Game 19: Red Wings-Winnipeg Enotes

The Red Wings have the margin for error of a heart surgeon these days, when it comes to games played at Joe Louis Arena.

They’ve lost games at JLA while giving up tons of shots. They’v lost games because of an inept power play. They’ve lost games because of turnovers.

Well, they lost again at home on Tuesday night, 3-2 to the Winnipeg Jets in a shootout, and it hardly seems fair.

The Red Wings yielded just 23 shots on goal, while firing 45 at Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec. They scored two power play goals. And they cut down on the turnovers.

Yet the Red Wings have now gone six straight games at the Joe without a win. Andrew Ladd, who has a habit of scoring big goals, tallied the eventual game-winner for the second game in a row for the Jets in a shootout.

Despite doing better in the categories mentioned above, there’s still one area that didn’t improve on Tuesday—coaxing anything, offensively, from any player not named Zetterberg or Datsyuk.

Pavel Datsyuk scored both Red Wings goals, one from a bullet, cross-ice pace from Henrik Zetterberg that Datsyuk fired into a half open net to tie the game, 1-1.

But once again, the Red Wings are a one-trick pony on offense. The lack of secondary scoring is killing them. Nobody else can put the puck in the net other than the EuroTwins.

The Red Wings (9-5-5) played one of their best home games of the season yet still didn’t come away with two points. This is a time for belief, faith and patience. The season is too young to panic that those extra points at home aren’t coming.

At least this wasn’t a contest where the Red Wings had more turnovers than a bakery. The Jets mustered just 19 SOG in regulation. Yet it was Detroit that played catch-up all night; the Jets were never behind in the only column that mattered—that being on the scoreboard.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s getting tiresome watching the visitors in white shirts celebrate on JLA ice, isn’t it?

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: The Jets’ two goals in regulation were both the result of pretty passing and deadly accurate shots. Ladd continues to vex the Red Wings, even as a member of the Jets, after doing so to Detroit as a Chicago Blackhawk. This is a game the Red Wings can maybe build on, however, despite the result. The Wings will win far more games than they’ll lose if they play the way they did on Tuesday.

 

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Spotlight on the Opponent: Andrew Ladd

What: Winnipeg at Detroit
When: Tuesday, November 12, 7:30pm (TV: FSD, TSN)

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The Winnipeg Jets, for all their youth and their struggles to stay afloat in the NHL Central Division, actually have a two-time Stanley Cup winner on their roster.

He’s Andrew Ladd, and the Red Wings thought they were rid of this guy, who was part of the Chicago Blackhawks teams who wrested Western Conference supremacy from the Wings starting in 2010.

But Ladd, at age 27, is in his prime and is second in scoring on the Jets roster, behind Bryan Little.

And he has those two Cups.

The first came in 2006, when Ladd toiled for the surprising Carolina Hurricanes. The second was in 2010, with Chicago.

Ladd was drafted 4th overall in 2004 by Carolina, and after some injury issues in 2007, he was dealt to the Blackhawks at the trading deadline in February 2008. In 2010, Ladd was traded by Chicago to Atlanta, with his contract set to expire after the 2010-11 season. Ladd then inked a 5-year, $22 million deal with Winnipeg (Atlanta moved to Winnipeg after the 2010-11 season) in July 2011, after timing his “contract year” wonderfully, scoring a carer-high 29 goals.

The left-winger kind of flies under the radar, but the truth is that Ladd is kind of a sniper, having already scored 143 goals in the NHL. He’s generally considered one of the toughest forwards to play against in the league.

Ladd scored the shootout winner for the Jets Sunday night in a home win over San Jose, after having scored the game-tying goal with 1:43 left in regulation.

In a 4-2 win over the Red Wings in Winnipeg on November 4, Ladd had a goal and an assist as he continues to be a thorn in the Wings’ side.

Jets coach Claude Noel says “Andrew does a lot of things for us. He’s our captain and leads our team.”

Ladd wears no. 16 for the Jets.

Game 16: Red Wings-Winnipeg Enotes

The legs got a little tired.

The Red Wings couldn’t pull off the quadrifecta—winning all four games of their Western Canada road trip—and fell to the desperate Winnipeg Jets, 4-2 on Monday night.

The rigors of the trip seemed to sap the Red Wings as the game went on, and the Jets overcame a 2-1 deficit by scoring three unanswered goals in a span of 14 minutes in the second and third periods.

Still, a 3-1 trip is more than acceptable, even if the Red Wings (9-5-2) kind of fell off the wagon in Winnipeg defensively, surrendering a whopping 47 shots to the Jets (6-8-2), many due to odd man rushes or poor play in the defensive zone.

Danny DeKeyser’s shortie at 10:05 of the second period gave Detroit their 2-1 lead, but it didn’t come close to holding up.

The Red Wings lost their legs as the game wore on, which is understandable. Plus, the Jets were dying for a victory.

Matt Halischuk’s first goal of the season gave the Jets the lead at the 4:27 mark of the third period.

Jimmy Howard made 43 saves, so he wasn’t the problem. The Red Wings just didn’t have the same energy or grit as they showed in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton in the first three games of the trip.

Jordin Tootoo tried to give his teammates some life as he squared off with Winnipeg’s Chris Thorburn, just 16 seconds after the opening face-off. Tootoo got a couple good shots in and the Winged Wheeler deems Tootoo the winner of the scrap.

But there was just too much ice for Winnipeg all night long. Even with the brief 2-1 lead you felt like the Red Wings were playing with fire.

BOTTOM LINE: You’ll take a 3-1 road trip anytime, anywhere. And the Red Wings are done with these teams on the road this season.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: Andrew Ladd, the erstwhile Chicago Blackhawk until 2010, did a great job defending Pavel Datsyuk most of the night. FSD’s Chris Osgood astutely pointed out that Ladd’s experience in Chicago, playing all those games against the Red Wings, likely had something to do with his success against Datsyuk. A 4-0 trip would have been beautiful, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

Spotlight on the Opponent: Bryan Little

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So who is Bryan Little and why haven’t you heard of him?

Little, 26, is a RW for the Winnipeg Jets, but you’d never know it if you live outside of Winnipeg.

That’s because Little is one of the Jets’ holdovers from the franchise’s days in Atlanta—that hockey hotbed!

But Little actually scored 31 goals one year for the defunct Thrashers (in 2008-09) and tallied 24 markers two years ago, in the first year of the move to Winnipeg.

Little only scored seven goals in 2013’s lockout year, but he’s back to his scoring ways, leading the Jets, Part II with a 7/4/11 line, matching last season’s goal-scoring output after just 15 games.

So far, Little is giving the Jets a good return on their 5-year, $23.5 million investment on him, signed by Little in July.

Little turns 26 next week, so his future is definitely bright. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said, necessarily, about his team. The Jets (5-8-2) are struggling, yet again.

Little has been efficient this season, more than he’s ever been. His shooting percentage is over 23% (7 goals, 30 SOG). He’s been the team’s most consistent scorer on the PP, dating back to the Thrasher days, registering 26 PPG over the past five seasons.

Little wears no. 18 for the Jets.