Posts tagged “Rangers”

Wings 1, Rangers 2 (OT)

More Like It: If you think my negativity during this stretch has been about the losing, let me set the record straight. It’s not the losing that bothers me so much as how games are lost. That’s not to say I like losing, but there are losses and there are losses.

This was one of those losses I can stomach: the Wings played a hard-fought game, kept their legs moving and pursued the puck. That’s really the base level requirement I have for them as a fan: that they put in the effort that it takes to pay attention to detail. Most nights, a healthy Red Wings team that does that will win. Last night, they did it and were not healthy. And they lost. That’s okay, relative to the other losses in this skid, where they did not put in that level of effort.

This is the one loss in the skid that can fairly be attributed to being so shorthanded. They matched a conference leader blow for blow, went to overtime and were overmatched in the end. The same game with a roster not consisting of so many minor leaguers probably ends differently.

D-zone: That’s not to say the Wings were perfect. They were strongest in the offensive zone, but had some trouble in their own end with getting the puck out. But there’s where a depleted defense really stands out.

The Richards goal was inexcusable, no matter how depleted the D is, though. Coast to coast goals shouldn’t happen.

Conklin: Looks like he found his game down in the AHL, which is good news. If MacDonald ends up being out for the season with this back stuff, Conklin seems to be ready to step in.

Power Play: Only had the one chance, so there’s not a lot to read in that. Three shots, which isn’t terrible.

Janik: Set a career record for scoring chances. Of course, he didn’t score. As JJ noted, “it’s awful seeing a pass get to a wide-open Red Wings’ defenseman and realizing that guy’s wearing #37.”

Anyway, he was sent down today, so we may be getting Kindl or Lidstrom back this weekend.

Datsyuk: An off night from Pavel, which was disconcerting. Fortunately, Zetterberg kept at it.

Smith: Still has some work to do on his own-zone game, but he’s really confident in the offensive zone, which I love. Seriously, guys, it’s night and day difference between AHL Smith and NHL Smith.

The Race: Back in fourth, by a point. The Blues are still at 100 and finally play again today.

Next: They face a hot Hurricanes team and need to bring this effort to the rink. Time to end the skid.

Game Day Notes: @ New York (Rangers)

… This is the one and only meeting between the Wings and the Rangers this season.

… The Rangers are leading the Eastern Conference by 10 points 1 point with 97 and are winners of three of their last eight. Which apparently qualifies them as “red-hot” if you’re a Detroit News headline writer.

… They’re coming off a 4-2 win over the Devils the other night. The game featured fights right off the bat. Probably won’t be any of that tonight.

… The win clinched a playoff spot for the Rangers.

… Looks like it was an optional skate for the Rangers today. Makes sense for this time of year.

… Looks like Artem Anisimov may return tonight after going down with a shoulder injury on the 15th. He’s got 14 goals and 33 points through 69 games.

… The Rangers will be without Michael Sauer and Steve Eminger.

… Henrik Lundqvist should get the start for the Rangers. He’s having a Vezina-type season, with 8 shutouts, a .934 save-percentage and a 1.89 GAA.

… The Wings are 0-4-1 in their last five and are coming off a 5-3 loss to the Capitals on Monday.

… They’re fifth in the West with 92 points, just two above Chicago now.

… They too had an optional skate today. Which would make a lot more sense if they weren’t in a skid and falling in the standings. But I guess even the guys not out of the lineup have plenty of bumps and bruises to rest, so whatever.

… There won’t be any injury returns tonight, though it sounds like Nick, Kindl and Ericsson are close.

… Franzen, meanwhile, is still not sure where he stands.

… Ty Conklin cleared waivers and will get the start. Jordan Pearce will back him up. In some good news, it sounds like Jimmy might have been the backup if Conklin had been claimed.

… The Wings are going up against a formidable team with a very good goalie. They’re shorthanded and on the road. But they need to find a way to win. They lucked out that the Preds lost last night, but with the Hawks’ win, they can’t afford to let this skid go on any longer.

Wings Hold Off Rangers

I was fully planning to watch this game, but something came up last minute that meant I only caught the very end. So George has your wrap-up here.

I noticed something in the ending sequence that I want to point out: when Abdelkader caught Avery in the face and the Wings were hit with a 5-on-3 penalty kill for :44, Babcock’s choice of forward to work with Lidstrom and Kronwall was Henrik Zetterberg.

Now, that’s no surprise to those of us who follow the Wings. But I’ve seen enough chatter this year that the Eurotwins, especially Datsyuk, no longer possess the defensive chops they once had and the most common reason cited for that stance is their penalty kill time.

That it’s down is indisputable. But if the stat geeks would look deeper at the reasoning, something not quantifiable by a number, they’d get a better picture.

1) The Wings have guys like Eaves, Miller and Helm to kill off penalties and take the heat off the top guns having to play in all situations. This time spent on the bench for the Zetterbergs and Datsyuks will, in theory, pay dividends come playoff time.

And 2): The Wings still break out the big guns when the situation warrants it. Last night’s late 5-on-3 is such a situation. Babcock was not going to entrust that responsibility to the younger PKers, however qualified they are to kill penalties. He trusts Zetterberg and Datsyuk to take care of business when the stakes are highest.

With Datsyuk in his first night back from an injury, it made sense to tap Zetterberg for that span. I think it worked out pretty well.

Game Day Open Thread: vs. New York Rangers

I  had to take care of some real life things during my usual dedicated blogging time today, so I don’t have a full notes post for you.

All I have is this: hope that the return of Pavel Datsyuk and the resetting of the weekly goal quota clock will lead to a return to the saddle for this team.

Game Day Notes: @ NY Rangers

Update (4:55 PM): And Patrick Eaves is out tonight with an ankle injury suffered in practice. Awesome. Here’s a thought: stop shooting pucks off the feet and ankles of teammates, guys.

But the biggest bit of news from that link is Babcock’s stating Drew Miller has a job. Sorry, Mattias Ritola. - Matt

Update (4:42 PM): The Rangers have posted their lineup here (Word doc).

Also, the Wings cut Thomas McCollum, Travis Ehrhardt, Sergei Kolosov, Sebastien Piche, Logan Pyett, Willie Coetzee, Ilari Filppula, Jamie Tardif and Greg Amadio (from a tryout). - Matt

Briefly:

… Like the Wings, the Rangers have been idle since Sunday, so there’s nothing to report on that.

… The Rangers are getting closer to their final roster, with 11 cuts coming down on Monday (including Wade Redden), leaving them with 27 on the roster. So tonight won’t be so much minor leaguer powder puff as Eastern Conference powder puff.

… As of this writing, the Rangers haven’t posted their lineup for tonight, but I’ll get that link if it comes.

… Newsday Rangers beat writer did tweet this yesterday:

What does the orange jersey mean? Probably that you might be watching vs WIngs tomorrow. So Prospal, Dubi, Boyle cd be healthy scratches

So take that for what it’s worth.

… Khan has the Wings’ roster for tonight. Getting closer to the real thing, too, though they’re still carrying a lot of AHL-bound guys.

… Per the pre-season rotation, Osgood was supposed to start tonight, but because of the charley horse he played through Saturday, he’s out. Jimmy will be in net instead.

… Kris Draper’s groin injury turned out to involve a slight tear, so that’s a bonus for guys like Patrick Eaves in looking to solidify a role in the lineup. Draper’s probably going to miss the start of the season.

… Modano skated yesterday, but is out again with groin tightness. Who knows if he’d be playing through it during the regular season or not, but this isn’t exactly an auspicious start for the guy, even if this is just pre-season over-caution.

… The big news is that the second line (tonight’s first) is reunited with Franzen’s return. Just in time to prep for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, eh?

… Meanwhile, Jiri Hudler is playing with Abdelkader and Drew Miller on tonight’s second line, while Ritola (who had an “ear” injury—who knew?) is skating on the third with Helm and Eaves. Take from that what you will, but I consider that a sign that Miller’s made himself more valuable to the team for the coming season than Ritola has. Whether that means Mattias gets the ax instead of Drew remains to be seen, of course.

… On defense, Ericsson is slotted in the #2 spot with Kronwall, while Kindl is with Brian Rafalski. Were this game televised, I’d be keeping an eye on those two.

… So we had to wait until Wednesday for a game that’s not going to be on TV. Isn’t pre-season hockey fun?

Wings 5, Rangers 3

As it turns out, by the time we got home and got the recording of the game going, it was time for a fantasy draft, so I’ve only got a few observations on the game:

Hudler: I don’t know about you, but I thought he looked great. I really think he’s going to be the most important addition to the team this year, even if Modano hits the most optimistic projections. One thing that stood out in my mind last night (maybe for no reason—maybe this is common): the backhanded saucer pass he dealt out at one point. The guy has some serious skill. He seemed to have figured out the North American game’s geometry while he was out with the bruised foot, so here’s hoping he’s set to rack up the points this year.

Rafalski: He needs to take more days off, eh? He didn’t seem to be holding back at all last night, and that’s a great sign. He can be very, very good when he wants to be. It was good to see him return to the lineup and not ease back into it.

Eurotwins+Homer: It occurs to me that those three should be headed for a big year, given all the time they’re getting to work out the kinds. The second line got thrown off the rails by the Franzen injury, as did the third line with the Hudler one (together with last night’s Modano groin soreness. Some 40-year-old groin muscles…). The fourth line group hasn’t been the same three guys thanks to job competition. The first line is the only forward group that’s been able to be consistently together. That should pay off.

Howard: Looked solid though I thought he trailed off a bit. The second Rangers goal was a bit weak, in my mind. He didn’t have a lot of hope on the third one, though. Still got some off-season rustiness to shake off, I guess?

Holmstrom: Apparently needs to play up between the circles these days. Another waived off goal for being at the top of the crease. The referees do know it’s not ’99, right? The crease rule is not in effect. And when a player doesn’t touch a goalie at all, there’s nothing to call and no reason to waive anything off.

Elbowing: Maybe it’s just in Wings games, but it seems like the refs are handing out elbowing more and more this off-season. Abdelkader’s big shoulder hit last night earned one, for example, and Mursak got slapped with one Friday night, etc. Is this the NHL’s way of saying, “Look! We care about heads!”?

No Jonny: Probably just a case of Babcock wanting to hold him out of the third game in three nights, but I thought it was interesting that Ericsson wasn’t in given that he was supposed to get every opportunity to prove himself. Maybe it means nothing, but it’s at least possible that Babcock has been less than impressed with him so far.

Wednesday: Couple days off, then it’s out to New York for a Rangers rematch. Exciting. Slowly getting closer to meaningful hockey.

Game Day Notes: vs. NY Rangers

… The Rangers opened their pre-season schedule with a 4-3 OT win over the Devils on Thursday. They followed that up with a 5-4 OT win in New Jersey, a game that included this exciting Kovalchuk/Avery drama (yawn). Yes, Slats, lets reinforce the Boynton precedent and go after the real scourge of today’s game: innocuous hand gestures.

… The official site is lifting up Michael Del Zotto for his four point “outburst” last night, wrapping up the company-line piece with “Should Del Zotto be in the lineup again on Sunday, one can only surmise that he will aim for a better start than the one he had on Saturday. But it’s a sure bet he’ll take a similar outcome.” Dontcha know!

… Unfortunately for the Rangers’ scribe, it doesn’t look like Del Zotto will be in. The official site has their lineup here (PDF, annoyingly). Our favorite delinquent son, Sean Avery, will be suited up. Should be fun.

… Dunno which of the two goalies listed will start, but Biron may be a good guess.

… The Wings are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Blackhawks last night. It turned out that we were able to have the game on in the background for most of it, so I saw more than I expected to see.

It seemed like every time I looked over, Osgood was making a big save. The one that stands out in my mind was that play that involved Smith being pressured by Hawk forecheckers, panicking a little, trying to turn back toward the boards rather than going behind the net, and wiping out, losing the puck off his stick. The puck ended up in the slot where a Blackhawk had a major scoring chance, but Osgood turned it aside. From my perspective, it seemed like he was doing stuff like that much of the night.

So as it looked like the Wings were going to lose the game, I had a defense of Oz writing itself in my head. Then he gave up the Hossa shorthanded goal. It doesn’t wipe away the rest of the night, but it was poor timing, as the Wings had just gotten within one and were poised to stage a comeback.

But that said, Osgood’s play last night was of a quality that would have given the full Red Wings a chance to win. As it was, the B-team didn’t have the offensive horsepower to crack the high, high ceiling of, uh, 2 goals. If Osgood plays like that in his starts this season, the Wings will be getting very good work out of their backup. And he might even be able to step in on a more regular basis if he plays at that level, should the need arise.

… Other observations on last night:

  • Kindl’s surprising me. I didn’t think he was ready for NHL action, but he’s looking better each time I see him. I now think he’s an actual threat to take Ericsson’s job.
  • That’s because Jonny hasn’t gotten any better at all. He’s in serious danger, I think, to be the 7th defenseman if he doesn’t pick it up.
  • Smith had that one gaffe and didn’t look all that great overall, with one exception that I saw: that final power play where he and Kindl were on the point. I thought we got a great preview of his future contributions to the team right there. By the way, he got hung out to dry by Stuart on the Hossa goal. Sucks.
  • Fil seemed strong.

… No official word on the lineup for tonight, but it’s going to be the A-team, with maybe a couple changes. Like Hudler and Rafalski.

… So, tonight the plan is to watch the game on DVR since we have other stuff going on when it starts. No tweeting the game again. Sorry!