Never In It: This game was Chicago’s, pretty much from start to finish. Even when the Wings had the lead for 6:30, the Blackhawks owned it. The Wings’ goal was a fluke, a momentary break in a trend that had the Hawks outshoot Detroit 15-8 in the first.
I don’t remember a time in the game that I felt the Wings were on equal or better footing with Chicago. In my book, the late push doesn’t constitute such a situation, because that was desperation.
Jimmy: He had a strong game, I thought. If his knee seemed to be bothering him the other night, I’d say it wasn’t this time around. The Wings leaned on him heavily in the first and continued to do so throughout the rest of the game.
He gave up four, but after watching the replays again, I’d have to be incredibly picky to find fault in him on those plays. Defensive breakdowns, every one.
If you, like the Wings, are lulled to sleep by the Hawks’ puck movement on the fourth goal, I hope it was after you saw Brouwer totally uncovered in the slot. That one in particular bothers me. The other two were Chicago power plays, so a guy being uncovered is somewhat excusable (though on the first goal, two guys were uncovered. Not cool.).
But how do Patrick Eaves, Henrik Zetterberg, Todd Bertuzzi, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson fail so completely at playing in their own zone like that? And don’t tell me it’s because of Bertuzzi and/or Ericsson. Neither is going to win any awards for defense any time soon, but they are both grown up hockey players that understand the basics.
That’s just unacceptable.
Transition: I can’t leave the third goal out, so I should mention the Wings’ total inability to handle the transition on the way to the second Kopecky goal. Awesome. So you had a couple scoring chances fall flat. Recover and do your jobs.
Special teams: Until the incredibly obvious hooking by Hjalmarsson late in the game, the referees apparently decided that giving a power play to the Wings for anything short of an automatic penalty would mean an unfair advantage over the 27th penalty kill. That sucked. But I’m just mentioning it because it was stupid, not because the Wings shouldn’t have played better anyway.
Goal/No Goal: So the Blackhawks were given a offensive faceoff by the referee that mistakenly thought a shot off the crossbar is a goal. Fortunately, it didn’t come back to bite the Wings, but I think when the ref blows the whistle like that, especially when the defensive team had possession of the puck following the goal-like incident, the faceoff should come out of the zone.
Meanwhile, the Wings had a goal disallowed because the referee was too twitchy with his whistle on a loose puck. Disappointing.
Emmerton: I thought he looked really good, overall. His goal was a bit of a fluke, but still cool to see him get one. And he looked like a kid pumped to be in the NHL and with relatively few jitters. He certainly seemed more interested in being there than much of the team.
Fatigue: I will give the Wings this much: they are tired and depleted. The schedule has been killer. I’d still like to see a better effort in games against teams like Pittsburgh and Chicago (especially when they can break out the effort for St. Louis), but they are in need of a break. Fortunately, they’re getting one soon.
Next: They play the worst team in hockey Wednesday night and if they don’t roll over them even in their tired and depleted state, it will be very sad.