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Special teams needed to be "special" for at least half the time. Enter the Detroit Red Wings' penalty kill.
Without Darren Helm, the Red Wings obviously struggled out of the gate.
But with Patrick Eaves playing sparingly on the penalty-kill unit, Drew Miller excelling in blocking shots and closing down lanes and Jonathan Ericsson's surprisingly newly-found confidence in his own zone, the Red Wings were able to get some timely penalty kills and allow only 30 power-play goals against in 164 times shorthanded.
As a whole, the Red Wings need to be more disciplined. They fell in the bottom half of the NHL in times shorthanded for the third straight season.
The Red Wings could also benefit from a more permanent lineup of penalty killers, as it seemed as though one or two of them were being subbed in or subbed out on a fairly frequent basis.
This subbing of penalty killers gets rid of chemistry between the two forwards killing a penalty, leading to more confusion in the defensive zone.
The Red Wings' penalty killing fled them in the playoffs, dropping to 77.6 percent, as the only team to give up double digits in playoff goals so far.
Final Grade: B
Summary: The P.K. could have been better, but it definitely could have been worse. Quite a few games came down to the Red Wings killing a penalty or two in the final period or minutes of a game to preserve a victory. More often than not, the penalty kill would come through and preserve the win.
The Red Wings could benefit from adding another gritty player who can win faceoffs and kill penalties this offseason. Cory Emmerton is a decent short-term solution, but unless he puts on some more weight and learns to win more draws, his effectiveness is short-lived.
All statistics courtesy of NHL.com.
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