Posts tagged “Wild”

Wings 5, Wild 3

Data Collection Update: The Wings improved to 1-2-0 against legitimate hockey teams with this one, though parts of it looked like they’d fall to 0-3-0. The picture is filling in.

Offense Reliant: Although the defense played a solid game, this game hinted at the likely recipe for success for the Wings this season: the offense. The team will have to have a medium to high goal output with a defense the weakest the Wings have had in years.

Jimmy: Especially during the first period and middle of the second, Howard was very strong. He had no chance on two of the three goals and not much of one on the other. He kept the Wings in the game when they weren’t invested in it and the Wild were a threat. He’s even improving, which bodes well for his part in this season.

Bertuzzi: I definitely did not expect him to come back and immediately be so effective. I hope it wasn’t a fluke!

Also, I really enjoy how popular he is with the fans at the Joe. I doubt he would have ever earned that kind of reception in another city if he hadn’t come here.

Eurotwin Breakup: So yeah, spreading the wealth across two lines worked out. Stunning.

Helm: Like Bertuzzi, he was immediately effective and an impact player. Just having him in the lineup makes me feel more optimistic about the season.

Brunner: Still a beast with soft hands. His goal was a thing of beauty and he continues to be a threat on most shifts.

Z Line: The swapping in of Franzen worked out better than I would have expected. The Datsyuk line was the best but Zetterberg’s line was not far behind.

Kindl: Looked worse than Quincey. Yeah.

Lashoff: You know he’ll be headed to GR as soon as Ericsson is ready to go, but you also know it’ll be a shame. I’m definitely glad to be wrong about him. He’s an undrafted callup that outplayed a first round regular (Kindl) and would have earned a spot if he weren’t waiver-exempt.

Penalties: The Wings did a lot of standing around and that of course led to a lot of penalties. They need to work on moving their feet going forward.

Parise & #20: Parise scored a goal and was a threat, but I only really noticed #20 when JLA fans booed him.

Next: The Wings faceoff against Central-leading Chicago tomorrow night on the road. They’re four points back of the undefeated Hawks. A real challenge.

Suter, Parise Take Their Talents to Minnesota

Not at home, so typing this on my phone.

Russo reports, Dreger confirms.

Frankly, this sucks. The Wings needed Suter. Parise would have been nice, too. But in the end, even the Wings’ deep pockets, winning tradition and remaining talent couldn’t overcome home ties and friendship. Understandable. But majorly disappointing.

Now the Wings turn to Plans B+, none of which come close to Plan A.

I’m not sure this is a playoff team anymore. The defense is that poor without the strong #1 Suter offered in the wake of the Lidstrom retirement. Clarification: … without an addition comparable to Suter. Seriously. And there isn’t one on the market. Short of a trade, I see the 2013 playoffs as a long shot. I’m not the only one.

Meanwhile, the Wild are poised to become a power within a few years.

Welcome to the new world.

Wings 6, Wild 0

Domination: The Wings owned this one, start to finish. They let the Wild have 19 shots, but I doubt if Jimmy Howard’s had an easier outing in terms of pressure faced. The Wild managed to slow things down in the middle span of the first period, but they didn’t move the balance of ownership into their favor so much as mute the Wings’. A very satisfying game to watch.

Smith: Scored his first NHL goal in the first period by joining the forwards in converging on net on Bertuzzi’s set up to Cleary. Had he not scored, Smith may have been in trouble for jumping from the right point to the left side of the net with no forward covering for him and only Jakub Kindl back. But he saw an opportunity, took it, and made something of it. So that was good.

Filppula: Scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season and both were great for different reasons. On the first, he showed off his great hands with his puckhandling in a phonebooth out front of Josh Harding. On the second, the Wings spun the Wild around and around until finally getting it to Fil for a teed up fourth goal. Fil could hit 30 goals this season, which is pretty incredible.

Helm: Now has three goals in six games, having found that he can finish in situations not related to a breakaway.

Zetterberg: Had a very strong game, especially in the second, and scored on a beautiful set up from Filppula. I’m not going to give him a blanket pass for the earlier part of his season where he wasn’t as productive, but I am going to say that this sort of thing was always coming.

Bertuzzi: Left the game after the second due to what was then reported to be a lower body injury. Ansar Khan later reported it to be a groin injury that may have him out tomorrow. He took an awkward fall at one point in the game and was slow to get up. When he did get to his feet, however, he skated up ice pretty hard. If that’s when the injury happened, it may actually not be so bad.

Jimmy: Had an easy game of it in terms of shots faced, as I said above, but I have to give him credit for maintaining focus. He managed to stay sharp throughout the game despite hardly seeing any action and the few times the Wild were able to work up a decent scoring chance, Jimmy was there to make the save.

The Race: The win put the Wings two points up on the Blues and a point back of the Canucks. The Blues play the Sharks today in a game where a San Jose win would be good for the Wings for a couple reasons: 1) it’d keep the Blues from regaining ground, 2) it’d put the Sharks closer to taking the lead in the Pacific and move them out of 7th place.

Game Day Notes: vs. Minnesota

Briefly:

… This is the fourth and final game between the Wings and Wild this season. The series stands at 2-1-0 in the Wild’s favor.

… The Wild are coming off a 5-4 shootout loss last night and the game before that 4-0 to LA.

… They’re 12th in the West with 66 points, which puts them five back of Dallas’ 71 and 8th place spot.

… The loss to the Habs included a rally from a 4-1 deficit late in the game, and featured this. Those of us who know Setoguchi’s record are not surprised at how easily he goes down.

… The Wild have a pretty extensive injured list: Koivu, Stoner, Lundin, Bouchard and Latendresse are all out.

… Looks like Josh Harding will get the nod.

… The Wings cut a skid off at three with their win Tuesday night in Columbus.

… They moved into first in the Central last night without even playing by virtue of the Blues losing in regulation to Vancouver and dropping the points percentage tie breaker. A regulation loss for the Wings tonight puts them back in second.

… The bad news is Nick Lidstrom’s out through the weekend. The good news is Kyle Quincey will be back tonight. But here’s hoping Nick’s soreness subsides soon.

… Datsyuk remains out and hasn’t been on the ice since his surgery.

… Jimmy Howard will be in net.

… The Wings got some rest this week and though they didn’t get too much more healthy from a public injury perspective, they may be feeling better in terms of bumps and bruises. They played a pretty flat game against the Jackets Tuesday and could use a better effort tonight as they were handed a gift on one hand by the Canucks last night. Time to get back at the head of the pack and stay there.

Wings 1, Wild 2 (OT)

Update: Kronwall’s fine, apparently. Wrote this before the news broke. Great, great news. - Matt

The Rut Deepens: Early in the game, Mickey Redmond said he would be surprised if the Wings didn’t explode in the form of a 4- or 5-goal night. Looking at the Wings’ play in the early going, that wasn’t such a far-fetched statement. But as time went on and the Wings’ efforts came up fruitless, it seemed they were headed for that worn-out template: the Wings storm out of the gates, run into a hot goalie and fizzle out. I thought the goal at 6:00 would help avoid falling completely into that mold, but immediately after that, they started getting into penalty trouble. Not a ton, and certainly not enough that a team playing well wouldn’t be able to overcome, but enough to derail what’s become a fragile mental state for the Wings.

By the end of the game, the Wild had had 8 power plays, some of which were from chintzy calls. Others were Red Wings stupidity. And none of them are an excuse for failing to score more than a goal in this game.

Jimmy: Came to play. And showed that even at his best, he can’t necessarily win a game for a team that doesn’t seem to want to. He had no chance on either goal and gave his teammates every chance to end their slide. They just didn’t take advantage of what he offered. Frustrating.

I hope he steps forward in a leadership role in calling out his teammates for their lack of support.

Harding: I don’t know what the Wild’s plan is for him, but if he ever ends up on the trading block, it wouldn’t shock me to see him go to a team that’s being built with a mind to beat the Wings. He apparently owns them. Played very well, obviously.

Kronwall: Really hoping he’s okay after the Koivu cheapshot. It’s extremely upsetting that the elbow wasn’t called and that would be true even if it didn’t lead directly to what amounted to a 4-on-2 goal. You can defend  yourself from getting hit, but that does not include throwing your elbow into a guy’s face.

Holmstrom: Victim of yet another lame call. When you get bumped into the goalie by the defenseman, I’m not so sure it should be a penalty.

The Ending: Infuriating. But more so because the Wings let it get to that point. This game never should have gone to overtime. A team with this kind of firepower available on its roster should not be held to a single goal by a team like the Wild when the goal is to pull out of a 4-game slide.

Going Forward: If the team loses Kronwall for any length of time, that’s going to be a big blow, especially for the short-term goal of getting a simple win. But they need to pull one out Thursday against the Flames. They’ve got five home games ahead of them that offer a perfect opportunity to even this out and get the season back on track.

Wings 0, Wild 1

Briefly:

Flat, Again: The Wings are in a rut and not doing a lot to get themselves out. They came out flat and stayed that way for the majority of the game. They had a better showing in third, but only relative to whatever they showed in the first and second.

Harding: Played very well. Part of that was likely the Wings’ usual tendency to make apparently average goalies look like Vezina candidates. The rest was Harding. Still: not an excuse to fail to score even once on him.

Jimmy: Did very well for himself at the other end, but got beaten by the kind of great shot no Wing unleashed on Harding all night. Not his fault.

Top Line: Had their moments, as should be expected. But not enough.

Everybody Else: Invisible and ineffective.

I don’t know what else to say. It’s still early in the season. But this 10-game segment has turned into a slow nightmare. They’ve got a chance to get points 11 and 12 Tuesday against the Wild again and they need to take advantage. At this point, it’s becoming bigger than the fact that it’s early in the season. They need to pull out of this and soon.

Wings 4, Wild 2

Grindstone: The Wings kept their nose to it for a bit of a dull one with the always boring Wild. I thought the Wings’ work ethic was good and that they did a solid job against a patched-up Wild team that was playing for both pride and roster spots. A couple bad breaks were evened out by a good one or two, leading to the sealing up of the Central Division. The Wings can’t finish lower than third and can now turn their attention to beating out the Sharks.

Jimmy: Didn’t have to be spectacular, for the most part. Did his job.

Kindl: He’s had his ups and downs his season, but lately I’ve been impressed with him, particularly in the offensive zone. He is so confident with the puck and has a really big shot, albeit one that doesn’t seem to hit the net too often. But he looks like he belongs out there on the blueline. At the other end, he does a solid job, too. In a rational world, he’d be passing Jonathan Ericsson on the depth chart, but no doubt he’s still fighting Salei for that sixth spot.

Waived Off, Not Waived Off: I’m not sure how the referee didn’t lose sight of the puck on the Wild’s first goal, given that it seems like every other similar situation has them deeming the play dead immediately. Last night, not so much. The puck was loose, so it was no great crime, but I’m not convinced the ref followed the rule to the letter there.

Then there was this insulting incident. I have no idea how that was justified. Waived off goals because of crease issues have gotten out of hand. Does the NHL want scoring or not?

Franzen: Scored a goal, but I’m still unimpressed with him and have been since the Mule Trick. The guy’s idea of elevating his game lately is trucking a guy into the net and taking a penalty. I’d rather he score goals or look like he cares with or without the puck. He’s well past the knee surgery recovery excuse timeline and firmly into inexcusable slump territory. And knowing what he can bring to the table makes it worse. I hope he’s got something up his sleeve for the playoffs.

Should note that his goal may  have been that break mentioned above. Not sure it actually went in.

Holmstrom: Since he’s more and more being kept from doing his job out front, we’re seeing new skills out of him. The dangle on his goal was awesome.

Next: Three more games, starting Wednesday with the Hurricanes (weird, eh?) and finishing with a pair against the Blackhawks. Hard to believe the end is so near. Rattling off a three-gamer to wrap things up would be sweet.