Obligatory Detroit Sucks.
Ah the Detroit Red Wings, the source of scorn and hatred for so many Blues fans, are once again faltering. Please try to contain your laughter.
After years and years of the Red Menace wrecking team’s Championship hopes and being an all around pain in our ass, they once again find themselves on the outside of the Eastern conference playoff picture.
It was funny last year, and I mean freaking hilarious, but this year it just seems kind of sad. “Kind of” being the key phrase.
After slugging through a 7-game losing streak which included a 10-1 thrashing by the Montreal Canadiens (a game in which even the guy who scrapes the ice got a point) the Wings emerged victorious Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets. Allowing only one goal on 26 shot attempts while burying 5 of their own.
When looking at the team’s metrics it is not hard to understand why #DetroitSucks. According to NaturalStatTrick.com the team’s 5 on 5 save percentage of 91.45% is 25th worst in the NHL. Couple that with a shooting percentage of only 7.43% and that gives you the 6th worst PDO in the league.
Their 5 on 5 Corsi For% of 49.61 is 17th in the league.
Detroit’s negative goal differential of -12 is 6th worst in the league [NHL.com].
One bright spot for the Wings would be their special teams. At 21.34% the have the 10th best power play and the 11th best PK at 82%. It pains me to say this but I would kill for the Blues to have those numbers right now.
Second line center Dylan Larkin leads the team in points (23) and assists (19). His right winger Anthony Mantha leads the team in goals with 12.
Top pairing defenseman Mike Green leads the team in average ice time and leads all Detroit defenseman with 18 points (2 goals, 16 assists).
Jimmy Howard has a save percentage of 91.0% and a 2.85 GAA and will probably be today’s starter because Petr Mrazek’s 89.1% save percentage and 3.62 GAA doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
Detroit is not a great team. Their 27 points puts them in the bottom 25% of the NHL. Their record of 3-4-3 over their last ten show that they are not improving. They allow more shots than they take and let in more goals then they score. No need for a high tech game plan today, just a good solid effort from our Boys in Blue.
Speaking of which, the Blues snapped a three game losing streak thanks to a Brayden Schenn hat trick and a win against the Canadiens on Tuesday night followed by a 3 goal shutout two nights later against the Dallas Stars.
As the Athletic contributor Evan Sporer pointed out even during their latest dry spell it wasn’t that the Blues were not getting chances, it’s just that their chances weren’t finding the back of the net.
In everyone of their losses the Blues still out shot their opponent. In fact, Thursday night was the first time in nine games where they were bested in shot differential.
The Dallas game snapped a 9-game run of the Blues outshooting their opponent— Tom Timmermann (@tomtimm) December 8, 2017
One of the keys to the Blues recent turn around may well be attributed to breaking up the top line of Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko.
Before Thursday’s empty netter against the Stars, Tarasenko had been goalless in six straight games going back to a two goal performance against the Edmonton Oilers on November 21st and it had become apparent that he was starting to be a burden to Schenn and Schwartz. Instead of looking for their own opportunities the pair had become obsessed with trying to get Tarasenko back on track. A move that had proved futile.
Once Tarasenko was flipped for Steen, Schenn and Schwartz both broke free of their respective funks. Schenn scored 3 against Montreal and another against the Stars. Schwartz has registered a couple of assists but is still looking to snap his 5 game goal drought.
Dmitrij Jaskin has 5 points in 7 games while bouncing back and forth between the third and fourth lines, a role that is apparently much more suitable for him.
After being a healthy scratch defenseman Vince Dunn has worked himself back into the lineup and will remain there again today. According to Lou Korac, Mike Yeo mentioned after practice yesterday that Robert Bortuzzo is suffering from another nagging injury and will probably not be in the lineup today.
Interesting little tidbit from Yeo today. He mentioned Bortuzzo was playing "extremely well for us before he got hurt." Bortuzzo took initial D rushes yesterday & then, Dunn was in. So something must be there nagging Bortuzzo that kept him out Thursday. #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) December 8, 2017
Carter Hutton also went down with an injury before the game on Thursday forcing the Blues to recall Ville Husso from the AHL. Although the Blues face another back to back this weekend look for Jake Allen to get both of the starts.
Once Cater Hutton was placed on IR the Blues then recalled forward Same Blais and Mike Yeo said he expected Blais to draw back into the lineup, possibly for Magnus Paajarvi or Chris Thorburn, which would probably drop Jaskin back down to the fourth line.
Regardless of the lineup today this is a very winnable game for the Blues. Get the puck in the zone, work the cycle, wear out the defense and then strike. Wash, rinse and repeat.
Nothing short of two points is acceptable today. Gotta keep those Predators and Jets in check.
Thanks for reading and Go Blues.