Five things the Wings must accomplish
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Detroit Red Wings Brad Stuart and goalie Jimmy Howard react as San Jose Sharks Ryan Clowe shoots the puck at the net during overtime in Game 1 of their NHL Western Conference semi-final hockey playoff in San Jose, April 29, 2011. (REUTERS/Chad Ziemendorf)
Here are five things the Detroit Red Wings must do better in their Western semifinal against the San Jose Sharks.
The Wings trail the series 2-0, with Game 3 Wednesday night in Detroit.
1. SCORE MORE GOALS
Sounds simple enough, but it hasn't been easy for them in this series. San Jose goalie Antti Niemi has been solid in the first two games, stopping 56 of 58 shots. The Wings, however, haven't tested him enough.
Niemi often is accused of being inconsistent. He can be really good or he can be really ... well, you get the idea. The Wings are supposed to be a high-powered offensive machine. They need to start showing it.
2. STAY OUT OF THE SCRUMS
Detroit coach Mike Babcock said before the start of the series he didn't want his players wasting energy getting involved in stupidity after the whistle had gone.
The Wings were supposed to show composure. Instead, they have allowed the Sharks to engage them in extracurriculars. It has resulted in penalties and it has to stop if Detroit is to find a way back into this series.
3. HOME SWEET HOME
The Wings should be able to take advantage of being at home, shouldn't they? Actually, home ice hasn't always meant a lot in these playoffs but it should be different for Detroit with Games 3 and 4 at Joe Louis Arena.
Last spring, the Sharks defeated Detroit in a series that went five games, including a Game 3 win in Detroit. History can't repeat. Even Babcock knows if you get down 3-0 the chances of a comeback are slim.
4. BIG GUNS NEED TO SHOW UP
Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg, who spent the nine-day break after Round 1 recovering from injuries, need to find a way to do more.
They're not getting it done. Maybe both are injured more seriously than the Wings are letting on. Detroit was excited to get Franzen and Zetterberg back when the series started. Neither has done anything to make anyone excited since.
5. BIG SAVES FROM JIMMY HOWARD
The goalie has been a standout throughout the first two games -- in fact, he has been the Wings' best player. That trend needs to continue or Detroit doesn't stand a chance.
Howard struggled with inconsistency during the season. There is concern the Wings already may have seen the best they're going to get from him. Can't be the case. Howard has to keep it going.