The Detroit Red Wings have dug themselves into a deep hole heading into tonight’s game, as they are looking at a 3-1 deficit against the Lightning. However, they aren’t the only team stuck in a rut, as five teams are facing elimination right now, and we could see up to seven, depending on how the Pittsburgh-New York and Anaheim-Nashville games go tonight. So, what are the odds of them coming back? Let’s take a look.
How they got here: Atrocious penalty killing. Seriously, the team has a 52.9% on the penalty kill. 8 of their 12 goals allowed have been power play goals, and one of the four goals at 5v5 was the Jason Chimera tip in from center ice. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they haven’t been good enough offensively, mustering just two goals past Braden Holtby.
Why there’s still hope: They haven’t been that bad at 5v5. In fact, they have the fourth best 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For % in the playoffs with 53.5%. They’ve just been cursed with 1.6% shooting, with no help from the fact that Holtby has been lights out. So, if they’re shooting luck turns around, they could have a fighting chance.
What are the odds: A lot of things need to happen for things to go right. First, they either need to improve their penalty kill, or play some more disciplined hockey, because otherwise Washington will show them the door. Then, they need to find a way to solve Holtby. And even if they manage to do those two things, there’s no guarantee that they can win four games in a row, which they need to do to get out of their 0-3 hole.
Half a bracelet on the ice out of 5
Note: this was written before Game 4 last night. They played a much more disciplined game, and managed to beat Holtby twice, which was enough for the win. Still, long road ahead.
How they got here: Dallas has just overpowered them. In the first two games, Dallas has given them almost no scoring chances, and limited them to just one goal in the first two games. Minnesota improved in game 3, but dropped again in game 4. Dallas is just a superior team.
Why there’s still hope: They showed in game 3 that they can handle the Stars, limiting them to just 17 shots (a season low for Dallas). However, they haven’t shown the consistency to be able to do it three games in a row.
What are the odds: Slim. Very slim. Minnesota has been mediocre all season, and Dallas has been very, very good. It’ll take a miracle for it to happen, but then again, the Mighty Ducks played here.
1 State of Hockey parody account out of 5
DETROIT RED WINGS
How they got here: The Detroit Red Wings have a rookie coach in Jeff Blashill, and right now, Jon Cooper is proving it. In the first two games, Cooper did an excellent job of deploying the Johnson line, who caused havoc in the first two games, while Blashill just seemed to sit and watch. Then, when Blashill finally made some changes for game three, it took all of one game for Cooper to figure out how to counter his moves, and exploit them in game four on the power play. Detroit is getting out coached, and they don’t have the personnel to hide it. Also, their special teams have been at nowhere near the same level, and for two teams that are so evenly matched at 5v5, special teams were the difference in this series.
Why there’s still hope: Detroit has done a solid job of keeping Tampa at bay at even strength this series. The first two games saw several mental lapses that cost them both games, but these last couple games saw some improvement in that regard. So, they either have to be more disciplined and stay out of the box to avoid any power plays for Tampa, or improve their special teams to get back in this series. Whether this requires a shake up of the lines, smarter deployment, or bringing in someone from the press box/minors, something needs to change.
What are the odds?: Considering that this is a weaker Lightning team than the one the Wings took to game seven only a year ago, it certainly wouldn’t be crazy to say that if they smarten up, they can win the series. But that’s a big if, and they still have to get the job done.
2 Ericsson turnovers out of 5
How they got here: Here’s a team that you didn’t expect to see on here. Much like Philly, what their problem has been is that they can’t seem to beat Brian Elliott at 5v5, and they are having penalty killing issues. They’re averaging just two goals for per game, and are shooting just 2.7%. Also, their PK is clicking at 66.7%, tied for second worst with Florida. Not only that, but they’ve also benefited from some (*puts on tin foil hat*) suspiciously beneficial officiating, and they’re still looking at a 3-1 deficit. Heck, they might not have even deserved to win game 2, as the second goal probably should have been goalie interference.
Why there’s still hope: Well, they’re the Blackhawks, a team that is more than capable of taking back the series, and they’re playing the Blues, a team that has struggled to get past the second round. Also, Patrick Kane has the ability to win a game, and add that to Corey Crawford’s excellent play this season (although he’s seemed a bit shaky in this series). Also, they could start to capitalize on the aforementioned officiating.
What are the odds: This is a team that has spat in the face of defeat several times over the last decade, and while their core is starting to show it’s age, they could very easily take back the series.
3 biased calls out of 5
LOS ANGELES KINGS
How they got here: The Kings have been excellent in this series, but the Sharks have been better. Jonathan Quick has been very shaky, and the Kings lack of depth on the blue line after Doughty and Muzzin is beginning to show. Also, they’ve had issues scoring, mustering just eight goals in the series, although the Sharks only have 10.
Why there’s still hope: Because it’s the San Jose Sharks. As the Kings proved in 2013-14, they can be broken. It isn’t difficult to strike fear into them, because they know it happened before. If the Kings win game five, they could be looking at another comeback, if it works again.
What are the odds: Like I said, this is a team that has come back from a 3-0 series deficit, so they know how to handle the adversity. And the Sharks were the team that they did it against, so they have the psychological factor that none of the other teams facing elimination have.
4 Norris trophy votes out of 5