Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Looking at the Wings’ defensive issues via advanced stats

From the Washington Post's Neil Greenberg:

Hockeytown is in peril. The Detroit Red Wings are 34-25-11 with 79 points — eight points fewer than they had through 70 games last season — and one point behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, giving them a 36.6 percent chance at extending their playoff streak past 24 seasons in a row.

Part of the problem for Detroit is slow starts. The Wings have scored the fourth-fewest goals in the first period and have the sixth-lowest first-period goal differential (minus-10).

“We can’t give away goals,” coach Jeff Blashill said after the team’s loss to the Flyers on Tuesday. “We’ve got to make teams earn goals. We had real, real bad mistakes that were preventable. We’ve got to keep pucks out of net early and, when we get scored on, we can’t let the momentum get away from us. We haven’t done a good enough job of that.”

Defensive woes shouldn’t be a surprise. After being eliminated by the Nashville Predators during the 2012 playoffs, the Red Wings had to cope with the retirement of seven-time Norris trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom. A year earlier Brian Rafalski, a gifted offensive blueliner, decided to hang up his skates. In the span of two summers the Red Wings lost two of the best defensemen the NHL has ever seen.

Continued

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.