The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/05/13 at 10:51 PM ET
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.
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.
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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.