The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/22/12 at 01:17 AM ET
No amount of roses or makeup would make the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets any more or less a pig of a win, but we knew this one was going to be ugly going in. The Wings had lead to shake out of their legs after their road trip, they had little motivation and were playing a team that very literally has nothing less to lose—and is playing trap hockey to a tee under former Wild coach Mike Richards.
What was surprising, however, is how badly the Wings would drag their butts, and how hard the Blue Jackets pushed them—and again, while a win is a win at this time of year, there is some concern given the number of shootouts the Wings have been involved in of late (3) given that regulation or OT wins is the first tiebreaker among tied standings.
As for the way the Wings played, however, I mean…It was awful at times. Nicklas Lidstrom, Ian White, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart and Mike Commodore, who’s got a very sore foot, all out-skated the Wings’ forwards throughout a first period in which the Wings were out-shot 7-5, and just under nine minutes into a period in which the Datsyuk line was as flat as O-hi-O, the Wings managed to kill the first of two penalties doled out to Tomas Holmstrom, but nineteen seconds later, Derek Dorsett chipped the puck into the Wings’ zone, Jimmy Howard blubbed what should have been an easy glove save, and Ryan Russell, who was alone in the slot, rifled the puck past Howard.
Soon after, the Wings tied things up: after regaining the zone when the Blue Jackets hacked the puck out, Jiri Hudler dropped the puck to Valtteri Filppula and he found Niklas Kronwall on the right point, Kronwall pinched in, avoided a hit from a Blue Jacket coming off the bench and rifled a shot through Curtis Sanford.
The Wings more or less rode out the first period and hoped to regroup in the second period. Early on, they did, carrying play to some extent, but the Blue Jackets channeled the Minnesota Wild to the point that they lulled the Wings to sleep, and on yet another call to Tomas Holmstrom (see: he did commit a penalty, but the Wings’ forwards were getting grabbed, too, so chalk it up to it being Homer), Antoine Vermette sent the puck back to Nikita Nikitin and he ripped a puck off Pavel Datsyuk’s stick and over Howard’s blocker. 2-1.
The Wings replied quickly, thanks to finally getting their power play going. With the shots 2-2 in the period at the halfway mark, Grant Clitsome went to the box and after Tomas Holmstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk worked the puck around the perimeter, Nicklas Lidstrom made a lovely hand block of Columbus’s clearing attempt, his first shot was blocked, and after Niklas Kronwall got the puck back to Lidstrom, he fired the puck wide with Tomas Holmstrom in front…and it went in off the back of Curtis Sanford’s pad:
The Wings more ore less resigned themselves to a slough throughout the rest of the second period, though they ended up out-shooting the Blue Jackets 10-4.
In the third, however, the Wings finally found their legs, starting to really test Sanford while actually skating like themselves, roaring up and down the ice, providing winger support and outlet passes for the defensemen who’d been doing the legwork all night long and countering the Blue Jackets’ flurries—it need not be understated that Jimmy Howard may have only faced 19 shots, but he had to make some absolutely spectacular saves—and then this happened:
Henrik Zetterberg didn’t mean to do so, but while the Wings were on the power play, he bumped Nikitin with his left hand, and Nikitin lost his balance and fell into the boards.
Five and a game for Zetterberg, bang bang, and the Wings ended up killing off 3-and-a-half minutes of a major penalty, elegantly blocking shots, shooting lanes and passes, to the point that Columbus earned exactly one shot on their man advantage.
After the Wings’ PK’ers ground down Columbus, however, the Wings seemed to run right back out of gas, and the Blue Jackets were both able to get some sneaky, dangerous scoring opportunities late in the game and had the better of the offensive opportunities in overtime. At several points, Jimmy Howard’s saves allowed the Wings to get to overtime and then get to the shootout.
Here are the highlights of regulation time’s goals…
In the shootout, Curtis Sanford was as sneaky as Antoine Vermette’s attempts to knee Pavel Datsyuk, and in doing so he made Jimmy Howard and the Wings sweat while working for their win.
Sanford didn’t bite on Pavel Datsyuk’s glove side deke, but Howard responded by standing tall and then plain old watching Rick Nash dangle the puck off his own stick blade;
In the second set of shooters, Jiri Hudler went for a slap shot but was stopped easily, and Howard sealed the left post and made a nice toe save on Derek Dorsett.
The third shooters took their tries, with Todd Bertuzzi hitting the crossbar over Sanford’s glove and Howard elegantly stopping Derick Brassard with his blocker, and in the “overtime” portion…
Valtteri Filppula slickly deked Sanford down and fired the puck over his blocker, and with the game on the line…
Jimmy Howard absolutely stoned Ryan Johansen, standing up and forcing Johansen to go blocker side, and that was that. The Wings’ sixteenth win came ugly and came much, much harder than it should have been, but given how unbelievably flat the Wings were, given how well Columbus played a counterattack game, and given that this was the Wings’ 9th game of its 11-in-19 nights stretch, and that the Wings were somewhat guilty of looking forward to their game against the Blues…
You take what you can get, and the Wings took two points.
Update: Here’s FSD’s game highlights via the Wings’ website:
Update at 11:17 PM: Here’s the shootout:
Shots 31-19 Detroit. The Wings were out-shot 7-5 in the 1st period, they out-shot Columbus 10-4 in the 2nd period, out-shot Columbus 15-6 in the 3rd period and were out-shot 2-1 in overtime.
The Wings went 1-for-4 in 4:51 of PP time; Columbus went 1-for-3 in 7:07 of Pp time.
Curtis Sanford stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced; Jimmy Howard worked harder to stop 17 of 19
The 3 stars, per Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji, were Curtis Sanford, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula.
The Wings’ goals: Kronwall (10) from Filppula (24) and Hudler (17);
Lidstrom (10) from Kronwall (11), PPG.
Faceoffs 30-28 Columbus;
Blocked shots 18-17 Detroit;
Missed shots 12-9 Columbus (57-49 Detroit);
Hits 21-19 Columbus;
Giveaways 11-4 Detroit;
Takeaways 5-4 Columbus.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 11-and-10 (52%); Helm went 4-and-8 (33%); Zetterberg went 3-and-5 (38%); Filppula went 5-and-3 (63%); Emmerton went 4-and-1 (80%); Abdelkader lost two faceoffs; Franzen lost his only faceoff; Cleary won his only faceoff.
Shots: Cleary and Helm co-led the team with 5 shots apiece; White, Franzen and Holmstrom had 3; Lidstrom, Commodore, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 2; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Filppula had 1.
Blocked attempts: The Blue Jackets blocked 5 attempts by Brad Stuart; Kronwall had 3 attempts blocked; Hudler and Helm had 2 attempts blocked; Lidstrom, Miller, Commodore, Zetterberg and Franzen had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Holmstrom missed the net 2 times; Abdelkader, Cleary, Hudler, Bertuzzi, Emmerton, Kronwall and Franzen missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Stuart and Bertuzzi had 3 hits apiece; Abdelkader, Commodore, Helm, Ericsson and Kronwall had 2; Lidstrom, Hudler and Emmerton had 1.
Giveaways: Datsyuk, White and Howard had 2 giveaways; Lidstrom, Helm, Kronwall, Franzen and Holmstrom had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Abdelkaer, Stuart, Zetterberg and Helm had takeaways.
Blocked opponent shots: White blocked 5 shots; Lidstrom, Emmerton, Filppula and Kronwall blocked 2 shots; Cleary, Miller, Commodore, Stuart and Ericsson blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Holmstrom took 2 minor penalties; Zetterberg took a major penalty.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective 0. Datsyuk, Commodore, Bertuzzi and Franzen finished at -1; Stuart, Hudler, Zetterberg and Filppula finished at +1; everyone else was even.
Points: Kronwall had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Lidstrom had a goal; Hudler and Filppula had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 25:14 played; Stuart played 23:56; White played 22:27;
Lidstrom played 22:55; Datsyuk played 21:00; Filppula played 19:32;
Ericsson also played 19:32; Cleary played 17:46; Franzen played 17:43;
Bertuzzi played 16:53; Hudler played 16:41; Zetterberg played 16;39;
Helm played 16:36; Miller played 15:44; Commodore played 13:37;
Holmstrom played 10:17; Abdelkader played 9:58; Emmerton played 6:03.
Update: Do I like the “pregame sights and sounds” video? Yup. The soundtrack? Nope.
Also: From the Wings’ website, here are the Wings’ post-game comments:
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.