Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wings Hit Oil Slick, Recover for Win

"After the second we let them back in the game..we just said 'continue to put pucks in try to work them down low and get chances..." - Defenseman Brad Stuart

Wow...for the Wings getting their sixth straight win, I thought I'd be much more happy. Detroit salvaged an absolutely HORRIBLE meltdown where they allowed the Edmonton Oilers to score four straight goals to tie the game and escape with a 5-4 regulation win. Brad Stuart tipped a high shot from my man Pavel Datsyuk which, after a long, lengthy and frankly nerve-wracking video review, kept the Red Wings from looking the (complete) fool.

It's a real shame that the Wings, no matter how far along the generations you go the last few years, have some habits that just seem to reside in the entity of the team, and not the players and staff. Slacking and blowing leads? Definitely one of them. Kind of scary to watch this tonight so close to the post-season, but all we can do is hope it scared the hell out of the Wings and keeps them from pulling this stunt again for a long, long time.

So with that, let's look at the three keys from the preview:

1.) Learn from the Past - Hah. Well, I think the Wings skipped this class in school today. Detroit had to have that season series somewhere in the back of their heads, but I don't think they were looking back far enough. The Red Wings let their foot off the gas, and boy did Edmonton ever let them know how that ends up. "We sat back a little..." commented Stuart. I'd call it more sitting down and taking a nap, setting a four-goal alarm clock. Luckily the Wings heard the bells and woke up in time...

2.) Demoralize Dubnyk - It's funny how some things just kind of domino-effect, isn't it? Remember how I said to throw this out should Dubnyk not get the nod? Well, Detroit played the first half of the game well enough for this to hold true. Props to the Slicks for sticking to their main goalie, but Detroit did all the damage they needed...or SHOULD have needed. Instead, we have the acid-trip freak-out by the Wings that led to the game being tied and, oh, guess what happens next? All of a sudden, Deslauriers knows how to stop a hockey puck!! Goddamnit, when you score four goals on a guy, you shouldn't NEED to pound him any further, but because of Detroit's lack of discipline tonight, that ended up being a necessity, and it damn-well almost didn't happen!!

3.) More Shots on the PP - I honestly don't know about this one, as I missed two of Detroit's man-advantages, but let me say thank CHRIST we got at least one! It made a hell of a difference tonight, now didn't it? I'm assuming since we converted that we did, indeed, take a few more shots. I don't like the idea of our PP unit relying on lucky bounces when we have the opponent scrambling for two straight minutes. Am I wrong to expect that, with the firepower of the Red Wings, we should feasibly be converting close to half the PP opportunities we get? Am I out of line here? Should our PK corps be scoring as much as our powerplay guys??

Oi...I am just really not pleased with this game. I can't get happy about the win. Take the two points? Without a doubt, but it's the most bitter two points we've had in a while. Brad Stuart also mentioned in the locker room, "They came at us with a good push...we can't be letting teams back in. Hindsight is great, yeah? But can you really blame anyone specific in this instance, though? The whole team basically cashed in their chips after the fourth Detroit goal. Even Jimmy Howard was off his rhythm by this point in the game. Of Howard, coach Mike Babcock said, "He's just like everybody else, when everything's going good, you relax a little bit." It sounded at the end of the interview with Babs that Howard will get the nod on Thursday as well.

So we'll see what happens on Thursday when the Wings host the Columbus Bluejackets, another non-playoff-contending team from which the Wings could squeeze two more valuable points. Till then, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!!