March 11: Week Ahead in Hockeytown
Red Wings head to Western Canada for three in four nights
DETROIT – It’s a distinction that the Red Wings desperately want to avoid as they head out on three-game road trip to Western Canada this week.
The Wings are the only NHL team without a power-play goal on the road in this lockout-shortened season. They have gone 36 straight man-advantages – spanning 10 road games – without getting a single puck across the goal line.
Detroit is one road game short of owning a dubious record for futility in the past 24 seasons, becoming the team with the most consecutive road games to start a season without a power-play goal.
The Wings are currently tied with the first-year Minnesota Wild, who scored its first road power play goal during a 6-1 win at Boston on Nov. 18, 2000.
“We don’t get the puck back,” coach Mike Babcock said. “You get in, you get set up, you get a shot and they clear it down the ice. It’s a like a marathon going up and down the ice.
“The bottom line is we’ve got to do a way better job on the retrievals. If we do that, your skill comes in. And if you don’t do that, you don’t look like you’ve got any skill.”
The Red Wings are averaging less than 1.5 shots per power play on the road. They have fired 51 shots with the man-advantage
Detroit will get its best opportunity to end the drought on Wednesday in Calgary, where the Flames own the league-worst home penalty kill. Calgary has successful killed off 75.6 percent (31-of-41) man-advantages at home.
Babcock has looked to remedy the Wings’ road woes, shuffling players on power play all season long. This week likely won’t be any different for the Wings who will play three games – at Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver – in four days.
“It changes every game, every moment,” Babcock said. “Whoever’s playing good, gets out there. … It (has) to do with he was getting the puck back. Whoever is playing well gets an opportunity.”
So, with that, here’s a look ahead to this week in Hockeytown:
SOG: 46 | +/-: -4
PLAYER TO WATCH: Named an alternate captain this season, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester holds the longest current ironman streak in the NHL at 611 games – a streak that started on March 6, 2004 – which is sixth longest in league history behind Andy Hebenton (630), Craig Ramsey (776), Steve Larmer (884), Garry Unger (914) and Doug Jarvis (964). On March 15, 2011, he broke the NHL iron man streak by a defenseman at 496 (set by Colorado’s Karlis Skrastins at 495). Bouwmeester’s streak includes seven consecutive seasons without missing a game. He has a goal and four assists, but is a minus-1 in the last eight games. … Bouwmeester is still without a goal in 19 career games against the Red Wings.
SOG: 39 | +/-: -4
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jeff Petry has three goals and two assists in seven games and is averaging 21:25 minutes of ice time per night for the Oilers. The former second-round draft pick from Michigan State, by way of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep, is in his third NHL season with Edmonton. Petry was an assist short of picking up his first career Gordie Howe hat trick when he scored and dropped the gloves with Columbus forward Matt Calvert on March 3. … A solid puck-mover, Petry is currently third on the Oilers in hits (52) and blocked shots (39).
SOG: 62 | +/-: 9
PLAYER TO WATCH: Daniel Sedin has taken advantage on the power play throughout his NHL career, collecting 105 goals with the man-advantage. He ranks second only to Markus Naslund (114) for most power-play goals in franchise history and is 16th among active players in the league, trailing Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney (106). Sedin has logged six seasons with 10 or more power-play tallies, with a career-high 18 during 2010-11, and seven seasons with 20 or more power-play points. Over the span of his career, Sedin has recorded 35.2 percent of his total career point production on the power play with 261 points. … In 43 career games against the Red Wings, he has 15 power-play points, including five goals.