Playoffs start tonight. Many of us from time to time weren't sure if this day would come for the Wings, but deep down we all knew that Captain Z wouldn't let his first season as commander go down as the year the Wings didn't make it in.
My coverage on this site has been lacking. Some of that is due to work, some to feeling in a rut as a fan. I wrote an article right before the Calgary game that I never ended up posting. If I may be so vain, I will quote myself from that very article after the jump.
"I hope these guys can get a good run going as they play for their playoff lives. It's been too long since we've seen some excitement out of this team. I've enjoyed seeing the young guys get a shot, but we've yet to see this team really click as a unit."
Now to be fair I didn’t predict anything that night, because the Wings got smoked by the Flames. They did from that point on “Flip the switch” and pull it together.
I’m excited. The Wings have a really great shot at doing some damage against the Ducks. Many “Experts” don’t think so, but who really cares what they think. They aren’t Wings fans. Here are a few of those claims.
They’re too old.
They lack depth.
Jimmy Howard hasn’t done anything in the playoffs.
The defense is too weak.
Anaheim is too good.
We’ve heard the too old shtick for years and it never made a difference. Plus this team isn’t old anymore.
Having Eaves, Emmerton, and Tootoo on the 4th line is hardly lacking depth. Having Bertuzzi ready to step in if needed is not lacking depth. We have secondary guys like Brunner, Nyquist, Andersson and Filppula who all have proven they can pick up the slack if needed.
Jimmy has been lights out since getting his extension, and to say he hasn’t done anything in the playoffs is just nuts. He hasn’t won a cup. He was one of the main reasons the Wings almost came back against San Jose after being down 3-0. Jimmy is young, and has many cup winning years ahead of him.
Defense was a huge question to start the year, and at times throughout. I’ll give you one word to dispel that question mark. DeKeyser. I’m not saying he’s the hockey messiah, but he is a major factor as to why this team has played so well down the stretch. He makes this team better by giving them a boost to their transition game. He’s fast, he moves the puck, and he shuts guys down.
Anaheim is good, but the Wings are better. The Ducks have a pretty good all-around package, but I still think its smoke and mirrors. Only time will tell on this last one.
If the Wings can keep playing the way they have over the last 4 games, they will only get better. We know that there is a switch in Detroit, we’ve all seen it. Pav, Z and Franzen are all on fire, and I don’t see them slowing down. Filppula and Brunner are building cases for new contracts, while Andersson and Nyquist are locking down everyday spots on the roster.
DETROIT VS ANAHEIM
• Tonight's game is the 26th all-time postseason meeting between DET and ANA
• This is DET's 13th all-time postseason road game at ANA
• DET's all-time postseason record vs ANA: 14-11
• DET's all-time postseason road record at ANA: 6-6
• DET is 3-2 in five all-time playoff series vs ANA
• Last postseason series between DET and ANA: 2009 Western Conference Semifinals (DET won series 4-3)
• DET held a 2-1-0 record vs ANA in 2012-13
• DET held a 2-0-0 road record at ANA in 2012-13
• DET's PP is 3-11 (27.3%) in 3 games vs ANA this season
• DET's PK is 8-9 (88.9%) in 3 games vs ANA this season
• DET's PK is 25-29 (86.2%) over the last 10 regular season games vs DAL
• J. Abdelkader led DET with 4 points (3-1-4) in 3 games vs ANA this season
• P. Datsyuk (1-2-3), J. Franzen (1-2-3) and J. Kindl (0-3-3) each recorded 3 points vs ANA this season
• J. Howard posted a 2-1-0 record, 2.01 GAA and .942 SV% in 3 games vs ANA this season
• H. Zetterberg has 17 points (6-11-17) in 17 career postseason games vs ANA
• D. Cleary has 11 points (3-8-11) in 13 career postseason games vs ANA
• J. Franzen has 10 points (7-3-10) in 13 career postseason games vs ANA
• P. Datsyuk has 8 points (3-5-8) in 17 career postseason games vs ANA
• J. Howard has not made a postseason start vs ANA in his career
RED WINGS TEAM AND PLAYER NOTES
• DET finished 20-0-2 when scoring 3-or-more goals in a game this season
• DET was 4-16-6 when scoring 2 goals or less this season
• DET is 86-4-4 the last 94 times its scored 4+ goals in a game
• DET's PK was 35-38 (92.1%) over the last 12 regular season games
• DET's PK was 19-20 (95.0%) over the last 8 regular season road games
• DET's PP was just 1-19 (5.3%) over the last 5 regular season road games
• DET finished 1st in the NHL with 23 home PPG
• DET finished 4th in the NHL allowing 56 goals against on the road
• DET finished 5th in the NHL with a 2.29 goals against avg. per game
• DET finished 5th in the NHL allowing 110 goals against
• DET finished 7th in the NHL allowing 27.5 shots against per game
• DET traveled 28,521 miles for 24 road games in 2012-13
• DET changed time zones 42 times in 2012-13
• J. Howard recorded 3 shutouts over the last 7 games of the regular season (4/14 at NSH, 4/22 vs PHX and 4/27 at DAL)
• J. Howard finished T-1st in the NHL with 5 shutouts
• J. Howard has allowed 2 goals or less in 10 of the last 11 games
• J. Howard has 131 career wins and with his 17-save performance on 4/27 at DAL moved into a tie • with Roger Crozier (131) for 4thmost wins in team history
• J. Howard has started 15 straight games and 20 of the last 21 for DET
• H. Zetterberg has 10 points (2-8-10) over the last 4 games
• P. Datsyuk has 8 points (2-6-8) over the last 3 games
• P. Datsyuk finished T-1st in the NHL with 56 takeaways
• P. Datsyuk has either scored the GWG or assisted on the GWG in 7 of the last 8 road victories by DET
• J. Franzen has 7 goals over the last 8 games
• J. Franzen has 13 points (7-6-13) over the last 13 games
• N. Kronwall finished T-6th in NHL D scoring with 29 points (5-24-29)
The haters would say the Wings were old even if we iced an entire team of fetuses (feti?).
I expect the Schmucks to goon it up. Then I expect the Wings to make them pay (with no injuries to The Good Guys).
Hah, Howard hasn't done anything? What about Hiller? Apparently the guy gets vertigo when he's under pressure!