely, yes. The team's fatigue dwindled as the game went on. They managed to start the game really fast, and even Jimmy Howard played really well out of the gate.

Then the fatigue set in. Mentally, physically, the defense folded, and the offense fell out of sync. It took the Wings one period of bad play to put the bow on this loss. The Islanders surged by them, essentially skating circles around the defense which lead them to three goals in that period alone.

Jimmy Howard. What do we say about him? I'm not pinning this loss on him, but he has to have a good game sooner or later, right? The defense rarely does him any favors, he had two or three great stops on the breakaway, but it just wasn't enough. He let up some ugly rebounds, and continued to have issues with lateral movement. In his past eight starts, Howard has allowed at least three goals. He's a below-average goaltender right now and I've reached the point to where I don't feel comfortable with him in net, even as a backup. His confidence has been pulverized into a paste, and his swagger is long-gone. Don't even get me started on the numbers either, because they're not pretty, folks.

The power-play didn't do the team any good today. They went 0-for-4, and never really looked that dangerous. The penalty kill remains decent killing four of five penalties. Marek Zidlicky had the PP tally for the Isles, which is entirely typical. After the first period, it seemed as if the offense just couldn't get on the same page. This affected the PP's performance. When you can't get a pass over to the forward to your left/right as you crash the net, things just don't work out all that well. That was what held the Wings' offense at bay today.

Despite picking up some steam in the third period, the Islanders were simply too hot to handle. Chalk this up as a "fuck this game, who cares?" type of loss.

Quick Observations:

  • Pavel Datsyuk scored Detroit's only goal, and he's on absolute fire as of late. I guess if we're gonna lose, seeing Datsyuk score makes it a little better.
  • Dylan Larkin is still performing well, but his offense has dropped off. His line isn't exactly cutting it, so there might be an adjustment that should be made there.
  • John Tavares is really good. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have fun watching him slice-and-dice his way through the defense today, not to mention that ridiculous no-look pass that setup Ryan Strome's goal.
  • I think the NHL did a poor job with the scheduling of these games. By the time this game had ended, that was the time yesterday's had started. That's just not ideal for a team who has to travel after playing a heavily physical game. Not making excuses, but c'mon now.
  • Andreas Athanasiou is great. His speed adds a real nice edge to his game, and he got time on the PK today. All-in-all, he's a solid young player who the Wings should invest in as a bottom-six guy.
  • I can't help but to think, maybe the Red Wings' power-play could have used a guy like Teemu Pulkkinen to rip shots at the net? This sounds crazy, I know, but trust me on this one. He has to draw into the lineup sooner or later.


So that's that. The Wings lose in Brooklyn 4-1. They're 4-1-1 in their last six games. Not too shabby for a team that could possibly take over the division lead in the near future given they continue to perform how they have been as of late. Detroit will be traveling to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby has been on an absolute tear, so the Wings aren't likely going to have an easy go. Thankfully, the team will be well-rested. Depending on how he's feeling we could also see Niklas Kronwall making his return in the next week.