Blog Entry

The Detroit Red Wings weekly report, October 20

Posted on: October 20, 2009 10:44 pm
 

The Detroit Red Wings managed to display their multiple personalities last week while going 1-1-1 against the Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings, and Colorado Avalanche.

The week began with an absolute stinker against the Buffalo Sabres, who have transformed their game and become the mirror image of what Detroit is supposed to play like. Coincidentally, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is an assistant coach to Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on Team Canada in the upcoming Olympics. Perhaps Babcock has revealed too much of the Red Wings system at Team Canada meetings.

The Sabres dominated the faceoff dots winning 62% of the draws and then played keep away from Detroit for most of the night with an effective puck possession game. The Sabres who lead the league in shots on goal per game, much like Detroit has for years, then outshot Detroit 37-25, and outscored them 6-2. Buffalo had struggled offensively and were winning because goalie Ryan Miller, from  East Lansing, had been stingy since the start of the season. Unfortunately for Detroit the Sabres offensive struggles came to an abrupt end on Tuesday. Perhaps Ruff can repay the favor of taking the Red Wings system by providing secrets to beating Miller, who is a candidate to play goal for Team USA, to Team Canada, and by default the Red Wings. Then the coaches can call it even.

The Los Angeles Kings came into Detroit riding a modest hot streak, winning four of their last five games, and their top line of Ryan Smyth, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams had combined for 25 points in six games. The Kings were also getting solid goaltending on nights when the offense struggled. Detroit's team defense, that was scorched in Buffalo, delivered a gem, limiting the Kings top line to just one goal, and two points. Chris Osgood rebounded from his dud in Buffalo and was the game's second star stopping  24 shots. The highlight of night and the week was Nicklas Lidstrom's second assist of the game which was his 1,000th NHL point. He is just the eighth defenseman in league history to reach the milestone.

"It feels great and it's something I'm proud of to reach that milestone, with the other players that are in there with 1,000 points, especially the defensemen," said Lidstrom.

"He's obviously is a spectacular player and he has been for a long long time, and you have to be really healthy and you have to be fortunate to play on a good team, and then you have to be an absolute star," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on Lidstrom's milestone. "For a d-man to reach that milestone is very very special."

And then there was Saturday against the Avalanche. The Red Wings were definitely two different teams in this game. They opened a 2-0 lead through two periods and had outshot the Avalanche  23-13, hardly allowing them to touch the puck. The Avalanche started the third period by killing off a  double minor and then took it to the Red Wings the rest of the way. They scored three straight goals to take the lead capitalizing on turnovers (Red Wings lead the NHL with 91 turnovers) and a terrible line change. Valtteri Filppula scored to give Detroit the lead again but the they were unable to hold on as Colorado scored late to force overtime and finally a shootout which was decided when Milan Hejduk beat Osgood with the exact same move to the backhand that Marek Svatos beat Osgood with on the previous shot.

"I just felt it was one of those games that you have everything going your way, you should bury them," said Babcock. "We didn't bury them, we let them stay in the game, and instead of putting a knife in them, and it came back to haunt us. It's a point that we let get away that we should never let it at home."

Notable events
Justin Abdelkader scored his first regular season goal in the NHL against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. He scored two goals in the playoffs last season. In off-ice news, Pavel Datsyuk was out of the lineup against Los Angeles and Colorado with an upper body injury, but is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday night against Phoenix. Johan Franzen underwent successful surgery on the ACL in his left knee and will be out of the lineup at least four months. Andreas Lilja, on long-term injured reserve, continues to suffer headaches and is not close to returning to the lineup.

Red Wings leaders
Filppula and Tomas Holmstrom had two goals each last week, Henrik Zetterberg had four assists and five points. Todd Bertuzzi elevated his play and was named the second star in the games against Los Angeles and Colorado.

Red Wings three Stars of the week
First Star - Zetterberg
- Having missed most of training camp with a sore groin, Zetterberg is slowly catching uyp to his teammates in terms of conditioning and it is reflected in his production with one goal and four assists in three games.
Second Star - Filppula - He has been the Red Wings player on most nights so far this season playing a complete game providing offense and defense. No one has drawn more praise from Babcock for their play than Filppula this season.
Third Star - Bertuzzi - Bertuzzi has responded well to playing on a line Zetterberg and has also drawn praise from Babcock for his improved play.

Next Week
The Red Wings begin a two week road trip with a visit to the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night and Colorado on Saturday. The Coyotes played the Red Wings tough last season losing at home in a shootout, and twice at Joe Louis, once in overtime and the other on a last minute goal on a controversial penalty call. The Avalanche have already upset the Red Wings this year.

Check back next Monday, October 27 for the next edition of the Detroit Red Wings weekly report. Also, please submit your Red Wings or hockey questions to drwexaminer@gmail.com for a new mid-week column this season, Detroit Red Wings Examiner's Mailbag coming soon.

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Comments

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: October 24, 2009 3:23 am
 

The Detroit Red Wings weekly report, October 20

the lack of franzen and datsyuk has really showed up lately. datsyuk came back and gave us a huge boost proving why he is getting paid big bucks. if we play like we did in phoenix we will be ok. i am worried about us just getting the wins we are supposed to though. with the injuries flowing through our team things could get hairy down the stretch. this game against the avalanche will be huge. we will have cleary zetterberg and datsyuk all healthy the youngsters are playing well especially the williams leinio filppula line so we either win or take a huge step down. i know we can play and compete with anyone now we need to prove we can beat anyone. i say prove because we have been slipping at the finishline. it is a long season and it looks like other people are starting to pick up some injuries as well which will help us come back in the standings. the time for the moral victories is over time to kick it into gear. i have been saying i would wait until game 15 before i got really worried but we do need to pick up some wins along the way. this win will be a good one to really get the team sparked up. babcock does a great job getting the team lively when we need it but there needs to be something to think back to in terms of success. this is one of those games. it is a must win in terms of just needing a W. we have been playing well and it is time for a big win i am thinking 3-1 maybe 4 something. outrageous i know but we can do it and i am sure we will come out with a big fire in our bellies.


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