Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Preview: Wings VS Oilers

"We're still not out of the woods yet, we know we still have to continue to win to make sure we're going to make it and be in the playoffs." - Captain Nicklas Lidstrom

Detroit (39-23-13) VS Edmonton (24-44-7)

Look closely at this picture. Look into Jimmy Howard's earnest eyes. Those, my friends, are the eyes of someone who's going to be really really pissed off if the Detroit Red Wings get swept in their season series with the most garbage team in the NHL this year. The Wings look to prevent this tonight as they play host to the Oilers for the final meeting between these two teams in the regular season. A win tonight not only bolsters our playoff chances, but also ensures that Edmonton finishes with the worst record in the league. I'm not sure which part would make me smile more, honestly.

But regardless, let's look at the three keys to victory tonight:

1.) Learn from the Past - As mentioned, Edmonton has taken every game against Detroit thus far this season. Come up with whatever excuse suits your fancy: we were hurt, we were tired, we played back-to-back games. What it boils down to is this: the Wings made mistakes in their games against the Oil. Detroit needs to look to their previous games, find the mistakes and make sure they don't repeat them. Solve the problems and make it difficult for Edmonton to formulate an effective strategy to combat the Big Red Machine.

2.) Demoralize Dubnyk - I'm banking here, but I have a good feeling we'll see Mr. Dubnyk back between the pipes for this one, if only because of his performance against Detroit last time. The guy is still young and playing for an ailing team, he has things to prove, and getting his win against a healthy Red Wings squad proved some of them. We need to see the Wings come out and punish this man like he's not been punished before, don't let him feel that tonight is merely an extension of the last game. Now, in the event the Oilers go with Deslauriers, you can throw this out, but at the same time, I think the Oilers will have thrown out the game, I've not been impressed with him at all and I feel it would just lead to an eventual goalie change to Dubnyk anyway.

3.) More Shots on the PP - I laid off the Wings recently as they had found some success on the one-up, but after watching the game in Nashville...I still have grave concerns. That game did not need to go to OT, let alone the SO. The Wings had two powerplays in which Detroit did what only Detroit can do so well: squander time by over-cycling. Too many turnovers leading to clears from one too many passes, 1-2 shots per man advantage, not enough rush to the front of the net for second and third chances from rebounds...should I go on, or do you get the picture? Detroit needs to address this, unless they're undergoing special training to score shorthanded goals, which have actually been more effective lately than their powerplay...

If Detroit takes control of this game early, they can definitely use this match as a tune-up game for some of their problem areas, and with the playoffs looming, I say if they get the chance, they damn well better use it.

I will again, sadly, miss a good chunk of the game to work, barring a miracle allowance to leave early. A few less bucks in the pocket I can take if it means I see my Wings win tonight. So whenever I manage to get on Twitter, I'll hopefully see you there. Until then Wingnuts, Let's Go Red Wings!!!