Hockey World Blog

Eastern Exposure

The Red Wings have scored 24 goals and allowed 31 goals in 12 games at home. This is a stark contrast to their road mark where they have scored 30 and allowed 27 goals in 10 games.

Of the teams that switched divisions/conferences this season the club that has had the hardest adjustment in terms of record is the Detroit Red Wings. Sure the Blue Jackets and Jets have worse records but their expectations aren’t in the same atmosphere as the Red Wings. Detroit has made the playoffs for 22 straight years while playing one of the most brutal schedules in the league in terms of travel. Detroit is located in the Eastern Time Zone and just about every away game (sans Columbus) in the West was late in the evening. Which makes it difficult on the body dealing with sudden time changes especially in the playoffs due to the quick travel turnaround. Even worse for fans who constantly dealt with midweek road games starting as late as 10/10:30 p.m.

This season hasn’t been friendly to them in the East. Playing in the new Atlantic Division has brought on all sorts of problems including new opponents that they weren’t used to seeing on a regular basis. And the Red Wings are currently riding a seven-game losing streak. Yes. You heard that right. Despite most of those losses (five) coming in overtime or shootout, the Red Wings haven’t won a home game since a 6-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators Oct. 23. Joe Louis Arena used to be one of the most feared places to play in the NHL. It was just two years the franchise set the NHL record with 23 straight home wins. With a 3-3-6 home record this season Joe Louis Arena isn’t so feared. Maybe it is time for that desperately needed new arena for the team.

In terms of what is causing the slump, it could be the lack of goal scoring. The Wings have scored 24 and allowed 31 goals in 12 games at home. This is a stark contrast to their road mark where they have scored 30 and allowed 27 goals in 10 games. The one bright spot for Detroit is their 10 power play goals at home, placing them in a five-way tie for sixth, three behind league leader St. Louis.

After losing to Nashville 2-0 Tuesday night, the Red Wings will try to improve their home mark as they have three of the next four at home prior to Thanksgiving. The stretch of games prior to the Olympic break will be critical for them to remain in the playoff hunt and try to keep that playoff streak going in the Eastern conference. Should they miss the playoffs, saying it is a disappointment is an under statement. It could also prove the weakness of the Western conference considering how Detroit has been so dominate for the past 17 years.

This isn’t the best time for Mike Babcock’s team to struggle internally, considering the hoopla and distractions around the NHL Winter Classic is only a few weeks away. It will also be interesting to see how potential Olympic players continue to play in the weeks leading up to when the Sochi rosters are announced.

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