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Detroit Red Wings: The Good, Bad and Ugly from First 4 Games

Isaac SmithAnalyst IOctober 16, 2011

Detroit Red Wings: The Good, Bad and Ugly from First 4 Games

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    The Detroit Red Wings' Johan Franzen has a way of scoring big goals when the team needs them most.

    But Franzen's goal on Saturday night in overtime at Minnesota had to be one of the ugliest goals I've ever seen.

    I mean, the guy smoked his face off the crossbar, and somehow managed to get his stick on the puck and put it in the net.

    Detroit's young season now sits at four wins and no losses, and although there's a lot to be excited about in "Motown," there's still a lot to improve on.

    Let's look at the good, the bad and the ugly through four games.

Good No. 1: Ian White

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    Through four games, Ian White has been nothing short of stellar this season.

    He's got two goals and an assist, including a great individual effort last night in Minnesota to get Detroit on the board.

    The video of that goal is here, and it's about the 1:08 mark.

    White is also a plus-four, meaning he has also been solid in his own end as well.

    White had big shoes to fill after the departure of Brian Rafalski, but looks like he is well on his way to filling those shoes.

Good No. 2: Jiri Hudler

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    Jiri Hudler came into this season with a lot to prove as far as statistics are concerned.

    He has matched those expectations and more to some extent with four points in four games.

    Hudler seems to be involved more in the offense instead of standing around looking lost. Through four games, he's got eight shots and that's a higher average than last year when he only had 105 shots in 73 games played.

    Hudler will need to continue to perform on a somewhat regular basis.

    Where he can really help out Detroit is by getting the power play going. Hudler must keep shooting at the net as he is hot right now, shooting 25 percent with two goals on his eight shots.

Bad No. 1: Power Play

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    The power play stepped up in overtime in a strange play that was featured under the "ugly" portion of this slide show.

    Johan Franzen fell into the net and smoked his face off of the crossbar, somehow putting the puck into the net in the process.

    This marked the first power play goal of the season and puts Detroit at 1-19 on the power play.

    Wait, 1-19?

    Sorry I just fell of the couch laughing.

    Detroit's power play stepped up when it needed to in order to keep the team undefeated, but even if the power play is at 5.3 percent through four games, it was executed to "perfection" last night with the strange overtime power-play goal.

    It must become more consistent and the team cannot be satisfied with being 25th in the NHL on the man advantage.

Bad No. 2: Defensive Play in the Slot

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    Detroit's defensive play for the most part has been pretty solid.

    Giving up only five goals in four games, this would seem to be self-evident.

    But Detroit's stumbling block on defense has seemed to be its play in front of the slot. Whether it has been losing coverage in front of its own net or failing to clear traffic in front of the net to let Jimmy Howard see the shot, Detroit has failed in its coverage of the slot.

    Detroit will need to start playing better in the slot because that is where the bulk of the scoring chances come for offenses.

    Detroit has also surrendered some quality scoring chances in front of the net.

    In the Vancouver game, Detroit gave up two quality scoring chances where it was a point-blank save, or a shot off of the crossbar that saved them from giving up a goal.

    If Detroit plays well in front of their own goal, expect them to ride this early season success for a long time.

Ugly: Johan Franzen's Power Play Goal in Overtime

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    Johan Franzen's goal was good enough to get the power play going and keep the Red Wings' season at 4-0.

    But this goal makes even a non-hockey fan cringe.

    Franzen dished the puck to White who threw it on goal. With Tomas Holmstrom stationed out front of the net, Franzen crashed the goal looking to knock the puck into the half-empty cage, but he didn't look up and rammed his face off the crossbar.

    Good thing Franzen's face wasn't in good condition before this goal.

    This makes the "ugly" play of the year so far.

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