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Red Wings-Blues quick take: Mrazek, kids and vets deliver a feel-good season-ending win

If Red Wings fans needed a feel-good moment to close out what's been an incredibly frustrating and sometimes frustratingly disappointing 2013-2014 season, Sunday's 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues delivered that moment and did so in a big way.

The Wings rested Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, Danny DeKeyser, Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard, and in their respective places, Todd Bertuzzi may have played in his last regular season game as a Wing, Joakim Andersson continued to have a difficult campaign, Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet looked nearly NHL-ready (though Adam Almquist may have something to say about that, it's certainly encouraging to know that if the Wings do nothing on defense save make room for the kids this summer--instead of going after an Ehrhoff or Edler--they may not be going the wrong way, especially given the encouraging season by Alexey Marchenko as well), and of course Petr Mrazek pitched a shootout while channeling his inner Hasek something fierce.

Sometimes the Wings got far too cute--Tomas Tatar could've gotten his 20th goal had he not deked himself out of a breakaway, and Gustav Nyquist and Darren Helm did the same thing--and between his sometimes-scary rushes and this big hit, Sproul reminded us that he's got some learning left to do...

But the Red Wings scored 3 goals in which they exploited the injury-decimated Blues via the kind of lightning-fast transition game and speed they're going to need to harness to not get checked into next week by the Bruins, with Justin Abdelkader deflecting a Brian Lashoff shot in after Pavel Datsyuk started the play with a superb rush 13:30 into the 1st period...

Despite the Wings' 0-for-4 power play status, Riley Sheahan scored via a gorgeous wrist shot and a steal-and-pass-it-up-ice play from Tomas Tatar, with 3:41 remaining in the 2nd period...

Jakub Kindl's steal-and-pass yielded another speedy rush by Datsyuk and his second assist as he helped Justin Abdelkader reach the 10-goal mark--with Abdelkader scoring a rare goal with his stick, with 7:17 left in the game...

 

And in between, when the Wings did commit defensive errors, Mrazek was there, pitching an earned 23-save shutout...

While definitely pulling some Hasekian moves:

One strong effort by "The Kids" does not, "Sit all the veterans, play all the kids RIGHT NOW AGAINST BOSTON!" case make--the Blues were without 9 regulars--but the Wings' youth continues to show promise for the future, and after giving some particularly half-assed efforts, the Lashoffs, Kindls, Anderssons, Legwands etc. seemed to understand that their lack of job security meant it was time to suck it up and play the kind of sound defense they need to play to keep their spots in the lineup...

And the entire Wings team played something of a "blueprint" game as to how they can avoid being checked to death by the Bruins, with Pavel Datsyuk looking hearty, hale and strong, the rest of the team looking speedy and the team showing little to no desire to engage the Blues at their game when things got nasty.

Now the Wings have 3 days off before they open the playoffs with games in Boston on Thursday and Saturday, and they can go into the playoffs feeling good about themselves because they ended the regular season on a high note.

Update: Twitter was quite lively today...

And we received a schedule update:

RedWingsCentral was outspoken as well:

Ted Lindsay also watched the game while recovering from heart surgery:

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, for what it's worth, the NHL Network posited the following:

Statistics:

Shots: 23-21 St. Louis. St. Louis out-shot Detroit 7-4 in the 1st period; Detroit out-shot St. Louis 9-6 in the 2nd period; St. Louis out-shot Detroit 10-8 in the 3rd period.

Special teams: Detroit went 0-for-4 in 6:50 of PP time; St. Louis went 0-for-3 in 4:50 of PP time.

Goaltending: Petr Mrazek stopped 23 of 23 for Detroit; Ryan Miller stopped 18 of 21 for St. Louis.

The 3 stars were picked by the "St. Louis Media," and they picked Pavel Datsyuk, Petr Mrazek and Justin Abdelkader.

The Wings' goals: Abdelkader (9) from Lashoff (5) and Datsyuk (19);

Sheahan (9) from Tatar (20);

Abdelkader (10) from Datsyuk (20) and Kindl (17).

Faceoffs 31-24 St. Louis (Detroit won 44%);

Blocked shots 12-10 Detroit;

Missed shots 15-5 Detroit (attempts 46-40 Detroit; Detroit had 21 shots on net and 25 wide/blocked);

Hits 26-14 St. Louis;

Giveaways 4-3 Detroit;

Takeaways 8-5 Detroit.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Sheahan went a hideous 4-and-14 (22%); Datsyuk went 11-and-7 (61%); Helm went 4-and-8 (33%); Glendening went 2-and-2 (50%); Legwand went 2-and-0 (100%); Andersson went 1-and-0 (100%).

Shots: Sproul led the Wings with 3 shots; Abdelkader, Nyquist, Andersson, Miller and Tatar had 2 shots; Sheahan, Legwand, Jurco, Quincey, Glendening, Helm, Bertuzzi and Ouellet had 1 shot.

Blocked attempts: Sproul and Nyquist had 2 attempts blocked; Kindl, Datsyuk, Tatar, Jurco, Glendening and Helm had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Tatar fired 4 shots wide of the net; Sheahan took 2 wide shots; Smith, Abdelkader, Nyquist, Legwand, Andersson, Miller, Helm, Sproul and Ouellet took 1 wide shot.

Hits: Glendening led the Wings with 4 hits; Jurco, Quincey and Sproul had 2 hits; Legwand, Tatar, Lashoff and Ouellet had 1 hit.

Giveaways: Smith had 2 giveaways; Datsyuk and Helm had 1 giveaway.

Takeaways: Datsyuk and Andersson had 2 takeaways; Nyquist, Sheahan, Legwand and Helm had 1 takeaway.

Blocked opponent shots: Lashoff blocked 4 shots; Smith and Sproul blocked 2 shots; Kindl, Sheahan, Legwand and Glendening blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Andersson, Glendening and Ouellet took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at +15. Kindl and Lashoff finished at +3; Abdelkader, Datsyuk and Nyquist finished at +2; Sheahan, Tatar and Bertuzzi finished at +1.

Points: Abdelkader had 2 goals; Datsyuk had 2 assists; Sheahan had a goal; Kindl, Tatar and Lashoff had assists.

Ice time: Quincey led the Wings with 21:43 played; Smith played 21:41; Kindl played 19:54;

Sproul played 18:25; Datsyuk played 18:05; Nyquist played 17:02;

Andersson played 16:58; Ouellet played 16:21; Lashoff played 15:41;

Bertuzzi played 15:21; Sheahan played 14:56; Tatar played 14:34;

Abdelkader played 14:29; Miller played 14:29; Helm played 14:21;

Glendening played 14:10; Jurco played 14:08; Legwand played 11:43.

 

 

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Comments

bleep bloop's avatar

Goalie interference by Andersson was kind of a joke since, if Andersson hooked Miller effectively, Miller might have made the save.

the Lashoffs, Kindls, Anderssons, Legwands etc. seemed to understand that their lack of job security meant it was time to suck it up and play the kind of sound defense they need to play to keep their spots in

Yet the Blues’s best period of offensive zone time was when Lashoff and Kindl were on the ice and kept making bad passes, so I’m not sure they’ve learned any lessons. I think Lashoff could develop into a real pain in the ass defensive defenseman if he had a bit of a safety net, but at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets traded at the draft.

I hope Tatar and Nyquist don’t expect the goalie is always going to make the first move in the playoffs. Trying to wait out a veteran goalie didn’t work too well for them today. Just shoot it, guys! At least make him make a save.

Posted by bleep bloop on 04/13/14 at 02:35 PM ET

perfection's avatar

So I know I should be focused on the upcoming playoffs, but part of me is already looking 3 or 4 years down the line when Mrazek wrestles the starting job from Jimmy Howard. I LOVE watching the kid play. As great as his Hasek-esque flops were today, seeing him jawing in Steve Ott’s face brought tears to my eyes. He is growing to be one of my favorite players. Spunky little bastard!

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/13/14 at 02:52 PM ET

calquake's avatar

God bless Ted Lindsay.  May you have a speedy recovery sir.

Posted by calquake on 04/13/14 at 03:03 PM ET

Avatar

Sproul looked good with the puck moving around in the offensive some. But my heart couldn’t take him in the NHL in the defensive zone. Not yet. Hopefully a year from now he will be a year stronger and safer in his own end. Liked what I saw, but I saw a lot of work still for him.

Ouellet looked smarter with the puck. But he still has some work too. Hopefully he continues to get stronger and faster.

Both would have to really impress in camp later this year to win a job. Really impress. They still need some time.

Mrazek on the other hand…

Posted by lancer on 04/13/14 at 03:07 PM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/13/14 at 03:52 PM ET

You really think Mrazek will wait around for 3 or 4 years?

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 04/13/14 at 03:09 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

I suspect the 2 G.M.s talked before this game and agreed that they would sit a bunch of their regular players.

Posted by w2j2 on 04/13/14 at 03:23 PM ET

Chet's avatar

given his contract status, that’s about how long he’s gonna have to wait. if he steps up and steals the job, jimmy will fetch a first rounder and a decent player. don’t think for a second that howard, KH, babs, and mrazek aren’t all already thinking about the starting job in 1-3 seasons…

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/13/14 at 03:23 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Our future is bright. I love what I saw today.

We take the final game and close out the season on a high note. Relax, kids, because the real season is set to begin!

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 04/13/14 at 03:30 PM ET

perfection's avatar

You really think Mrazek will wait around for 3 or 4 years?

I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see Mrazek and Howie transition basically just like Ozzie and Howie did.

Mrazek plays one more year in GR because he can, then he comes up as Jimmy’s backup in 2 years. Starts to challenge him for the starting job in year three and either takes it from him in the playoffs or down the stretch or heightens the challenge the following year in training camp and starts year 4 as the starter. Then Howie backs up Mrazek, while healthily competing for starting job, only for Jimmy to gracefully become his high quality backup in his veteran years. Basically they switch just like Ozzie and Howie did and hopefully Howie retires a Wing and goes on to help develop the next waive of goalies with the Griffs.

I mean, as enticing as it is to trade off value, this year has seemed to prove that longterm stability and mentorship, basically passing the torch from generation to generation, is really what is keeping this team so successful. I’d expect that’s the longterm plan/hope in net too. Whether Jimmy and Mrazek are cool with this is yet to be determined. 

All speculation obviously… just seems the Red Wing philosophy and 23 years seems to back it up

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/13/14 at 03:54 PM ET

Avatar

Uh osgood retired. I dont think howard will be looking to do that antime soon. The only way mrazak ever becomes detroit’s #1 starting job is if howard is playing for a different team.

Posted by brians neck on 04/13/14 at 05:12 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Ozzie backed up Jimmy before he retired. I’m just satin what I hope happens. You might be right that Jimmy isn’t old enough for this plan to come to fruition.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/13/14 at 05:25 PM ET

Avatar

I have been saying all the time, the problem with Franzen/Dats/Abby line is not Abby. Franzen and Dats have no chemistry (and never had) and the sooner Babs realizes it, the better chances we have against Boston.
Sproul and Mrazek were very impressive and Sheahan has quite a wrister. Tatar has to do better on breakaways.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/13/14 at 05:54 PM ET

Avatar

He’s 6-foot-4, he can skate, he shoots BBs and he’s smart and he moves the puck,” Babcock said about Sproul. “Ouellet makes the right play each and every time. They’re good.”

Those quotes might be the end of Q in Detroit. He has been really good lately, but I just do not see why he would be needed next season.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/13/14 at 06:19 PM ET

Avatar

Those quotes might be the end of Q in Detroit.

I hope so.  “He was good towards the end” is why Cleary was re-signed.

Posted by Garth on 04/13/14 at 06:41 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

I have been saying all the time, the problem with Franzen/Dats/Abby line is not Abby. Franzen and Dats have no chemistry (and never had) and the sooner Babs realizes it, the better chances we have against Boston.
Posted by VPalmer on 04/13/14 at 06:54 PM ET

I agree. That line had a Piano Player, a Piano Mover, and an Out-of-Tune Piano.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 04/14/14 at 01:10 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.