Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blues can't find Rhythm

"I think if you have a lot of guy injured, it's tough...we get back healthy, those guys...are confident in themselves and keep playing good." - Henrik Zetterberg, post-game interview.

Another big win by the Motown boys tonight as Val Filppula scored twice to help the Wings beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2, maintaining a 4 point lead over the Flames for 8th and, at least for the moment, tying Colorado for the 7th seed.

Let's take a quick look at the three keys from my preview:

1.) Rattle Conker - Well, it took them a period, we'll call it a freebie for Ty, but by the 2nd period, Detroit finally came out with some spurts where the Wings shelled Conklin till he buckled for goals. I personally don't feel Detroit put as much pressure on the former Wing as they should have, but apparently it was enough tonight.

2.) Defend Home Ice - And defend they did! After going down 1-0 in the first, Detroit came on with a renewed vigor and answered back to St. Louis's offensive barrage. It'll feel real good for Mike Babcock and his boys to know they downed one of the best road teams in the league right now.

3.) Convert PP's!! - This one...this one really bothers me. The Wings went 0 for 2 again tonight, making Detroit's current streak 1 for 12 in their last five games, again their last PP goal coming against Calgary. Yeah, it was that far back. I'm concerned because there's going to be games that we have chances on the man-advantage, and if we don't convert we're going to see the Red Wings losing games they might have sent into OT or going past regulation when they really shouldn't be.

Ahh well, we can always trust that Babs will work the kinks out. After all, the Wings previously couldn't score even-strength, and that obviously isn't a problem now, is it...?

Next on tap: The Wings play host again, this time to the Wild, and the Wings will also house a special guest! Herm, from the 'Herm 2 Hockeytown' project, will be in attendance for the game, thanks to the generous donations of not only Red Wings fans, but good-hearted people from all corners of the hockey world. So until then, I wish Herm a safe trip to Motown, and a good night to you Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Preview: Wings VS Blues

Detroit (36-23-13) VS St. Louis (34-29-9)

"This is the best run we've been on all year...We're desperate to try to get into the Playoffs. We have proud players who have done a lot of winning over a long period of time." - Coach Mike Babcock

With a win last night by Calgary, the Wings have another important game ahead of them tonight as they play host to the St. Louis Blues, and attempt to remain four points ahead of the Flames for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. The numbers between Detroit and St. Louis are pretty close all around: same goals for, only 6 goals against difference, but the Wings have had the better luck with their record so far this season, despite injury woes.

Let's look at my three keys to victory for tonight:

1.) Rattle Conker - I have no doubt in my mind that Ty Conklin is starting this game. With Chris Mason's recent play and Conklin's knowledge of the Wings having played here last year, Ty has already proven he can stand up to his former teammates, shutting the Wings out 1-0 in the previous meeting between the two teams. Detroit needs to pressure Conklin hard and often and keep him out of rhythm, because if he sets in, the Wings could be in for a long game.

2.) Defend Home Ice - Detroit cannot take for granted that the Blues have the second-best road record in the NHL right now. The Blues can't win at home and love to take it out on other teams in their own house. If the Wings keep the D locked in and don't let St. Louis set the pace, they should be able to prevent the Blues from mounting any formidable offense.

3.) Convert PP's!! - With such a vaunted line of offensive firepower, you may not have noticed this, but the Wings are currently 1 for 9 in their last four games on the Power Play, their last PP goal was against Calgary back on March 15th. Detroit needs to address this. They have managed to solve their even-strength scoring issues, but now all of a sudden they're unable to pocket goals while up by a man or more, and that can prove fatal in the Playoffs, best to solve his dilemma early as well.

As reported on Yahoo! Sports, the Blues haven't taken three games in the Joe since 1990-91. I don't like that we're even tempting this, but as long as the boys from Hockeytown stick to the plan, this is one milestone we'll keep out of the history books.

Well, that's it for now, I'll be on Twitter for the game tonight. Hope I'll catch you there, and Go Red Wings!!!