Wings Crumbling in Net, Canucks Rock Solid
(3/29/12) Six weeks ago the Red Wings looked like one of the teams to beat in the West, but now there are major question marks as the season draws to a close. The biggest cause for concern is between the pipes, as Jimmy Howard continues to nurse a groin strain, and back-up Joey MacDonald is dealing with back spasms. The Wings have been forced to turn to Ty Conklin who, in spite of being a 35-year old veteran, has just one playoff start in his career. The shortcomings were on full display last night, as the Wings were downed 4-2 by the lowly Blue Jackets. Conklin is 5-6-1 this season, with a 3.28 GAA, and a .884 SV%, not exactly the kind of numbers that instill confidence for a playoff run.
Fortunately Howard is close to returning - he practiced today and apparently looked fine - and he's expected to recover and be ready to go for the second season. With that said, we're a little wary to rank the Wings any higher in our Playoff Guide for now - all it takes is one tweak and it's right back to square one.
On the other side of the coin, the Canucks are a team looking rock-solid in net. Roberto Luongo is playing the best he has all season, and Cory Schneider showed last night why many people think he's the best back-up in the NHL. Schneider earned a 1-0 shutout of the Avs, his third of the season, and made 43 saves in the process. His numbers are anything but back-up like - 18-7-1, a 1.97 GAA, and a .937 SV%.