The Red Wings were considered one of the preseason favorites to win the Stanley Cup and their performance in the first part of the season probably hasn’t discouraged anyone who picked them.
When the Canadiens take the ice at the Joe on Friday night, they’ll be facing a team that leads the West, but is in a bit of a mini-slump, having pulled in only one point in their last three games. In fairness, the Wings were coming off a compressed trip to the West Coast, but the standards Detroit sets won’t allow them to make excuses.
So it will most likely be a determined group of Red Wings who the Habs will encounter. Coach Mike Babcock pinpointed his team’s main problem as their play coming through the neutral zone and that’s what they worked on in practice on Thursday.
But with a talent-laden line-up, led by elite players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, Johan Franzen and Brian Raflaski, the Red Wings almost never stay in a slump for long. Longtime goalie Chris Osgood, who watched the team closely from the press box while rehabbing a groin injury last month, remarked in The Detroit Press this week how consistent his team can be.