Saturday, October 9, 2010

Flip Trips Blackhawks on Red Carpet in Wings Win

Now that was some fine party-crashing!!

The Red Wings came into the United Center and brought the raucous crowd down to earth with a 3-2 victory over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The game has only just recently ended, thanks to the longest, most drawn-out banner raising ceremony in the history of mankind (puck-drop wasn't until around 9PM EST or later). The Wings, however, were apparently fine with waiting patiently to spoil the festivities. Valtteri Filppula netted two goals, including the game-winner in the third period, to help push the Wings past the Cup-drunk champs.

A couple of key players were in the spotlight tonight: Jakub Kindl made his first start of the season, replacing injured Jonathan Ericsson. Also, Chris Osgood got the nod in net--a move many were ready to chastise coach Mike Babcock for making.

Let's take a closer look at tonight's match by breaking down The Geek's Winning Formula from earlier:

1.) Hold Onto the Energy - Would I pass the Wings on this test? ...Yes, but not with flying colors like last night. The Wings showed spurts of intensity, but there were times when it was sorely lacking. I know it's hard to play two nights in a row, but that doesn't excuse going easy on the boards and losing puck battles that players would normally have no right losing. One spot where Detroit picked up the pace well was on the penalty kill. It was rough to see the Wings down a man so often tonight, but considering the frequency I feel we got proof of a very effective PK corps.

2.) Plug That Hole - Defensive gap? I didn't really see one. Jakub Kindl, in my mind, played admirably in his season debut, and really...would Ericsson have done any better? If Kindl can keep playing like this, improving all the while, I'd like to see him overtake Big Rig for the 6th spot on the blueline. Maybe it would help drive the Big E to improve his OWN game. The rest of the team also played quite well defensively, so that was a big help to keep Kindl's confidence high.

3.) Keep the Ship Afloat - Ozzie...did you read my last post before the game? Seriously, despite the score, I think that was one of the best games Chris Osgood's had in a while. Chris played a solid game while keeping mistakes to a BARE minimum (that turnover behind the net was scary...!). This is more like the Osgood that we love and, more importantly, want to see more of. Any sort of effective tandem between Osgood and Jimmy Howard is a very good thing.

Overall, here is my final grade for the Wings in this contest:

Team Offense - B+: One was pretty, one was lucky, and one was flat out ridiculous. I'm pretty sure Flip jedi'd that last goal past Marty Turco, as he got no power on the release at all. They can't all be beauties, they just have to go in.

Team Defense - A-: While most of the game was played defensively sound by the Red Wings, one area concerned me tonight: turnovers. Too many times I found that our boys were not paying close enough attention to where the Hawks were set up, and errant passes started coming in bunches as the game wore on. Chicago got far too many opportunities for scoring chances, and it showed based on how many bad penalties Detroit took tonight. The saving grace here was the PK--the penalty killing units ran some great damage control.

Team Intensity - B+: Don't want to dive too deeply into this again, but like I said: I know it's hard to play consecutive nights, but you can't play soft tonight just because you played yesterday. The Wings did a decent job of staving that trap off, much more so than the team of last season would have.

Overall, I thought it was an awesome party.

The next tilt will be with the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

Till then, Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Preview: Wings Look to Help Blackhawks Botch Banner Night

Detroit will look to ride a wave of momentum into the Windy City and put the hurt on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Jakub Kindl will get an early start to the season due to Jonathan Ericsson's back spasms and Chris Osgood will start what many may feel needs to be a road to redemption after the disappointing performance from the veteran netminder last year.

The Wings will have to wait for the start of the game until after the Blackhawks raise their first Stanley Cup banner since 1961. After that, though, Detroit will have a chance to ruin the celebratory evening for their division rivals.

So without further ado, here's The Geek's Winning Formula for tonight's game:

1.) Hold Onto the Energy - Detroit put an absolute clinic against Anaheim last night, and that intensity needs to carry into tonight's match as well. Everyone knows it's no fun playing back-to-back games, so the Red Wings need to keep themselves highly motivated this evening.

2.) Plug That Hole - Jakub Kindl needs to prove himself early by having a solid game tonight. Likely the Blackhawks will look to exhaust our top defensive lines if only to get Kindl on the ice as much as possible, trying to exploit his inexperience in the wake of the Ericsson injury.

3.) Keep the Ship Afloat - The biggest factor to this game in my mind is #30. Chris Osgood needs to make another one of his fairytale-like comebacks this season if he wants to see much time on the ice--and if he wants to keep his job in Motown. I've been a huge Ozzie supporter in years past, but after the events of last season I think Chris needs to prove he's over this latest hump and ready to get back to his winning ways.

Hour and a quarter till puck-drop, Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!