Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wings Bring Home W One Last Time in Regular Season

It took a three-goal barrage to get the job done, but the Detroit Red Wings recovered from blowing an early lead and blasted past the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 3rd period to win 4-3.

The bad news through all of this is that Detroit needed the explosion of offense to compensate for their sub-par play through the first two periods. Even coach Mike Babcock noted this before heading out for the 3rd period. Luckily the Wings finally found some success with the man-advantage and pocketed two powerplay goals in the midst of the frenzy of scoring through the game's last frame.

Unfortunately even though the game was at home, I couldn't catch any interview clips, as I was watching the game from a friend's place, but I did get to watch all but the first half of the 1st period. So with that, let's go over The Geek's Winning Formula:

1.) Play with Passion - The Wings showed great passion...for a period. The last period. With a one-goal deficit. Maybe we should have let more youngsters play tonight, at least the flow of the game would be justified. I know it's late in the season, but c'mon boys, can we PLEASE try and stay in playoff form here? We don't want you losing your hunger before the big dance even gets here...!!

2.) PP Must Improve - I said it didn't I? I've been saying it for weeks! When Detroit gets their PP going, it's going to make the difference between wins and losses, and that was exemplified here tonight, as the two goals that brought the Wings even 3-3 with Columbus were on the PP, and helped create the momentum for the go-ahead goal shortly thereafter. This is what I'm talking about, and Babs would be a genius to go over this with the boys very heavily.

3.) Checking/Energy Lines Critical - You wanna talk about the role players stepping up? How about Patty Eaves!? From levelling a guy on the boards to dropping the gloves and tussling with another, this is how you help show the other team that you are no pushover. This sort of intensity is going to help keep the Red Wings alive in the post-season, through what could be some long playoff matchups. This was a perfect response to the game against Philadelphia, because if the Wings can hold this posture, it'll keep teams from trying to emulate the style of play the Flyers used, and help the Wings keep control of the flow of the game.

As long as the Wings can draw from their play in the 3rd and drop the bad habits, we're looking at a lethal contender for the Cup. Still a couple games left, so Detroit has lots of time to fine-tune. I'm getting excited for the playoffs. Are you?

Next on the docket is the game in Columbus to round out the season series on Friday. Till then Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Regular Season Home Finale Preview

"It's a battle for every inch of ice every shift. We have to keep finding ways to get better." - Coach Mike Babcock on playoff atmosphere.

Detroit (41-24-14) VS Columbus (32-34-14)

Well, it's a good thing Babs sees the obvious. After the mildly humiliating loss to Philly, where Detroit refused to fight back against the Flyers with any real kind of physicality, The Red Wings look to give fans in Detroit one last hurrah before the post-season as they welcome in the Bluejackets for the start of a home-and-home series.

Although the Wings have already clinched a berth in the playoffs, positioning is still important. With the top 4 seeds out of their reach, Detroit can only hope to get as high as 5th and claim home ice over any lower ranked clubs that might advance past the first round. Babcock has stated, however, that there is a good chance that with the clinch, Detroit may rest a number of its vets over the remainder of the regular season. We may see a more February-looking team in the last few games, but it would pay off to get some of the younger players more playing time before the second season begins.

With that, let's look at The Geek's Winning Formula for tonight's game!!

1.) Play with Passion - I know it's gonna be difficult for the Red Wings to drum up the inspiration for a grind-it-out 60 minutes of good hockey at this point, but it's very important that Detroit stay focussed on playing winning hockey to keep primed for the playoffs. Detroit has given up leads and lost games to hungrier teams. Now Detroit needs to remember how to be the hungrier team themselves. I do think Detroit could take Chicago in the Playoffs, I just don't want to see them square off in the first round. I'd like a nice ease-in round versus, oh I don't know...Phoenix...?

2.) PP Must Improve - This is getting to a critical point. We have too much talent on the roster to be going 0 for 3 and 0 for 4 on man-advantages, but last game VS Philly was another example. One goal difference and the Wings had three powerplays, all squandered. I don't know what Mike Babcock has to do to these players to get them to shoot the puck more, but he better figure now! Detroit still cycles way to much, and they too heavily favor the shots below the face-off circles rather than getting boomers from the point. Those would require guys jumping in toward the net for a rebound, and we all know how much Wings players love to do that. Ahem...sorry, some lingering sarcasm caught in my throat. I'm going to go as far to say that if Detroit's powerplay does not improve come playoff time, we're risking a very early exit from the post-season. The PK is getting it done, keeping the games within reach, now the PP units need to learn how to step on a team's throat and make the difference in these games.

3.) Checking/Energy Lines Critical - The good news heading to the post-season is that we're getting goals, our top two lines are producing nicely. Now we need to fine-tune the bottom two lines, especially finding a way to ramp up the level of grind-it-out-edness. We've got some strong forwards, it shouldn't just be our D-men throwing the body around. Cleary and Helmet are two of the few forwards on the roster willing to punish a guy with a check. And doesn't it sound strange to say their names instead of guys like Bertuzzi and Franzen? We need more physicality if we're not going to run an enforcer on the roster, or more games will end up like the one against Philly. The Flyers found an effective way to stifle the Detroit offense, you don't think other teams won't try the same tactic? Bertuzzi is the X-factor in it all. I think that ever since the Moore incident, he's had sort of a Hulk complex, that he's afraid if The Incredible Bert gets to angry he's going to smash someone into $&#^ing oblivion. He needs to move on and get back to the punishing style that made him an intimidating forward back in the day.

Hopefully the Wings can work the formula and come out of the Joe with a W. I'll miss a small portion of the game due to a children's event I'm running (if you REALLY wanna know that bad, DM me on twitter or something :P) but I should be back and on Twitter to follow the game in no time! Till then Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!