Did you watch the game last night? I did. And yes, I think Mikko Koivu should have definitely been called for his chippy hit on Kronwall. That aside, though, it’s starting to get really frustrating that the Red Wings can’t score. They did garner a point out of the ordeal against the Wild last night, but I’m sure that is no solace to the team who has scored only six goals in the past five games (and a losing streak to show for it).
The Red Wings dominated the play throughout the first period and took the lead with a neat little redirect by Nicklas Lidstrom. Very interesting dynamic on that goal, and if you remove the jersey numbers, you could swear Lidstrom shot the puck which was redirected by Holmstrom. It looked that good.
Unfortunately, Detroit couldn’t hang onto that momentum, as their frustrations got the better of them, and they started piling on the penalties….nine in total. The Red Wings are eighth in the league for most penalty minutes. The officials are calling every little rinky-dink infraction they can see and the players just have to adapt. I, too, don’t believe Drew Miller should have been called for goaltender interference, but he was. And the ensuing five-on-three penalty kill should have pole-vaulted the Wings morale into overdrive and they should have been able to scratch up a couple more goals. Thankfully the penalty kill has been very sharp this season, but you can’t keep going back to that well.
Here’s something I’ve been thinking about after last night’s loss, and just humor me for a minute. In their 10 games this season, Detroit has played Minnesota three times. In all three of those games, Josh Harding has been in net for the Wild. Harding has faced a total of 114 shots and only surrendered 4 goals. That’s really incredible. In fact, after last night, the Red Wings are at the very top of the list in shots per game with 35.8. They are finding ways to put a whole truck load of rubber on net. Now let’s imagine for a minute that the Wings won all three games. That gives them a record of 7 and 3, which would put them back up into the Top 5 in the Western conference, instead of 12th. While we Red Wings faithful number our woes, let’s not forget that Josh Harding has been absolutely outstanding in net for the Wild, and early on in the season, has almost single-handedly arranged the Red Wings position in the standings.
The other thing I’ve been thinking about is that the erratic schedule the Wings have played since opening the season. It’s just a thought, but when you play back-to-back nights and then don’t play for 5 days, it’s very hard to hang onto any animosity you may have from previous losses. You can go home, spend time with your family, play with the kids, etc. After all that time, you lose the edge you have and the grit in your teeth to get back on the ice. Now that the schedule has regulated itself to allow for a game every other day, I think this is just the ticket the Wings need to get out of the doldrums.
They will be bitter and angry, but determined. I don’t usually do this, but I’ll make a prediction for Thursday’s game against Calgary
Red Wings win 5-2, with over 40 shots on net for the Winged Wheel.