RED WINGS UPDATES
RED WINGS LOOK FOR REVENGE AGAINST PANTHERS AFTER STREAK-BREAKING LOSS
It was the loss that took them off a 4-game winning streak, after which they won 3 more in a row. The Red Wings will take on the Panthers for the second time in two weeks, to kick off a back-to-back set of games this weekend (the second being against Toronto). Though the final score in their 4-3 loss to the Panthers didn’t look so bad, the game itself looked horrendous. It was 4-1 for the Panthers in the third period, until Detroit got a pair of goals in the last 10 minutes of the game to attempt a comeback, falling just short. It was an earned loss though; they weren’t playing as the elite team that they now know they can be, sitting 2nd in the Atlantic Division (after a Tampa Bay win put them back in first).
The most important thing for the Red Wings tonight is to not fall into Florida’s trap in the neutral zone. They need to use their speed, as they’ve been doing so well this season, and get pucks and bodies to the net. The latter won’t be as easy a task as it usually would be, as Justin Abdelkader is still out with a shoulder injury, and Danny DeKeyser is also sidelined with a shoulder injury, most likely for the duration of the weekend. Xavier Ouellet will get his second stint with the Red Wings this season in DeKeyser’s place. In 5 games with Detroit this season, he has a goal, an assist, and a plus-3 rating.
Puck drop is at 7:30pm ET on Fox Sports Detroit.
COTSONIKA TALKS ABOUT THE RESURGENCE OF THE RED WINGS THIS YEAR
The Wings wondered about their scoring entering the season. Well, they rank fourth in goals per game at 3.03. They’re also seventh in goals against at 2.34. They’re a solid possession team at even strength and have top-10 special teams units. Howard, healthy again himself, has rebounded in goal. He has a .918 save percentage.
Babcock deserves credit. He’s the best coach in the NHL, and he has the Wings organized. Another reason they have improved this season: they have been more aggressive pushing the puck up ice. That’s why there is so much consternation about his contract situation. But he has the horses – to survive when injuries are awful, to thrive when injuries are limited.
GM Ken Holland and his staff deserve credit, too. The Wings have lost so many great players over the years – Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and so on. They have lost so many great minds – Scotty Bowman, Jim Nill and so on. Thanks to success and trades, they have not drafted in the top 10 since 1991, and their average first pick over the past 23 years has been – get this – 39th overall. They have made a conscious effort to hold onto most of their picks since the salary cap was introduced in 2005. Even so, their highest pick since 1991 was 15th last year. Their average first pick in the cap era has still only been 29th. They have drafted well (and gotten a little lucky). They have developed well, stayed patient, made players earn NHL jobs and built a deep organization.
AROUND THE NHL
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11TH
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
Chicago 3, BOSTON 2
BUFFALO 4, Calgary 3
PHILADELPHIA 4, New Jersey 1
Columbus 3, WASHINGTON 2 (OT)
Los Angeles 5, OTTAWA 3
TAMPA BAY 2, Carolina 1
ST. LOUIS 6, NY Islanders 3
COLORADO 4, Winnipeg 3 (SO)
Nashville 5, ARIZONA 1
SAN JOSE 2, Minnesota 1