Here’s an understatement: things haven’t been going well for the Detroit Red Wings lately.
With Saturday’s embarrassing 7-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Red Wings have now dropped four of their last five games. In that span, Detroit has been outscored 22-13.
For a team that once looked ahead of where head coach Mike Babcock expected it to be, this has to be a troubling sign. Then again, sometimes things have to get grim before they get better.
“Hopefully we’ve hit rock bottom,” Henrik Zetterberg said, according to the Detroit Free-Press’ Helene St. James.
Zetterberg hopes that it’s as bad as things get. Babcock labels the loss as “an exclamation point.”
Will things turn around soon? That remains to be seen.
They turn around and face the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Sunday. After that, it’s a mini-road run through Florida as they take on the Panthers on Thursday and the Lightning on Friday.
(Two back-to-backs, even spread pretty far apart, aren’t necessarily ideal.)
Really, the best chance for the Red Wings to really turn around may come starting next weekend. From March 22 – April 7, eight of 10 Red Wings games take place at home.
Is that a guarantee that Detroit will rebound in late March, or that they can’t start getting it together starting tomorrow? Now, as we know with hockey, surprises could be around the corner. The Red Wings merely hope that they are positive ones.
Max Pacioretty continues to rise among the NHL’s best snipers in 2014-15, but as much as unleashing a big shot matters, sometimes it’s about timing and luck.
He won’t score many goals that are easier than his 34th of the season, as a highly regrettable Michal Neuvirth flub opened the door for this one:
Yep, Neuvirth probably wants that one back.
It doesn’t help that he had Carey Price doing things like this on the other side of the ice, either:
The Montreal Canadiens will be down a skater for the rest of Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders as Torrey Mitchell suffered an upper-body injury.
(Mitchell may have been injured in an exchange with John Tavares.)
Mitchell, 30, was excited to get traded to his hometown team during the deadline. He hasn’t scored a point in six games with the Canadiens so far this season, although that’s not exactly what they acquired him for, anyway.
The San Jose Sharks came into Saturday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks with plenty of Joe Thornton-fueled distractions. It would be tough to blame Saturday’s 6-2 loss on Thornton, though.
When he scored his very fitting goal, he tied the game up 2-2.
It stayed that way through the second period, but things really fell apart in the final frame.
The Blackhawks scored four unanswered goals in that time period, generating a 17-9 shot advantage. Brandon Saad got the game winner while Patrick Sharp really made things out of reach with his second goal of the contest (his first tallies since January).
This loss was a painful one for Antti Niemi, who had been red-hot coming into today.
There wasn’t any word from the Sharks’ locker room – maybe someone was told to shut up? – but what can you really say after a loss like this?
(The distraction isn’t being blamed, if you’re wondering.)
One thing that could be said is that the Blackhawks are finding ways to win even without Patrick Kane … even if it isn’t always pretty:
There’s little denying how much this loss hurts the Sharks, too. According to Sports Club Stats, this defeat dropped San Jose’s odds of making the playoff by almost 10 percent.
Thornton, Doug Wilson and the rest of the Sharks organization may just have an uncomfortable amount of time to “talk” if they suffer more defeats like these.
NBCSN presents quite a treat on Saturday night, as the New York Islanders host the Montreal Canadiens.
While Montreal made it to the 2014 Eastern Conference finals, one could argue that the two teams are still trying to establish themselves as perennial contenders in this conference. In fact, a win could put one of the two squads atop their respective division.
There’s plenty of star power on hand, from John Tavares to Carey Price to P.K. Subban. You can watch the action on NBCSN as well as via NBC Live Sports Extra:
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Read more about the game in this preview.