Friday, April 16, 2010

Wings Show Coyotes Playoff Hockey with 7-4 Beating

Detroit came into Game 2 knowing that it was a must-win, not for the sake of the series, but for themselves to shake off the bad mojo of Game 1. The Red Wings responded in as big a way a team can by proving their dominance through 60 minutes of tough, slam-it-down hockey. The Wings endured the hits, the punishment, and the opposition goals and came out on the right side of a 7-4 pounding to tie their series with the Phoenix Coyotes at 1 game apiece.

This was a game in which we saw a lot of the same things from the Coyotes: the idea of playing Detroit hard, hitting often and trying to throw off the Red Wings' rhythm. What wasn't the same tonight was Detroit's response: pushback that was sorely lacking in the previous match, as well as something I would liken to fearlessness (though I wouldn't say we're there just yet) and the swagger to keep pressing and keep battling. As always, for all the highlights there were some lowlights. Detroit's passing is still prone to going blind and getting sloppy which turned into some of Phoenix's goals, but Detroit proved tonight that they are good enough to overcome that.

So with that, let's recap The Geek's Winning Formula!!

1.) More Energy - More? There was so much energy coming from the Wings tonight it feels like the boys were zombies on the ice in Game 1!! What a difference, and speaking of differences: Justin Abdelkader? Nothing short of amazing, this kid is going to earn himself a permanent spot on the regular roster without question if he keeps this up. It again makes me wonder why we spent the 1.5 million on Jason Williams when Abs is what we needed to begin with. Hitting, good pressure on guys, and a touch of scoring. Brilliant. With guys like this waiting to become staple players on the Red Wings, I'm not as concerned as many people are about Detroit's future.

2.) Powerplay - Thank you whoever finally passed my sermons on to Babs about the stink Detroit's PP units were making. By the way, what was the biggest change in regards to this...? You're right! Jason Williams wasn't out there!! Go figure!! Our Powerplay guys were stellar tonight, I even felt good about the penalty Phoenix managed to kill because of all the quality chances the Red Wings were getting. 2 for 3, folks. That's they way a PP corps is supposed to run.

3.) Play Your Game - The Wings were just physical enough with Phoenix tonight to keep them cautious, and it allowed Detroit to fully open up their style of play. When Detroit can get into a full puck-possession mode, they are deadly, and they proved it tonight. They also proved that focusing on physical play is not their forte when Brian Rafalski tried to Kronwall someone and ended up giving Phoenix their 4th goal. As long as Detroit sees that thin line of how much attention they can pay to being physical and hitting back, they're fine. Hell, they looked more than fine to me tonight, that's for sure.

Well, I'ma wrap this up for now, everyone. It's late and I've used up all my survival gear (see my late game guide if you missed it!), so I'm going to bed with a smile on my face. Catch you again for Game 3, Wingnuts!!

Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Round 1 Game 2 Preview: Wings @ Coyotes

"They gave us some great opportunities, and we have to take advantage of it." - Goaltender Jimmy Howard.

After a disappointing first game, the Red Wings look to re-assert their dominance and tie the series with a win in Game 2 in Arena. It is in Detroit's best interest to split the first two games in Glendale and avoid going down 0-2 to start the series. We'll take a look at The Geek's Winning Formula in a moment, but I want to stress that one loss does not a series make. I'm not adding this to the Formula because Game 1 was an anomaly: Detroit is better than that. Giving up 3 PP goals is nothing to do with what Phoenix did, it was all to do with our boys having a very off night. It will be rectified.

Now, for the Geek's Winning Formula:

1.) More Energy - I was listening to Sean Baligian last night and he made a good point: if the Wings want to go far, they absolutely need their depth players to amp up their game. We need those 3rd and 4th lines to really start grinding, getting under Phoenix's skin and getting dirty around the net looking for those garbage goals. Detroit's energy fell to the wayside after the 1st period and it was obvious. Like I said previously, Detroit doesn't need to turn into a hitting team and get in a checking match, that's not their style, but the energy lines need to stand up for this team.

2.) Powerplay - That's all I really need to say. You know my stance on this if you've followed me for any reasonable length of time. For any newcomers: I'm angry with Detroit's PP units. I have been for the last month and a half. Game 1, going 1 for 6? I'm sorry, that game was gift wrapped and we blew it big time. Never mind the meltdown on the PK, there's no reason why we shouldn't have scored at least 3 PPG in that game. The saving grace, I think, is that Williams has been pulled from this game, which means that someone else will have to fill in his spot on the 2nd PP line (thank the Lord...). I'm interested to see the results of this shift and hope it produces tonight.

3.) Play Your Game - Detroit had a stellar 1st period in Game 1, they stuck to their style and had Phoenix chasing them all around the rink. It's a shame we couldn't take more advantage of the situation, because Phoenix eventually just ramped up the hitting and took us off our focus. Let the energy and checking lines deal with the hitting and get the goal scorers scoring goals. If everyone plays their role, Detroit will come out of Arizona with a split series. Doan and his ilk will get theirs, especially with the addition of Abdelkader, who will actually stand up for himself and his teammates, unlike Jason Williams.

I'll be around for the game tonight, so you'll see me on Twitter as it happens. Till then, Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!