DETROIT, Michigan- Just when you thought the Wings’ season was about wrapped up, they have now captured 5 pts in their last 3 games after a 2-0 win last night against a strong Anaheim Ducks team. The Wings currently are 8 pts outside of a wild-card spot with a month and a half left in the season; can it be done?
The Wings played a complete game last night that was refreshing for everyone (especially us media). No missed empty nets, no complete defensive breakdowns, NO BLOWN LEADS; complete game. It started off with the Ducks in full control of the game with a whopping 16 shots in the first period, with Jakob Silfverberg missing a wide-open empty net chance and hit the pipe instead. That missed chance gave the Wings the juice they needed as Dylan Larkin forced a turnover in front of Ducks goaltender John Gibson and put a backhanded shot over Gibson’s shoulder to put them up by one goal. Larkin said afterward “It was nice, I had a lot of time in front of the net. Just put my stick out and the puck hit my stick”. The shots at that point were 16-3, Ducks were dominating, but the Red Wings executed and Howard was a damn brick wall. Second period was much of the same; Ducks were about an inch away from scoring and the Wings capitalized on their chances. After getting some great puck movement in their offensive zone, Mantha centered a pass from behind the net that was put away by Franz Nielsen for his 13th of the season and the Wings lead 2-0. Adam Henrique eventually put the Ducks on the board after putting a shot on Howard’s shoulder that trickled over and in but Anaheim didn’t ever seem to have a real chance of a comeback. Howard endured 8 minutes worth of power plays, and turned away 32 shots earning him first star of the game.
BUY OR SELL?
The number one question that was on everyone’s mind after the win was what the Wings’ plans are going to be for the trade deadline? Are they selling? Who’s on the table? Head Coach Jeff Blashill shook the question off, focusing more on the games that are ahead and really who can blame him? The big problem with the Wings is they’ve been stacked with elite talent over the years: Yzerman, Lidstrom, Shanahan, Fedorov, Datsyuk etc.… and now they’re left with a less than reliable Kronwall and an ageing Zetterberg. The silver lining to the current state of the Red Wings is the young and talented core that is just not quite there yet: Larkin, Mantha, Athanasiou, and Bertuzzi. Let’s say the Wings pull off a miracle run and make the playoffs. They get bounced in the first round by Nikita Kucherov and the Lightning (again), and they move further back in the draft order. The only way to move forward is to sell off veterans and focus on the future. More to come on this as we approach the trade deadline, but I will say this; the Red Wings teams you grew up watching in the Joe are gone, and it’s time to move on…starting with Ken Holland. SELL!