I was very happy to finally be able to make my way to a Red Wings game. I didn't have great seats (very top row), but I did have a great experience. More importantly, I was able to get a firsthand account of how the Red Wings play.
The Red Wings ended up losing to the Blackhawks 4-3 in a shootout. However, that doesn't tell the whole story. It doesn't talk about the Detroit offense peppering Niemi with scoring chances.
Despite losing 3-2 at the end of the second period, the Wings were actually beating the Hawks 17-11 in scoring chances.
The reason this wasn't showing up on the scoreboard was because of defense. I thought that Howard did a great job in goal. However, that one goal where the Hawks were allowed to pass the puck from the top of the blue line to just above the crease was a defensive meltdown.
Offensively, I thought they did much better. In OT, they had a ton of opportunities to win it. Zetterburg had a great chance to score, and Bertuzzi had a chance as well. There was another big scoring opportunity in there as well, I think it was Datsyuk but I can't remember.
I'd have to say that 90 percent of the time, the Wings would have been able to score one of those goals. The Hawks made a couple of mistakes that the Wings normally would have been able to take advantage of.
What I did like was the fight the Wings showed to get back in the game. It's not easy to go down two goals to the best team in the NHL and then bring the game back into OT. The second and third periods were especially great for the Wings.
What I liked about this game is that they showed the capability to win crucial games. However, they're still suffering a little bit from the injured players coming back. It's still going to take a little bit of time for the chemistry to redevelop.
The comeback the Wings had in this game showed they can compete with the best, even in a tough situation. This is a great sign for the rest of the season, and something that we haven't seen for the last few months.
As the Wings get more of their injured players back and redevelop the chemistry they almost had at the beginning of the season, they should start winning more games. Thankfully, we don't have anybody that's out for the entire season and we'll have a little bit of time playing with a healthier lineup.
See more of Eric's NHL opinions at Tips for Hockey.