Ah, the Western Canada road trips. Who doesn’t love games starting at 10:00pm? I know who really hates them: my boss, when I am a complete zombie the next day at work. But that’s not important; discussing Red Wings hockey is important, so let’s get to it, shall we?
Five points out of six on any three game road trip can be considered a success, regardless of who the opponents are. The Wings played a cup contender (Vancouver, shootout win), an outside chance playoff team (Calgary, win) and a team near the bottom of the standings (Edmonton, shootout loss). The hottest forward on the Wings is currently Drew Miller, who scored in all three games. The least hottest forward is Johan Franzen. He’s currently in his procrastination mode and will hopefully change by the middle of April. And as you probably already know, the Wings had more shorthanded goals (one) than power play goals on this trip. Not good at all. But hey, five out of six possible points is still really good, so let’s take this positive momentum and get back to it. And now, let’s recap the games and go through some of the best plays of the week.
Quick Game Recaps:
1/31/12 @ Calgary – 3-1 victory for the red and white. I wasn’t a big fan of Bertuzzi in this one, as he had a couple of dumb penalties, one of which led to Calgary’s only goal. I was a big fan of Mursak in this game. His speed is fantastic. He doesn’t have amazing hockey sense or, you know, hands, but if he can get in some more games, wouldn’t surprise me to see him dominate the third line for a few years to come. Huds and Fil continued their amazing play and combined for another goal. And, the previously mentioned Drew Miller scored a great goal with help from Cleary and Helm. Howie played well in this game, and it was good to see after the Montreal game that never happened. Also, massive credit to Calgary, as they put on one heck of a tribute to Brad McCrimmon.
2/2/12 @ Vancouver – The Wings did their usual routine in this game: Dominate early, run into a hot goalie (Luongo), completely outshoot the other team, and end up tied after the first period. Both teams decided to trade goal throughout the game, and Cleary, Huds (again), and Miller lit the lamp for Detroit. Howie played well for the second game in a row, as none of the goals were directly his fault (guy open out front, bad giveaway by Miller, and a deflection off of Stewie). The Wings were better in the skills challenge, and Jimmy closed the door (even with a broken finger) while Pav and Huds scored on Bobby Lou. Not a bad game.
2/4/12 @ Edmonton – In full disclosure, I did not watch this game live (I was at the Grand Rapids Griffins game, which I will be writing about later this week). I listened to most of it on the way home from Grand Rapids and am watching the game on my DVR as I write this. Obviously, the main issue in this game was special teams, more specifically, the lack of a power play. The Wings had a full two minute 5 on 3 and didn’t really have much of a scoring change. Not good. Thankfully, the Wings fought back (with the help of Joey Mac, as Conks didn’t get any help but didn’t help himself). Bert and Miller owned the third period. It was also nice to see Hank play well in the third, as this can hopefully be a springboard into a great last part of the year. It’s unfortunate the Wings couldn’t hold the lead, but with this being a trap game and all, a shootout loss isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Goal Of The Week:
I love this goal. Great play by all three forwards…and Lidstrom. Mursak come with speed, drops the puck to Abdelkader and drives the net. Abs purposely shoots at the goalie’s far side pad looking for Emmerton to drive the net. All of the above things worked, and we have a good hockey goal.
Hit Of The Week:
Save Of The Week:
Vezina Trophy Candidate Nicklas Lidstrom
Howard played well in the games against Calgary and Vancouver. Sadly, he broke his right index finger (originally reported as his pinkie). There has been reports that he’ll be out from two games to six weeks. I’m hoping he’ll be back in less than two weeks. It might not be a bad thing in the long run, as Howie will get a break. As long as he’s fully healed by the playoffs I think it’ll be all good. Sadly, remember how I wrote about Ty Conklin the other day? Yeah. If Howie looks to be out closer to four to six weeks, I think getting another goalie is a necessity. Conklin just doesn’t look sharp. Even when he makes saves, he’s fighting the puck. As of this writing, Babcock hasn’t said who will play in goal on Monday against Phoenix. Does this mean we have a battle for the backup job? Time will tell.
Random Comment Of The Week:
The worst part about the Wings right now is that they are very rarely playing a full 60 minute game. They have these mental lapses that can sometimes last an entire period. And then, out of nowhere, they go into beast mode and can dominate. It’s working so far, I just think the Wings are too good of a team for this trend to continue.
Game Monday at Phoenix (because that makes sense after playing in Western Canada). And then, it’s back to the Joe for games against Edmonton and Anaheim. Three games against non-playoff teams. I do not like where this is going due to the fact that: The Wings are going to lose at home eventually; and the opponents this week aren’t the strongest. I’m thinking a minimum of three points this week is needed, and hopefully, four or more are acquired.
Classic Video Of The Week:
Remember when this happened in Phoenix? Let’s see it happen again.
You know the drill. If you have any thoughts, leave a comment, or yell at me on Twitter.