By: Eric Thomas
So the Red Wings have a pulse. After a game on Saturday that most of Detroit watched through their fingers, or tuned to the Home Run Derby against the Astros, the Wings made ‘em proud on Monday night. Pavel Datsyuk’s goal to send the game to OT looked like the Red Wings of old, an ability to score in the clutch the team hasn’t exhibited since the Home Ice winning streak last year. Here are five reasons the Wings beat the Ducks in game four at the Joe:
- Shots on Goal – Hey how about that! It helps if you shoot the puck. 49 total shots in game four, more than doubling game three’s total of 23. This isn’t to say they’ve learned their lesson. In the closing minutes of overtime, Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen had open looks and didn’t take them. It’s mind boggling that they have struggled at this, but at least in game four they made attempts to score. They took shots at a distance and the results speak for themselves. Brendan Smith, who struggled on the defensive side of the ice but we will get back to this, hit a slap shot to tie the score at one in the third and Pavel Datsyuk, well, hit a shot that looked like the Pavel we know. On every goal, the Red Wings were aggressive. More of that.
- Jimmy Howard – The Red Wings goaltender played well in game four. He was excellent in the second period and in overtime. He deserves some praise for his play last night, especially considering the atrocious play from the defense. Having said that, he is still inconsistent. Time will tell if Howard can ever make a deep run in the playoffs. The second goal he surrendered was boneheaded but he helped get a win tonight.
- The Penalty Kill – The Ducks had a few power plays, one in overtime, and they did nothing with it. You would like to see the Wings score more when they are on the power play, they left chances on the ice, but we will save those complaints for an off season blog.
- The crowd – Home ice advantage came to play at the Joe on Monday night. The crowd was well juiced, screaming Kronwall’s phrase even when there was relatively little to cheer about in the first period. Maybe they can take credit for the extra shots on goal?
- They won despite the defense – The praise ends here. Howard has been lackluster as of late and his defense did nothing in game four. Brendan Smith owed the Wings a goal after his awful defensive play in the first. Kyle Quincy seemed so lost that Howard was left completely undefended at several different points in the game. The Wings won but the defensive play was inexcusable. A season has passed since Lidström retired; the team can’t keep beating that drum. Nick was the best defenseman to play the game and it’s hard to fill the void but you absolutely cannot play defense this poorly in the playoffs.
The Joe got a good show on Monday night. The Red Wings looked like a different team in the third and in OT. More of that.