It has been an exciting time to be a fan of the Detroit Red Wings. They are winners of their last three games, and the excitement level is at a new high. There has been dominant outings, fantastic goaltending and late-game heroics, all of which have improved the Wings record and bumped them into second place in the Central Division.
Their current run has moved them into fifth overall in the Western Conference, and they are within five points of the Chicago Blackhawks who lead both the West and the Central. It had begun to look as though the Blackhawks were just going to run away from the rest of the pack, but the seasoned veterans in Detroit appear to have other plans. The best part for the Red Wings is to see the gap closing based on their own performance. Chicago has still not lost a game in regulation so far and they own the best record in the NHL. To make matters worse, they are about to start a seven game home stand.
Detroit is starting a home stand of sorts of their own with five out of the next seven games scheduled to be played in front of the crowd at Joe Lewis Arena. It is a stretch the Red Wings will need to take advantage of and if Jimmy Howard keeps protecting the net like he has been, there is no reason the Wings should not be able to capitalize.
Howard has been unbelievable over his last two starts, saving 68 of the 71 shots he has faced. The Wings goaltender has been a workhorse for Detroit so far this season, starting in every single game except one. It is a challenge Howard not only seems to welcome, but apparently thrives in.
Howard played in his first career NHL All-Star game last season, and with the performance he has been displaying in net for the Wings this season, it is easy to understand why.
As a whole, the Red Wings have been playing great hockey, and with the Blackhawks starting as fast as they have, they could not have found their groove quick enough.