Red Wings Rewind: Week 4 Edition

Red Wings Rewind looks to recap the last 7 days in Red Wings action, both on and off the ice, as well as take a look forward to the challenges the team will face in the week ahead.

Off The Ice:

  • Jimmy Howard and wife Rachel gave birth to their 1st child, James Howard IV. The proud dad was given some time off, allowing Ty Conklin his 2nd straight start and a chance to rebound from week 3’s Washington debacle.
  • Fabian Brunnstrom was placed on waivers Saturday after having just 1 opportunity to play during the regular season. If Brunnstrom isn’t claimed by another team by noon on Monday he’ll join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins for the time being. The Red Wings need to get Brunnstrom some playing action, and since he isn’t seeing time with the big club, the minors is the perfect spot for him to stay fresh. This opens up the possibility for Griffins’ points leaders Chris Conner and Gustav Nyquist to be called up to play with the ‘Wings.

Standings: 21st in league, 12th in conference, 3rd in division (10 points, 5-4-0 record)

Oct. 25 @ Columbus Blue Jackets – Final Score 1-4

The Red Wings were looking to bounce back from a dismal game against Washington, instead they became the first and only team this season to lose to the last place Columbus Blue Jackets. Ty Conklin was between the pipes for a 2nd straight start, and for a 2nd straight game he played poorly, allowing untimely and weak goals. The loss wasn’t all his fault though. The rest of the Red Wings’ line up played equally as poorly. A desperate Columbus team on home ice turned out to be too much of  challenge for the ‘Wings, who were beaten to nearly every puck and out played in almost every sense. Steve Mason stole the show at the other end of the ice, making 30 saves on 31 shots. The ‘Jackets fired 32 on Conklin, 3 of which got past before an empty netter was added with just under a minute left in the game. Darren Helm scored the lone Detroit goal, his first of the season, assisted by Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi, coming 4:54 into the first to tie the game up after Columbus had scored just 21 seconds in. The game was played much more closely than the scoreboard shows, but after being overwhelmed by the swarming ‘Jackets in the first, the Red Wings could still never take control of the game and wound up suffering their 2nd loss in as many games.

Oct. 28 Vs. San Jose Sharks – Final Score 2-4

Jimmy Howard was back in net trying to help the Red Wings out of their 2 game slide against the rival Sharks, but despite his best efforts the ‘Wings fell in their 3rd straight contest. Howard played well in his first game returning from some time off, and faced 30 shots while falling short of delivering a win just days after doctor’s delivered his first child. Detroit scored first and tied the game up with 5 to go in the 2nd period, but a bad pinching play resulted in a breakaway for Joe Thornton who put the puck in the back of the net with less than 2 minutes to go in the period. Thornton would add an empty netter in the closing seconds of the game to give the Sharks their 4th win in as many games. The Red Wings played well but simply weren’t rewarded for it. Antti Niemi stood strong at the other end of the ice and blocked all but 3 of the Red Wings shots. No I didn’t type that incorrectly. The Red Wings were able to beat Niemi 3 times, but only 2 counted after what would have been their 2nd goal was waved off. The no goal call was a weak one, citing Tomas Holmstrom (who was standing outside of the crease and then pushed into Niemi after he’d already reacted to the shot) with goaltender interference, nixing the goal but not penalizing Holmstrom. As a Red Wings fan you should be used to this by now. The number of interference calls against Holmstrom simply because he’s Holmstrom and within 2 feet of the net are numberless. You can chalk this up to being nothing more than a bad break loss. If Detroit had been awarded that goal the game could have gone very differently from that point on, but those are the breaks sometimes in hockey and you have to keep rolling in spite of them.

Oct. 27 @ Minnesota Wild – Final Score 0-1

The Red Wings traveled to St. Paul for their 2nd meeting with the Wild, and after winning the first 3-2 in overtime the game had all indications of being a close one, which it was. After suffering a bad break loss to San Jose, Detroit chose to start Jimmy Howard on back-to-back nights, and Howard once again played spectacularly. Once again his tremendous effort wasn’t enough as his teammates failed to put anything on the board and the Red Wings were shutout for the first time this season. Wild winger Dany Heatley scored the only goal of the night half way through the first period. The rest of the way it was a hard-fought goaltending duel, and though Detroit carried most of the play, Wild backup Josh Harding denied every chance that came his way. The closest the Red Wings came to scoring was perhaps a Henrik Zetterberg shot which was kept out of the net only by the butt of Harding’s stick. The Red Wings may have even caught a break after a Minnesota goal was waved off after is was decided it had been kicked in (something which I felt was too close to call and wouldn’t be enough to overrule the original call on the ice of a good goal). Mike Babcock frustratingly began mixing up both forward units and defensive pairings trying to find a spark, but nothing seemed to ignite. Though he felt it was a strong effort by the team, it just wasn’t enough to get the job done. After the game center Pavel Datsyuk summed it up best saying, “We can’t score. This is problem.” The Red Wings have now gone 0-4 since starting the season an impressive 5-0.

Star Of The Week: Jimmy Howard did it all this week. First welcoming a son to the world and then putting forth stellar efforts in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday. He faced 50 shots over the 2 game span and gave up just 4 goals, earning him our Star Of The Week honors.

Statistical Leaders:

Goals: Johan Franzen (4)

Assists: Pavel Datsyuk/Valtteri Filppula (5)

Points: Pavel Datsyuk/Valtteri Filppula/Johan Franzen (7)

+/-: Valtteri Filppula/Jakub Kindl/Darren Helm/Jonathan Ericsson (3)

GAA: Jimmy Howard (1.82)

SV%: Jimmy Howard (.929)

GP: Jimmy Howard (6)

W: Jimmy Howard (4)

Looking Forward:

Detroit faces another 3 game week of action, with 1 very familiar foe and 2 they haven’t seen yet in this new season.

Tuesday 11/1: For the 3rd time already this season the Red Wings will once again face the Minnesota Wild. The teams have split the previous 2 games, each being only a one goal decision. The Red Wings will look to end their 4 game slump, and the Wild will attempt to capitalize on their performance in Saturday’s win. It is unclear which Wild netminder Detroit will face this time. In the first 2 games the Wild have started Josh Harding, who should be getting familiar with the team since he’s played against them his last 3 starts going back to last season. With 2 full days off it is possible Harding will make another start, or the Wild could opt to switch it up by putting #1 goalie Nicklas Backstrom in net. Either way the Red Wings will have their work cut out for them once again.

Thursday 11/3: The Calgary Flames travel all the way over to Detroit for an evening match up. The Flames have had their own struggles so far this season and find themselves 4-4-1, but are on a 2 game winning streak with 1 more game against the Canucks before entering Detroit. Goaltending will be stellar once again, as the ever ready Mikka Kiprusoff will likely be tasked with holding back the onslaught of Detroit shots.

Saturday 11/5: The Anaheim Ducks will come to Detroit as part of this 6 game home stand. The Ducks are 5-4-1 and have seen very strong play from netminder Jonas Hiller. Star Corey Perry has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but it will be important that the Red Wings keep him and frequent linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan under wraps. Meetings between these 2 teams can often get nasty, so expect some grit.