Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wings Let Another One Slip Away

The Detroit Red Wings are running out of games, and they are running out of time.

The Wings had a chance last night to lock up 2 points to pull even with division foe Columbus in the Western Conference standings, but lack of finishing took a 1-1 tied game all the way to the shootout, where the Red Wings did what they've seemed to do every time they go that deep into a game: absolutely nothing.  Max Lapierre got the only goal in the shootout and the Vancouver Canucks stole that invaluable second point from Detroit in a 2-1 final.

At least what we saw from Detroit last night included more heart and effort than had been witnessed in many of the recent matches.  The Wings did battle harder yesterday, but on so many scoring chances, just couldn't seem to find the cracks in Cory Schneider's armor.  The only Red Wing to beat Cory was...well, Cory! Cory Emmerton got a beautiful tip off a shot heading toward the net and slipped the puck between the arm and pad of Schneider to knot the game at 1 after Vancouver had taken the lead earlier in the 1st period.

It was another game in which the bottom forward lines seemed more effective than the top, and another game where Detroit did not capitalize on their powerplay chances.  Detroit managed to give the Canucks not one, but two shorthanded breakaway opportunities, with goalie Jimmy Howard bailing out his skaters once again.  Howard's stat-line has been phenomenal, but the production from the skaters has been strangling the life out of the team, costing Detroit precious points far too late into the season.  Johan Franzen, for all his chances last night, could not find the twine--and he had a ton of chances, especially early on in the game.  Val Filppula was his usual self: uninspired and turning away from the opposing net every chance he could find.  So of the top 6, the Eurotwins were left to shoulder the big load on their shoulders with little to no help once again.  Hank and Pavel are obviously exhausted from the extreme wear and tear of trying to control the entire game in both ends by themselves to make up for incompetence coming from their linemates.

On the injury front, Drew Miller, another of the rare breed on this year's Wings who has the heart to play with some energy, left the game with a broken hand.  Todd Bertuzzi is hoping to make a comeback before the end of the regular season, and if his back issues finally do clear up in time to allow him some games, he will hopefully add a spark to a reeling Red Wings squad that is watching the sand of a playoff spot slip through their fingers.

Four games remain, and the nail is dangerously close to the coffin.  Detroit needs wins, especially against Phoenix and Dallas who both chase them coming into this morning.  Anything less could very well sink the ship.