Three Problems Facing The Red Wings
The Red Wings are in the midst of their longest losing streak since Feb. 2008 (which remember folks, was a season that ended with a Cup). We’ll look at three reasons the Red Wings are in their current slump.
1) Cannot finish
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that six goals in the past six games is unacceptable. But it is not like the team isn’t generating chances. Last night’s loss marked the only time during this streak the Red Wings have not fired 30 shots on net all season. In fact, during this six game slide, they have outshot their opponets in all but one game, mustering one shot to little against the then winless Blue Jackets on the road.
The forwards simply need to be better. Only captain Nick Lidstrom and Johan Franzen have more than two goals through the first eleven games of this 2011-12 season–and three of the Mule’s tallies have come via the power play. The big names on the roster need to put the puck in the back of the net. Their depth up front is simply too great for most team’s in this league to match, and those favorable matchups should be creating more offensive production, especially against some of the weaker competition faced thus far (i.e. Calgary, Columbus). This team is better than the 2.2 goals per game production they are putting out, good for 25th in the league.
2) Bad penalties
Even in recent years where injuries caused mid-season struggles, the Red Wings have never accumulated so many unnecessary penalties. The team has played a man down at least four times in all but one of the games on this current six-game slide. Todd Bertuzzi, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler have been the main offenders.
There are good and bad penalties in hockey. A trip that takes away an odd man rush, a roughing that sends a message to the other team can be good in the right time and place. But the Wings are guilty of far too many offensive zone and momentum killing fouls on this skid. It is tough to get the third and fourth lines going, which again is the strength of this deep Red Wings team, with so many penalties to kill. The forwards need to use their legs and keep their sticks and arms to themselves.
3) Power Play Woes
The Red Wings are just 3-21 (14%) on the power play over the last six games. Hard to believe that Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Filppula have yet to score a power play goal this season.
The Red Wings are truly feeling the void of Brian Rafalski here. The veteran was nearly a point per game player from the blue line last year, many of which came on the power play. Without a true partner for Captain Nick Lidstrom, the Red Wings power play lacks that quarterback on the back end. Free agent Ian White and veteran Brad Stuart have been unable to fill Rafalski’s role, combining for only two assists on the man advantage thus far.
The Red Wings need to take care of the Ducks at home this Saturday, or GM Ken Holland will be really feeling the pressure to use some of his cap space earlier than originally anticipated.