NHL: 5 Things the Detroit Red Wings Can Learn from the Loss to Chicago
On Tuesday, February 21st, the Wings fell at the United Center 2-1 despite having Jimmy Howard back in the net.
Despite the sour outcome, the Wings can learn five key things from this defeat.
Physicality Is a Must
Tuesday afternoon, the Red Wings made a major stride in this department by acquiring Kyle Quincey.
Unfortunately for the Red Wings, Quincey could not skate against the Blackhawks.
At critical times during the game, the Red Wings appeared out muscled and lost important puck possessions due being checked out of the play.
The Red Wings can not expect to win on the road (or anywhere for that matter) without big hits and strong puck possession.
Shoot, Shoot, Shoot
With about seven minutes left on the clock in the final period, the Red Wings had managed to get four shots to the net since the intermission.
The worst part is that they were down a goal.
Call it being choosy with shots, but when a goal is needed, oftentimes it helps to get pucks flying and rebounds going.
Much of the lack of shooting in the game versus Chicago comes from the (uncharacteristic) dump-in play on exhibition from the Detroit forwards.
In the long run, I am not overly worried about this aspect, because it may well have been a one-game error. If it continues, however, problems could follow.
Sustain Strong Starts
The Red Wings had a high flying start to the game to say the least.
Not only did they go on the power play almost immediately, but they actually capitalized on the chance away from the Joe Louis Arena!
Aside from this energetic start, the lamp behind Corey Crawford stayed off all night.
The goal at 2:22 gave fans every reason to think that the Wings would dominate, as they often do when scoring first. Instead, it served as an ugly reminder that strong starts must be sustained.
Come playoff time, games are often put away by removing crowds with multiple first period goals.
Clean Zone Entries
Detroit prides themselves on their "puck possession" style of offense.
On Tuesday night, the "puck possession" looked more like a glorified dump and chase.
In their defense, the Wings got some quality scoring chances and shots once the trademark offense got set, but a clean zone entry was a rarity indeed.
Their play against the Chicago defense showed that a side-to-side attack works better for the Red Wings, and this should be used rather than trying to skate directly into the slot.
This goes hand in hand with physicality, and once the hits improve, so will the offensive players breaking into the zone behind them.
Get Used to Playing Without Pavel Datsyuk
In an effort to get to full force before the playoffs, Red Wings superstar forward Pavel Datsyuk had knee surgery on Tuesday in downtown Detroit.
After the defeat at the United Center, the Wings looked like a puzzle missing a piece: a vital piece.
Datsyuk has had yet another season to remember. The challenge for the rest of the Wings will be getting through his absence.
Detroit has played without Pavel Datsyuk before for extended periods, and this two-week hiatus should not be much trouble for the Wings. Regardless, in order to get home ice, strong play needs to continue.
Without his linemate, Henrik Zetterberg will need to continue his strong play and keep the offense rocking by leading through example.