Slow Start: The Wings got behind the eight-ball pretty early in this one, coming out of the gates flat and ceding their ice to the Kings for most of the first period. They went down 1-0 at 6:48 and then 2-0 at 13:15. At one point they were down in the shot count 9-1, though they finished the period with 6 to the Kings’ 10. Their play improved as the game went on, but they were already down and apparently can’t pull even with the Kings with all their injuries despite still having considerable talent.
The Injuries: They’re a legitimate excuse for having a rough time in this stretch. Datsyuk and Lidstrom are, after all, the two most important skaters on the roster. And a defense that features Doug Janik is not going to look all that great. But I have to say that some of the holier-than-thou talk I see from other fans about how we are to react to these losses rubs me the wrong way. Yes, they’re depleted. And no, this is not an indication of future performance.
But I submit that it is still frustrating to see a lineup that yet consists of Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Ian White, Johan Franzen, Jiri Hudler and some pretty decent role players go 3-6-1 in their last ten. Pointing that out does not mean the pointer is giving up.
If you want to affect a perpetually rosy view of things at all times, that’s your fanship style and it’s fine. If I or anyone else want to point out that this stretch sucks, that’s fine too. Injuries are an excuse to have a rougher time, but not to display a lower effort level.
Jimmy: Jimmy looked very good and made some seriously stellar saves. He was hung out to dry by his defense, however, and ended up looking worse on individual goals than was typical for him in this one.
Z’s Line: Played a strong game in the second and third periods and generated a good chunk of the Wings’ offensive pressure. Which is as it should be.
Abdelkader & Co.: The other line that stood out. This team still has depth.
Franzen: Good finish on his goal, which I hope is the start of something. That’s three goals in 7 games, but it doesn’t feel like that much.
Smith: Looks very confident out there and is an entirely different player at the NHL level. He needs a new partner, though. Janik isn’t cutting it. I’d love to see him with someone more talented, for sure.
The Race: The Blues lost, but got a point and are now 7 points u p on the Wings. The Predators are just two back, so the Wings really could not afford this loss. They need to find a way to eke out some wins or they’re going to slip even further.
Next: They’re in Anaheim to play the Ducks, who are 4-5-1 in their last 10 and coming off a 3-2 OT loss to Colorado on Monday. The Wings need this one.