Thursday, April 1, 2010

Preview: Wings VS Bluejackets

"It was one of those nights for us. Obviously we had the game totally in control and when you stop playing...the other team gets going. It's a real good lesson for us." - Coach Mike Babcock

Detroit (40-23-13) VS Columbus (32-32-13)

Every game is turning out to be crucial in these waning weeks of the regular season. The Red Wings, as Babcock noted above, were taught a valuable lesson in staying disciplined no matter what the score. Let's hope this time the Wings paid attention in class and don't make the same mistake when it really matters. On the docket tonight: The Wings play host to the Bluejackets, who could not emulate their regular season success of last year. They will once again be spectators of the second-season, while Detroit looks to better improve their chances of clinching a berth in the Playoffs.

Let's look at the three keys, which I am going to dub "The Geek's Winning Formula" from here on out:

1.) Keep Nash Contained - Much like we would target a Crosby or an Ovechkin, they man putting pucks in the net for the Jackets is Rick Nash. With 33G/32A/65PTS, this is the man the Wings need to keep quiet tonight. He's not only dangerous as a goal-scorer, but also as a playmaker, splitting his points almost evenly. Keep Nash from moving with the puck, and he'll switch to moving the puck, since he's been effective in both roles.

2.) Stick to the Plan! - For God's sake, Detroit had better know now after the embarrassing meltdown of yestergame to not let up. Now, I made this comment on Twitter and unfortunately did not get any responses back, so I'll posit my query here: What most people would call running up a score, I call sticking to a game plan that works, so why in the hell would you stop running with said plan?? Am I wrong to think this way? Especially after the game against Edmonton??? We pretty much proved Tuesday night the idea that no game is ever over. Is it so wrong, then, to keep playing a style that is working against the other team, regardless of how badly you end up pounding them?? I've always hated the "running up the score is wrong" debate. Why the hell is it wrong!? I'm sorry my team is kicking your team's ass, maybe you should have stayed in the parking lot, or gotten on the bike for a few more hours before gameday!! These guys are, at its roots, working. This is their work, to go out and beat another team. Does your boss tell you to slow the hell down if your office is getting more business than another? No! He gives you a handshake, a raise and a promotion for a good job!! Why is sports any different!? Okay, getting on a rant, onward (though I may continue further below).

3.) Poor Mason Work - This is something that the Wings can cause. Last time Detroit played Columbus, Steve Mason blanked us through regulation and held us off through overtime until the Jackets could score the OT winner. He has already come out to say that he feels Jimmah is worthy of Calder consideration, if not the trophy itself. Though I feel he's undercutting Howard, Mason is still saying that he knows how well Jimmy is playing, so obviously Mason is looking to give another lights-out performance for his team, if only to help try and derail the Wings' playoff aspirations.

I'm still a little stressed at Detroit's blown PP chances, but I'll ease up a bit as they DID score on the man-advantage on Tuesday. I am watching tonight for the Red Wings to improve their poor percentage in this area though. So in closing till tonight, I'll end with this: The Red Wings have the players and the skill and the firepower to obliterate a team to embarrassment, we know this. I say be it 3 goals, 4 goals, or 10 goals, the plan is simple - find what works and do not stop. Maybe you feel different, maybe you agree. Maybe you can comment below and we'll get a huge discussion going on it, I'd be cool with that!

The game starts at 7:30PM EST, and I'm off today and tomorrow thanks to the Friday holiday, so I should be around for the whole game on Twitter (aren't you just gushing with happiness now?). Kidding aside, this is a game the Wings can't mess around in, they've already played their April Fools prank early against the Oil and scared the shit out of us all. Till the game tonight, Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!