Photo courtesy of yahoo.com
I came up with the headline as I was discussing hockey with a few friends tonight.
My circle of friends is a pretty broad one when it comes to favorite NHL teams. I am a Red Wings fan, I have a good buddy who is a Montreal Canadiens fan, a few Leafs fans and one last one that is a Pittsburgh Penguins fan.
First off, no, my buddy that is a Habs fan isn’t planning on protesting the current coaching situation in Montreal at the next Canadiens home game.
Back to the topic at hand though.
This year has been a treat, to an extent, to be a Red Wings fan.
Firstly, Detroit’s netminder Jimmy Howard is having a Vezina type year. His sparkling 1.99 goals against average and .925 save percentage have him top 10 in the league in both categories while his 20 wins have him first in the league.
Adding on to the year Howard has been having, Detroit’s defense has been nothing short of stellar this year as well.
New addition, Ian White, has been the steal of the summer, has already 17 points and glorious +22 which ranks him first in the league. The Red Wings defense is once again leading the NHL in total goals by the blueline which is becoming something of a regularity every year.
There is much to be happy about in Detroit again, especially their dazzling home record.
At 13-2-1, Detroit is one of the toughest teams to play at home which is something the team lacked last year and went just 21-14-6.
Last year, Detroit found that the home ice advantage was spread around the USA and Canada rather than in the Joe Louis Arena as they went on to post a 26-11-4 record.
This year has been much different.
Detroit finds themselves usually on the losing end of a road game and have already 10 losses on the road after losing just 11 last year.
Why is it different this time around?
Detroit seems to get out to slow starts or slumping finishes and have yet to play a full 60 minute road game. If the team is losing after two periods, they usually don’t get going until the third period when the pressure is on to get two points and usually, its too little too late.
Being a playoff contending team, its important to strike fear in an opponent as they visit your home arena, but it is just as important to strike fear when you head into their arena as well.
Its only 34 games into Detroit’s season but its getting to the time where they need to start figuring out a winning formula on the road.
Every team aims for home ice advantage in the playoffs. If the season would end today, Detroit would be in fifth place and not have home ice advantage to start the playoffs.
And if there is any indication, Detroit wouldn’t last past the first round.
Thankfully, there is still 23 more road games for the Red Wings to figure out how to start winning on the road.
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