Anaheim, CA – The Anaheim Ducks end a two-game set with the Detroit Red Wings (15-11-5) tonight at Honda Center. The Red Wings took the first game in a 5-1 rout of the Ducks. Justin Abdelkader got his first career hat trick to help carry the Wings to victory along with goalie Jimmy Howard who made 37 saves.
It’s been a much different look for the Red Wings this season. They lost two of their most important players on and off the ice in Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom. It has certainly be notable so far this season. Especially missing Lidstrom. Why not? He’s the best defenseman to ever play the game. Howard has not been the same since Lidstrom left. Howard put up some great numbers last season. Now, without Lidstrom and a bit of a depleted defensive corps, Howard has not played as well. His GAA is up almost a half a goal per game. But again, that could be because of a struggling defense. He will get the nod once again for the Wings tonight.
The Wings have really had their fair share of injuries, but they still have some real big names right now. Pavel Datsyuk is arguably the best player in the world. He is the best two-way player in the world. He has the best hands in the world. If you’re ever bored, go to youtube and look up some Datsyuk highlight reel videos. They’ll keep you entertained for a while. Newly named captain Henrik Zetterberg is also one of the most gifted players in the world. They are the two main weapons on offense. Datsyuk is tied for the team lead in goals (10) with newcomer Damien Brunner, who has been a major story in his own right. Datsyuk is also tied for the team lead in assists (23) with, oh, Zetterberg. Oh and Datsyuk (33) and Zetterberg (31) are first and second on the team in points respectively. Datsyuk (+14) is also second on the team behind defenseman Jakub Kindl (+15) in plus/minus. Back to Brunner, he really made a name for himself during the lockout in Europe. He’s dominated the Swiss league for a while and Detroit finally gave him a break. He got off to a great start but has cooled off a bit. However, he still has 10 G 11 A for 21 P.
Veterans Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula have once again been good contributors. Franzen has posted up in his workshop in front of the net yet again this season. He’s one of the better power forwards down low. Filpulla has some slick hands of his own and has become a very solid two-way player. Detroit has had some nice results from their rookies. Arguably their best prospect, Gustav Nyquist has looked pretty good at times. Other rookies currently seeing playing time are forward Joakim Andersson and defensemen Brian Lashoff and Brendan Smith. The new leader on the blue line for the Wings is definitely Niklas Kronwall. He is one of the hardest hitters in the league. The term “Kronwalled” didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. He plays a ton of minutes. Kindl, Jonathan Ericsson and Ian White round out the better defenseman for the Wings. Finally, here’s a list of all of the guys that are injured right now for the Wings: forward Darren Helm (back), forward Todd Bertuzzi (back), forward Mikael Samuelsson (broken finger), defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) and defenseman Kyle Quincey(cheekbone).
Red Wings have been one of the best franchises in the league for a long time. It’s no surprise either when the team constantly scores a lot of goals and doesn’t allow a lot of goals. Last season, the Wings were 7th in G/PG and GA/PG, while being 1st in 5-on-5 goals for/goals against. With injuries and losses to retirement, the Wings have struggled in all of those categories so far this season. Right now, they are 14th in scoring (2.68) and they are 9th in goals against (2.43) and they are 7th in 5-on-5 goals for/goals against (1.19). They have really struggled on special teams this season. They are always dangerous on the power play with some of the players they have, but they are 21st in the league (16.5%). On the penalty kill, it doesn’t get much better, they are 22nd in the league (80.0%).
Well, the Ducks franchise record of 14 straight home wins was ended by these Wings on Friday night. The Ducks just didn’t look entirely sharp and it just seemed inevitable that the streak was going to end. One of the more memorable quotes from Bruce Boudreau in his time here at Anaheim was describing how he felt after the loss and how some people stated the Ducks were ready for a letdown: ”We’re playing Detroit. We’re not playing a bag of beans here.” The Ducks haven’t had to try and rebound from a lot of games this season, but they will look to do so tonight. Boudreau drilled them in practice and they will be ready. Expect Jonas Hiller to be in net tonight for the Ducks.
Topics: Anaheim Ducks, Brendan Smith, Brian Lashoff, Bruce Boudreau, Carlo Colaiacovo, Damien Brunner, Darren Helm, Detroit Red Wings, Gustav Nyquist, Henrik Zetterberg, Ian White, Jakub Kindl, Jimmy Howard, Joakim Andersson, Johan Franzen, Jonas Hiller, Jonathan Ericsson, Justin Abdelkader, Kyle Quincey, NHL, Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula