Series breakdown: Blue Jackets (7) vs. Red Wings (2)
So yeah, the Wings can light the lamp. Problem is, they seemed to have little interest in keeping the puck out of their own net. Of the 16 playoff teams, only Calgary allowed more goals. Maybe that's symptomatic of a veteran team killing time until the spring, but bad habits have a way of setting in. Unless the Red Wings can get their defense in order, that no repeat champ streak will roll over to 12.
Contrary to the beliefs of Detroit's fans, it's not a matter of flipping a switch now that the games count. Full commitment to the cause will determine the Wings' success. That work ethic was clearly lacking as the season wound down. They enter the playoffs having dropped seven of their final 10. Looking-ahead syndrome? Maybe.
At least the Wings caught a break by landing the Blue Jackets as their first opponent. No disrespect to Columbus, but the team that worked its way into the playoff picture with a Hitchcockian blend of grit and discipline played the last month as though it was reading all those ads for when tickets were going on sale. Even rookie goalie
That's the sort of weakness that could buy Detroit another round to fix their defensive zone woes.