The Malik Report
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins’ best players weren’t their best players. The first line combined for four shots on goal. No. 2 right wing Reilly Smith didn’t put a single puck on net. The third line, which had a favorable matchup against Detroit’s No. 3 pairing of Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl, didn’t become unglued until the third. It’s never a good sign when Thornton is one of the most dangerous offensive players. But that’s what happens when you’re chasing the game....
The Bruins were the better team when they ragged the puck below the dots in the offensive zone, in the corners, and along the walls. Their beef, smarts, and straight-line skating made them a handful. The Wings’ defensemen are smaller, mobile puck movers. They’re not big. They got in trouble when the Bruins chewed them up in the danger areas.
But the Bruins didn’t jam the puck into those areas enough. They made the game too easy for the Wings.
When the Bruins’ top two lines are rolling, they use the neutral zone as a launching pad. The forwards rev up their wheels and gain momentum as they enter the offensive zone.
If they carry the puck over the blue line, opponents can’t slow them down. If they chip the puck behind the defensemen and into the corners, they have enough speed to retrieve it and start their cycle.
But Detroit turned the neutral zone into quicksand.
The Detroit Red WIngs persevered despite some ugly moments and significant nerves to capture a clutch 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins, with Pavel Datsyuk's goal receiving far more rave reviews than the Lucic spear (or Zdeno Chara's boarding of Brendan Smith, though Tomas Jurco gave as good as Smith got) received finger-wagging, deserved or perhaps somewhat ficticiously.
As for the task I'm facing in trying to "wrap this up"...I would be up until the Wings practice at 12:30 PM today if I was to give the THIRTY-FOUR tabs I've got open their due attention. I really don't know how even the most dedicated Bruins fans follow their team, because it's a frickin' job.
You will not be surprised, however, to hear that Boston.com's Jeff Pini reported that the Bruins felt that the game was indeed "close"...
Despite my protestations to the contrary, I was pretty dang happy with the Red Wings' 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Friday, and I was also pretty dang happy with the fact that the Wings did not react to the Bruins' "truculence," including this gem from Milan Lucic:
As Mike Babcock told Fox Sports Detroit's Trevor Thompson when asked whether the play should be reviewed: "That's what the league does."
The rest of the league takes notice, however, and Boston.com's Bruins Blog's Jerard Fagerberg has become a figure of some reknown for suggesting that Lucic's play was simply part of "playoff hockey":
The Detroit Red Wings' prospects had (and/or are having) a good night, at least for the most part.
In playoff hockey, in the QMJHL, round 1 of the much-ballyhooed showdown of Jonathan Drouin and Anthony Mantha went to the challenger. Mantha scored a goal, added an assist and finished at +3 as the Val-d'Or Foreurs defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 5-2, taking the first game of the QMJHL conference final.
Mantha now has 11 goals, 6 assists and 17 points in 11 playoff games played.
In playoff hockey, in the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi had 2 assists as his Guelph Storm defeated the Erie Otters 7-2, taking a 2-games-to-none lead in the OHL's Western Conference Final.
Bertuzzi's posted 7 goals, 6 assists and 13 points in 11 playoff games played;
The Detroit Red Wings did what they tend to do during playoff games. They struggled on the power play (and oh yes, there was an even-up), they battled like mad to play inefficient hockey--firing 24 shots ON Tuuka Rask and another 30 attempts wide/blocked--they freaked the fan base out with frantic defensive mistakes and baffling over-complicating things to the extreme...
But while a certain Danny DeKeyser had to endure a spear to the groin from a team that apparently believes Detroit is guilty of Deception and Subtle Interference (via @myregularface)...
Jimmy Howard was superb--yes, Jimmy Howard--he got a lot of help, and then Pavel Datsyuk did this--with 3:01 left in the game (updated with better video):
All of a sudden, all the jitters, all the kids deferring to the point, all the herky-jerky-ding-dong-diggly-dorking around mattered little to nothing at all, because Datsyuk delivers, and Detroit's taken a 1-0 decision in Game 1 of their 1st round series.
Mike Babcock is up first...
Followed by Darren Helm and Brend Smith below...
I'm heading out to take the mom to the CPA to file our taxes (we received an extension), so, having filed a game-day update post, the Wings' playoff preview video, a Datsyuk Play of the Year, a Ken Holland interview and Craig Custance's feature story on Gustav Nyquist (Custance and the CBC's Doug Harrison wrote tremendous articles about "The Kids" today), I'm about to brave the joy that is 12 Mile and Orchard Lake Road from 3:30-6 on a Friday evening.
As such, I won't be back till nearly game time, and I'd like to use this set of pre-game comments from Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, per BostonBruins.com's Jess Inser (whose notebook also includes a bit about Darren Helm), as the TMR "Afternoon Line":
“We talk a lot about the past in the media — we never talk about the past in our dressing room,” said Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock. “It’s about the present. It’s about right here, right now, and we have a good group of kids. We have good veteran leadership, but our kids have played really well — given us the energy, and they’ve come here and they’ve replaced people and they’ve earned jobs.”
“It’s not like they’re going back to the minors; they’re here. They took jobs, and they’re going to keep jobs. And this is a group here we’re going ahead with now. Obviously, some of the guys that are injured, like Zetterberg, I’m sure can still get a spot on the team. Like Ericsson. I’m sure. But that’s just part of it — they’re not here, [so] what are we going to do about it?” Just play.”
Isner continues at length, and here's Babcock on Helm:
Red Wings GM Ken Holland delivers a game-day ‘state of the Wings’ address on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery today, giving a 15-minute "state of the Wings" ahead of tonight's playoff opener against the Boston Bruins:
Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist played absolutely dominant hockey down the stretch, but proving that he can still score at a good clip while dealing with the intense checking and one-on-one shut-down match-ups of playoff hockey might tell the tale as to whether Nyquist could be another Henrik Zetterberg in the making.
Custance spoke with Nyquist's coach at the University of Maine, Tim Whitehead, the Wings' Swedish super-scout, Hakan Andersson, Griffins coach Jeff Blashill and former Wings assitstant GM Jim Nill about Nyquist's blossoming, but Custance reports that the biggest difference-maker in terms of Nyquist's physical, mental and skill development was and is Nyquist himself:
TSN's latest "Play of the Year Showdown" pits Pavel Datsyuk's superb pass against the Boston Bruins...
Against a shorthanded goal by T.J. Oshie:
About The Malik Report
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.