Friday, March 29, 2013

Wings Waddle out of West Coast in Boring Loss to Sharks

Last night's game in San Jose was a hard one to watch, and not just because the Red Wings didn't come away with the win.  Yes, Detroit lost 2-0 to the Sharks, but the game overall--on both sides of the ice--was chore to watch, and certainly not worth staying up till 1AM ET to behold.

Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns both score for San Jose in less than highlight-reel fashion.  Pavelski's shot deflected in off of Niklas Kronwall's skate and past netminder Jimmy Howard, while Burns's effort was borne from one of many Detroit defensive miscues, with the Sharks blueliner-turned-forward ripping the puck over Howard's glove short side.

That's really all that happened in this game for 60 minutes.  The only other thing noteworthy was the magic show Pavel Datsyuk put on for the fans at HP Pavillion, culminating when he deked Logan Couture so hard Couture literally fell on his rear.  Everything else was completely ho-hum hockey.  Once the Sharks got the lead, they did exactly the same thing Phoenix did, effectively turtling by switching to a 1-4 trap scheme, they stopped pressuring Detroit as much and just waited for Detorit to make their own mistakes.  The Wings did not disappoint them, either.  With turnovers and errant passes aplenty, the Red Wings made the Sharks look like geniuses, doing all the work for them.

With only one penalty having been called the entire game, Detroit didn't get much chance to flex their special teams muscles, but considering how they played, it's hard to say for sure that they would have been as effective as they've been in recent matches.  Howard's play in net was stellar as always, and gave Detroit the chance to come back, but his teammates just simply did not play to the level required to rally back from a 2-0 deficit. Even if the Sharks hadn't scored those two goals, it hardly looked like the Red Wings were going to generate anything on offense, creating another one of those games where Jimmy gets hung out to dry by a flash goal drought.

In the end, what matters most is Detroit missed out on the 2 points, and it's already to the stage now where points of separation are critical.  The Wings should already be in playoff mode, because every game from here on in is that important.  9th place in the conference is not that far away, and if Detroit isn't careful, they could be staring it in the face come game 48.