Month: March 2017

Game 71 & 72 – Detroit vs Buffalo, Montreal – Close Finishes

My comments on the Buffalo game will be less prevalant here as the cable box got unplugged so the DVR didn’t catch the game, I’m just going off the highlights.

The Good

The Buffalo game was pretty solid from the highlights, we got a loss but it looked to really be a high pressure game from us with some good chances. Wings led shots 35-30. Sometimes you just get a hot goalie.

Speaking of hot, holy shit Anthony Mantha’s overtime winner was so good. What a move to deke through the defender off your own skate and then bury it top corner. It felt like a goal that was a long time coming for him, he looked good all night so glad to see him bury one it rally counts (and especially after Montoya stonewalled the crap out of AA’s wraparound. The kick save on that was insane.)

Abby got a goal against the Canadiens on the PowerPlay, which I think we’re not quite a pissed off at as we used to. It’s been scoring a bit more reliably than it used to so now we can focus on how bad Abby’s contract is.

Look I’m just glad he can at least get things done in front of the net on the PP. He’s doing better than Sheahan. And if we can get a solid playmaker guy then just maybe we can see Abby return to form like he was with Datsyuk.

The PK was really solid against Montreal, there were a couple chances there where it looked like they were definitely going to get scored on but Howard was able to make saves (sometimes without his damn stick!) and the defense got the puck out. It was nice to see after the PK failed twice against the Sabres the night before.

Howard was very good, backstopping the team to almost a shutout for about 57 minutes of the game. He looks just as good now as he did pre injury and I’m just sad that he got hurt because this team might be in a playoff spot if he had (that’s a joke, they still can’t seem to give him any fucking goal support and so we would have still lost a bunch of games). Statistic wise, Mrazek was good against Buffalo as well, so it’s nice again to see our goaltenders are keeping us in games. I really don’t think it’s a category Wings fans need to worry about.

The Bad

The PK was 0% against Buffalo so that’s pretty fucking bad. Obviously I can only say what I saw in the highlights but you really need your special teams to, you know, play.

The 2nd period against Montreal was awful and we’re fucking lucky to have gotten out of that one without giving up a goal. Shots were 7-1 for the first half of the period and after we looked so together in the first it was infuriating. How can you come out so strong and then step off that much? It’s insane the way this team can’t just be consistent for more than like 20 minutes at a time.

Otherwise, this was a good back to back. This team is playing pretty competent hockey right now, and I am actually having fun watching them at the moment.

The WTF?

Where has this version of Tomas Tatar been this season? The dude has been unstoppable lately. After the Buffalo game, when he had the only goal, he had 10 points in the last 10 games unless I suck at counting. He’s comfortably taken the goal lead on the team with 21, which also matches last season’s goal total in 10 less games.

If Tatar had played at this level all season, the Wings may just be in a playoff spot. It’s just the kind of thing I think about when I see the players on this team playing at the level we expect them to, this is not as bad of a team as we got to see. I still think this could be a bubble playoff team if everyone can get going at the same time. When they don’t, that’s when you gotta start asking questions. What the fuck happened this season? What caused the luck to run out? I don’t think it’s any one team, but at least it’s fun to watch a guy who really seems to be putting it together.



Game 70 – Colorado @ Detroit – Bloodbath in the Stands

This is a game that you have to win, after the loss on Wednesday. The rivalry might be all but dead but when the last play team beats you earlier in the week you gotta come out with something to prove. Unfortunately, the Red Wings did not burst out the game, but they certainly did finish it.

The announcing staff burst into song for Ken Daniels’ birthday though. Happy Birthday Ken!

It’s also The Wheelhouse’s very own Zac Higgins’ birthday today, so happy birthday to him as well. May this year be filled with many saves for his glove.

The Good

Holy shit, that third period. What a game. Whatever happened to get the Wings to pull their heads out of their asses, it worked because they were on fire for the last 15 minutes. Tomas Tatar with 2 goals in 90 seconds, making him our first 20 goal scorer this season. Larkin rips home a shot from the high slot to make it 4-1 and snag his 15th. Zetterberg with a fantastic back pass through the slot for Nyquist’s 10th. Lot of multiples of fives going around here. Jimmy Howard was great making a lot of saves as the Avs outshot us through the first two but only giving up a deflection that he could not have stopped or even known was coming.

And really, this game ended up being one of those games that you can really remember and hold up. The last Wings-Avs game at the Joe, and thought it took awhile the team came out and shut them down one last time. It’s a redemption of Wednesday, it’s a line in the sand. It’s the Wings saying, “We might not make the playoffs, but we’re still going to play this game every night.”

The Bad

The first 40 minutes were probably the most boring 2 periods of hockey I’ve seen this season. Choppy rushes, low percentage chances, neither side could really get a handle on the other. Even when Abby scored in the 2nd it bounced off someones foot to just slip by. I did laundry during the 1st, that’s how slow the game was. I didn’t even miss anything. They made up for all of this in the 3rd.

The MacKinnon goal was not Howard’s fault, but Kronwall could’ve done better to clear the crease. People were up in arms about it in on Twitter (saw a lot of please retire Kronwall tweets) but honestly it wasn’t the worst thing I’e seen him do all season. I’m just nitpicky basically. This was a good game for Detroit, if only for the rocket of a third.

Darren Helm got hurt again and it looked like a potential bad knee injury. Looks like Nosek might get to play after all, after looking at the hit I don’t expect him in Monday.

The WTF?

If you aren’t familiar with it, the photogapher’s gap is a little square cut in the glass for a photographer to put the lens of their camera through so they can take unobstructed pictures of the players on the ice. It’s not very big, certainly not much bigger than the puck.

Francois Beauchemin LASERED that thing through the photographer’s gap and beaned a guy directly in the face. I’ve been watching hockey and hockey highlights religiously for at least 5 years now, and I’ve not seen that before. It’s not so much that it went through even, but the angle of the clear is just so absolutely perfect that it makes it up several rows before hitting the guy square in the face. It’s a perfect storm of “oh shit did that just happen?” AND HE DIDN’T EVEN SPILL HIS GINGER ALE

Looks like Beauchemin gave the guy an autographed stick too. Class move, I’ve always liked him.

Next Game

Monday against Buffalo. I will be missing this game, because I’ll be playing my first hockey game, so they will probably win.



Game 69 – Detroit @ Arizona – Back and Forth

Well this was quite the game of give and take. I really would like to thrash the bottom feeder teams but unfortunately the fact that they’re playing us about even or better just helps show that we are in the discussion right there with them in the Lottery Division.

The Good

Well the offense scored 4 goals in regulation, with 2 of them being PowerPlay goals on the road, so from that perspective this was a really strong game up front. Larkin opened the scored in the 1st on the PP with a great goal while Mike Smith tumbled into his own net. Nice to see him get one after a struggling sophomore season.

Mike Green scored (remember that’s what he’s supposed to be best at) on a beautiful backhand shot, and Zetterberg put away a shot that quite frankly I thought Mike Smith definitely should’ve had. Tatar continues to be hot and scores his team leading 18th goal. I don’t have a lot of complaints from the forwards tonight, as they at least put the puck in the net enough to make up for the poor defensive play.

And Nyquist scored the only shootout goal to keep our perfect shootout record alive. Seriously, how are we still 100% in that. We struggled with that damn thing since the shootout was implemented and now that we suck we have become magical at it.

The Bad

Well you gave up 4 goals to Arizona, including one short handed, so that’s not good. Mike Green was a -2 even with a goal and an assist. He was a -2 alongside Kronwall who I already spent an entire bad section disparging so I won’t do that hear again. Honestly what made me mad is that they were just not playing responsible with the lead. It was a blue line pass in the ozone that was easily picked off and lead to the game tying goal, and that’s the kind of thing you can’t have when you’re up by 1. You gotta play smart hockey if you want to keep leads.

Mrazek was shaky in places even though he stonewalled the shootout. Particularly the Chychrun goal where he didn’t get any of it at all. I know he was screened but I really think you need to get a piece of a shot that comes from the point. Especially when it wasn’t a one timer. I’m not particularly upset with him, but I don’t like seeing sub .900 games.

The WTF?

Oh boy those lineup decisions. One, Mantha played less than 10 minutes, none in the 3rd or OT it looks like. Now I saw Malik say that he agreed Mantha was coasting/floating out there but come on. We just went through this shit. What do you want from him? What is the appropriate level of compete? I mean at least he was playing at all, but I’m calling it now he’s scratched against the Avs.

More astonishingly was the amount of Kronwall I saw in the OT period. Um, why? You know we’re paying Mike Green 6 million a year right? Offensive defenseman Mike Green, who already had 2 points in the game? Why is he not getting played in OT on the PowerPlay? Or Nick Jensen who has been easily our most steady defenseman in the past couple weeks. Not only that but he does smart things in the offensive zone to create chances. Why not play him? In fact there’s a ton of people that I think would have been fucking better than Niklas Kronwall. Or maybe a dynamic young forward who is a good goal scorer, like….Mantha?


Next Game

Saturday against the Avs again. Please beat them. It’ll be so close to the 20th anniversary. You gotta make up for the loss last night.