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Recent Playoff Success: Yes, we’ve had it!

So I was doing a usual round of late night heckling of a friend who sadly cheers for the Avs. I told him to remember his team had just “six playoff wins in the past six years”. I quickly pulled up the Wings number to compare. I was shocked to add up the numbers to 54. That’s nine per season, or by average, a trip to the Western Conference Finals every year.

I quickly began looking at a list of our rivals, mostly in our division. If nothing else interesting. Sure it is a abstract and arguably meaningless stretch of time. But I think if you listen to talk radio, or water cooler talk about the Wings, it would be tough to imagine the Wings far and away the leaders (next closest team I found was the Penguins with 43).

Anyways here’s a list. If nothing else, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, smile. It’s great to be a Wings fan. And when you have a Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Helm down the middle, you’re going to be in most games you play.

Central Division & Other Rivals Playoff Victories Since 2007

  • Red Wings 54
  • Penguins 43
  • Canucks 33
  • Sharks 32
  • Blackhawks 30
  • Predators 16
  • Coyotes 12
  • Avalanche 6
  • Blues 4
  • Blue Jackets 0
  • Maple Leafs 0

What Lies Ahead: Part 2

The Wings clinched a playoff spot last night with a 7-2 blowout against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the next 6 games will be just as important. The Wings will face the Nashville Predators at the Joe on Friday, which may be the determinant of who gets home ice in the first round of the playoffs.  The Red Wings are just one point ahead of the Predators and are battling for the #4 spot in the Western Conference.  Unless the Blues have a major collapse or Chicago really steps their game up, it’s likely that the Preds will be the first round matchup for the Wings.  The Red Wings have won 3 of their 5 meetings with the Predators this season, 2 of those at home, 1 in Nashville. Here’s a look at the first 5 games:

11/26 Nashville 1 @ Detroit 4

The Red Wings took down the Preds for the 9th game of the 23 game home win streak.  Valtteri Filppula had two goals and an assist, Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist, Danny Cleary scored a goal, Jiri Hudler had two assists, and Todd Bertuzzi, Jakub Kindl and Darren Helm each had one assist. Jimmy Howard had a .947sv% and stopped 18 of the 19 shots on goal.

12/15 Detroit 3 @ Nashville 4

This loss really pissed me off. Shea Weber’s two goals in the last 5 minutes (the GWG with just 1:36 left in the 3rd) gave Nashville the 2 points over Detroit.

12/26 Detroit 4 @ Nashville 1

Valtteri Filppula scored 2 goals, and Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary each scored one to give the Red Wings the win over the Preds in their 3rd meeting of the season.  Howard stopped 31 of 32 shots, but his opportunity for a shutout was ruined with just 2:12 remaining in the 3rd.

2/17 Nashville 1 @ Detroit 2

This was one of my favorite wins of the season — the one and only Pavel Datsyuk gave the Red Wings their 22nd consecutive home win with just 5 seconds left in the game.  Captain Nick Lidstrom hit Zetterberg with a no look pass off the boards, who sent it up to the magician, who then blew past Ryan Suter…and the rest is history.  I can only imagine what Pekka Rinne was thinking. Most likely it was “Oh (insert 4 letter word here).” Datsyuk also had an amazing assist…while he was lying down on the ice.

3/10 Detroit 2 @ Nashville 3

This was the first of the Red Wings 6 game losing streak this month.  Although it was a loss, Datsyuk found a way to make Detroit fans proud.  After Shea Weber blocked and knocked Datsyuk a few times as he attempted to make his way to the net, Datsyuk got back at him…twice as good. The video makes me giggle every time I watch it.

 

The next couple weeks are going to be tough, but if anyone can push hard and prove their excellence, it’s the Detroit Red Wings. It’s time to smash Smashville.

(stats from detroitredwings.com)

The Ingredients for Success

What do you get when you mix 30 saves by Jimmy, 10 Red Wings with points, 5 Red Wings goals, 2 Phoenix goaltenders, and a handful of Mickeyisms?

A 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, giving the Detroit Red Wings their 8th consecutive win at home.

3 stars: Filppula, Zetterberg, Conner

1st Period Highlights:

  • SOG 12-12
  • 1:12 into the game Todd Bertuzzi scored his second goal of the season after a nice feed from Datsyuk
  • Valtteri Filppula made all the ladies (and gentlemen) squeel when he got his 9th goal of the season 53 seconds later (2:09, assisted by Z and Hudler)
  • Taylor Pyatt went to the box for hooking Abdelkader leading to the PPG by Tomas Holmstrom (14:46, assists to White and Datsyuk) — AMAZING effort by Ian White.
  • 43 seconds later Helm finished off a great play by Chris Conner putting the Wings up 4-0 (15:29, assists to Conner and Kindl) … emphasis on the word “finished”
  • Phoenix goalie Mike Smith was pulled after going 7-11 (.636 sv%)
  • Jiri Hudler made it 5 with just 43 seconds left (assisted by Zetterberg and Fil) …and backup goalie LaBarbera was 0-1 for the period
  • Datsyuk, Hudler, Zetterberg, and Filppula all had 2 point periods… now THAT’s what I’m talkin bout.
  • 02/07/09 was the last time the Red Wings scored 5 goals in the first period
  • Mickeyisms:

“He’s got more moves than a monkey on the high wire”

“There’s been more giveaways here in the first period than the Salvation Army”

2nd Period Highlights:

  • SOG 8-9
  • Not nearly as exciting as the first period but no complaints
  • Radim Vrbata put the Coyotes back in the game (hehe just kidding) with a pretty much unstoppable slapshot (15:15, assisted by Yandle and Morris)

3rd Period Highlights:

  • SOG 12-11
  • Mickey told us a little bit about “Nickel Beer Night” from the good ol’ days… I need to hear more ASAP
  • Datsyuk sat out as a “precaution” because of a lower body injury #FMP
  • Martin Hanzal scored with Jakub Kindl in the box for hooking (11:32, assisted by Doan and Whitney)
The Wings will play the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night at 7:30 at the Joe Louis Arena
My requests: More Fil, a healthy Datsyuk, maybe a fight, some curly fries, and a win. Oh, and I’d like to be invited to Nickel Beer Night. #VoteJimmah! (vote.nhl.com)

Sooo hot, want to touch the heiny

Detroit Red Wings (15-7-1) vs. Buffalo Sabres (13-10-1)

I had hoped for there to be a Spartan overload on the ice tonight, but as of now, the chances are low.  Spartan alum Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller will be in the Red Wings lineup tonight, but Ryan Miller, the Sabres’ star goalie, will start on the bench.  Ryan has been out since November 12th after suffering a concussion on a hit by Boston’s Milan Lucic.  The last time the two teams played, Ryan Miller started in goal and his brother Drew was a healthy scratch.  Another former Spartan, rookie Corey Tropp, has played 10 games for Buffalo this season but was reassigned to the Rochester Americans on Monday.

Feelin hot, hot, hot:

  • The Red Wings have won 10 of their last 12 games
  • Pavel Datsyuk has 10 points in the last 6 games
  • Valtteri Filppula has 6 points in the last 4 games — as long as he continues to shoot, he’ll continue to score. (i love you)
  • Jimmy Howard is 14-5-1 and leads the league in wins

Other Notes: 

  • Chris Conner was called up from Grand Rapids yesterday and will play on a line with Cleary and Helm
  • Emmerton and Commodore are healthy scratches, Eaves has his mouth wired shut
  • Jimmy Howard will start in goal for the Red Wings
  • Jhonas Enroth (8-4-1) will start in goal for the Buffalo Sabres

Game starts at 7:30 and will be aired on the NHL network and Fox Sports Detroit (shwing). Let’s make it 7 in a row…Go Wings!

2 points for Ericsson: I’ll drink to that

Jonathan Ericsson had a 2-point game in the Detroit Red Wings’ 6th straight win tonight.  The Detroit Red Wings outshot the Tampa Bay Lightning 35-23 and won 64% of the faceoffs.  Pavel Datsyuk won 71% of his faceoffs and earned himself 2 points as well–that’s 6 points in the last 4 games for the great one.  Jimmy Howard made some fabulous saves throughout the game and especially in the 3rd–upping the confusion regarding his absence on the All-Star ballot.  Feel free to write him in.

Tonight was also Steve Yzerman’s first visit to the Joe as the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Red Wings paid their respects to the longtime Captain with a tear jerking tribute during the 1st period:

1st Period Highlights:

  • Wings outshot TBL 18-8 (that’s what I’m talkin bout)
  • Datsyuk wowed us with his 7th goal of the season at 4:58 (assisted by Bertuzzi and Franzen)
  • Jonathan Ericsson shocked RW fans everywhere by scoring his first goal of the season (11:04, assist to Fil) Mazel tov!!!!!!

2nd Period Highlights:

  • The Lightning outshot the Wings 6-5
  • With Ericsson in the box, Martin St. Louis got a PPG to get his team back in the game (9:35, assisted by Purcell and Bergeron)
  • Steven Stamkos tied the game with just 0:14 left in the period (assists to Gilroy and Lecavalier) — he scores goals? Weird.
  • Pierre McGuire used the word “toughly” and then quickly recanted saying it wasn’t a word. It actually is a word…and Pierre actually was an English major #funfact

3rd Period Highlights:

  • The Wings stepped it up and outshot the Lightning 12-9
  • Brewer did the only thing he could do to prevent Datsyuk from scoring on a breakaway — hooked him. Holmer put the Wings up 3-2 only 9 seconds later—after all 5 RWs touched the puck (4:22, assists to Lidstrom and Datsyuk)
  • Darren Helm sealed the deal at 14:13, giving the Wings a 2-goal lead (assisted by Kindl and Ericsson)

Notes: Commodore and Emmerton were scratched, Eaves out 6-8 weeks after having surgery on his jaw

The Wings will head to Buffalo to prep for their 7:30 game on Friday night

We’re going streaking!!….again

The Red Wings stayed hot behind another strong performance from goalie Jimmy Howard, who finished with 25 saves. After opening with 5 wins, the Red Wings struggled in a six game slide. They have rebounded during the homestand collecting 9 of 12 possible points and finishing with another 4 game winning streak. The Red Wings scored 3 in the third tonight to break a 2-2 tie with goals by Franzen, Helm and Stuart.

Game Recap

It was all over when…

Helm converted on a 2 on 1 to make it 4-2. The speedy forward missed a similar chance on the penalty kill the previous period, so he was happy to redeem himself off of a beautiful feed from Jiri Hudler.

Player of the Game

I’m giving it to Howard. He was not included in tonight’s three stars, but the keeper was sharp when needed on the second leg of back to back games. He kept Detroit in it early when Dallas was threatening to extend their one goal lead in the first period.

Stat of the Game – 7

Johan Franzen registered 7 shots on net. He was effective in all three periods of tonight’s game and finished with a goal and an assist and a plus 2 rating on the night.

Quick Hits

  • Kronwall scored his second goal in as many nights, and also blocked three Dallas shots.
  • Ian White got his third of the season at the beginning of the 2nd period and made a save in the 3rd with his FACE
  • Every Red Wings player had time on the PP tonight, thanks in part to a late penalty to Jamie Benn
  • The Wings held the advantage in the faceoff circle 37-27
  • Jakub Kindl and Jamie Benn fought late after a unnecessary slash from the Stars forward. Benn had the upper hand.
  • Brad Stuart earned his first two points of the season (1G 1A) and was a game high plus 3.

Blue Jackets No Longer Winless

I thought the 7-1 loss Saturday night would cause the Wings to wake up and smell the hummus but apparently there are still some kinks that need to be worked out.  Of course the Blue Jackets were “hungry for a win” — who wouldn’t be after an 8 game losing streak? But the Wings should have been hungry too.  Not just because we got dominated by the Caps a few nights ago, but because we’re the Red Wings and we’re always hungry.  We started off sloppy tonight, allowing a goal by RJ Umberger just 0:21 into the first period. Sometimes things clean up after a reality check like that, so it was a relief when Helm tied the score 4 1/2 minutes later.  Things really started to look up when 22-year-old Allen York came in to replace Steve Mason due to shoulder pain.  The sunshine didn’t stay out for long — Mason returned after only 2:33. To darken things up just a little more, the Wings were called for too many men on the ice, allowing Ryan Johansen his first NHL goal on the power play.

The second period was frustrating. There was some diddle-daddling and a couple of penalties and then 20-year-old rookie John Moore scored his first NHL goal at 14:16. Conklin made a few good saves this period, but none of Detroit’s 15 shots on goal made it in.

The third was just as frustrating as the first two. Babs switch up the lines a bit but it didn’t seem to help. Conklin made some impressive saves but the Jackets put up a fourth goal with 0:54 left in the game — a short-handed empty netter.

(Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Take-away points:

  • Helm scored his 1st goal of the season and ended up +1
  • Conklin was 28-31, he is now 75-85 for the season
  • Hudler was an invisible man — but sometimes it’s better that way
  • It would have been a little more bearable if there was any action whatsoever. I wanted/needed someone to drop the gloves. There was a VERY minimal scuffle (it consisted of one shove and some shit talking) involving Zetterberg and it’s not like that was going anywhere
Hopefully the Wings will get out of this slump in time to beat our archnemesis, the San Jose Sharks. The puck drops at the Joe at 7:30.

Conklin, Wings Spoil Avs Celebration With 3-0 SO

Ty Conklin Denies The Avalanche - Chris Schneider/Associated Press

Ty Conklin was happy to be back in Detroit this season, where he recorded a career high 25 wins in 2008-09. In his first game back, the veteran recorded a 29 save shutout, with a couple of highlight reel saves in the first and second periods.

The Avalanche hoped to cap a wonderful celebration for former forward Peter Forsberg with a win, and came out firing in the first period. But Conklin was there to answer each test, making 11 stops in the opening frame. While no goals through the 37 minutes may not attract the casual fan, both teams had plenty of chances throughout a thrilling back and forth game.

Equally as impressive was Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was perfect until Johan Franzen converted on a drop pass from Jiri Hudler. The play developed on a 4 on 2 rush, and Hudler made a perfect pass to the trailing Franzen who made no mistake putting the puck off the crossbar and in from just inside the blue line with three minutes to go in the 2nd.

The Wings came out flying in the third period, but Varlamov was terrific foiling a number of odd man rushes and power play chances. The Avalanche fought back and put serious pressure on Conklin midway thru the frame. But Coach Mike Babcock made a change, placing Pavel Datsyuk on a line with Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg. The trio flew down the ice, with Datsyuk feeding Hank for another one-time rocket off the crossbar and in.

Datsyuk added a third goal on the empty net with assists from Cleary and Conklin. After their sluggish start (which can be attributed to their 3:30 am arrival at the Denver hotel), the Red Wings really showed some character in the third period. Conklin stood on his head, and the Red Wings are now sitting on top of the league with a couple wins on back to back nights.

Game Notes

Detroit was 0-4 on the PP…Niklas Kronwall led the team with 22:28 of ice time…Henrik Zetterberg recorded a game high seven shots on goal…Jakub Kindl is now +5 on the year after two games…The Red Wings struggled from the faceoff dot, Darren Helm was 1 of 9…Forwards Tomas Holmstrom and Fabian Brunnstrom were healthy scratches tonight.

Red Lines

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3 days until the home opener! Let’s go Wings!!!