The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/23/13 at 09:51 PM ET
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:
Shots 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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