With the holidays coming to a close and the arrival of 2012, the Detroit Red Wings (24-13-1 with 49 points) remain three points behind the Central Division-leading Chicago Blackhawks, but are in fourth place in the Western Conference. Their wins last week against the Nashville Predators and twice over the St. Louis Blues were important since they are in the same division.
Pavel Datsyuk continues to lead the team in scoring with 39 points (12 goals and team leading 27 assists), while Johan Franzen leads the team in goals with 15. Nicklas Lidstrom leads the defense corp with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) with Ian White leading the club with a plus minus rating of an impressive +24.
Jimmy Howard continues to lead all NHL netminders with 23 wins and is also sporting a 1.93 goals against average and .929 save percentage with four shutouts.
Henrik Zetterberg leads the team with 120 shots on goal while Todd Bertuzzi and Jonathan Ericcson lead all Red Wings in time spent in the penalty box with 35 PIMs. Nicklas Lidstrom, who after all is 41 years young, averages a team-leading 23:44 minutes of ice time per game.
Game 35: Detroit Red Wings 4 Nashville Predators 1
The Red Wings came to the “Music City” to give the Predators some music of their own, which was in the form of some “Sweet Chin” tunes. Valtteri Filppula led the Red Wings’ offense with two goals and Jimmy Howard stopped 29 shots for the win. The PK unit for the Red Wings had the Arby’s special by going a perfect five-for-five against a deadly Predators’ PP unit which ranked second in the NHL.
Game 36: St. Louis Blues 2 Detroit Red Wings 3
With the Blues’ winning both times on their home ice against the Red Wings, they were looking to extend their winning streak at the JLA and it looked that way for a little over 39 minutes. Nicklas Lidstrom got the Red Wings on the board with 63 seconds left in the second period and the duo of Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall scored twice in 56 seconds midway through the third period to beat the Blues for the first time this season.
Game 37: Detroit Red Wings 2 Chicago Blackhawks 3
The Blackhawks beat the Red Wings in the first meeting between the two teams thanks to goals by Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook, who scored the game-winner early in the third period. Despite goals from Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi, the Red Wings’ top forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg all combined for zero points and only one shot on goal.
Game 38: St. Louis Blues 0 Detroit Red Wings 3
The Red Wings closed out 2011 with their second win over the Blues on home ice in five days. The home team did all of their scoring in the second period with goals from Johan Franzen, Justin Abdelkader and Jiri Hudler, while Jimmy Howard stood on his head by stopping all 31 shots for his fourth shutout of the season. The win gave the Red Wings sole possession of second place in the Central Division.
Red Wings’ Three Stars of the Week
Jimmy Howard-three wins, 1.51 goals against average, .951 save percentage, one shutout
Pavel Datsyuk-two goals, two assists, +4, one game-winning goal
Valtteri Filppula-one goal, two assists, +2
December 27: F Tomas Homstrom placed on injured reserve (strained groin)
December 27: F Joakim Andersson recalled from Grand Rapids (AHL)
December 28: F Jan Mursak activated from injured-reserve and sent down to Grand Rapids for conditioning stint.
December 29: F Gustav Nyquist recalled from Grand Rapids.
Red Wings Prospects Stats- 2012 World Junior Championships
Petr Mrazek (Czech Republic); two wins, two losses, 2.75 goals against average, .917 save percentage.
Teemu Pulkkinen (Finland); five goals, three assists, +5
Tomas Jurco (Slovakia); one goal, four assists, +1
Marek Tvrdon (Slovakia); two goals, one assists
Mattias Backman (Sweden); zero goals, three assists, +5
The talk of the WJC so far isn’t Team Canada with a perfect 4-0 and demolishing every team that they’ve faced—it’s been the play of goaltender Petr Mrazek. Don’t let his stats in the tournament fool you. His stock rose dramatically after he led the Czech Republic with a 52-save performance, leading them to a 5-2 upset win over the United States. Mrazek’s biggest save was stopping Josh Archibald on a penalty shot with more than eight minutes left in the third period and his teammates responded by scoring three times to knock out the Americans.
While Canada and Sweden await who they will face in the semi-finals, Slovakia will face Finland in the Quarterfinals Monday afternoon and all eyes will be on Mrazek and his Czech Republic teammates as they face Russia in the other Quarterfinal match later that night.
This week’s games:
The Red Wings will start 2012 with two games on the road. Tuesday night, they head to Dallas for a night with the Stars. Saturday night, they head to Toronto for an “Original Six” clash with the Maple Leafs in a rare regular season matchup.
About the Author: Alex lives in Hockeytown, USA. He is a huge Red Wings fan going back to the 1985-86 season when they were dead last with 40 points. He has seen the transition from the 'Dead Wings' to one of the top franchises in sports. You can also follow him at twitter.com/alexmuscat73.