The Red Wings only have 18 games (10 at home, 8 on the road) left to play in the regular season and the race for a playoff spot in the West is tight. The Wings will be without Pavel Datsyuk for a few more weeks, without Jonathan Ericsson for about a month, Nick Lidstrom and Kyle Quincey are both day-to-day, and of course, there is no word on the return of Patrick Eaves. The last 18 games are going to be crucial — let’s break them down:
Western Conference Matchups
3/2/12 @ Detroit
The Wild got the W when they visited Detroit in November. I remember how pissed off I was when Devin Setoguchi scored that ridiculous goal in overtime after the refs failed to make a call for a dirty hit on Kronwall.
3/4/12 @ Detroit
4/7/12 @ Detroit
Detroit has only hosted the Blackhawks once this season and won 3-2 in overtime
3/9/12 @ Detroit
3/13/12 @ LA
The Wings have beat the Kings both at home (8-2) and in Los Angeles (4-1) this season
3/10/12 @ Nashville
3/30/12 @ Detroit
The Red Wings have won both of their games against the Preds at home and also one in Nashville. The 4-3 loss in Nashville was a brutal one, and you can thank Shea Weber for that. He scored 2 goals in the last 5 minutes of the 3rd period.
3/14/12 @ Anaheim
The matchup in Detroit last month was a real nail biter. Todd Bertuzzi won it in the shootout with a shot that had everyone on the edge of their seats.
San Jose Sharks
3/17/12 @ San Jose
Last time the Wings visited San Jose they lost 5-2, even though they outshot the Sharks 42-28 (BARF)
Columbus Blue Jackets
3/26/12 @ Detroit
3/28/12 @ Columbus
The Wings and Jackets will play each other in back to back games, one per city. The Red Wings have won both of their games against the Blue Jackets at home and one of the two games played in Columbus. The Wings suffered a 4-1 loss to Columbus back in October right after they got crushed by the Caps—nothing like being kicked when you’re down. The Red Wings won their most recent meeting with the Blue Jackets by a score of 5-2
St. Louis Blues
4/4/12 @ St. Louis
The Red Wings have won all 3 games vs. the Blues at home this season, but have lost both games they have played in St. Louis. This is gonna be a big one.
Eastern Conference Matchups
3/19/12 @ Detroit
No technique I have learned as a therapist has helped me forget the 7-1 loss the Wings suffered in Washington back in October, after opening the season with a 5-game winning streak. Mike Green had a 4 point game (2G, 2A) and Mathieu Perreault scored 2 goals in his team-low 10:20 of ice time. This will be Detroit’s first game home after a 4-game road trip but I have faith that the Wings will show them who’s boss — and payback’s a bitch.
New York Rangers
3/21/12 @ New York
This will be the first and only meeting between the Red Wings and the Rangers this year. The Red Wings took the win (3-2) when the two teams matched up last season in Detroit.
3/24/12 @ Detroit
This will be the first and only meeting of the two teams this season. The Canes shut out the Wings 3-0 during their only meeting last year.
4/1/12 @ Detroit
This will be the first and only meeting between Detroit and Florida during the 2011-2012 regular season. Last year the Red Wings beat the Panthers 4-3
New Jersey Devils
4/5/12 @ Detroit
This will be the first and only time the Red Wings play New Jersey this season. The two teams met twice last season—once in Detroit, once in New Jersey—with Detroit earning both wins.
3/6/12 @ Philadelphia
The Flyers lost 4-3 when they visited Detroit February 12th, giving the Red Wings their record-tying 20th straight victory at home.
LET’S GO WINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- The Red Wings are back on top this week on ESPN’s NHL Power Rankings–well, they’re in the #2 spot…but since the Bruins are ranked #1 and we put an end to their winning streak on Friday, I think it’s a legitimate claim.
- I am confused by NHL.com’s Super 16 Rankings once again. Dave Lozo ranks the Wings at #4 behind Boston, Pittsburgh, and the NY Rangers.
- The Mule took the day off today according to Ansar Khan from Mlive.com, but is expected to play in tomorrow’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning
- The team visited the Children’s Hospital of Michigan yesterday, as reported by Bill Roose from DetroitRedWings.com
- Did the Caps give up their coach because their ego is too big? Isaac Smith discusses the difference between them and the Wings on Bleacher Report
Winging It In Motown pointed out this morning that after suffering only their first loss of the season on Saturday night, the Detroit Red Wings (5-1-0) are now apparently worse than both the Pittsburgh Penguins (6-2-2) and the Chicago Blackhawks (4-1-2) according to the TSN.CA NHL Power Rankings. However, the ESPN NHL Power Rankings still have the Wings in the #2 spot this week. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun added: “Even Caps coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out that Saturday’s loss wasn’t really your typical 7-1 score; Detroit is playing better than that score indicated. Just a blip on the radar and with backup Ty Conklin in goal, to boot.”
If additional proof is needed that the Wings aren’t leaving the top of the rankings anytime soon, listen to Tomas Vokoun, the goalie for the Washington Capitals. Vokoun was named one of the NHL’s 3 stars of the week this week–a well deserved honor. He has allowed only 6 goals in his last 5 games and has a .944 sv% this season. David Amber from NHL on the Fly held a phone interview with Vokoun on Monday. Here are the “rapid fire” questions and answers:
Amber: The one guy you don’t want to face in a shoot out?
Vokoun: Pavel Datsyuk
Amber: The most difficult player to have parked in your crease?
Amber: Starting an NHL team today, who is the one guy you need to have?
Vokoun: I would say Pavel Datsyuk
(Keep in mind these questions weren’t intended to be only about the Red Wings, but the entire NHL…so TSN can suck it)
In other news, Dmitry Chesnokov from Puck Daddy and Dmitry Malinovski, Sovetsky Sport’s correspondent in Detroit, held an interview with the always entertaining Pavel Datsyuk. Here are some highlights/quotes:
*Regarding Lidstrom’s 1500th game:
“It is a very big milestone. All I can do is remove my hockey helmet for him. He is such a great player and a great person. You can always rely on him and take him with you on spying missions.”
*Do the Red Wings feel the competition for fans now that the Lions are doing pretty well in the NFL?
“There is no competition. The situation in Detroit is very difficult due to the economic crisis. And I think all of the Detroit teams playing — the Red Wings, the Lions, the Tigers — we are all trying to cheer Detroit fans up, make them a little bit happier in these tough times. And sincere thanks to all the fans who come to our games, who find the time for us.”
*Regarding NHL realignment:
“On one hand, of course it would be great because we would reduce the number of miles we fly considerably. It would be interesting to try ourselves in a different conference. But until the chickens are hatched we can’t really count them. So, people can discuss whatever they want. But nothing is certain at this point. I just hope we won’t be realigned to the KHL.”
*Alex Ovechkin was presented with his own wax figure on Monday at Madame Tussaud’s in Washington DC. Where would it be possible to see a statue of Pavel Datsyuk?
“I don’t think you will see it anywhere. And if you do, it will probably be made of paper. Cardboard paper. I am a cardboard player.”
I’m pretty sure that anyone who has ever seen Pavel Datsyuk with the puck would not describe him as a “cardboard player.” A wax figure wouldn’t do him justice — he definitely deserves a statue… possibly a pyramid.
This is one of those rare occasions when I’m actually disappointed in the Wings and almost too pissed off to write about them. The Caps played some excellent puck tonight and as much as it hurts me to say, we just couldn’t keep up. Losing 7-1 was simply unacceptable and it was clear that our highly skilled team wasn’t at the top of their game. The Red Wings’ sole goal was scored by Niklas Kronwall (assisted by Datsyuk and Lidstrom) during a 5-on-3 power play in the middle of the 2nd period. At the very least, I’m happy that the Captain got a point during his 1500th game. The Caps scored 2 goals during the 1st, 2 during the 2nd, and 3 during the 3rd. Ty Conklin was 18-25 (0.720 sv%), which is ridiculous–but I guess they win as a team and they lose as a team. I suggest that Conklin stay in the net and close his legs…he gave puck slut a whole new meaning tonight. Wings are now 5-1-0, which is clearly not a bad record, but the Capitals being 7-0-0 makes me want to vomit a little. All I know is that I will definitely be seeing Ovi’s gap-toothed smile in my nightmares tonight.
The next game is Tuesday night at 7:00 in Columbus