Postgame: Canadiens @ Red Wings – 3/24

The Red Wings probably don’t deserve to make the playoffs. I don’t even want to talk about how they nearly blew a 4-0 lead heading into the third period against the Canadiens tonight.

Instead, I want to talk about the best image of the season.

Anthony Mantha, playing in his first-ever home game for the Detroit Red Wings, scores his first career NHL goals.

In the stands is his grandfather, former Canadien and Red Wing Andre Pronovost. Seventy-nine years old. With tears in his eyes.

It was really a beautiful sight.

Stupid Stat of the Day: Canadiens @ Red Wings – 3/24

The Red Wings play the Canadiens tonight, the first of two matchups in the final seventeen days. It marks the twentieth time that the two teams meet in the season’s last seventeen days.

The most recent time was 2014 when Detroit lost both games.

Of the nineteen previous seasons where this occurred, the Red Wings – who are on the outside of the playoffs looking in right now – made the postseason fourteen times.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Lightning – 3/22

Last night, Winging it in Motown Tweeted something about the standard of officiating that caught my eye.

On one level I agree with the sentiment, but really there are two issues with this.

We have the tendency to think of any extra goals that would be scored due to extra power plays as tacked onto the end of the final score. And at the time that was stated, it was already 5-2 so an extra goal right then would, indeed, have only made it 5-3.

A complaint like that, though, is usually indicative of an imbalance in officiating for the entire game. It’s not just that, after they were already down by three, the Red Wings stopped getting calls.

Yeah, an extra third-period power play goal wouldn’t have made a difference but what would an extra first-period one have meant? A 2-0 game becomes 2-1, which means the Red Wings never go down 3-0? Or maybe it comes even earlier.

I’m not going to point to specific instances where something should have been called on the Lightning. That game was too painful to watch for me to go back and do it again. But we shouldn’t assume that the extra penalties (and the also-assumed power play goals that would result from them) just get tacked onto the end.

Even if we do read it that way, there’s another issue with saying the extra power plays wouldn’t have mattered. It’s basically saying that, because the Red Wings were already down by three, they didn’t deserve power plays. They didn’t deserve proper officiating.

Anecdote time… A couple of jobs ago I played on our company’s soccer team. We were awful. There was one game where we were down by double-digits and the ref blew a call against us. We argued and his response was, “What’s the score? We’ll talk about it when you tie it up.”

The implication that bad teams don’t deserve fair reffing is somewhat terrifying. Especially when combined with the idea that any extra goals may have come earlier in the game.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blue Jackets – 3/17

That was better.

On Tuesday I ripped into the Red Wings for such an uninspired effort in a crucial matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers. Last night, the team addressed many of those issues.

I wouldn’t say they came out flying or anything, but Detroit looked in control from the start. They scored the first goal. They limited the Blue Jackets’ chances. It was something they seemingly hadn’t done in weeks.

It was helped by a pretty great start from Jimmy Howard (who also got a bit of puck luck throughout the night). If just one squeaker gets through him early, that ends up a totally different game.

Not great, but better.