Strong Penalty Killing Has Been Key To Detroit Red Wings' Winning Streak

By Jonathan Katje
Jonathan Ericsson
Marc DesRosiers – USA TODAY Sports

A four-game winning streak has the Detroit Red Wings climbing the Eastern Conference standings and putting a seven-game losing streak in their rearview mirror. In winning four or the last five games, the Red Wings’ penalty kill has not allowed a single goal and for the month of November they only surrendered five goals on 58 chances. They have now improved to third-best in the league while shorthanded, and it’s no coincidence that they took 17 points from their 14 games last month. They currently trail only the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings, and a 6-1 win over the Bruins on Nov.27 featured a three-for-three effort on the penalty kill and has marked a turning point for the Red Wings’ offense.

One key addition that has helped spur the Red Wings’ recent success is center Darren Helm, whose speed is an incredible asset during penalty kills. In 14 games, Helm has scored seven times and has 10 points. One of his goals has come on the power play, while another has come shorthanded. Defensemen Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall continue to play big minutes and play well on the penalty kill, and Kyle Quincey and Brian Lashoff have shown improvement and increased special teams time of late.

For all the good work being done on the penalty kill, the Red Wings are also getting great scoring from their power play units. Now ranked seventh in the league with the man-advantage, the Red Wings showcased their power play skills during an eight-game stretch that saw them net 10 power play goals. The great balance they are showing on special teams has helped them climb the standings, and if Detroit can continue to kill penalties while continue to face some of the league’s top power play units they can plan on heading back to the playoffs.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

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