Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wings Learn Valuable Lesson Against Buffalo

Last night's game was way more nerve-wracking than it needed to be.

Detroit roared out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st period in their match against the Buffalo Sabres, but obviously got complacent and relaxed by the time the 2nd rolled around, because from then on the Wings let the Sabres back into the play, and only managed to scrape by with a narrow 3-2 win.  Darren Helm, Tomas Jurco and Daniel Alfredsson tallied for the Wings and Jimmy Howard improved to 20-18-11 with the victory.

I'm personally glad the Wings learned this lesson last night against the worst team in the league, because it proves exactly what the kids in Detroit need to know: Parity is the reality, ANY team can beat you any night if you don't work hard for the full game.  They almost saw it happen and almost gave away what many (myself included) would normally consider mail-in points.  The only thing is, we're way too close to the end of the season and we're still not technically a lock for the playoffs.  We do not get the luxury of backing into any wins from here on out, instead the Wings must put skate blade to throat and make sure they're playing strong hockey from start to finish.

With the standings the way they are, the most points any team below Detroit and Columbus can end with is 92.  If you factor in ROW, the Wings need to win 3 of their last 5 to be a lock for the playoffs no matter what everyone else does.  One of those 5 is against Buffalo again, so as long as the Wings turn in a slightly better effort than they did last night, that's one win, leaving 2 wins out of 4 to clinch.

That, my friends, is doable.

We're in the homestretch now, guys.  Pedal down all week means we're in.  Get it done.

P.S.:  I'd like to congratulate referee Don Van Massenhoven on his great career as an on-ice official.  He reffed his final game last night at the Joe, and we were his choice for his last match.  Enjoy your retirement, Don!  The Ref has one of the most thankless jobs in hockey, but one of the most integral and important.