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Red Wings-Avs quick take: a ‘learning experience’ is generally not a pleasant title for a game

Update: FSD: 7 AM and 6 PM EST Friday = 1-hour replays of the Lidstrom retirement ceremony. FTR.

The Detroit Red Wings raised Nicklas Lidstrom's number to the rafters, and got off to a wonderful start against the despised Colorado Avalanche...

But the Wings have never won a game in which Lidstrom was publicly announced as in attendance in his post-playing career, and as the crowd left surprisingly early (perhaps they were subscribing to a certain Avs scribe's Tweets complaining about the late start), the gas seemed to go out of the Wings' young guns and new players alike--and yes, the "Kid Line" was once again in "learning" mode, because they were both responsible for the 2-1 goal...

And the 3-2 game-winner in OT, with Jimmy Howard really playing much better than his 3-goals-on-25-shots total suggests, and now the Wings facing a surprisingly early start against the Devils having lost two straight games.

The Wings got off to a superb start, and Niklas Kronwall scored a gorgeous, slick goal at 12:33 thanks to some smart and hard work from Joakim Andersson and Jonathan Ericsson...

But a comedy of errors yielded the game-tying goal, because a shitty rush--thanks in no small part to a lost David Legwand--yielded a 3-on-2 and a shot off the boards off of Niklas Kronwall and a rebound that Matt Duchene put in off of Johan Franzen's skate. 1-1 at 10:11 of the 2nd.

The standard of officiating, or the lack thereof, was absolutely bizarre all night long, but the Wings did capitalize on their only power play in regulation. Danny DeKeyser dumped the puck in on the second unit, and via a bounce off the stanchion, Riley Sheahan got the puck to Tomas Jurco, and the Wings put themselves up 2-1 12:10 into the 2nd, just under 2 minutes after the Avs tied things up.

The Wings ended the second period having out-shot Colorado 24-15, and they came into the third playing solidly enough, but as the rink emptied, the Wings' energy reserves seemed to disappear, and on a night where shoveling Legwand onto the Nyquist-Franzen line looked like a tactical error, Kyle Quincey vacated his position at the point, forcing Johan Franzen to play defense...

And he did so poorly, allowing Matt Duchene to overpower him, and again, Franzen's foot caused trouble--as he knocked Jimmy Howard's stick out of his hand-a-and when Duchene chipped the puck out into the slot, Danny DeKeyser was far too soft on P.A. Parenteau, who chipped the puck behind Howard to tie th game all of 5:49 into the 3rd:

From there, the Wings continued to pile up shots, but the problem was that the kind of attack that allowed the "Kid Line" to retrieve rebounds disappeared.

The Wings' forecheck disappeared and the perimeter play and drop-passes at the blueline began, and the Wings were so passive at times that Jean-Sebastien Giguere started playing the puck like he was Jimmy Howard (while Jimmy Howard stayed in his net).

The third period ticked down and the Wings seemed to be unable or unwilling to score, so the Wings wasted a 12-7 shot advantage in the 3rd...

And after a baffling penalty was called on Niklas Kronwall...

The Wings killed the penalty on Kronwall, and played a little 3 on 3 of their own, but when they got an even-up, they didn't do anything but try to force Niklas Kronwall to put the puck in the net by themselves, and eventually, with 32 seconds left in OT, the Wings...

Goofed.

Off a line chance, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar crossed up their coverage, Danny DeKeyser and Jonathan Ericsson managed the puck poorly, and the Wings' defense was essentially walked around as an Erik Johnson pinch yielded Nathan MacKinnon finding Andrei Benoit wide out front as the Wings just stood there and watched the Avs take a desperately-needed second point and win away:

The Wings out-shot Colorado 37-25, but the stats that creeped up all night long were giveaways (9 giveaways and 4 Avs takeaways) and shots sent wide or into Avs players (the Wings fired 21 wide/blocked) as the Wings' energy level waned and the Avs surged.

Detroit was eventually predated upon, especially on a night where it was obvious that Daniel Alfredsson had little chemistry with Luke Glendening as his center and Todd Bertuzzi kind of looked stuck on the fourth line with a Joakim Andersson who'd done more than to be shoved back there, the defensive pairings that weren't Kronwall and Ericsson were adventures...

And so the Wings remain winless with Lidstrom in the house.

This one stings more because it was supposed to be Nick's night, and because Lidstrom's career essentially began to end when he blocked a shot against Colorado on February 25th, 2012.

Instead, Patrick Roy's team gets the win.

Statistics:

Shots: 37-25 Detroit overall. The Wings out-shot Colorado 13-8 in the 1st, 11-7 in the 2nd, 12-7 in the 3rd, and they were out-shot 3-1 in OT.

Special teams: Wings went 1-for-2 in 2:51 of PP time; the Avs went 0-for-2 in 3:08 of PP time.

Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 22 of 25 shots for Detroit; Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 35 of 37 shots for the Avalanche.

The 3 stars were picked by the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, and he picked Niklas Kronwall, Matt Duchene and Andre Benoit.

The Red Wings' goals: Kronwall (7) from Andersson (7) and Ericsson (9);

Jurco (5) from Sheahan (9) and DeKeyser (12), PPG.

Faceoffs 29-26 Colorado (Detroit won 47%);

Blocked shots 13-11 Colorado;

Missed shots 8-6 Detroit (attempts 58-42 Detroit, with the Wings firing 21 wide of Giguere);

Hits 22-21 Colorado;

Giveaways 9-7 Detroit;

Takeaways 6-4 Detroit.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Legwand went 7-and-12 (37%); Glendening went 9-and-5 (64%); Sheahan went 7-and-4 (64%); Glendening went 9-and-5 (64%); Andersson went 1-and-4 (14$%); Franzen went 2-and-2 (50%).

Shots: Tatar led the Wings with 5 shots; Ericsson had 4; Andersson, Jurco, Kronwall and Franzen had 3; Nyquist, Sheahan, Legwand, Quincey, Bertuzzi and DeKeyser had 2; Smith, Abdelkader, Alfredsson and Glendening had 1.

Blocked attempts: Both Nyquist and Ericsson had 3 attempts blocked; Tatar had 2 attempts blocked; Abdelkader, Andersson, Miller, Lashoff and Franzen had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Bertuzzi and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Andersson, Tatar, Glendening and DeKeyser missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Smith led the Wings with 4 hits; Lashoff, Glendening and Ericsson had 3; Miller and Franzen had 2; Abdelkader, Andersson, Jurco and DeKeyser had 1.

Giveaways: Kronwall had 2 giveaways; Smith, Sheahan, Legwand, Tatar, Quincey, DeKeyser and Franzen had 1.

Takeaways: Tatar had 2 takeaways; Sheahan, Legwand, Kronwall and Franzen had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: DeKeyser had 3 hits; Glendening had 2; Sheahan, Miller, Tatar, Ericsson, Kronwall and Franzen had 1.

Penalties taken: Lashoff and Kronwall took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective -9. Legwand, DeKeyser and Franzen finished at -2; Nyquist, Sheahan, Tatar, Jurco, Quincey and Ericsson finished at -1; Andersson, Miller and Bertuzzi finished at +1.

Points: Kronwall and Jurco had goals; Sheahan, Andersson, Ericsson and DeKeyser had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 24:25 played; DeKeyser played 23:35; Ericsson played 23:32;

Quincey played 22:16; Franzen played 19:07; Nyquist played 18:33;

Glendening played 16:56; Smith played 16:55; Sheahan played 16:36;

Alfredsson played 16:18; Abdelkader played 16:03; Legwand played 16:02;

Lashoff played 15:37; Jurco played 15:12; Tatar played 14:46;

Miller played 13:12; Andersson played 12:32; Bertuzzi played 12:15.

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OlderThanChelios's avatar

I watched this kid for four years in GR and he makes the same mechanical mistakes today as he did back them.  Overplays the puck and then scrambles to try to regain position. Goes down WAAAAY to easily and is slow to recover.  When he flops to make a save, he spends his time swimming and making snow angels instead of getting to his feet and finding the puck.

Posted by Bill from GR

Excellent descriptions of Howard’s “style.” And that was especially evident last night on the goal where he lost his stick. I think that’s a save Gustavsson would have made in the same situation because he battles to get back into position. Howie just isn’t as “assertive” in those situations.

Why Holland gave him a six-year deal last year when Mrazek was maybe two years away from being ready is beyond me. I’d much rather have seen Howard get $6.5M for three years than $5.3M for six years.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 03/07/14 at 03:48 PM ET

Avatar

Unfortunately I agree that Howrd is not and never will be a Top 10-15 Goalie in the NHL.

The problem is that he was a top 10-15 goalie over his first few years in the league.  Then he got a big contract.  Then he stopped being a top 10-15 goalie in the league.  There’s no evidence to suggest the contract changed his play, and linking them isn’t my intent, but it’s germane to mention that his significant dropoff in play coincided with his significant increase in compensation… exacerbating the issue of Detroit getting their money’s worth out of that salary slot.

GAA by year, ranking: 5th, 34th, 6th, 8th.
Sv% by year, ranking: 4th, 31st, 10th, 9th.

This year he’s 25th in GAA and 26th in Sv% (and 40th in SO Sv%, which is a bit high because lots of low start guys are in there too).  Detroit’s defense did not slip from being a defense behind which Howard could be in the top ten in both categories 3 of 4 years to one behind which it’s impossible to expect him to play to that level.  That’s a ludicrous assertion to make, and the people who are placing the majority of the blame on everyone but Howard are making that assertion either implicitly or explicitly.

Again, there are other things going wrong with the Wings besides Howard, but since George has chosen to focus on those largely to the exclusion of Howard’s I think it’s fair to cover Howard’s issues here.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/07/14 at 05:43 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.