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Red Wings-Avalanche quick take: leaders of the pack help Wings rope-a-dope high-altitude win

It's all about regulation or overtime wins for the Red Wings, and in what may or may not have been a make-or-break-the-season game--with Sunday's opponent, the Blues, pulling ahead of the Wings in the Western Conference standings...

The Detroit Red Wings dominated the first period against the Colorado Avalanche, nearly gave the game away in the second and third periods, and in overtime...Leaders lead and the leaders led, giving Detroit a crucial 3-2 OT win over Colorado.

Coming off the Wings' awful loss to Phoenix, the Wings HAD to win. They HAD to win. And they played wonderfully in the first period, with Pavel Datsyuk getting the first goal on a slick, slick power play pass from Johan Franzen, and the Wings rebounding nicely from Mark Olver's goal via a Gustav Nyquist Datsyukian-deke style goal 13 seconds after Olver scored...

And then the Wings let their foot off the gas, slowly but surely, due to mental and physical fatigue. In the second period, the Wings did not dominate "zone time" or "grind time" in the Avs' zone, and the team began to make those characteristic turnovers.

In the third period, the Wings looked like they'd attempted to climb Mount Everest without oxygen, just absolutely hugging the ropes as the Avs took 16 shots on JImmy Howard and got a bunt-down by P-A Parenteau, and the Wings seemed to spend the entire period either in their own end or passing the puck back into their own end, where their defensemen would invariably surrender possession and gigantic scoring chances.

Thankfully, even when he rolled over and uncovered a puck that nearly slithered onto the goal line, Jimmy Howard was spectacular, and he finished the night with 33 saves.

And then it happened. At the end of regulation, Niklas Kronwall absolutely DESTROYED Jamie McGinn--cleanly by Kronwall standards--and while the Wings' overtime play was up-and-down, and they gave up scoring chances (but this time, had defensemen willing to block shots)...

(From We All Bleed Red on YouTube)

Boom goes the dynamite:

NIklas Kronwall assuaged for a giveaway or three by passing the puck up to Henrik Zetterberg, who sweeped in behind the net, had to reverse flow, went from right to left and flicked a centering pass to Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk plowed the puck and himself into J-S Giguere as if he was channeling Tomas Holmstrom, and, somehow, with hope against hope, despite themselves, the Wings won.

Oh, Avs announcers, such ninnies:

Update: For comparison's sake, here's Ken and Mick's take:


Now they face the Blues on Sunday, during a dreaded matinee game, and while Jakub Kindl looked like he needed a rest tonight, and Kyle Quincey had a rough go wearing a cage, Danny DeKeyser was smart, mobile and simply sound, Ian White acquitted himself well, Johan Franzen looked engaged an interested at center and Gustav Nyquist put on a clinic. Even though Jokaim Andersson's line was slower with Drew Miller and Danny Cleary alongside him, Andersson and Miller were particularly good, the Tootoo-Emmerton-Eaves line gave up too many pucks, but also were positive impacts overall...

And while you may hate their errors, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson led the defense and were essential to ensuring that the Wings won.

But the leaders had to lead, and Zetterberg, Datsyuk (the Eurotwins were reunited), Howard and Kronwall led the way with heart, grit and hard work, and it was a glorious thing to see the Wings eventually win despite themselves.

Now they need to get out of altitude, get Damien Bruner back to play alongside Andersson and Cleary on Sunday, maybe consider putting Smith or Lashoff back in the lineup so that Kindl can get a much-needed break, and the team needs to take Saturday off to mentally recharge for another season-defining game that cannot be upstaged by its preceding Winter Classic announcement.

Update: Awesome:

Here's a slate of Jimmy Howard saves. Dunno if Datsyuk's goal will pop up soon.

Here's Datsyuk's first goal:



Shots 35-31 Colorado overall. Detroit out-shot Colorado 12-9 in the 1st, was out-shot 9-7 in the 2nd, was out-shot 16-6 in the 3rd and out-shot Colorado 6-1 in OT.

The Wings went 1-for-4 in 4:46 of PP time; the Avs went 0-for-3 in 4:14 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 33 of 35 shots; J-S Giguere stopped 28 of 31.

The 3 stars were picked by Altitude TV's Mike Haynes, and they were Mark Olver, P-A Parenteau and Pavel Datsyuk.

Faceoffs 28-26 Detroit (Detroit won 52%);

Blocked shots 22-20 Detroit;

Missed shots 12-10 Detroit (total attempts 67-53 Colorado, with the Wings firing 31 shots on Giguere and 32 wide or into Avs players);

Hits 30-23 Colorado;

Giveaways 14-7 Colorado;

Takeaways 12-9 Colorado.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 11-and-12 (48%); Franzen went 8-and-5 (62%); Emmerton went 2-and-4 (33%); Andersson went 3-and-3 (50%); Filppula went 3-and-0; Cleary won his only faceoff; Eaves and Abdelkader lost their only faceoffs.

Shots: Zetterberg led the team with 8 shots; Abdelkader, Datsyuk and Nyquist had 4; Eaves, Miller and Andersson had 2; Cleary, White, Filppula and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked attempts: Datsyuk hit Avalanche players 4 times; Abdelkader, Kronwall and Franzen had 3 shot attempts blocked; Quincey had 2 attempts blocked; Nyquist, White, Miller, Zetterberg and Filppula had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Abdelkader, Ericsson and Kronwall missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Zetterberg, Filppula and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Quincey and Franzen co-led the team with 4 hits; Kindl and Kronwall had 3; Abdelkader and Eaves had 2; White, Miller, Tootoo, Emmerton and Ericsson had 1.

Giveaways: Quincey, DeKeyser and Howard had 2 giveaways; Tootoo had 1.

Takeaways: DeKeyser had 3 takeaways; Datsyuk, Miller, Tootoo, Kronwall, Andersson and Franzen had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 6 Avs shots; White blocked 3; Kindl, Eaves, Emmerton, Quincey and Ericsson blocked 2; Cleary, Miller and Zetterberg blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Abdelkader, Datsyuk and Franzen took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective -1. Eaves, Tootoo, Emmerton and Quincey finished at -2; Kindl finished at -1; Datsyuk, Nyquist, White, Zetterberg, Filppula, Ericsson, Kronwall and Franzen finished at +1.

Points: Datsyuk scored 2 goals; Zetterberg had 2 assists; Nyquist scored a goal; Kronwall and Franzen had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 28:04 played; Ericsson played 23:26; Kindl played 23:31;

Datsyuk played 22:21; Quincey played 21:40; Zetterberg played 21:31;

Miller played 18:22; Abdelkader played 16:57; DeKeyser played 16:36;

White played 16:21; Franzen played 16:11; Filppula played 16:01;

Nyquist played 14:45; Cleary played 14:10; Andersson played 13:28;

Emmerton played 11:39; Eaves played 9:39; Tootoo played 8:44.


Update again: The Wings' website posted a slate of highlights--narrated by the Avs' announcers...


And the Wings' TV crew posted clips of Jimmy Howard...

Danny DeKeyser...


And coach Babcock speaking to the media:


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Primis's avatar

I said over on A2Y, Kindl’s a mental mess.  They have him overthinking every play, he can’t seem to just react anymore.  I don’t know if he’s just in over his head, or if the constant lineup mind games have gotten to him.  It’s pretty clear though that it’s not doing him over the Wings any good to keep playing him.  I still like the kid and still think he has potential, but… right now it’s not working.

Nobody’s said it yet that I’ve seen but Abdelkader had a heck of a game.  Maybe it’s just taking this long to reprogram him from Bottom Six to Top Six?  Nyquist and Pavel will get the headlines for sure of the forwards but… don’t forget the heavy lifting Abby did.

Howard needs help, and it’s sad to now know no help is coming.

Posted by Primis on 04/06/13 at 12:06 AM ET

moocat's avatar

I thought Quincy played pretty well.  Especially for a first game back and playing with a cage.

Posted by moocat on 04/06/13 at 12:11 AM ET


Maybe I missed the parts of the game where Kindl played badly, thanks to the unreliability of Internet feeds…but jeez, I frequently have a hard time seeing what you’re talking about on the occasional nights you critcize Kindl.

He’s just solid, night in, night out, and looks good enough to be on the top PP unit.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 04/06/13 at 12:11 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I like Kindl. I genuinely do. I just think that he looks particularly mentally tired. He’s been good but he’s been making those extra side-to-side passes of late.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/06/13 at 12:14 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Babs said Hank might have tweaked his groin again.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/06/13 at 12:17 AM ET


Maybe I should direct that post more to Primis. That post should have “Kindl” replaced with “Smith”.

I mean, Kindl was one of our best players last night in Phoenix, even if he had a hard night tonight.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 04/06/13 at 12:20 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Maybe I missed the parts of the game where Kindl played badly, thanks to the unreliability of Internet feeds…but jeez, I frequently have a hard time seeing what you’re talking about on the occasional nights you critcize Kindl.

He’s just solid, night in, night out, and looks good enough to be on the top PP unit.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 04/06/13 at 12:11 AM ET

I’ve never really criticized Kindl.  He’s been heaped on a bit by others of late (but what d-man hasn’t been?).

I watched him and Quincey during one shift, I think it was the 3rd period PP even.  Quincey (who I’m no real fan of) was at least decisive and getting the puck gone when he needed to, keeping it and cycling.  He then would shift it over to Kindl who would get it and just stop.  His head is up the whole time, but he just couldn’t make a decision and by then the D has closed space and he then has to make a bad pass attempt.

Some seconds later Colorado is trying to clear the zone and Kindl is right there to hold it in, but instead of committing fully he only partially did and it went over his stick, when he probably could have blocked it down with his body.

That seems to be a synopsis of Kindl’s shifts most games anymore.

I don’t know how you fix that.  I’ve defended Kindl a ton but… it’s the NHL and by now he needs to be more decisive in those situations.  That he’s not is easily his biggest flaw and what leads him to then probably panicking and making bad decisions.  And with DeKeyser in the fold now it’s going to be even tougher to justify giving Kindl ice-time if he’s indecisive.  Who do you sit to play Kindl more?

Posted by Primis on 04/06/13 at 12:29 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

After the first period, every dman for the Wings were terrible, save Der Kaiser.  Constant turnovers, unable to make clean passes out of the zone, and completely impotent along the boards.  Its the reason why the forwards spend entire shifts trapped in their own zone, unable to put sustained pressure on the other teams dman.  It is physically and mentally draining to have to fight for every breakout, and it leads to mistakes and bad line changes.

In short, the inept defense is sucking the life out of this team.  And it feels horrible to have to say these things after a win, but it was one of the ugliest I’ve seen, and they were more than fortunate to come out with 1 point, much less 2.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 04/06/13 at 12:34 AM ET

Primis's avatar

It’s cute that the SJ Sharks have their own nationally televised network in NBC Sports.

Wait, no it’s not…

Posted by Primis on 04/06/13 at 12:37 AM ET


I know he will still make mistakes and is still learning, but I’m just confused by your language. “It’s the NHL and by now…” makes it sound like we’re back at the beginning of the season, before he established his place in the lineup.

The last 25 games or so have pretty much been nothing but positive growth for him.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 04/06/13 at 12:37 AM ET

Primis's avatar

The last 25 games or so have pretty much been nothing but positive growth for him.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 04/06/13 at 12:37 AM ET

Were there not so many d-men, it probably wouldn’t be a cause for concern.  There are though.  And one problem with “over-ripening” your prospects is that when they’ve been in the NHL a while and still are very slow going people are going to get impatient.  Kindl’s been playing pro hockey for *years* now, he shouldn’t have some of the mental hiccups that still pop up.

Maybe George is right and all Kindl needs is a break.  We’ll see.

Posted by Primis on 04/06/13 at 12:50 AM ET

d ca's avatar

from the stands Kind looked okay tonight. he was strong on the boards and was looking up ice for passing outlets. his partner was so out of position on both goals it wasn’t funny. but he was making sure he didn’t get beat behind himself the whole game. On the breakaway he tried to stickcheck the puck and wasn’t expecting to be on an island.

Dekeyser was keeping it simple and showed he can compete. he should really help next year in the East.

Tootoo was the worst player on the ice. He was trying to start a fight before the second goal and wasn’t worried about playing defense that whole way back. he was running around to settle scores from the previous game instead of playing with a lead.

ice was cr@ppy in front of the section I was sitting. Where Wings shot on in 1st & 3rd.

White’s passing was not good. And Pavs penalty call was so bad the opposing player skated to the box before the summoned Pad off the bench.

of course seeing what was going on at the other end through both benches especially during that 3rd period means my perspective was different than the broadcast view…

Posted by d ca on 04/06/13 at 02:37 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

we all can sit here and pick apart the team player by player until the cows come home ... it won’t make any difference.  its a team game ... and seeing how hard we had to play to beat a team like Colorado ... in overtime no less.

Kindl is tired ... White can’t pass ... Ericsson still doesn’t hit anything ... bitch bitch piss moan.  Its a lot of players not playing well thats making it difficult for the few.

I’m starting to think it would be easier to pick 6 forwards, 3 defencemen and a goalie then scrap the rest and start over.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 04/06/13 at 03:32 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Babcock’s lines with Pav & Hank together, then Franzen centering of the 2nd line seemed to work real well.

big surprise

Posted by w2j2 on 04/06/13 at 06:40 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Babcock’s lines with Pav & Hank together, then Franzen centering of the 2nd line seemed to work real well.

Posted by w2j2 on 04/06/13 at 06:40 AM ET

Franzen had a better game I thought.  However I would attribute some of that to Nyquist’s great game he had.  People griping about Fil:  he was playing with Andersson and Miller, he wasn’t going to be able to create a ton.  Maybe it was a good message to send to him though.

And yes, Tootoo is often the worst player on the ice.  Tootoo on the roster from the start opened the can of worms about Holland knowing what he was doing.  I know some Wings fans want another McCarty, but Tootoo can only dream of being a McCarty-type.  Mac did some many little things well that few appreciated.

Posted by Primis on 04/06/13 at 11:21 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Dangles’ GWG turned the Dives announcers into this:

Love it.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 04/06/13 at 12:51 PM ET


And yes, Tootoo is often the worst player on the ice.  Tootoo on the roster from the start opened the can of worms about Holland knowing what he was doing. 

I disagree, partially.  I think a lot of fans here, approaching a clean majority, like it when Tootoo plays and don’t have a particular problem with his deal.  I think there was a minority (that included me) who thought the signing was stupid from the get-go.

The reason the people actively looking for reasons to whine about Holland do so tend to gravitate towards his reluctance to make any amazingly stupid deadline acquisitions just so the Wings can be 10% better now but 20% worse for the next 5 years.  And that he isn’t able to use Force Compulsion to make FAs sign deals here for the same or less money than they could get elsewhere.


Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/06/13 at 02:42 PM ET

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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.