Streak Snapped at Seven, Blues Next
The Detroit Red Wings started hot and fell on their faces last night, ending with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. The loss stops Detroit's seven game winning streak.
Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary scored for Detroit. Ryan O'Reilly, Paul Stastny, and T.J Galiardi replied for the Avs, O'Reilly had his second on an empty net.
Paul Stastny left the game early in the third with a torso injury, and Valtteri Filppula also left with a cut above his skate in the first period. Filppula sustained a deep but short cut on his right shin just above his ankle by a skate blade. He hopes to play on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues and will reportedly wear Kevlar socks to prevent further injury.
If he can't go, Cory Emmerton will be in the line-up alongside Darren Helm and Chris Conner, who has played decent but has a lot more to offer. In last night's game, he had a breakaway in the first period but was stopped by Semyon Varlamov.
After a hot start, Detroit fizzled and turned the puck over too many times for Ty Conklin to handle. Conklin was smacked around and again looked lost in the net. It seemed that the team in front of him sensed this, so they started taking chances which lead to turnovers. Coming from a writer who has played competitive hockey, this is a true fact. If you play with a goaltender like Jimmy Howard for 16 straight games, you know there is a guy there to bail you out if you make a mistake. It makes the team more relaxed and the panic level is way lower. With Conklin though, it's the complete opposite.
Other than Franzen and Cleary's goals, there was little offence that the Wings could have said were "quality chances." Most shots were coming from the boards, and in fact, Colorado outshot Detroit 35-29.
But, a team is allowed to lose one after seven straight, but the next game in St. Louis is bigger than anyone might think. Detroit has not won or lost only one game in a row all year, so if the streak continues, the Blues should win Tuesday. Detroit needs to put together a complete game and use the Helm-Conner-Emmerton line's speed to its advantage. Howard will be in goal against the Ken Hitchcock-coached Blues, a style that Mike Babcock is familiar with, having coached with Hitchcock during the 2010 Olympics.