The Red Wings pulled another one out tonight, almost in spite of themselves. Taking three penalties late in the third period proved that the Wings have a decent penalty kill, but it's best not to try to give games away. Detroit's boys escaped with another two points against a Central Division rival that may prove critical down the stretch, but it wasn't pretty.
The Red Wings started the game scrambling in their own end for a couple of shifts, a theme that repeated itself a couple of times throughout the game. They seemed to be a step behind the Blackhawks a number of times, and looked nothing like the puck possession team they have a reputation for being. Unforced turnovers and passes into nowhere happened too many times for comfort.
In all this looked like another "shaking the rust off" game with too many players not skating as hard as they could, and should have. Another few games should smooth things out, but the Wings need to get their team defense in order quickly to hold onto the slim lead they've built thus far.
On the up side, Jakub Kindl, taking a spot for Jonathon Ericsson (back spasms) looked solid and serviceable as a 5-6 defenseman. He played solid defense and didn't try to do too much. He took one of those penalties in the third period, though he might be forgiven due to inexperience and the fact that the resulting power play didn't result in a goal against. He was right back out on a regular shift afterward and didn't look rattled as a result. Composure and steadiness are key qualities of a good defenseman, and Kindl displayed that in enough measure to justify Ken Holland's decision to keep him in preference to Derek Meech.
Next up.....the Av's on Tuesday. Coming off their own win in OT against Chicago, this should make for an interesting match up, and a an opportunity for the Red Wings to settle things down at home and start clicking on all cylinders as the line combinations get more comfortable with each other. Let's hope they can do that.