This one hurts.
The Wings outplayed for near 60 minutes (or at least I was told they did, I missed the first 30 minutes of the game) a team that many, if not most of the NHL "experts" have picked to win the Stanley Cup. They held the "Great 8" to zero shots on net. No other team has done that all year long. Think of that. They outshot the Caps 44-23, an outstanding statistic. After the first, it was 15-3 in favor of the Wings.
All that for a 3-2 loss to the team from the nation's capital.
0 Shots for OV, but a W anyways.
The Wings are playing very well lately, however, they seem to have forgotten how to do a very important thing. Win the game. That was the difference tonight, one team knows how to win games, the other has gotten a bit too accustomed to hard fought games that could go either way.
These Red Wings, many of which have won multiple cups before, have got to get back to winning and winning often. Because if they don't, well, there aren't many more games that they will be able to take a mulligan on before they find themselves out of the playoff race for good.
Nobody wants that.
Couple quick notes:
- Solid game from Val tonight, picking up two assists. On the PP, he seems to be the only one actually heading towards the net with the puck rather than sitting there waiting for someone to pass it to.
- Before people attack Bert for that last call against him, that was nothing more than a fluke of having his stick in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Wings got a make-up call right after that on Knuble, but weren't able to take advantage.
- Knuble is one of those guys you have to just respect. Michigan man and likely secret Wings fan at heart.
- Osgood played exactly how he's played all year. Alright, but not good enough to win. Backstrom's goal was not only stoppable, but a must stop. He's not giving the Wings any reason to keep playing him and his comments aren't showing anything but someone who isn't willing to fight for the starting position. Now he didn't play poorly today, but I think with Howard in net, the Wings win this game.
- All that being said, simply put, Detroit has to score more than twice on 44 shots. The fault isn't on Ozzie there. (Though Jose Three-or-four did get an assist...)
- Check out Babcock's Death Stare's "Ultimate Offseason Guide" for a great read. I think he's got it pretty much down other than resigning Meech. I'd rather they resign Robert Lang at this point.
- Speaking of signing, Sykora was put on waivers today by the Wild. Now I'd say this might be a decent pickup if it didn't come with the baggage of his agent.
Wings Three Stars
1.) Valtteri Filppula - Solid game, he controlled the puck well and looks confident.
2.) Brian Rafalski - Slapper only goes in because of the quickness of the release.
3.) Helm. For Herm.