Man I hate the west coast road trip. I didn’t cover the team back when they were in the Western Conference, but I don’t think I would have survived the season. I didn’t watch a single game in full this week as the Wings visited the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks. Three games in five days, with the latter two coming back-to-back on Thursday and Friday.
It wasn’t a fruitful trip for the Wings as their losing streak went from six games to nine games.
After dropping all three games, the Wings losing skid extended to nine, making it the worse losing streak they’ve been on since 1986.
I know that the more they fall in the standings, the better their draft lottery odds are. I understand the implications of skidding this late in the season. But I just can’t get behind the tank. It sucks watching this team lose.
The whole team seems to be lost right now, including the coaching staff, who scratched Martin Frk in favour of Luke Witkowski for Friday’s game against the Ducks. Jared Coreau put up an .857 save percentage, allowing four goals on 21 in Thursday’s game against the Kings. The team put up a strong second period on Tuesday against the Sharks, but another awful third period breakdown led to another 5-3 loss.
Defensive breakdown after defensive breakdown led to the team giving up four or more goals in all three games. The team fought three times on Friday night as frustrations boiled over. They still don’t have a win without Tomas Tatar on the roster.
The Regular Stats
Tyler Bertuzzi has been settling in nicely on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist. His three points this week came in a single game against the San Jose Sharks. The youngster has really been building his confidence and improving his game as the season goes on.
The first line is really the only one worth writing about here as they scored all of the goals by forwards this week. Once again, at this point of the season, the captain is digging deep and driving the team’s offense. He has too much pride to do anything else.
Mike Green’s goal came on a beauty feed from Dylan Larkin that I’ll talk about below and Trevor Daley has added to his productive second half of the season with his goal against the L.A. Kings.
Dylan Larkin may have only gotten one point this week, but it was a big one for him. He officially has a fifty point season under his belt. The goal that he set up couldn’t have been nicer, either.
The points race on this team is going to come down to Larkin or Zetterberg. Larkin has certainly slowed down as of late and Zetterberg has picked up his offence. I would love to see Larkin win this one. It would be a symbolic passing of the torch as leadership shifts from old to new.
The Fancy Stats
The Wings had a decent couple games from a possession standpoint, but returned back to their season average against the Ducks on Friday. The only game they had a shot at winning, in my opinion, was against the Kings. They put up a 54.67 CF% at 5-on-5 but still couldn’t escape with the win.
Anthony Mantha had a positive week after being called out by Zetterberg in a post-game interview. The youngster leads the Wings in goals with his 23. Nick Jensen has also looked really good lately, but his mistakes stick out like a sore thumb. I’m thinking about his turnover on the second Anaheim goal Friday night. It was a terrible poke check that turned into an ugly goal.
Boston has kind of snuck up on Tampa here. This is going to be a close finish as Toronto sits comfortably in third. What will be more fun is the ensuing Toronto/Boston first round series. Man, I can’t wait for the playoffs.
As for Detroit, this nine game skid has helped them drop below Montreal and Ottawa. There’s no way they’re catching Buffalo at this point, but they are doing a great job of maximizing their lottery odds.
The Wings are not even close to being in the Wild Card race. The Hurricanes have completely fallen out of it in a dramatic way. Even Florida’s chances are looking pretty slim after dropping a couple of games this week.
Surprisingly, New Jersey is the one that is going to sneak in.
THE WINGS NATION PLAYER OF THE WEEK
D-Boss Larkin is this week’s player of the week. He’s had a great season and the 50 point mark is a milestone for him as it’s the first 50 goal season of his career. It was also quite possibly the best assist of his season.
In conclusion, losing streaks suck. I’m really hoping they can pull a W soon, preferably this afternoon against the Avs so that I can win a bet.
.@nickseguin19 and @CarlLandra have another bet on today's #LGRW vs #GoAvsGo game. Loser has to wear the other team's jersey for a day. No matter who wins the game, the rest of us are all winners in this bet
— The 4th Line Hockey Podcast (@4thLinePodcast) March 18, 2018
The Wings schedule ain’t getting any easier.
Sunday, March 18 – @ Colorado Avalanche, 3:00 P.M. ET
Tuesday, March 20 – vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 7:30 P.M. ET
Thursday, March 22 – vs. Washington Capitals, 7:30 P.M. ET
Saturday, March 24 – @ Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:00 P.M. ET