The NHL season is long and grueling. It isn’t tough to argue that the 82-game marathon combined with a four-round playoff for the eventual Stanley Cup champion is the toughest trial in all of sports. Since so much can happen in the time span, sometimes defining moments can be tough to spot right when they happen.
The injury to Pavel Datsyuk on November 23 appears to be a pretty good bet as the moment to remember early on in this campaign for the Detroit Red Wings though.
A week ago, Jared Cowen’s shot to Datsyuk’s jaw appeared to derail the Wings. They eventually lost that showdown with the Ottawa Senators by a 4-2 final and were left to look for answers on offense without their leading goal scorer. Shockingly, that hasn’t been an issue over the last four contests.
Everyone seems to have collectively stepped up for Detroit, and they’ve yet to lose a game since Datsyuk went down. They’re a perfect 4-o without him, and are receiving goals and big plays from throughout the lineup. Whether it was Drew Miller’s two-goal effort against the Senators on December 1 or Darren Helm’s new-found scoring touch, the Wings have been tough to match up with lately.
It isn’t like Detroit has just been getting bounces here and there while eking out close wins—they’ve been crushing teams. The Wings have outscored their opponents 18-4 in the last four games and have climbed to second place in the Atlantic Division after struggling through the first three weeks of November.
With Datsyuk on the shelf, the squad seems to have reformed its identity, which is something that was sorely lacking through the first several weeks of action. There is no timetable for “Pav” to return, but at this rate the Wings can allow him to take his sweet time in bouncing back from his head injury.