It’s been a long time since I posted anything (which is to say it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to watch a Red Wings game in its entirety). Ironically enough, the last game I was able to watch was December 6 at St. Louis.
It appears the tables have turned in the steadily-heating rivalry against the St. Louis Blues with the Wings taking this battle 3-2. Make no mistake, this was a huge, hard-fought game on both sides. Everybody on both benches had something to prove here. The Blues skaters want to prove they can dominate the mighty Red Wings. The Detroit skaters want to prove they still have what it takes to hold off a tough opponent and continue their at-home win streak. Ken Hitchcock wants to continue his successful resurrection efforts and Mike Babcock just wants to win every time. Jimmy Howard is the winningest goaltender in the league but Brian Elliot has the lowest goals-against average and is tied for highest save percentage. In fact, it can be convincingly argued that the best, and only clear advantage Detroit had over the Blues last night was a nationally-televised game on Versus.
It was absolutely a goalies’ battle last night as both netminders (literally) stood on their heads to keep the scores tight all night long. Each team had plenty of scoring chances, Detroit even only had one more shot on net than St. Louis.
Back in the beginning of the season, I failed to jump on the St. Louis bandwagon, while everybody else had picked them to run away with the Central Division. My reasoning was that while the Blues picked up a huge amount of talent in the offseason, there would most definitely be a “period of adjustment,” as the new roster would have to “gel” into a well-oiled machine. Turns out that oil turned out to be Ken Hitchcock, with a little help from Brian Elliot. The predictions ended up being true, but from an unpredictable approach. The Blues have become one of the favorites in the Western Conference and if things keep up, they should be able to make a fairly deep playoff run. I’m not going to predict just yet, but seeing the way they have played recently, they definitely have the stuff.
I could probably be shooting myself in the foot here, as a Red Wings fan, but I sure wouldn’t mind seeing these two go at it in the playoffs. The best part is, St. Louis is in the Central Time Zone, not the Pacific. Even if they don’t, realignment next year will certainly put that possibility within reach.
…and now for those pesky Blackhawks…
I have always loved the Blackhawks and I love watching them play Detroit. They bring out the best in each other. A level and spirit of play that other teams don’t see. I can’t believe the NHL has made me wait THIS LONG to see these two clubs go at it. Detroit has an outstanding opportunity to make a huge move in the Division and the Conference. They won last night. The next two games are against Chicago and St. Louis again. An extra 4 points could put them at the top of the Western Conference, pending the outcome of the Hawks tilts against L.A and Edmonton, two teams which have been known to get under the skin of the Indian Head sweater. I doubt anyone in or around Hockeytown will be satisfied with any less than 5 points from this three-game Central Conference melee.
This is a very exciting time to be in the Central Division.