When the Wings went to Pittsburgh for Game Six last season, they knew that there was another game waiting for them at the Joe. They knew that they just had to take one of the remaining two games in the Cup finals to repeat. As history tells us, they went 0-for-2 and eventually lost the Stanley Cup on home ice to the Penguins. This year, in round one, they do not have the luxury to play that seventh game at home.
Sunday afternoon playoff games so far have not been good to the Red Wings. Much like Sundays for the Lions, the losses have begun to pile up for a Red Wings team now on the brink of first round elimination. Unlike the 2009 run through the playoffs, this Wings team has had to deal with significant travel times – somethings that seems to have played a major factor in the weekend struggles. For exhausted fans and players, the Wings need to make that seventh game a blowout and move on.
The answer for the team in Glendale on Tuesday will have to come on defense. For a team that came out with so much flare at the beginning of Sunday’s game, the result halfway through the period quickly looked bleak. Jimmy Howard, like most other goaltenders in NHL history, cannot continually stand on their heads for 60-plus minutes while their team hopes for magic. If they are able to have a strong defensive effort, especially in short-handed situations, along with some breaks and bounces in their direction, the Wings should be able to survive with their talent to the next round.