Although, the win was a convincing one, Detroit is still 1-5-1 in their last seven games, and they need to continue to play like they did Saturday night to keep their season moving in the right direction.
Detroit looked like a completely different team on Saturday night than in their previous six games.
Detroit didn't settle for a one goal lead and try and hold onto that lead. Instead, they took their game to the next level, putting up a season high of 50 shots on goal.
But what exactly does Detroit need to do to keep their season going forward in a winning direction?
Read on my friends.
Pavel Datsyuk is the best puck handler in the NHL. Period.
It showed up against Anaheim.
The Red Wings seemed to have the puck for the majority of the night against Anaheim. Whether it be the arbitrary power plays that the Red Wings got, or their puck possession game in general, the Red Wings usually seemed to have the puck against Anaheim.
This has, in essence, been Detroit's game for the last decade and a half: puck possession. Funny thing about dominating puck possession: if your team has the puck, the other team can't score.
The Red Wings had the puck seemingly on a string against the Ducks on Saturday night, and if they can keep control of the puck for a good portion of the game going forward, they will win a lot of hockey games.
The Red Wings won 38 of 53 faceoffs against the Ducks, good for over 60 percent.
Well that explains most of their puck possession.
For example, the Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg won seven of nine faceoffs against Anaheim's Getzlaf.
Not too bad Mr. Zetterberg.
Now, I can guarantee that the Red Wings don't win 60 percent of their faceoffs every game, maybe they don't even win the faceoff battle at all.
But Detroit has to stay hot in the faceoff circle to maintain the previously mentioned puck possession game that they play so well.
Fourth line center Cory Emmerton didn't fair too well against Anaheim's top two centers in Getzlaf and Saku Koivu going a combined 0-3; but he held his own against the bottom two centers for Anaheim and finished 5-9 in the game.
If Detroit can get consistent decent faceoff percentages from all four of their centermen, they will be well on their way to dominating the puck possession time in every game, giving them an excellent chance to come out with the victory.
No, not alcohol. We;re talking about shots on goal.
Detroit had 50 of them against Anaheim and registered a new season high.
In fact, during their losing streak, it wasn't that Detroit wasn't putting up shots; it was that they weren't coming from places that would normally be considered high scoring chances.
Detroit's shots were getting blocked in key areas like right in the slot. Shots form the point were also getting blocked, and that set up a counter rush for opposing teams.
Getting 50 shots on goal in a game shows Detroit's determination to buck their losing streak and get pucks on net and in the net.
If Detroit can consistently put up 35-40 shots a game, they force the other team's goalie to make more saves and keep pressure off of their own defense and goalie.
Johan Franzen put up six of Detroit's shots against Anaheim, leading the Red Wings in that category; he was rewarded with a goal and two assists.
Which leads me to my next point...
Big players step up and make plays when the situation calls for it.
Just ask Alex Ovechkin when he was benched last week by his coach.
He didn't play very well the entire game, and he was benched when the Capitals needed a goal to tie the game.
Detroit's coach Mike Babcock didn't go quite that far with starts Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen. But he did separate Zetterberg and Datsyuk, and it paid dividends.
Zetterberg had a goal, Datsyuk had an assist, Franzen had a goal and two assists.
Zetterberg and Datsyuk could be 90 and 100 point scorers respectively. Franzen can score 40 goals. It is just a matter of consistency.
Will they all hit these statistical milestones?
I am willing to bet, however, that Mike Babcock could care less as long as they step up when Detroit needs a goal.
Detroit needs to be more physical in front of their own net in terms of moving people away from the crease.
Detroit has often failed to clear the front of the cage from opposing traffic, and this has created problems for their goaltenders when they try to see shots coming from the blue line.
Detroit needs to continue to deny traffic to the front of the net to keep the vision of Jimmy Howard unobstructed.
Newly re-signed Nik Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson must start earning their pay checks as far as net defense is concerned.
Detroit is first in the League in shots against, allowing just 26.0 shots per game.
This gives them the opportunity to win every night because of the shot differential that they have over their opponents.
Detroit averages 36.4 shots per game, and the 10.4 shot per game differential between the Red Wings and their opponents usually shows up on the scoreboard.
Even during their losing streak, Detroit was still getting pucks to the net. The other goaltenders were just coming up with big time saves.
Detroit needs to continue denying shots and forcing opponents to the perimeter.
With the exception of the Washington game, the Red Wings still proved to be quite good defensively during their losing streak. Their offense just went missing.
But since defense wins championships, it would make sense to try to continue denying shots from opponents. Facing only 26 shots per game makes life a whole lot easier for goalie Jimmy Howard.
Detroit's penalty kill was perfect on the penalty kill against Anaheim going 5-5 on the penalty kill.
Not every penalty can be killed off obviously, but it's about getting the big kills at the big moments, not necessarily killing off every penalty.
The Red Wings proved this point last season in the first round playoff series against Phoenix with a first round sweep of the Coyotes, despite only going in the neighborhood of 70 percent on the penalty kill.
Detroit must remain active on the penalty kill, not ceding any easy opportunities for opponents, take away the shooting lanes and get pucks deep on clearing attempts.
Detroit's penalty kill is not very good right now at 20th in the league killing 80 percent of penalties. It needs to improve, especially on big time penalty kills like the overtime penalty kill that gave up a goal to Minnesota last week.
Detroit has been called a "soft" team in the past, for skating by other teams and not finishing their hits.
Detroit only takes 10.2 penalty minutes per game, good for sixth least in the NHL.
But that does not mean the Red Wings have to accept a title as a "soft" team. But Detroit has to finish their checks when they have the opportunity.
Players are always finishing their checks in the playoffs, but in the regular season it is a good time to get in practice of finishing checks.
Anything becomes a habit if done enough.
In the case of Detroit, not taking the body in the regular season can become a habit that will be hard to overcome in the playoffs.
Jimmy Howard has a 5-3-1 record, a 92.9 save percentage, a 1.77 GAA and two shutouts.
Sorry did someone say Vezina with those last three numbers?
Howard has kept Detroit in games when they haven't been able to score in the first period of games.
Howard must continue his stellar play, maybe not to the same extent as a 1.77 GAA would have us believe.
But he must continue playing the way we saw him play in his rookie season, and be able to make saves when Detroit makes them. All the pressure is not on him as long as the Red Wings can continue scoring for him, but we saw what happened last year when Detroit tried to outscore teams instead of playing sound fundamental defense.
Howard has benefited from good play in front of him, facing a limited number of shots. This will greatly help Howard out over the course of the season.
Detroit has another wonder of the world in Nick Lidstrom.
This guy is unbelievable at age 41.
Lidstrom has five goals and five assists in 12 games, picking up two goals and an assist in the win over Anaheim on Saturday.
Lidstrom doesn't need to score 60 points again for Detroit, but it would certainly help; right now he would be on track to score between 60-65 points.
That's pretty darn good for a 41-year-old.
Lidstrom has been a stalwart on defense for the past two decades in Detroit, and he has made the playoffs every year as a Red Wing.
Lidstrom will be long remembered as one of the best NHL players to ever play the game, but he could be remembered as the best player over 40 (aside from Gordie Howe) to play in the NHL.
Lidstrom has an outside shot at an eighth Norris Trophy this season, which would tie him for most all-time with Bobby Orr.
If "Old St. Nick" can keep getting the job done on the blue line, Detroit will once again be a championship contender come the playoffs.
Nick Lidstrom has truly shown why he is the captain of this franchise.
When the Wings were going through their six game losing streak, Lidstrom was still contributing.
He still provided leadership in not getting worried after the losing streak stretched longer than a few games.
It might not seem like a huge deal because the Red Wings are always a playoff team and they are loaded with a "veteran presence", but Detroit must realize that the NHL is getting more competitive every season, and they are not guaranteed a playoff spot like they used to be throughout the 1990s and early part of this decade.
Detroit will make the playoffs this year, but how far they go in those playoffs is up to them and up for debate.
Now that Detroit is partially back on track it will be interesting to see how their November pans out from here.
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