The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/19/14 at 03:19 AM ET
The Detroit Red WIngs persevered despite some ugly moments and significant nerves to capture a clutch 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins, with Pavel Datsyuk's goal receiving far more rave reviews than the Lucic spear (or Zdeno Chara's boarding of Brendan Smith, though Tomas Jurco gave as good as Smith got) received finger-wagging, deserved or perhaps somewhat ficticiously.
As for the task I'm facing in trying to "wrap this up"...I would be up until the Wings practice at 12:30 PM today if I was to give the THIRTY-FOUR tabs I've got open their due attention. I really don't know how even the most dedicated Bruins fans follow their team, because it's a frickin' job.
You will not be surprised, however, to hear that Boston.com's Jeff Pini reported that the Bruins felt that the game was indeed "close"...
"It was a pretty even game I thought for the most part," Zdeno Chara said afterwards. "Eventually it came down to whoever was going to score that one goal... The goalies were very good, and there were some chances on both sides. Eventually it went for them, [but] it's going to be an even series."
"I don’t think there were any secrets in tonight’s game," said coach Claude Julien. "Both teams played really tight defense and that’s why there wasn’t that many scoring chances in the game. I know that throughout the game, both teams try to make small adjustments, but overall, I don’t think there was any surprise out there today."
It was announced before the game that forwards Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille, as well as defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller were scratches, leaving the B’s to start Jordan Caron and Justin Florek at forward and Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter on defense.
"It was a very close game – a very tight checking game," Chara said. "Not much room. It’s just very even. That’s what we kind of expected. It’s the first game. We’ve got a day tomorrow, we’ve got to do our best to regroup and get ready for the next game."
That the Bruins felt that the game hinged upon one "fortunate" save and a goal that wasn't as fortunate, as CSNNE's Jimmy Toscano noted...
The biggest came just before Detroit scored their lone goal of the gam late in the third period. Jarome Iginla fired one in front of the net where Milan Lucic was streaking in for the tip. Lucic got a stick on the puck, but Howard's glove got a piece of the puck and it went just wide of the net. Seconds later, the Wings' Pavel Datsyuk would burry the game-winner.
"It was a fortunate save, it was pretty lucky," Howard said. "I forget who it was that lobbed it in but he stuck his stick out and got a lot on it and it just sort of spun my glove and I was just able to get enough on it, I was pretty lucky."
Maybe luck had something to do with it, but being in the right place and being quick with the glove has more to do with skill than luck. Rask didn't have the same "luck" on the opposite end after Howard's save. He recalls seeing Datsyuk coming down the ice.
"Well he was by himself there and so I’m just thinking a shot and he drags it across and releases from his legs," Rask said. "You just try to get the puck in your eyes and I couldn’t. Usually he tries to make a pass, but I thought he was by himself there."
Rask had a feeling it would come down to one goal as the game progressed - and he was right, unfortunately.
"Yeah that’s what it looked like for most part of the game," Rask said. "There were not a ton of scoring chances and you kind of get that feeling that the one goal is going to be enough and today was them, too bad for us."
And you won't be surprised to hear that Claude Julien was a little edgy after the game, as BostonBruins.com's Jess Isner noted:
“I don’t think there were any secrets in tonight’s game,” Julien said. “Both teams played really tight defense, and that’s why there wasn’t that many scoring chances in the game. I know that throughout the game, both teams try to make small adjustments but overall, I don’t think there was any surprise out there today.”...
Rask did his job. Going forward, it will be about to continuing to do that while the Bruins’ offense finds a way to put the puck on net.
“I think the one issue for tonight is we didn’t have the puck enough, and when we had it, we got to start putting pucks in the areas where we can get them back, and we got to get pucks in areas where once we get it, we can hang on to it,” Julien said. “And tonight, I thought we didn’t play with the puck as much as we normally do, but the one thing about our team tonight — I thought we got better and better as the periods went on. So the third period was obviously our best period, but we started playing more of our game in the third period than in the first two. So we got to kind of make those adjustments here and hopefully have three periods more like the third period was and capitalize on the chances that we had.”
Rask had this to say about the game-winner to WEEI's Mike Petraglia:
“He was by himself there so I’m just thinking a shot there and then he drags it across and releases from our D’s legs so you just try to get the puck in your eyes and I couldn’t,” Rask said of Datsyuk’s shot. “It squeaked by me. Usually he tries to make a pass but I thought he was by himself there. I just couldn’t see it. It still went through me so I thought I should have it. But I didn’t see it.”
“It came down to whoever was going to score that one goal,” said Boston’s Zdeno Chara. “The goalies were very good, and there were some chances on both sides. Eventually, it went in for them.”
Julien barked to MassLive.com's Annie Maroon...
With Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller both out of the lineup, Corey Potter and Andrej Meszaros both played.
"As far as analyzing the players, we're going to do that in our dressing room here," Julien said. "The only thing I would tell you about (Potter and Meszaros) is that they did a great job for the position that they were put in."
Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly also both sat out with injuries, replaced by Jordan Caron and Justin Florek.
"It’s one of those things that you can’t control," Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said of the injuries and changes in the lineup. "We’ve dealt with it before, so it wasn’t something that we put any emphasis on at the beginning of the game. We just have to go with it. And we have enough depth in here, and we believe in everyone that we can all do the job."
Bergeron continued to Maroon...
"It’s two teams that play pretty solid systems and they stick to it,” Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said. “There wasn’t much on both sides of the ice. And that’s it. We’re going to have to expect that for the rest of the series and find ways to create some offense.”
"We're used to playing tight games, and we've been there before," Patrice Bergeron said. "So we've just got to manage plays and make sure we score when we do have those chances."
It's a challenge to take the puck from the Red Wings, who under Mike Babcock for nearly a decade have turned puck possession into their own art form. The Wings play with pace and structure and have the skilled players to own the rubber rather than rent it.
Detroit never got its offense going much either Friday – "Not a lot of chances both ways and not a lot of mistakes either," Dougie Hamilton said – but the Bruins' best players never got a chance to get going. Krejci's line of three 60-point scorers combined for four shots on net. Patrice Bergeron's unit had four.
The Bruins knew many of their problems were of their own doing. Their game collapsed in the second period, breakout passes falling off and possession becoming non-existent. The Red Wings clogged the neutral zone, and the Bruins' punishers along the boards could never go to work.
"It was tight, so we have to find a way," Krejci said. "I feel like we have to go really deep [as forwards] and we hold onto the puck, then we will have some more time on the breakouts, but we didn't do that. [The forwards] have to come down on the breakouts. Forwards will get it and come up the ice as a line, all three guys with the same speed. I don't think we did that."
Corey Potter, in his first NHL playoff game, made a save with Tuukka Rask caught way out of his net — Rask won the puck but failed to make a successful clear.
“I knew (Torey Krug) was behind me, the second backup guy there. Luckily, it came right to me. I just had to kick it up to my stick and get the puck out of harm’s way there,” said Potter.
The right-shot defenseman, a deadline waiver pickup from the Edmonton Oilers, played three regular-season games since his March 5 acquisition. Kevan Miller’s bout with the bug going around the team necessitated that the new guy step in.
“There was kind of a little feeling-out period. Guys were getting their legs because we haven’t played in a while (Sunday to Friday),” said Potter. “It was a tight game, but we’ll go to the drawing board tomorrow and come back Sunday a better team.”
"I think we just have to figure out the offense,” said David Krejci, whose line mustered just six shot attempts. “They have a good team, fast and skilled forwards. I thought we did a pretty good job of playing pretty good defense against those guys. But on the other hand, we’re a pretty good team as well. We can put the puck in the net. I didn’t feel like we had that many scoring chances today.”
“It’s just one game,” Krejci said. “We have to play, obviously, way better. Look at the video [on Saturday], make some adjustments. The next game’s going to be important. It’s a big difference if you go to Detroit 1-1 or down, 2-0. We have to do everything we can to get a win on Sunday.”
Julien suggested that the Bruins simply have to do a better job of carving out time and space, as noted by BostonBruins.com's Caryn Switaj...
"It was a tight-checking game, but nonetheless, I think everybody’s got to find a way to create more and that’s going to be the challenge in this series with two teams playing really tight," said Julien. "So it’s about everybody working a little harder and then gaining your space and doing what you have to do here."
The defense remained in line throughout the game, though, and Boston killed off both of their penalties, including one with Zdeno Chara in the box. Johnny Boychuk stayed on the ice for the entire kill.
"I thought our Ds did a good job," said Julien, who spread out his minutes among the blueliners, showing confidence in them. "Again, when you don’t give that many scoring chances, it means they’re doing something pretty good, so there was no need again to over-attack certain players."
Continue playing tight defense, and figure out the offense - that's the cut-and-dry objective for Boston heading into Game 2.
"I mean, it’s the first game," said Chara. "We’ve got a day [on Saturday]. We’ve got to do our best to regroup and get ready for the next game."
f Friday night’s Game 1 was any indication, those taxing nights are still on the horizon. Neither team gave up many quality scoring chances to the opposition, and both teams stood up to each other in the physicality department. Some of that crossed the line, such as Milan Lucic sticking Danny DeKeyser between the legs late in the second period.
While Julien didn’t address that Lucic incident specifically, he did speak to the overall attitudes of these two teams.
“Respect is a word you use because the other team is a good team and they’re in the playoffs, but it has absolutely nothing to do with what goes on on the ice. Once the puck is dropped, you play the game, and that’s what both teams intended to do tonight,” Julien said. “I think both teams are out there trying to win a series here, so there’s no time to be holding hands out there and trying to make friends or trying to make enemies. It’s about going out there and playing for your team.”
That's a cop-out. That's a cop-out by a coach who tolerates and encourages the Lucics and Brad Marchands of the world to play the way they do--without any respect for their opponent--and that's what separates Mike Babcock from Claude Julien.
Babcock's a grown-up when it comes to the concept that doing stupid, mean things to your opponents isn't simply "part of the game." Julien's team, for all its masterful play, doesn't get that.
In terms of "other stuff," the Boston Herald's Stephen Conroy penned a superb sans-quotes recap (eventually bolstered with already-discussed quips) and a notebook about the 3rd line (as well as a notebook about Justin Florek), the Boston Herald's Steve Buckley's worried about the Wings taking Game 1, Mark Daniels talked about the Bruins' third defensive pair, WEEI's DJ Bean noted the Bruins' lineup, the Lucic spear and a set of "What went right" and "What went wrong" observations...
- Patrice Bergeron‘s line, playing mostly against Detroit’s top line of Franzen – Datsyuk – Abdelkader and second pairing of Quincey – DeKeyser, had just two shots on goal through the first two periods. Both sides seemed OK with having the Bergeron and Datsyuk lines matched up against one another.
- The matchup that the Bruins need to exploit in this series is Boston’s bottom-six forwards against Detroit’s third pairing of Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff. They got some chances (Jordan Caron nearly had a goal in front in the second period) and Carl Soderberg’s line came on strong against them, but the B’s were unable to cash in. Keep an eye on those matchups going forward in the series.
WEEI's Scott McLaughlin whipped out the Corsi stats, CBS Boston's Matt Kalman questioned whether Julien managed the ice time of his third defensive pair properly, NESN's Nicholas Goss noted Datsyuk's goal and Mike Cole wondered why the Bruins couldn't sustain puck possessoin, CSNNE's Jimmy Toscano penned a recap and note about the Bruins' third defensive pair, and CSNNE's Joe Haggerty offered a set of observations and "Talking Points"...
TURNING POINT: The biggest – and only – turning point of the game happened in the third period when Milan Lucic nearly redirected a Jarome Iginla shot through Jimmy Howard for the go-ahead goal. Instead Howard caught just the smallest piece of the puck, and caused it skid harmlessly away from the net. Immediately the Red Wings got the puck going in Boston’s direction, and Pavel Datsyuk scored the game-winning goal seconds later to give Detroit a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Datsyuk goal arrived with only 3:01 remaining in the third period, and didn’t give Boston much time to mount a comeback that fell short.
And ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald both posited a capsule recap and suggested that the Wings proved that they're "For Real," in no small part due to the Bruins' inability to roll with their injury-induced punches:
The Bruins are at their best when Julien has the ability to roll all four lines and stay with consistent defensive pairings. It didn't help that they began this series missing four important players. Forwards Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly and defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller were sidelined.
As a result, Julien inserted forwards Jordan Caron and Justin Florek and defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter.
"Injuries are a part of the game and we kind of had to wait the whole day to find out who was in, and who was out," explained Julien. "We've had surprises all week long with the flu bug going around, so it was nice we were able to get 20 guys in the lineup. But at the same time, the guys that stepped in certainly did a good job."
The reinforcements did do their jobs given the situation, but the Bruins will need more of a normal lineup by the time Game 2 arrives on Sunday. Even after the game Julien said it was too early to know which of his injured/sick players will be ready to go.
"I wish I could tell you, honestly," he said. "With this thing going around, we really don't know. Matt Bartkowski was here today, so he's on the mend, but to what extent before Sunday hopefully he's good enough but we'll have to find out as days go on."
Shrug, sigh and move on? That's what Andrej Meszaros told BruinsDaily.com's Tim Rosenthal...
“Sometimes that’s how it goes,” said Bruins defenseman Andrej Meszaros. “You get a chance to score and they come down and score on us. But, you know, we had our chances, we just have to bury them down and keep shooting the puck and get in front of the goalie, and that’s how we’ve got to score goals.”
Though Rask did give Boston Herald's Stephen Harris a telling point that the WIngs might want to reflect upon...
“I think both teams played pretty good defense,” said Rask. “There wasn’t a lot of scoring chances. I thought we blocked a lot of shots (19) and they missed a couple of nets (11 missed shots). We had better chances maybe in the third and we just couldn’t get the puck in the net. (It was) a pretty solid effort from both teams.”
David Krejci both petitioned for more penalties against a Wings team that Brad Marchand apparently felt was a little "grabby" while speaking with TSN, via CSNNE's Haggerty...
“I thought there were a couple times, they could have called a couple more [power plays] especially on myself. It is what it is, it can go either way,” said Krejci. “We just have to stay positive on the bench and on the ice, and focus on the next shift. I think we had only one power play. So it is what it is. It’s the same story as the regular season.”
For the record, the intimation from the Bruins' beat writers was that coach Julien used the following to suggest that the Wings were committing "subtle interference," as noted by the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa:
“There’s certain areas where we have to get better at, obviously, to create more scoring chances,” Julien said. “We’ve got to find a way to get to the net. We’ve got to find a way to get some more shots there. They really play a tight game where they make it hard for you to get there. They get their bodies in the way. We’ve got to work through those kinds of things a little bit to create a little bit more and get some goals.”
The Red Wings are not the sedate team of seasons past, and, as Kalman, writing for NHL.com, noted, Wings coach Mike Babcock rather happily backed up his pregame bluster:
"Obviously, you want to get in and you want to establish yourself in the series, especially when you're the lower seed," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Sometimes when the upper seed gets the upper hand right away, you start questioning whether you're good enough. And we know we're good enough, but it's one thing to know you're good enough and one thing to show you're good enough. I think it was important for us to get started in the series so we can continue to get better as a group."
Detroit right wing Johan Franzen dug the puck out of the Red Wings zone and dished it ahead to Datsyuk, who pulled it between his legs at the Detroit blue line and skated up the ice on a 2-on-2. After crossing the Boston blue line, Datsyuk crisscrossed with linemate Justin Abdelkader. With Abdelkader driving to the net, Datsyuk beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask high to the glove side with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
"Yeah, not bad," said Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who, along with partner Brendan Smith, was instrumental in keeping the Bruins' No. 1 line of Jarome Iginla, David Krejci and Milan Lucic off the score sheet. "The puck was probably 4 or 5 feet behind him and he was able to pick it up, do things that no one else can do. We've seen it before, and he did it again. [Abdelkader] did a great job pushing their far defenseman down, which created some more room for [Datsyuk], and when he shot the puck, Rask didn't see it much."
Moments earlier, Howard survived the Bruins' best scoring chance. Lucic tipped an Iginla pass through Howard's five-hole, but the goaltender got just enough of the puck with his left leg to knock it off course and wide of the goal.
"It was a fortunate save. It was pretty lucky," Howard said. "I forget who it was that lobbed it in, but he stuck his stick out and got a lot on it, and it just sort of spun my glove, and I was just able to get enough on it. I was pretty lucky."
After the Red Wings' morning skate, Babcock indicated he felt Howard would be "dialed in" for Game 1.The veteran goalie proved his coach right.
"I just said that because that's the right thing to say, right?" Babcock said after the game. "No, he has to be. That's the bottom line. That's what we pay these guys to do. Both guys are supposed to be high-end goaltenders, and they've got to give their teams a chance, and he's done it for us in the past in playoff time, and we just expect it."
Howard also sprinkled some bluster into his commentary, as Shawn Roarke noted in NHL.com's sidebar story...
"There's nothing like hearing the Dropkick Murphys in Boston," Howard said, smiling as he slouched in his cubicle in the too-small visitors' dressing room at TD Garden. "It was a lot of fun."
While Drew Miller agreed with his coach's assessment of his netminder's importance:
"We need our goaltender playing his best and making big saves for us," forward Drew Miller said. "That is what we expect out of him and I think he expects the same thing. It's a big game for him. Our team has expectations that he is going to be dialed in all the time."
While Howard demurred regarding his game-changing save in speaking with Boston.com's Nancy Marrapese-Burrell...
“I think that was a fortunate save,’’ said Howard, who stopped 25 shots on the way to his third career playoff shutout. “It was pretty lucky. [Lucic] stuck his stick out and he got a lot on it. I just sort of swung my glove backwards and I was able to get enough on it for it to change direction, so I was pretty lucky. It was one of those nights.’’
Although it took some time for both teams to find their legs, Howard knew he had his work cut out for him.
“They’re such a good team and they’re so deep and they’ve got so many weapons,’’ said Howard. “I just want to get myself to stop as many shots as possible for the guys. They’re so hard on the forecheck and they’re big and physical. They can put guys through the boards so we don’t really have a choice. We have to go out and execute fast.’’
As the game moved along, with no pucks finding the back of the net, Howard said he mentally acknowledged the strong play in both ends.
“I try not to think about that too much,’’ said Howard. “But it’s a game within the game and Tuukka’s a great goalie. We’re going to have to keep finding ways to go to the net and getting screens in front of his eyes because when he sees it, he’s going to stop it.’’
“I think we played to our game plan tonight,’’ said Red Wings forward Drew Miller. “I thought there were stretches there where they had a lot of opportunities as well, so both teams were playing well. We’ve just got to come back with the same game plan next game, play hard, and execute in our zone and that leads to good offense.’’
None of the Red Wings think the Bruins are going to go down easily.
“We know they’re a good team, you don’t win the Presidents’ Trophy for not being a good team,’’ said Miller. “So we’ve got to be prepared. We know they’re going to come out hungry next game and we’ve got to be playing our best in Game 2.’’
That doesn’t mean the Red Wings can’t be better. Miller said he thinks there is definitely room for improvement.
“I think we’ve got to play our best,’’ he said. “I think [the Bruins] had times when they were physical and we did a good job [handling that]. I think our [defense] did a good job with their partner work and giving them some room out there in the zone to not get hit. I think we were out of our zone quick so we were able to play a lot in their zone.’’
And Babcock kept going, as the Toronto Sun's Rob Longley noted:
“We are a big believer in the group we have,” Babcock said. “We think we are detail-oriented and we compete.”
We'll utilize two articles to shift to the Red Wings' perspectives for the balance of this entry. First, Datsyuk played Cool Hand Pav while speaking with the Associated Press...
"It's a good start," Datsyuk said, "but we know there are many tough games (ahead)."
And then he opened up a bit, as the Boston Herald's Mark Daniels noted...
“You know, (whether) it’s Game 1 or Game 2, it’s a long run,” Datsyuk said. “You just have to forget about this one and just keep going the next game. We know they’ll come back more aggressive.”
As did his goaltender:
“You know, it’s nice to be able to come in here and get the first one,” Howard said, “but this series is far from over.”
Ditto for his coach, as NHL.com's Shawn Roarke noted:
"I've had him for a long time, and obviously he's a world-class player and he's coming back from an injury, which is obvious when you see him out there," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "But he can still do some very good things and he knows how to play without the puck. He's playing against a good player. [Bergeron] is a heck of player and knows how to play and makes it hard on you."
Babcock was also aware of the fact that the Bruins blocked 19 Wings shots, as he told Comcast Sportsnet Northeast's Joe Haggerty...
“I didn’t think there was much rolling around by either team in their offensive zones. Both teams were really efficient. There wasn’t a lot of room,” said Babcock. “There weren’t a lot of chances. There was a lot of blocked shots—not a lot of pucks going in [to the net].”
And that's where the coach and his superstar might agree on a strategy, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted--and people like me screamed: SHOOT!
"We know we need to shoot everything,” Datsyuk said. “They shoot everything and you know it’s a game one-shot different. I just shoot and actually we make a nice play on the blue line and Abby made a nice screen for me.”
Tomas Tatar gave a little quid-pro-Krejci...
The Red Wings had the only power plays through 40 minutes but came up empty on both opportunities. The Bruins had their power-play chance early in the third when Tomas Tatar was called for interfering with David Krejci. Despite getting two shots on Howard, the Bruins didn’t convert on their lone power play, which brought some relief to Tatar.
“We expected they would call something on us,” Tatar said. “I was kind of upset it was me but what can you do? I didn’t feel good about it and I feel kind of guilty but thanks to our guys they did a great job on the PK and they held it for us.”
And Tatar and Daniel Alfredsson, who may have played the least of any forward (probably due to back issues, but bailed Darren Helm, Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl out at one end and generated offense at the other), told MLive's Ansar Khan that the Wings simply aren't afraid of the Big, Bad Beasts of the East:
The Bruins had 34 hits and 19 blocked shots. The Red Wings were physical, too, with 26 hits.
“I wasn’t surprised with the physical play; we can handle it; Detroit’s Tomas Tatar said. “They’re a strong team as well so we respect that but we played really good game. I felt like we did everything good and we played responsible and the whole game the same way. That’s a good result for us.”
Said forward Drew Miller: “They had their times where they were physical and we did a good job. Our D did a good job with their partner, giving themselves some room out there, not to get hit. We were out of our zone quick so we were able to play a lot in their zone.”
Exactly. The Wings' offense wasn't sensational, but their speedy transition game neutralized the Bruins' forecheck.
“It was a game where it was hard fought, not a lot of room for both teams,” Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson said. “Their power play was better than our today. Our goaltender was outstanding. Theirs was really good. It was one individual effort that made the difference today.”
Did Datsyuk dazzle? You bet, as Alfredsson told MLive's Brendan Savage...
"He's one of those guys that can create something out of nothing and he definitely did that there," Alfredsson said. "I had a pretty good look. I had the best seat in the house. Great pick up. Puck is behind him, he picks it up with one hand, put it through his legs.
"He's really shifty. He kind of confuses. He looks like he's going to go this way and goes the other way. The 'D' is kind of indecisive who's going to take him. He gets room to take a good shot. It's a great shot. I guess one heckuva performance."
“The way we can have success is to play with speed and we did that,” Kronwall said. “We took advantage of our speed and got the puck deep, started rolling around and that’s the way we want to play the game.”
But the Red Wings were careful after the victory to keep it in perspective.
“We know Boston is a good team and they’re a tough team,” Datsyuk said. “It’s important but you know it’s Game 1 and it’s not over until you win the series. Many games we need to win, to win the series.”
Said Tomas Tatar: “I feel like they knew we will play. They knew we can really play good hockey, that’s what the results during the season were (the Red Wings won the season series 3-1). They knew it will be a tough series and we really respect that team a lot, and we need three more (wins) so it’s good we picked up the first one and we just have to play as good as tonight and we’ll get the result.”
And the Free Press's Helene St. James...
“Solid performance all the way through,” Niklas Kronwall said. “We did some good things, Howard came up with some big saves, obviously, but I thought overall we did a pretty good job. I think we all have a belief within the group that if we just do what we do and keep playing with the details in our game, we’ll be fine.”
It helps to have Datsyuk back from a long injury layoff; Friday was his seventh straight game, and came after he’d had five days to heal a little more. “He’s a world class player and he’s coming back from an injury,” Babcock said. “He still can do some very good things and he knows how to play without the puck.”
Who noted that the compliment-trading continued...
“Pav picked up the puck really well and he did great move,” Tomas Tatar said. “It was beautiful goal. It put us up on a horse.”
The play came immediately after Jimmy Howard pulled off an acrobatic save on Lucic, who had a great tip off a Jarome Iginla shot. “I just swung my glove behind and was able to get a piece of it and it went out the other way, and then Pavel went down and scored,” Howard said. “I just saw the red light come on.”
Datsyuk said he wasn’t sure the puck went in either, because he used Justin Abdelkader as a screen, but then “my teammates were around me.”
Datsyuk made sure to note how Howard, “stop everything to help us.” Howard made 25 saves for his third career playoff shutout.
But the Wings' bottom line was simple: stick to the plan, as they told the Detroit News's Kulfan...
“That’s what we came here to do, play our game and play with speed,” forward Drew Miller said. “We played to our game plan. There were stretches where they had a lot of opportunities as well, so both teams were playing well. They had their times when they were physical and we did a good job. Our defense did a good job with their partner work, giving them some room out there in the zone to not get hit.”
Occasionally improvise, as Howard surprisingly told Kulfan...
“You never know how it’s going to unfold,” he said. “You can definitely have a feeling that you’re going to play well, but as soon as you get out there, you don’t know what’s going to happen. I was just trying to establish myself outside the paint. They’re such a good team. They are so deep. I just wanted to give myself the chance to stop as many as shots as possible.”
Howard learned something from watching goalie Petr Mrazek shutting out St. Louis in the final regular-season game that he brought to Game 1.
“Getting out and moving the puck for the guys,” Howard said. “Watching Petr in St. Louis, he doesn’t hesitate, he just goes out and does it. You’re never too old to learn something, so thanks Pete.”
And have fun, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa noted in a "Spirit of the Thing" column:
Asked what was important about the play of his young team going into the game, Mike Babcock made it sound rudimentary.
“We just need to settle in and play,” he said.
They did. From the start, the Red Wings seemed to approach their first game in the Stanley Cup playoffs this season as if they had seen it all before. Tomas Tatar helped with an early rush, shot and rebound, at 1:34 of the first. Five minutes later, the shots were four for both teams....
At 34-26 in the Bruins’ favor, the hits were probably more even than anyone expected. And the Red Wings were giving as good as they got. Other than Lucic delivering a two-handed upper cut with his stick between Danny DeKeyser’s legs, the Bruins’ physical game did little damage and was not intimidating.
Mistakes? Who, us?
The young Wings limited their mistakes. The Bruins gave away the puck seven times, the Red Wings four.
The Wings played a detailed, disciplined game, strong on the fundamentals they hope will carry them.
That's got to be the case. The Wings aren't necessarily deeper or more talented than the Bruins, but we've already seen that they're more disciplined, and in that sense, there's a bit of Duck in them thar' Broons.
Highlights: ESPN posted a 2:20 highlight clip;
TSN posted a 3:20 highlight cilp;
Sportsnet posted a 2:26 highlight clip;
And the CBC posted a 1:00 highlight clip;
At least NHL.com's highlight clip is the TSN version:
Sportsnet marveled at Datsyuk's goal, too;
If you're interested, NHL.com posted a quickie recap;
And Pavel Datsyuk:
Bruins Daily posted a superb 4:23 blended clip of Wings and Bruins comments:
The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a clip of Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar discussing the win (as did MLive's Brendan Savage)...
And the Red Wings' website posted clips of Drew Miller...
And coach Babcock speaking with the media:
Photos: The Detroit Free Press posted a 33-image gallery;
The Detroit News's David Guralnick posted a 26-image gallery;
The Windsor Star posted 6 big images from the game;
The Boston Globe eventually published a 22-image gallery;
The Boston Herald posted an 8-image gallery;
ESPN posted an 83-image gallery;
Shots 25-24 Boston overall. Detroit out-shot Boston 11-9 in the 1st period, was out-shot 7-5 in the 2nd period and was out-shot 9-8 in the 3rd period.
Special teams: Detroit went 0-for-2 in 4:00 of PP time; Boston went 0-for-1 in 2:00 of PP time.
Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 25 shots for Detroit; Tuukka Rask stopped 23 of 24 shots for Boston.
The 3 stars were picked by 98.5 The Sports Hub, and they picked Tuukka Rask, Jimmy Howard and Pavel Datsyuk.
The Red Wings' goal: Datsyuk (1) from Franzen (1) at 16:59 of the 3rd period.
Faceoffs 24-20 Detroit (Detroit won 55%);
Blocked shots 19-11 Boston;
Missed shots 11-6 Detroit (attempts 54-42 Detroit; Detroit had 24 shots ON the net and another 30 blocked/wide);
Hits 34-26 Boston;
Giveaways 7-4 Boston;
Takeaways 7-5 Boston.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 9-and-8 (53%); Glendening went 7-and-5 (58%); Sheahan went 4-and-4 (50%); Helm went 3-and-1 (75%); Legwand went 1-and-2 (33%).
Shots: Tatar led the Wings with 5 shots; Helm and Franzen had 3; Datsyuk, Nyquist and Legwand had 2 shots; Kindl, Abdelkader, Sheahan, Lashoff, Jurco, Quincey and DeKeyser had 1 shot.
Blocked attempts: Quincey hit Bruins players 5 times; Kindl, Miller, Tatar, Helm and DeKeyser had 2 attempts blocked; Nyquist, Legwand, Lashoff and Kronwall had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Datsyuk, Nyquist and Tatar missed the net 2 times; Smith, Kindl, Miller, Quincey and DeKeyser missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Franzen led the Wings with 4 hits; Miller and Kronwall had 3 hits; Tatar, Jurco, Quincey, Helm and DeKeyser had 2 hits; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Nyquist, Legwand and Glendening had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Smith, Legwand, Kronwall and Franzen had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Franzen and Kindl had 2 takeaways; Helm had 1 takeaway.
Blocked opponent shots: DeKeyser blocked 3 shots; Smith and Kronwall blocked 2 shots; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Lashoff and Franzen blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Tatar took a minor penalty.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at +5. Smith, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Kronwall and Franzen finished at +1.
Points: Datsyuk had a goal; Franzen had an assist.
Ice time: Kronwall led the Wings with 23:18 played; DeKeyser played 22:32; Smith played 20:36;
Quincey played 20:04; Datsyuk played 19:32; Franzen played 17:11;
Tatar played 16:28; Nyquist played 15:57; Miller played 15:54;
Legwand played 15:25; Glendening played 14:58; Sheahan played 14:55;
Kindl played 14:43; Abdelkader played 14:30; Lashoff played 14:20;
Helm played 12:56; Jurco played 12:27; Alfredsson played 12:14.
Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: I'm running on two hours of sleep and am low on blog space, so:
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's Bruins notebook's been covered in this wrap-up;
“I respect him so much,” said Tatar, whose hometown isn’t far away from Chara’s in Slovakia. “Before I was drafted I had a chance to meet him and he helped me, and his leadership was a great example for me. It’s going to be fun to play and challenge my friend (in this series). We are friends on the ice but everybody wants to win. It would be nice to beat him.”
Tatar has attempted to train with Chara in the offseason, but as some players have come to learn, that’s an impossible task. Chara is generally considered one of the best conditioned athletes in the league.
“It’s impossible to train with Z,” Tatar said. “He’s unique, he works with such heavy weight. He’s so big. It doesn’t matter how old he is, he’s been working (with the same weight) for such a long time and everyone around the league knows it. He gets everyone’s respect.”
Healthy Mitchell Callahan, yay, thanks, WZZM (8 teeth lost)!
“When I watch the NHL playoffs right now, and I watch all of the goals going in, and I watch all of the turnovers. I see what’s going on,” said Babcock. “[I say to myself] ‘settle down and just play.’ Just play. Don’t be thinking too much here, just get out there and play.”
The Free Press's St. James spoke about Darren Helm's health...
“It’s been a long time,” Helm said. “I’m really excited. This is the time of year everybody wants to play, and I’ve missed two years of playoffs, so I’m glad to get another opportunity to get going. There’s been lots of ups and downs the last two years, this year as well, but I feel pretty good.”
Helm is the Wings’ fastest skater, so having him up and running against a team as deep as the Bruins can’t be overestimated.
Babcock spoke of how he has told Helm to “play a simple, hard game. I always told everyone he’s the best third-line center in hockey, and that’s a big, bold statement.”
Babcock has found a third line he likes lately with Helm between world-class right wing Daniel Alfredsson and young left wing Tomas Jurco, the latter another guy who can move his feet and who’ll go to the net. The three “have good potential,” Jurco said, “because Helmer is really fast and Alfie is really smart, and I’m trying to skate more and be a little more physical.”
And this is intriguing:
Henrik Zetterberg had the line of the 2013 playoffs when he noted Brendan Smith “creates a lot of stuff. Sometimes for both teams.” The message to be careful with the puck is worded a little differently from Babcock, who always tells Smith: “Who has the puck after you? You’ve got to take care of the puck. And to be a good D-man you’ve got to be patient and you’ve got to take what’s given. He wants to be an offensive guy; you’ve got to play well defensively first.”
NBCSN was blacked out in South Lyon, and you probably didn't get Fox Sports Detroit, so MLive's Josh Slaghter (regarding Chris Osgood on Datsyuk and Patrice Bergeron on...Datsyuk) and the Free Press's Steve Schrader (in classic Octopus Garden form) offer broadcast notes, and yes, Mickey Redmond said Zetterberg should return for a Game 7 scenario;
In the Bonus Swedish department, via RedWingsFeed, Niklas Kronwall told Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom that Pavel Datsyuk is, "Totally incredible," and while Daniel Alfredsson and Gustav Nyquist raved about the finality of Datsyuk's goal once he'd gotten the puck to his stick blade while speaking with Aftonbladet's Per Bjurman, both Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall stated that the Wings only won one game, and Alfredsson preached the, "We have to play with structure in our own zone and use our speed with the puck" line--and he's right. Beating Boston is all about disrupting their hard-charging forecheck with strong defense and then owning the neutral zone. They're Romulans.
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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.