The Detroit Red Wings wrapped up their five game road trip going 2-0-1 through the NHL's version of the Bermuda Triangle this week, beating the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames while losing in a shootout to the Edmonton Oilers.
While it did not salvage the trip in terms of the won-loss record the team set for themselves, they did get the desired number of points and it did provide hope is some areas of their game.
Prior to departure Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told Ansar Khan, of mlive.com, the goal for the trip was to win three games of five for six points. Well the team picked up six points in the five games, although they did leave two points for their opponents by going 2-1-2 as opposed to 3-2-0.
In positive news, the team regained their offensive touch scoring five goals in two of the games and 13 goals overall this past week. Also 13 different players got at least one point in the last three games as well indicating a return to a balanced attack that makes it difficult to defend against the Red Wings. Pavel Datsyuk led the resurgence with six points in his last three games. That kind of involvement throughout the roster and a pseudo successful trip has lifted the team's spirits about themselves as Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press wrote in this story: Red Wings' spirits high after long road trip
Unfortunately along with the good comes some bad news and lingering issues in the Red Wings game. First the bad news, Valtteri Filppula suffered a broken wrist in the game against Edmonton and will be out six weeks. Also Brad May suffered an eye injury off the stick of his teammate Jason Williams and is expected to be out of the lineup for one week, and is seeking a second medical opinion, as reported by George Sipple of the Free Press.
And while the Red Wings scored 13 goals they also allowed 11, and weak goaltending was a major reason. Chris Osgood was pulled just seven minutes into the game against the Canucks after allowing two goals on four shots. Jimmy Howard came in and played well to earn his first NHL win since 2005. Howard started the next game against Edmonton and was shaky, giving up three goals in the opening period while the team dug itself a deep hole. The Wings trailed 4-1 and 5-2, but rallied in the third period playing perhaps their best 20 minutes of hockey before finally losing in a shootout. The game was broadcast on Canadian cable outlet TSN, whose analysts were very critical of the Red Wings play this season and the goaltending in particular.
Osgood and the Wings bounced back with a well-played convincing win over the Flames to salvage the trip.
While on the trip Holland offered some insight on his team's play and some measuring sticks to use to grade the team as the season progresses. Holland shared with St. James that he is the least bit surprised by the team's start of the season based on the roster turnover during the summer and the fact that they have been hit with some unexpected setbacks. He is also not willing to judge his team based on the first 10 games of the season (4-4-2) but rather will make his assessment of the team based on their play in games 11 through 25. At the same time he pointed Thanksgiving as an interim measuring stick in this article by Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province: Holland helps keep his team on top of league.
The week ahead
The Red Wings return home for a couple of good matchups against two of the best teams in the NHL last season. The Boston Bruins visit Joe Louis Arena Tuesday night, and the San Jose Sharks are in town on Thursday. The Bruins were the top team in the Eastern Conference last season and like the Red Wings have struggled with injuries early in the year and it is reflected in their record of 6-6-1. For more on this game and the Bruins be sure to read: Pre-game hype: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings, and Boston Bruins Examiner Mark Marino
Thursday night against the Sharks is also the first of many sponsored giveaways in the month of November as all fans in attendance will receive a Budd Lynch bobblehead doll courtesy of Bank of America.
Other giveaways in November include, November 12 against the Vancouver Canucks is Steve Yzerman plaque giveaway night courtesy of Fifth Third Bank, and November 25th against Atlanta is team wall calendar giveaway night.For more info: For more information on the Red Wings and the promotional giveaways be sure to check out the team's official website at: Detroit Red Wings.
Pre-game hype: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings
On this date in Red Wings and NHL history, November 3
Filppula injury forces Red Wings to shuffle roster for 11th straight game
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The Detroit Red Wings weekly report, October 26
The Detroit Red Wings weekly report, October 20
For more on the Red Wings be sure to check out my Red Wings coverage at examiner, and please check out my new page at examiner on the Windsor Spitfires