I wonder if the Red Wings enjoyed the roller coaster ride they were on the first two months of the season. My guess is they didn’t, which is why they have just decided to keep winning. Going into tonight’s game versus Vancouver, they have a nice little 12-3 run going here. Maybe more importantly, they finally lost a single game. Prior to the win over LA/after the loss to Nashville the wings had only lost in pairs. That’s now taken care of.
Seriously, a graph of this team’s progress would have looked like the stock market. The Wings started out by winning their first 5. They promptly followed that up by going win-less in 6. It was make-up time though, as they took their next four. Refusing to stay hot, they dropped their next two to fall to 9-7-1. Now, they are 21-10-1. I’d say that’s settling in.
The best part about this stretch is that no one player/line is doing it. Sure, Jiri Hudler, Val Filppula, and Henrik Zetterberg have been fantastic. But Pav Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, and Todd Bertuzzi aren’t far behind. Seriously, look at some of the individual numbers over the last 15 games.
-Pavel Datsyuk: 22 points
-Henrik Zetterberg: 16 points and a current 6 game point streak
-Val Filppula: 12 points
-Johan Franzen: 14 points
-Jiri Hudler: 14 points with 5 being multi-point games (remember, he had six points at Christmas last year)
-Todd Bertuzzi: 10 points
-Danny Cleary: 9 points in his last 8 games
That’s just the start. That doesn’t include the first 17 games of the season, most of the third and fourth lines, and the defensemen. For example, it was said during the Edmonton game that the Wings have 2o goals from their third and fourth line. Some teams are lucky to get that much production in a half of season!
But let’s face it, success begins in net, and Jimmy Howard has been fantastic. I’ve blogged about Jimmy before, and he hasn’t made me look stupid for the vote of confidence. I’m also not the only one who’s noticed. CBSSports.com recently published an article claiming that Howard’s name being left off the All-Star ballot was the biggest snub of all.
His numbers prove it. His goals against average is still below two per game. His save percentage is still above .925. He has three shut outs this season. That matches a career high. Yes, he’s matching that career high before Christmas.
Obviously, numbers like this show a team consistency. Listen to these rankings: Detroit is 3rd is average goals for. They are 4th in shots. They are fifth in goals against. They have the fourth best power play. The penalty kill does need some work. They rank in the bottom third of the league. Oh by the way, they are fifth in face-offs.
Plus, they don’t lose at home. How does 10 straight wins at the Joe sound? Not only that, they are at least .500 on the road. If they continue to dominiate at home, they don’t need a crazy high road record to win the division and/or West. They simply need to be a hair above average.
Finally, to wrap up the love fest, let’s end on Ian White. The replacement for Brian Rafalski, the biggest question mark on defense coming into the year, leads the Wings with a plus 23. Sure, you can say that’s because he’s playing with Nick, but Nick is plus 17. Last year, he was -2. Clearly White is doing his part.
From top to bottom, this team looks outstanding on most nights. Even the loss the Nashville last week was a game they dominated but didn’t catch the lucky bounces when they needed them. Sadly, that sounds familiar doesn’t it. Although, let’s get those losses out of our system in December instead of April…or May…or June.