First of all, hello. I’m Matt and I am one of the newest contributors to Winged Octopus! This is my first post since becoming a contributor, and I want to say it is an honor for me to be a member of the team and I look forward to contributing what I can from behind my keyboard in Missouri.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
The first two games of the season when the Red Wings went on their Florida trip were deplorable. The final 45 minutes or so of the Tampa game and the entire Panthers game left a lot to be desired. In fact, they were bad. If there was a stat line for moral victories, I’m not sure that they could’ve chalked anything up in that column.
That said, the four games since have been a mixture of the good, the bad, and the a-okay. The Wings are outscoring opponents 15-5 over the last four outings, beating the Senators 5-1, the Rangers 2-1 (thanks to the stellar play of Jimmy Howard), the Predators 5-3, and the Sharks 3-0 (again, behind the play of Howard).
Ottawa (W 5-1): The Red Wings put 25 shots on net and converted on 2/4 power plays. If not for the own-goal by Riley Sheahan when he deflected a Ryan Dzingel pass for Kyle Turris, the game would have been a shutout for Petr Mrazek. Jonathan Ericsson and Dion Phaneuf dropped the mitts in the first to help set the tone of the game. Mike Green notched his first career hat trick and Darrel Helm added two goals of his own in the contest.
NY Rangers (W 2-1): This was a steal of a win. With Howard getting the nod in net, the Wins were held to just 18 shots on Henrik Lundqvist, while the Rangers peppered the Wings with 33 SOG. If not for Howard being a brick wall, the game could have easily gotten out of control in favor of the Rangers. The Wings seemingly had installed a revolving door at the penalty box and used it liberally. It was a botched play behind the Rangers’ net that Luke Glendening set up Drew Miller for the game winning goal.
Nashville (W 5-3): Mrazek made 30 saves in the win, while the Wings saw five different players light the lamp- Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, and Darren Helm. The highlight of the night goes to Dylan Larkin, who mixed it up with Yannick Weber for their first fighting majors in the NHL. The fight was Detroit’s fifth of the season- tops in the league.
San Jose (W 3-0): In the first back-to-back of the season, Howard got the start between the pipes, stopping all 30 of the Sharks’ shots to earn win number 191 and his 23rd career shutout. Nyquist tallied his second and third goals of the season, both in the second frame; and Thomas Vanek continued his tear on the stat sheet with an assist on Andreas Athanasiou’s goal in the third. Nyquist made a bid for a hat trick and #curlyfries, but Brent Burns stymied his attempt at the open net.
Next up for Detroit is the Carolina Hurricanes (1-2-2) on Tuesday in Detroit.