5 Things the Detroit Red Wings Have Proven on Their 23-Game Home Winning Streak
The Detroit Red Wings have not lost at Joe Louis Arena since early November 2011.
They lead the league with 26 wins at home and a home record of 26-2-1. They lead the NHL with 84 points on the season and a record of 41-17-2 through 60 games.
With 22 games remaining, the Wings need to close out at home. Their next home game is February 23 against the Vancouver Canucks.
Here are five things the Red Wings have proven on their remarkable 23-game home winning streak.
No Jimmy Howard? No Problem
Joey MacDonald has played all but one period since Jimmy Howard broke his finger against Vancouver.
The Wings started Ty Conklin their next game against the Edmonton Oilers, but he didn't last long. The wings put in backup Joey MacDonald in to start the second period and he proved he earned the starting spot from there.
Although the Red Wings lost that game in a shootout, J-Mac proved he should have been put in at the start. He was in goal two nights later in a 3-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, but the offense couldn't get anything going, so not much blame can be put on his hands.
After that, the Red Wings returned home to Joe Louis Arena where they have played so well all season long.
Fans were nervous as the Wings and Anaheim Ducks went in to a shootout, but MacDonald finished the game with one goal allowed and 29 saves, a save percentage of .967. That win put Detroit's home streak at 19.
The Power Play Is Improving, but Still Needs Some Work
The Red Wings special teams has struggled all year, including an 0-for-6 showing against the Ducks on February 10. Their last six games the Wings have gone 4-for-23 with the man advantage, or just 17 percent. Of course, in the five games before that the Wings went just 1-for-19.
The Red Wings need to do one thing on the power play to score.
Shoot the puck.
Many times the Wings waste so much time setting up a play, passing the puck, that one intercepted pass is enough to kill it off. The Wings on the PP dump the puck in and chase after it, which I don't understand.
You have a man advantage, which means that one man will be open. Get him the puck and let him carry it in. Once they gain control of the zone, SHOOT! That is the only thing that the Red Wings can do to improve their power play.
The Red Wings Must Stay out of the Box
It's pretty simple: Playing hockey (or any sport) short-handed and it will be difficult to win games.
The Red Wings struggled to avoid the box against Edmonton and Anaheim. In those two games, the Wings found themselves with a man in the sin bin a combined 14 times. Their penalty kill has been good, but any team who commits seven penalties in a game is lucky to come away with a win.
The Wings have had a man in the penalty box 84 times during their 23-game home streak. Luckily the Wings were able to allow only 10 goals while short-handed in those games.
You have to give credit once again to their goaltending in this category. Their defense has helped, but Howard, Conklin and MacDonald have made some spectacular stops to get wins for their team. 2.5 penalties per game is a little too high; their kill has been good, but not perfect.
Age Is Only a Number for Nicklas Lidstrom
Lidstrom has won multiple Stanley Cups with the Red Wings, and he has never missed the playoffs in his career, having played over 1,550 games (all with Detroit). Lidstrom has 31 points after playing 59 games for his team this year.
Lidstrom has the "Hockey IQ" that allows him to play against players half his age.
He leads the Wings in average Ice time with almost 24 minutes per game. Not only has he mastered longevity, he has mastered the active boards at the Joe. He loves to shoot the puck wide, on purpose, and allow the rebound to come off the back wall to Johan Franzen or Henrik Zetterberg for the goal.
Lidstrom has played 19 seasons with Detroit and is expected to retire within the next season or two. Oh, and his 31 points are good enough for sixth on the team. He also is a plus-26 on the season, fifth in plus-minus in the league, only three behind leader Tyler Seguin of the Boston Bruins.
Pavel Datsyuk Knows How to Get Things Done
Pavel Datsyuk has 16 goals and 59 points for the Wings this season. He is third on the team behind Johan "The Mule" Franzen and Jiri Hudler in goals scored. His 59 points is good enough for first on the team.
He has 43 assists to lead the Wings and has 17 assists on the power play. He knows when to shoot and when to use his "Datsyukian Dekes" (A phrase used by Red Wings broadcasters on Fox Sports Detroit).
Not only does Datsyuk know how to distribute the puck, he knows how to stay out of the box. He only has 14 penalty minutes to his name this season. His hand-eye coordination and fancy footwork is enough to dazzle goaltenders and make them look foolish.