Originally written on Nightmare on Helm Street  |  Last updated 12/11/11

The Red Wings are on fire and for the first time since 2008 I can watch a game where the opposing team scores first, or takes the lead and I don't immediately curl up in the fetal position and pray to the hockey gods that we don't get any further behind.

Detroit is playing the game akin to what we expect, and it's looking more and more like 2008 all over again.

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Let’s take a look at the year so far. The first thing that jumps out at me is the goals per game. In 2007-08 the 3.07 G/G was good enough for 1st in the league. This year Detroit has upped that number slightly yet find themselves in 5th behind Philly, the Couve, Boston and Chicago. To put it in perspective, the only team out of those four with a better goals against per game is Boston. Detroit also had a six-game streak where they averaged a goal per game.

Detroit is also leading the league in shots per game and is 2nd by only a small margin to St. Louis in shots against. These are two key stats in my book that go grossly overlooked. You can't score if you don't shoot, firing pucks on the net create second chance opportunities that Detroit has a knack for capitalizing on. Secondly the fewer shots allowed the better tour team is playing both defensively and in their own zone.

Comparison Through 28 Games


GP

W

L

OT

P

P%

G/G

GA/G

S/G

SA/G

11-12

28

18

9

1

37

0.661

3.14

2.21

34.2

27.5

07-08

82

54

21

7

115

0.701

3.07

2.18

34.4

23.5


Though the point totals are a bit lower, the conference is also much more balanced. Detroit projects to finish with the #2 seed this year behind Minnesota. As of this writing Chicago has a one point lead in the Central, with Detroit having a game in hand.

Projected end of Year Comparison


GP

W

L

OT

P

P%

G/G

GA/G

S/G

SA/G

11-12

82

53

26

3

109

0.646

3.13

2.21

34.1

27.4

07-08

82

54

21

7

115

0.701

3.07

2.18

34.4

23.5


Many hockey fans discredit Chris Osgood's career as simply the product of having a good team in front of him. Well, so did Brodeur and Roy. There is no denying that Chris Osgood stole a few games during the 2008 cup run, and if it wasn't for the play of Zetterberg, Ozzie would have been a shoe in for the Conn Smythe.

Howard has certainly upped his play this season. He is even starting to get national recognition by the media as a legitimate star. If Howie continues to dominate the way he has the first quarter, then the Wings should have no problems bringing home cup #12.

Comparison Through 28 Games


GP

GS

W

L

OT

GAA

Sv%

SO

Chris Osgood

43

40

27

9

4

2.09

0.914

4

Jimmy Howard

24

24

17

6

1

1.85

0.931

3


When you break it down at the end of the year those are Vezina numbers. Will Jimmy win? Probably not given the fact that Detroit goalies don't get the recognition they deserve.

Let’s hope that Conklin solves his confidence issues, or Holland finds a replacement that doesn't start with a 'Mac' or 'Mc' because Jimmy needs to get some rest every once in a while. I'd hate to see the season come to an early end because he ran out of gas.

Look at those numbers, it's a thing of beauty. I've said it before. I never had the confidence in Jimmy that everyone else seemed to over the last few years, and I questioned whether he could be the guy to take this team all the way. I now honestly believe that Jimmy is the real deal. He is oozing with confidence and swagger, and I love it.

Projected end of Year Comparison


GP

GS

W

L

OT

GAA

Sv%

SO

Chris Osgood

43

40

27

9

4

2.09

0.914

4

Jimmy Howard

70

70

50

17

3

1.83

0.931

9


The Wings can no doubt win the cup this year. With the emergence of Valterri Filppula as a star they have four players that are legitimate threats when it comes to scoring. The defense is playing amazing, the role players are contributing, depth is certainly not an issue, and Kenny has the cash to upgrade if need be.

It's been fun so far, and I expect it to get even better.

LGRW!

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