The best sound from Game 1 of Detroit’s Western Conference Semi-Final series was undoubtedly the blare of the third period buzzer… mercifully signaling to a beleaguered Detroit group that it was finally time for them to depart the United Center to board Red Bird III, and regroup on their flight back home to Michigan.
Hopefully Babcock and the boys threw back a few gin and tonics Don Draper style, and put this game behind them immediately. That’s how I like to picture the scenario anyways, so please don’t take that away from me!
No folks, there was little good news to speak of for Red Wings’ fans after the series opener. Jimmy Howard excluded, the Wings were a bunch of no-shows on Wednesday night.
However, it appears as though there may be some more uplifting news for Detroit supporters heading into a pivotal Game 2 Saturday in Chicago; Drew Miller is ready to return to the lineup. All reports indicate that Miller is good to go and Babcock has stated that he would be inserted into the lineup as soon as he was given the green light.
For a Detroit group facing a lot of tough questions, Miller’s return provides the Wings with some significant answers. One area where Mr. Miller should have an immediate impact is on the penalty kill, and they could sure use a helping hand right about now.
In fact, of the 8 remaining teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Detroit has the worst penalty kill percentage operating at just 71.4 percent. Miller specializes in blocking shots, clogging up shooting lanes, and doing all of the dirty jobs it takes to shut down a powerful powerplay like the Blackhawks possess.
Another strength of Miller’s game is his relentless speed and pressure on the forecheck. If you watched Game 1 then you know this area of Detroit’s game was pretty much non-existent.
Adding a hungry and well rested Miller to the lineup should go a long way in improving this aspect of the Wings’ game. At the very least, one thing you can always count on Drew Miller for is a very high compete level.
We all know Detroit will need a lot more of that if they hope to even this series tomorrow afternoon.