The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/18/13 at 03:57 PM ET
Updated 3x at 4:50 PM: The Detroit Red Wings just turned the table on the Chicago Blackhawks, who were supposed to absolutely steamroll the Wings, delivering a puck possession clinic of their own in a 4-1 victory that evens the series 1-1 and at least ensures a fifth game.
From start to finish...Well, save the first shift of every period...The Wings played at least solid hockey, and after the inevitable Brendan Smith gaffe yielding a Chicago goal, the Wings rebounded with hard work, effort, attention to detail, silky smooth tranistion game passes from defensemen to forwards skating with speed through the neutral zone, and instead of trading chances with the Hawks, the Wings slowly but surely abandoned the one-and-surrender-one tendencies to begin to absolutely pound the snot out of the Hawks in terms of possession, control, "zone time," slot penetration and anything else you'd like to describe as a metric of a strong team and individual game.
Yes, yes, it was Brendan Smith again, with a doofy gaffe that yielded a Patrick Kane goal 14:05 in, negating a strong and stronger start, and the Wings were unable to cash in on double minors to David Bolland (in fact, the Wings have yet to dent the Hawks' 4 penalties), but one could also argue that Smith was rather deftly tripped by Patrick Sharp, and Kyle Quincey's block of Michal Handzus' shot placed the puck on Patrick Kane's stick.
So, after the first, we were all thinking, "Hoo boy, Wings out-shot Chicago 12-8 and out-chanced them, but here comes more of the same..."
Which was true until Detroit's resident x-factor line tied the game 2:40 into the 2nd. Joakim Andersson strongly won a faceoff in the Hawks' zone, he pulled the puck back to Jakub Kindl, and Kindl downright elegantly walked the blueline laterally before sending a hard shot on net that Damien Brunner tipped in--and the Wings' defenders starting pulling the Lidstrom lateral-blueline-walk when they finally figured out that Crawford gives up Jonas Hiller-like rebounds when you change the angle of attack...
And as the Wings simply out-skated and out-worked the Blackhawks, with their defensemen sending one-touch passes to forwards skating through the neutral zone with speed, with the forwards coming back to help their defensemen, with the team skating its ass off in all three zones to ensure that they kept the puck off Chicago's sticks, kept themselves from being mashed onto the side boards and ensured that they "penetrated the slot" and got pucks and bodies in ront of Corey Crawford...
The momentum built and built until a certain Brendan Smith made an absolutely lovely pinch, seeing Henrik Zetterberg and Danny Cleary elegantly teaming up for an odd-man rush, and Smith assuaged himself (though he's at a -1 in terms of giving up vs. scoring goals)...
And all of a sudden, "Bench Smith, play Ian White" chants stopped cold. Smith scored at 16:08 of the 2nd, and the Wings were FINALLY ahead of the Hawks.
The Wings continued to out-play the Hawks in the second period, but Jimmy Howard was superb when necessary, and sometimes he had to be as Smith, Colaiacovo, Kindl and Quincey kept making mistakes and the Hawks' star power occasionally even backed Zetterberg and Datsyuk back into their own end, though the fact that Drew Miller came back into the lineup seemed to shift the fourth line from something of an ineffective millstone into an incredibly effective machien, especially when the team had to weather that second-period penalty thanks to Datsyuk putting the puck over the glass.
In the 3rd, the Wings really came out flying, and of all people, Johan Franzen scored a gritty but pretty goal off an amazing side-to-side and then stretch pass by Jonathan Ericsson, which was nearly a three-line affair...
And by gosh, by golly, as the Wings laid the body on the Hawks, ruffling up Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Toews and especially the Hawks' defensemen and third and fourth-liners (Quenneville did indeed "shorten his bench" as the game went on), Valtteri Filppula converted another remarkable individual play by Henrik Zetterberg--who lost a faceoff, chose to win it back, push it up ice, and then give the puck to Filppula while Daniel Cleary drove to the net--and the Wings were up by 3:
Yes, Smith ended up giving up two more giveaways that resulted in superb toe and blocker saves by Howard, and the Hawks' 10-7 shot disparity in the 3rd period and 30-20 shot disparity overall was a little tighter in terms of the quality of their scoring chances, but Detroit's defense finally chose to not lift its collective foot off the gas pedal down the stretch, and the Wings' players deftly avoided head-hunting hits as they wound the game down and skated off a VERY VERY QUIET United Center ice surface.
1-1. Now it's all about making this one count by winning on Monday, which is going to be very hard, but for today, the Wings deserve to celebrate this one, and then they need to ensure that today's efficient puck-movement and strong puck possession game serves as a blueprint for the way this team must play for the rest of the series, engaged mentally, physically, emotionally, in terms of their attention span, attention to detail, competitiveness and plain old blood, spit and pee.
The Wings can't get fancy-pants on Monday--they've got to grind Chicago down, lest they be ground instead--but I believe this team can do it.
Can they do so to the tune of 3 more wins before 3 more losses? I have no frickin' clue. But it's sure fun to be a member of the winning side's fan base today.
Update: Via RedWingsFeed:
Hawks were called for 4, Wings for 3...
Shots 30-20 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Chicago 12-8 in the 1st, 8-5 in the 2nd and 10-7 in the 3rd.
Chicago went 0-for-2 in 4:00 of PP time; the Wings went 0-for-4 in 7:22 of PP time.
Jimmy Howard stopped 19 of 20 shots; Corey Crawford stopped 26 of 30.
The 3 stars were picked by the Chicago media, and they picked Kronwall, Zetterberg and Brunner.
The Wings' goals: Brunner (4) from Kindl (3) and Andersson (3);
Smith (2) from Zetterberg (6) and Cleary (4);
Franzen (4) from Ericsson (3) and Kronwall (2);
Filppula (2) from Zetterberg (7).
Faceoffs 31-25 Detroit (Detroit won 55%);
Blocked shots 15-11 Detroit;
Missed shots 14-6 Detroit (Shot attempts 45-41 Detroit, with Detroit firing 30 shots ON Crawford and 25 wide or into Hawks players);
Hits 36-26 Chicago;
Giveaways 7-6 Chicago;
Takeaways 9-6 Chicago.
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 11-and-6 (55%); Zetterberg went 6-and-8 (43%); Andersson went 6-and-6 (50%); Emmerton went 2-and-2 (50%); Brunner went 1-and-2 (33%); Miller went 0-and-1.
Shots: Abdelkader and Zetterberg co-led the team with 4 shots apiece; Smith, Cleary and Datsyuk had 3; Kindl, Filppula and Kronwall had 2; Nyquist, Miller, Brunner, Emmerton, Quincey, Colaiacovo and Franzen had 1.
Blocked attempts: Kindl hit Blackhawks players 3 times; Datsyuk and Colaiacovo had 2 attempts blocked; Smith, Cleary, Eaves and Franzen hit Hawks players 1 time.
Missed shots: Abdelkader missed the net 3 times; Eaves, Brunner and Kronwall missed the net 2 times; Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Filppula, Andersson and Franzen missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 5 hits; Ericsson had 4; Kindl, Cleary, Datsyuk, Miller and Emmerton had 2; Smith, Eaves, Brunner, Quincey, Colaiacovo, Filppula and Franzen had 1.
Giveaways: Franzen had 2 giveaways; Nyquist, Ericsson, Andersson and Howard had 1.
Takeaways: Kronwall had 2 takeaways; Datsyuk, Filppula, Andersson and Franzen had 1.
Blocked opponent shots: Smith, Colaiacovo and Andersson blocked 2 shots; Abdelkader, Clear, Nyquist, Miller, Brunner, Quincey, Ericsson, Kronwall and Franzen blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Smith, Kindl and Datsyuk took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +15. Ericsson and Kronwall finished at +2; Kindl, Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Brunner, Colaiacovo, Zetterberg, Filppula, Andersson and Franzen finished at +1.
Points: Zetterberg had 2 assists; Smith, Filppula and Franzen scored goals; Kindl, Cleary, Ericsson, Kronwall and Andersson had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 25:52 played; Ericsson played 23:38; Zetterberg played 19:38;
Datsyuk played 19:06; Quincey played 18:27; Filppula played 18:05;
Kindl played 17:50; Franzen played 17:40; Cleary played 16:17;
Smith played 16:03; Colaiacovo played 15:55; Brunner played 15:27;
Abdelkader played 14:51; Nyquist played 13:57; Andersson played 13:12;
Miller played 12:07; Emmerton played 9:18; Eaves played 8:37.
Update: this is pretty cool, per Sportsline's Adam Gretz...
Here's NHL.com's highlight clip...
Here's Joel Quenneville's post-game presser...
Here's Mike Babcock's post-game presser...
Here's Brendan Smith speaking to the NHL Network via the Cisco Arena Cam...
And here are Jimmy Howard...
And Henrik Zetterberg speaking with the media:
Update #2: The NHL also posted clips of Jonathan Ericsson...
And Carlo Colaiacovo speaking to the media:
Update #3: And from the Blackhawks, here are Brent Seabrook...
And a certain Jonathan Toews speaking to the media:
We All Bleed Red posted a clip of Brendan Smith's post-game interview with the CBC, too:
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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.