Game 33: Red Wings-Tampa Bay Enotes

The Red Wings lost another game in shootout fashion. That’s not news anymore.

But tonight in Tampa, the Red Wings executed the shootout as if they had a train to catch.

Confidence is nil in the shootout, and it showed tonight, as six Red Wings took six uninspired shots at Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, and it ended in a 2-1 loss when Martin St. Louis finally scored on Tampa’s sixth try on Jonas Gustavsson. Actually, it was five uninspired Red Wings shots. Todd Bertuzzi didn’t even get a shot off on his attempt.

Kyle Quincey scored the Red Wings’ lone goal at 15:04 of the first period.

The Red Wings have now lost 11 straight shootouts. Ridiculous.

Nikita Kucherov tied the game with just 44 seconds left in the second period.

Detroit (15-9-9) leaves Florida with two out of four points after losing two shootouts to the Panthers and Lightning. The bad news is, the Red Wings come home for a stretch. Home , Crap Home.


BOTTOM LINE: Gustavsson did his best to give the Red Wings a chance to win, but Tampa’s Bishop was a tad better.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: The Red Wings didn’t play a bad game whatsoever. They were pretty tight defensively and didn’t leave Gustavsson hung out to dry for the most part. Bishop was terrific for Tampa. The special teams weren’t so special for either side, unless you’re a fan of the PK. Both teams went 0-for-4 on the power play. The Pittsburgh Penguins invade JLA on Saturday. This is a great time for the Red Wings to make a statement at home.



Thursday’s Thoughts

Thursday’s Thoughts returns after a two-week hiatus due to Thanksgiving and home obligations.

The Red Wings are staggering and are at a critical point in the season.

Right now their standing is OK—in third place in the Atlantic Division, which is a guaranteed playoff spot under the NHL’s new playoff format (top three teams in each division make the playoffs, plus two at-large wild card teams per conference). But it’s a tenuous third place, with the struggle to win at home and in shootouts still plaguing the team.

All that, plus an injury list that is growing like Pinocchio’s nose, and you have the makings of uneasiness.

The Red Wings got Pavel Datsyuk back the other night after seven games missed due to concussion-like symptoms, and Pavs celebrated his return by scoring a goal. But his EuroTwin, Henrik Zetterberg, is out until at least December 28 after the team moved Z to the long-term injured list.

Stephen Weiss is out indefinitely with a groin, Darren Helm remains out with a shoulder, and goalie Jimmy Howard “tweaked” his knee. Don’t forget defenseman Danny DeKeyser, still out with a separated shoulder.

You can crack all the jokes you want about Weiss being out (2g/2a), but his loss still impacts the team from a depth perspective.

The Red Wings are a perfect sample team for the age old question: Are you a glass is half-full, or half-empty person?

Half-full: The Red Wings can’t win at home, but the second half of their schedule is more road-heavy, where they are 10-3-2 so far this season.

Half-empty: The road success can’t possibly continue, and thus the Red Wings have squandered an opportunity by blowing so many games at home.

Half-full: The team has been able to stay in the playoff race despite a so-so season from their starting goalie.

Half-empty: Howard still hasn’t shown any real signs of coming out of his slump (despite a recent shutout on Long Island), and now he has a knee situation to deal with. And it’s almost Christmas.

Half-full: It’s good to get the injuries out of the way now.

Half-empty: What if the injuries don’t stop?

Half-full: The power play has been mostly good. Same with the penalty kill.

Half-empty: Special teams go in spurts; the team is due to slump in both areas.

Half-full: They’re still in third place, for goodness sake!

Half-empty: Other teams in the division are due to get hot.

So…what does the Red Wings’ glass look like to YOU?

Spotlight on the Opponent: Valtteri Filppula

What: Detroit at Tampa Bay
When: Thursday, December 12, 7:30pm (TV: FSD)


He still wears that familiar no. 51, but he’s no Dick Butkus on the ice.

Valtteri Filppula plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning now, signed away from the Red Wings as a free agent last summer. The Red Wings didn’t particularly want to lose Filppula, but in today’s salary cap world, you can’t always keep everyone.

The Red Wings sure would like to have Filppula, a center, on their roster right about now.

First, injuries in Detroit have decimated the center position, with three of the four Red Wings starting centers (Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss and Darren Helm) spending time on the injured list already this season.

Second, Filppula’s “replacement,” free agent signee Weiss, has been less than spectacular, registering only four points thus far.

Filppula has 10 goals and 10 assists so far for Tampa this season, and seems to be fitting in nicely with his new team. Filppula spent eight seasons in Detroit, scoring an even 100 goals as a Red Wing. In the 2009 run to the Stanley Cup Finals, Filppula scored 16 points, including 13 assists.

Here are some words about Filppula from one of his new teammates and his coach, Jon Cooper.

“I think he kind of got lost in the shuffle for a while in Detroit, with all the great players they’ve had,’’ Steven Stamkos said. “He’s really getting to showcase the skill set he brings game in and game out. I knew he had that skill, but to see the calmness that he plays with, to see the poise he has with the puck, he’s a very smart player. He’s fit in great.’’

Cooper said Filppula has exceeded expectations on and off the ice.

“He’s brought stability in the second (center spot),’’ Cooper said. “I think we just underestimated his quiet calm. He’s not your vocal guy in the room, but he’s a leader. I think he just calms everybody down when he has the puck. He’s poised under pressure all day. He’s been great for our team, especially with all the young guys we have.’’

Though Val has slowed a little from his, ahem, lightning-fast start in Tampa, he is still third on the team in scoring, behind Stamkos (who is likely out for the season with a broken leg) and team leader Martin St. Louis.