Tough loss for the Wings on Tuesday, as their visit to the Prudential Center ended in defeat. Stephen Gionta’s goal at 19:23 of the third period lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 4-3 victory and snapped the Wings’ quick two-game winning streak. The loss dropped Detroit’s record to 28-21-12 and (at least temporarily) knocked them out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
Here are five noteworthy items from Tuesday’s game:
1. Jo-hot Franzen. The veteran forward is finally healthy (probably) and producing for the Red Wings. #93 has four goals and three assists in three post-Olympics games. He’s notoriously streaky, so a modicum of consistency would be greatly appreciated as the Wings try to navigate through life without Henrik Zetterberg.
2. Helm hurt…again. Darren Helm left Tuesday’s loss early due to an upper-body injury. He’ll be subject to further evaluation, of course, but I’d expect him to be out for Thursday’s clash with Colorado and probably longer, seeing as Helm is a china doll.
3. Healing power play. The Wings scored two goals with the man advantage in this game. It’s the third consecutive game in which Detroit has scored on the power play and the sixth game in the past seven in which they’ve done so. This is a good sign for the Wings, as they’re operating without Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk at the moment.
4. Todd Bertuzzi‘s still around. The grizzled veteran potted his eighth goal of the season on Tuesday; the power play tally tied the game at three midway through the third.
5. THE BIG PICTURE. I’m pretty sure I’ve done this in every recap this year, but I feel it’s my appointed duty to assuage your deepest fears and inform you that the Red Wings are still fine. They have at least one game in hand on the third-through eighth-placed teams in the conference and at least one game in hand on the four teams that are in contention below them (Washington, New Jersey, Carolina, Ottawa). Obviously, for how much longer they’ll be in decent position is up for debate, but right now, they’re okay. Same old “need to get healthy” mantra forever applies.
A word on trades: Don’t expect any. Not because Ken Holland is a terrible general manager (he’s not), but because the asking price for the names Twitter wants is a price that Holland will not (and should not) pay. You don’t want oft-injured Ryan Kesler if he costs you a first-round draft pick, Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar. Plus, the contracts of Alex Edler and Christian Ehrhoff, two top-four defensemen the Twitterati have been clamoring for, are ridiculous. Edler has five years left on his deal with a $5 million cap annually; Ehrhoff has seven years left with a $4 million cap hit annually. Both have no-trade clauses. I fully expect the Wings to stand pat today, and it’s probably for the best.
What’s next: The night we’ve all been waiting for. Nicklas Lidstrom will have his #5 raised into the Joe Louis Arena rafters on Thursday night, with Patrick Roy and the Avalanche in town. The Wings may have a shot in this one, despite their home struggles and the fact that the visitors are superior to them; since Peter Forsberg‘s overtime goal ended Game 5 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals, the Red Wings are 32-9-5 against the Avalanche. They won their first meeting with the Avs this season on October 17 in Denver.