As the Detroit Red Wings struggle to win games lately, there are a few key elements missing that could justify some of their woes. The team is currently 22nd overall in goals per game with an average of 2.44 and 18th in goals against with a 2.69 average per match. Their power play is 20th (15.3% conversions), while their penalty kill is near the bottom of the league at 26th, as they kill 77.6% of their penalties while being down a man.
It’s clear that from the top to the bottom of the lineup, there are glaring issues. Being without their (former) top scorer Thomas Vanek has been difficult, as he had four goals and eight points in seven games, including four points with the man advantage before being injured. He practically singlehandedly carried the offensive load through the first few games of the regular season.
Moments ago, he told reporters that he is expected to return on Sunday as the Red Wings take on the Calgary Flames. According to Helene St. James, Sunday will mark the 24th day that Vanek was placed on the injured reserve, and tomorrow’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning would mark the 10th game he misses.