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Red Wings-Blackhawks Game 4 quick take: stranglehold

Upated 5x with tons of video at 11:51 PM: Very briefly: Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard was nothing less than a superstar and the Detroit Red Wings played, well...Ugly hockey on Thursday night, mucking, grinding and just plain old out-working the Chicago Blackhawks en route to a 2-0 win and taking 3-1 series lead heading into Game 5 on Saturday. Howard earned the shutout on 28 saes.

Jakub Kindl scored the only goal the Wings would need (on the power play, no less)...

The Red Wings stood up to Bryan Bickell and all the Hawks tried to throw at them in terms of mucking, grinding and playing a nasty game...

And, despite some remarkable offensive opportunities by the Chicago Blackhawks, World of Isaac on Twitter summarized the ways in which Captain Pork Chop burned themselves by playing like the unhinged morons the Wings have made the Blackhawks apepar to be:


I'm not really sure what else to say. The Chicago Blackhawks changed their lineup and really came out with nothing less than a relentless attack, and the Wings didn't seem to know how to handle a healthy Michal Handzus, Bickell or Andrew Shaw's presences on the top two lines...

But Howard kept holding the fort, stopping 14 Hawks shots in the 1st period, in no small part because while the Wings were unable or unwilling to get on the inside in terms of puck battles or really rushes, they were able to eliminate second opportunities and stifle the Hawks' attempts to get in Howard's grill.

In the second period, the Wings slowly but surely came to life and came to a stronger competition level, beginning to put their bodies into one-on-one battles for the puck instead of sticking their sticks in and leaning away from the puck, and while the Hawks' defense did challenge the Wings' gap control or the lack thereof...

Toews took three minors, and on the second one, Jakub Kindl scored a glorious goal scored because the Wings committed to "eating it" when the Hawks hooked, hacked, held, cross-checked, jabbed, in Bickell's case vs. Abdelkader, rugby scrummed, you name it...

And while the Wings should have shot much more than they did, having opted for far too many flashy, fancy passes, on the second power play unit, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jakub Kindl, Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader kept mucking the puck around the perimeter, and Kindl ripped the puck past a screened Crawford.

Afer that, to some extent, the Wings held on. They did surrender 2-on-1 rushes, an occasional breakaway and failed to clear the puck, committing giveaway after giveaway all night long but their second and third efforts to clear the puck paid off, they boxed Chicago out, and in the 3rd period, and especially when Kindl had been tagged for an even-up, the Wings kept themselves in the faces of Kane, the frustrated-as-could-be Toews (the CBC reported that Captain Pork Chop had to be sat down and calmed down repeatedly by his teammates), Hossa, Sharp, you name it, and in the end, prevent defense worked.

The fact that Howard made this kind of save on David Bolland helped...

As did Justin Abelkader's hit on Niklas Hjalmarsson...

Cleary's insurance marker simply wrapped up a remarkable series of defensive plays by the Wings while the Hawks had their goaltender pulled--and after they held the Hawks to 0 shots on their power play--essentially sealing off their blueline and grinding out and grinding down both their opponents and their opponents' individual and collective will.

Now Detroit is up 3-1 going into Game 5, and even if the Wings lose that game...

They've cracked the Hawks open like they cracked the Ducks, and the Hawks will not prevail.


Because this was FAR from the Wings' best game. It WAS the Hawks' best effort, and it was not enough. The Wings can and will be better in all three zones. Chicago can't do much better than they have over the past two games, and the Wings have just absorbed them, annoyed them, persevered against them and eventually destroyed them.

One more thing: Tonight's Kronwalling?


2 on 1.

Puck on his stick, sending it to an open teammate.

Kronwall, last man back.

Toews' pass was slick and saucer-y, but Kronwall easily poked it away and chipped it out of trouble.

That is the kind of Kronwalling the Wings are inflicting upon the Hawks, and with Howard to help them and much, much more to give in terms of their collective effort on Saturday, I can't see the Hawks prevailing.

The Hawks are getting Kronwalled and Howarded because they're Toewsing themselves.


Update: Here's Suh on the Zamboni...

And the NHL Tonight's take on the game:

Update #2: Also via Paul, here's the CBC's 1st intermission take on the game:

Update #3: Here's Joel Quenneville's post-game presser...

Update #4: Mr. Hockey was in the building...

And here's a slate of highlights:

Update #5: Here's Babcock's post-game presser:



28-27 Chicago overall. Chicago out-shot Detroit 14-10 in the 1st, were out-shot 12-8 in the 2nd and out-shot Detroit 6-5 in the 3rd.

Detroit went 1-for-3 in 5:59 of PP time; Chicago went 0-for-3 in 6:00 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 28 of 28 shots; Corey Crawford stopped 25 of 26 as the Wings' last goal was scored into an empty net.

Kelly Hrudey picked the 3 stars, and he picked Corey Crawford, Jakub Kindl and Jimmy Howard.

The Wings' goals: Kindl (1) from Colaiacovo (1) and Franzen (2), PPG;

Cleary (3) from Filppula (4), empty-net.

Faceoffs 31-29 Detroit (Detroit won 52%);

Blocked shots 11-11;

Missed shots 10-6 Chicago (total attempts 49-44 Chicago; the Wings put 27 shots on the Hawks' net and another 17 wide or into Hawks players);

Hits 30-22 Detroit;

Giveaways an ugly 10-8 Detroit;

Takeaways 8-4 Detroit.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 17-and-12 (59%); Zetterberg went 3-and-9 (25%); Emmerton went 4-and-5 (44%); Andersson went 5-and-1 (83%); Filppula went 2-and-2 (50%).

Shots: Kindl led the Wings with 5 shots; Cleary, Zetterberg and Franzen had 3; Abdelkader, Nyquist, Brunner, Filppula and Kronwall had 2; Smith, Eaves and Miller had 1.

Blocked attempts: Kindl had 3 shots blocked by Blackhawks players; Colaiacovo and Ericsson had 2 attempts blocked; Cleary, Brunner, Kronwall and Andersson had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Abdelkader and Brunner missed the net 2 times; Zetterberg and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 5 hits; Eaves, Miller and Ericsson had 4; Kindl and Datsyuk had 3; Emmerton had 2; Smith, Cleary, Quincey, Filppula and Franzen had 1.

Giveaways: Quincey, Zetterberg and Franzen had 2 giveaways; Cleary, Datsyuk, Kronwall and Howard had 1.

Takeaways: Datsyuk had 3 takeaways; Nyquist and Zetterberg had 2; Andersson had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Miller and Kronwall blocked 2 shots; Smith, Kindl, Datsyuk, Emmerton, Ericsson and Franzen blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Abdelkader took a double minor; Kindl, Zetterberg and Kronwall took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +5. Cleary, Zetterberg, Filppula, Ericsson and Kronwall finished at +1.

Points: Kindl and Cleary had goals; Colaiacovo, Filppula and Franzen had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 23:25 played; Ericsson played 21:40; Datsyuk played 21:03;

Quincey played 20:22; Franzen played 19:08; Zetterberg played 18:42;

Smith played 18:17; Kindl played 1:10; Filppula played 17:36;

Abdelkader played 16:31; Cleary played 16:14; Colaiacovo played 16:10;

Miller played 13:47; Brunner played 11:19; Emmerton played 10:59;

Nyquist played 10:26; Andersson played 10:54; Eaves played 9:30.

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Bugsy's avatar

Quick reminder: the last 2 teams to win the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup? The 2007-08 and 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings. Might as well keep that streak going.

The Wings will go as far as their team defense (qualifier: including Howard) allows them.  It seems like it’s not a matter if the Hawks can get behind the Wings or have (semi)-breakaways, it’s limiting them and knowing Howard has been solid in case.
I do love the sound of rubber hitting metal piping and staying out of the Wings’ goal. The longer the Hawks go scoreless, the more “perfect” they may believe their shots have to be to beat Howard (I hope) and maybe shoot a bit too wide.

Leadership: showing how to draw 3 minor penalties in a row. I think he’s feeling the pressure just a wee bit.

Once more: Remember when a lot of us were concerned of if the Wings could score enough given the defense? How many of us thought that the Wings would be winning now in the playoffs with DEFENSE (and Howard, of course) with scores like 1-0?


Posted by Bugsy on 05/23/13 at 10:53 PM ET


I can see the quotes already, “We hit a few posts, a couple bounces or breaks and this game was ours”

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 05/23/13 at 10:56 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

I can see the quotes already, “We hit a few posts, a couple bounces or breaks and this game was ours”

Posted by Valek on 05/23/13 at 10:56 PM ET

Yeah no kiddin.  I want to see that Hawks pretend like they won this game too. 

Great effort from the Wings tonight.  They spent a long time in their own zone, but their effort to keep the Hawks out on the perimeter was impeccable.  Great win!

9 to 12 Bitches!

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 05/23/13 at 11:02 PM ET


Phew, it was ugly hockey. Game 2 was quite a bit more Red Wing-like than 3 and 4.

After Game 1, when Babcock apparently told Smith he didn’t have good passing options for a lot of his turnovers…I believed him. And more and more, I think positioning is a serious issue for the team. Stretched out, standing around waiting, just not in good places. This might be a significant aspect of their play that has given them fits over the last few years…this might be why any sort of forecheck can cause so much trouble.

Still, the fact that they can turn the puck over so easily and still find a way to survive is great.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 05/23/13 at 11:05 PM ET

Crow's avatar

I don’t think it was an ugly game.  What I saw tonight was a brilliant defensive masterpiece.

Posted by Crow on 05/23/13 at 11:05 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

I don’t think it was an ugly game.  What I saw tonight was a brilliant defensive masterpiece.

at this time of year, any win is a masterpiece

Posted by Bugsy on 05/23/13 at 11:08 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I can see the quotes already, “We hit a few posts, a couple bounces or breaks and this game was ours”

Posted by Valek on 05/23/13 at 10:56 PM ET

I’ve seen those quotes before, and it wasn’t as fun then as it is now.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/23/13 at 11:08 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I didn’t think it was particularly pretty nor the Wings’ best game by a mile and a half, but I’ll go with the last line of the revamped quick take and leave the rest to you:

The Hawks are getting Kronwalled and Howarded because they’re Toewsing themselves.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/23/13 at 11:10 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

James Tiberius Howard, his positioning specifically, won this game. Hard work, yes. But harder work to compensate for the glaring mistakes in the defensive zone and a goalie who was on all night made what should have been an easier game to win harder. Freaking turnovers should have killed us this game.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 05/23/13 at 11:21 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Sometimes playoff hockey is about beating yourself as well as your opponent. The Wings did that in terms of turnovers.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/23/13 at 11:22 PM ET

RHammer's avatar

I thought you said best earlier while describing the defense as absorptive… call it “prevent”, call it “bend don’t break”, call it stifling and relentless D that frustrates the bejeezus out of these glass joes from chitown… either way, I call it a shut out. a mother f&$#@%^ing shutout.  Jim Howard, ladies and gentlement…


Posted by RHammer from Traverse City, MI on 05/23/13 at 11:22 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

I’m in love with a man named Gus.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/23/13 at 11:23 PM ET

awould's avatar

this gravy tastes great!!

Posted by awould on 05/23/13 at 11:38 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

Series Ending Game 4’s are the toughest to win but the Hawks are certainly on the edge of the cliff with Captain Toews already over. Sitting Kane for most of the 3rd was a brilliant move by Out Coached Q.

The PPG was especially sweet as it ended the Hawks PK record run of PP kills and the Wings still hold 2nd place behind the Blues.

The Wings can and have played better so that is a good thing.

I was impressed with the Wings composure and fairly solid play with Howard looking very confident.

Finish them off Saturday, I hope!  LGRW

Posted by OnlyWings on 05/24/13 at 12:05 AM ET


Nice thing with Toews spending so much time in the penalty box, Zetterberg who averaged 20:31 of ice time during the regular season only put in 18:42 of work tonight.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 05/24/13 at 12:45 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Q: Jonny had some chances. He had some looks.

Yeah. And so did Corey Ferry. These days he’s lookin’ at golf courses and worrying about his chances of breaking 100. Crybaby will get those same looks and chances sometime next week – and maybe as early as Sunday.

What strikes me as the biggest difference between the Hawks and the Wings is the looks on their faces. Look at Q, Crybaby, Hossa, Bickell, Shaw, etc. They all have a looked of “forced” anger on their faces. It’s like they’re trying to look bad ass and tough.

Then look at the Wings faces. They look incredibly calm and focused. It really is quite an amaziing contrast.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/24/13 at 12:49 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

looked of “forced” anger

Ah, make that – look of “forced” anger.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/24/13 at 12:51 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I’m not really sure what else to say. The Chicago Blackhawks changed their lineup and really came out with nothing less than a relentless attack, and the Wings didn’t seem to know how to handle a healthy Michal Handzus, Bickell or Andrew Shaw’s presences on the top two lines…

George… did we watch the same game? The first period was pretty evenly matched. Even the commentators on CBC were remarking after the first three or four minutes how they had expected Chicago to come out with much more energy and force the Wings to “weather the storm,” but instead things were pretty standard when compared with the other games of the series. Other than that few minute spat where they caught turnover-itis in the beginning of the third (which followed a long shift where they carried the play in the Hawks’ zone), I thought the Hawks “chances” were really almost all just perimeter shots that Howard would have no trouble eating up in his current form.

This was another game where many areas were very very equal, and the difference-makers were Howard outplaying Crawford, and Z and Pav outplaying Toews and Kane.

It’s funny because we’ve seen this before as Wings fans, from the POV of Chicago fans right now. You feel like your team has carried more play, maybe owned the puck more, and has an advantage in shots. And it is tempting to say the hot goalie beat you. To a degree, yes, the goaltending is a difference-maker, but when you look at how Chicago’s offense has played this series, doesn’t it remind you of how the Wings’ offense was against the Kings, Ducks, Flames, or Oilers in those painful low-seed upsets? The opposition goalie was good—very very good in all these cases—but the Hawks in this series, and Wings in those past series, were all sizzle and no steak. It looks like they are playing good and getting bad breaks when you look at the shot numbers, but when you look at actual scoring chances, the truth comes out.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/24/13 at 08:49 AM 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.