Red Wings not scoring at crucial time

By Dave Bartkowiak Jr. , Online News Editor, @DaveBartko, dbartkowiak@wdiv.com
Published On: Apr 23 2014 02:38:48 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2014 01:19:25 PM EDT

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) of Finland, stops a goal attempt by Detroit Red Wings center Gustav Nyquist (14) of Sweden, during the second period of Game 3 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series in Detroit, Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

DETROIT -

The Red Wings have scored two goals in three games against the Bruins.

The Bruins have scored seven.

Judging by the lop-sided goal stat alone, it's surprising this series is 2-1 and not 3-0. Detroit can thank Pavel Datsyuk for that, as he displayed some magic to score the only goal in Game 1 -- a beauty of a goal it was. Jimmy Howard was stellar in that game, too, although he didn't face a ton of shots (25) on his way to a shutout.

The other Detroit goal was less impressive, but it was Luke Glendening's first career playoff goal. He had a puck go off his hand and into the net in Game 2. Not to take away from Glendening's effort to get to the front of the net, but it was hardly a highlight reel goal.

Remember Gustav Nyquist's game-winner against the Bruins on April 2? Yeah, that's the last time he scored. Relive it below. Look at that speed through the neutral zone.



I can't get through this article without mentioning the notoriously streaky Johan Franzen, who hasn't scored since March 27 against Montreal. He's had three goals total since March 7. That's three goals in 22 games. Historically speaking, this is Franzen's time to shine. Someone tell him it's the playoffs.

So, the boys are in a slump at a really bad time. Is it because the Bruins are so amazing on D? Are the Red Wings just not getting any scoring chances? Is Tuukka Rask really that great?

"Rask looks great in warm-ups. That's where he's getting the most shots," coach Mike Babcock quipped after Wednesday's skate. 

Here are his comments after Game 3:

Babcock's team had just 23 shots in Game 3. Yet, they outshot the Bruins 35-29 in Game 2 and still lost 4-1. I've never been a huge fan of the all-too-often misleading shots statistic.

Shot quality and traffic in front of Rask may better explain this lack of scoring, and blocked shots might be the most telling statistic.

The Bruins had 19 -- yeah, 19 -- blocked shots in Game 1, 14 in Game 2 and 13 in Game 3. That makes for some frustrating hockey.

"They've done a great job of pushing us to the outside. We have to make the goalie work harder," said Babcock.

That's pretty obvious. The Red Wings aren't getting to the slot. They aren't getting quality shots from the point -- without being blocked -- and Rask isn't being forced to move from side to side. He sees it all and he's having a rather enjoyable time back there doing his thing. Warm-ups.

Then there is the power play, where the Red Wings have gone 0/9, including a 35-second 2-man advantage in Game 3. Detroit has had trouble gaining the zone and getting anything set up on the power play. The good news is they are getting power plays. A matter of time, right?

Datsyuk's goal may be the perfect microcosm of what the Red Wings need to do to score in this series. Justin Abdelkader drove to the net hard, creating some traffic and havoc in front of Rask, while Datsyuk's speed and agility through the neutral zone and into the Bruins zone allowed for a quality scoring chance. He sent it glove side -- a Rask weakness? -- and it wasn't blocked. Goal.

More of that, please.

Game 4 is Thursday night in Detroit.

NOTES: Local 4 sports reporter Jamie Edmonds says Henrik Zetterberg was skating at Wednesday's practice.

Meanwhile, Datsyuk's wife had a baby, so he didn't skate Wednesday. Niklas Kronwall's wife is "about to have a baby," so he didn't skate either. Both will be ready to play Thursday, Babcock said.

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