The Red Wings’ battle against the New York Islanders Friday afternoon was a continuation of Wednesday’s domination of the Boston Bruins. Secondary goal scoring has started to come into full swing with major productivity from young members of the team, including Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist. Posting five goals against the Islanders, the Red Wings have started their upward trek out of the slump they started the season with.
The Wings have not had this type of goal scoring efficiency all season, but scored eleven goals in their past two games, while only allowing one goal against.
Along with goal scoring, any NHL team needs to have faith in its starting goaltender. The Red Wings, have two goaltenders they put their trust into. Jimmy Howard, who faced 29 shots, recorded only his second victory this month, which shows a burst of confidence that was in order for him.
Howard had a 5-7-6 record coming into the game, which puting him on the bench sitting behind Jonas Gustavsson. The back-up goaltender has a 6-0-1 record, along with a .927 save percentage and 2.17goals against average.
“To be honest, I didn’t really change much in my game,” Howard told the Detroit Free Press. “I just fine-tuned a couple little things.”
Howard realized his starting position now has a new threat and it is time to prove to the coaching staff he is the man for the spot. Yet, a hockey game doesn’t fall upon one position.
The term “defense wins games” is commonly used amongst the Red Wings’ bench, and for a good reason. Kyle Quincey, who has a -10 rating overall, combines with Brendan Smith who has a -6 rating on the season and together they are a fault, making poor defensive decisions game in and game out. Yet, the two seemed to click and help create a balance in the Red Wings’ back end on Friday.
“It comes when we play good defense,” captain Henrik Zetterberg told the Free Press. “Then we can make plays and play some good offense. But we have a good mix in our group; we’ve got four lines that can play both ways.”
The Detroit Red Wings are on a three-game winning streak heading into the homecoming of Daniel Alfredsson in Ottawa on Sunday. The Wings will attempt to defeat the Senators for the first time this season and keep their streak alive at 5:30 p.m. EST.
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Information from the Detroit Red Wings was used in this report.
For more information on the Detroit Red Wings and NHL hockey from analysts and journalists at Michigan State University – tune into Octopi Hockeytown podcasts and embrace the Spartan debate at www.impact89fm.org/sports
Austin Goodman is the host of Octopi Hockeytown for Impact Sports