This Detroit Red Wings team is an extremely enjoyable team to watch, especially when they are playing well and playing like they have something to prove. The Wings have been on a tear at home as of late, winning their last 17 straight, and they are 20-2-1 at home this year (espn.com stats). The Wings have scored 158 goals this season and that is good enough for 4th in the entire league, all the while Henrik Zetterberg is having his worst statistical year on offense of his career. He is on pace for a career low in goals and currently has his lowest shooting percentage of all-time at a dismal 6.1% (espn.com stats). If Zetterberg can find the scoring touch that he has been missing all year, the Red Wings will be a dangerous team; considering they have scored 158 goals and he only has 9 of them. They are currently getting the secondary scoring that they need, which they have been missing desperately in years past. Valtteri Filppula has already equaled his point total from last season and is one point away from tying his career best, while Jiri Hudler is starting to play more like the player he was prior to going to the KHL (which means he isn’t completely worthless) (espn.com stats).
While they’re getting support on offense from unlikely players, on defense Nicklas Lidstrom is continuing to play like the perfect human he is. His statistics are right on pace to finish where they typically do (at a Norris level), and Ian White has done more than his part in replacing Brian Rafalski (espn.com stats). They have six defensemen that can play without being complete liabilities, and this once again, is something that has been missing in years past.
In net, Jimmy Howard is playing like the goaltender that Ken Holland hoped he would be when he was drafted in the 2nd round out of the University of Maine. His 1.98 goals against average is by far the lowest of his career, and his save percentage is the highest it has ever been. He already has 30 wins after having 37 the last two years, and has 5 shutouts, which is how many he had the last two years combined (espn.com stats).
Between the secondary scoring to support Franzen and Datsyuk, the play of the defensemen led by the perfect human, and the emergence of Jimmy Howard as a top 5 goaltender in the NHL, I believe that the Red Wings will win the cup this year. Their depth is unmatched right now, and goaltending had been their Achilles’ heel previously. With that not being the case this year, they have their best chance since 2009 to win a cup. Not to mention the fact that if they clinch home-ice throughout the entire playoffs, the rest of the NHL might as well not bother showing up to the Joe.