The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/21/14 at 02:56 AM ET
The hardest part of what I'm about to do in surveying the media's takes on the Red Wings' 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 2 involves the fact that Claude Julien and the Bruins will likely receive oodles of credit for "adjusting," when the truth of the matter--to Red Wings fans like me, happily professional and biased--is that the Wings' fans, players and media are all on the same page this morning (I'm sure Chris Osgood will say things we've all heard when he chats on Freep.com at 11 EDT).
What happened? What Mike Babcock told us happened. The Wings stopped playing like themselves and started playing like the Bruins, and from Jimmy Howard's puck-flickering dimwit play on out to Brendan Smith's attempts to scale Mount Chara to the terrible penalty-kill (why did you reunite Quincey and Smith, coach?) and power play (aggravating fans' nerves: Olczyk and McGuire gushing about the standard of officiating as the Wings let themselves get suckered)...
And I guess that's it. We can talk about how Franzen lost his hands when he went back to Easton gloves, that Alfredsson's been all defense and no offense, that Smith wasn't great, that Lashoff's terrible, that Glendening and Miller were surprisingly on the ice for 3 goals against, that the Kid Line looked intimidated, Nyquist hasn't meshed with Datsyuk, etc. etc. etc.
But what the *#$%@& are we supposed to give the Bruins credit for, other than encouraging the Wings to get in a knife fight with an alligator?
The Wings poked the Bruin. The Wings tried to play like the Bruins, and that's a recipe for disaster.
If anything was shocking, it was the thoroughness with which the Wings shot themselves in each and every toe, proceeded up their metatarsal bones with hammers, and eventually bludgeoned their own ankles, all after delicately removing their skates and socks.
On the morning of the Boston Marathon, when Detroit and Boston are reunited for one day with a strong sense of fraternal love, I hope that the Wings got on the plane...
And before they did (the team practices at 11 AM today), I hope that they gave themselves a good shake to make sure all the stupid was left on the runway.
We've seen this movie. It was called the 2013 and 2013-2014 regular seasons. And while Babcock likes to say that, "Sometimes you need to be reminded," I dunno if any of the Wings fans who watched the Bruins manhandle the Wings' brains and bodies on Sunday liked that reminder. It was silly. It was dumb. It was unnecessary.
If I was as lazy as I am tired, I'd say that we start here and stop here. I'm going to post the Wings YouTube Channel's post-game comments first instead of last, and it's not that the Wings didn't "get" that they have to play Detroit Red Wings hockey and not get into what Jimmy Howard calls, "BS out there, just play whistle to whistle."
It's that they did it anyway. They let the biggest bully on the playground egg them into getting the shit beat out of them. Here's James Russel Howard, discussing his brain fart first ("It happened")...
And St. James posted a clip of Daniel "The Romulan" Alfredsson talking about the Red Wings' poor breakouts and inability to skate the puck through the neutral zone assertively, nor to establish possession and control of the puck in the Bruins' end, especially on the power play (St. James also posted a clip of Howard's comments and
You don't need to watch Bob Wojnowski and Sean Baligian talk about the game on Fox 2's Sportsworks (though Jennifer Hammond's feature about the Wings' playoff beards is cute), you don't need to know what Mickey Redmond told WDIV's Bernie Smilovitz...
You can probably stop here if you want to, because I'm gonna put another three hours' worth of work in, but I guess all that will do is answer the, "What the Bruins thought about doing exactly what they wanted via a ton of help from their opponent" question.
The worst part was that the shift-disturbers ended up explaining what they were going to do prior to the game, including going after Brendan Smith, and then they did it.
It certainly wasn't Kevan Miller's return that empowered the Bruins to play the way they did. It was the Red Wings who empowered the Bruins to play their power game (awful sentence, I know), and then the beatings began.
With this series turning into an every-other-day affair tied 1-1, obviously coming out and taking Game 3 is huge, but unless we want to lament the fact that Milan Lucic was fined and not suspended, we're not going to be able to answer the question, "Can the Wings beat the Bruins and themselves?" (and perhaps the stupid standard of officiating that plagues the NHL's' 16 playoff teams) until Tuesday evening.
But the question does remain--if I may be vulgar--do the Wings want an ugly *#$%@& like Lucic and his teammates get away with this kind of thing? By playing, "Stop punching yourself?"
Maybe I'm a bad person and a bad blogger for refusing to give the Bruins credit for doing what they did so very well, but this is the playoffs, and I don't feel like playing a professional on the internet right now.
And now, we begin the post-mortem...The Bruins' press is just so ridiculous this morning that I've got 53 tabs open--thus far--so I'm just gonna go publication by publication and pick and choose if that's cool with you.
I appear to have picked wisely, because ESPN's Joe McDonald duly noted that the Bruins did exactly what they said they would prior to the game...
"I don't know if anyone wants to piss us off," Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said prior to Sunday's game. "It shouldn't matter. We've got to play our game no matter what they've got on the other side. That means bringing emotion and intensity. We've got to be physical but we've got to play the game too, so I don't think that changes. It's playoff time, we should just be playing our game.
"You don't need that. Everyone talks about it because of the way we're built that we play better when we're a little pissed off, but playoff hockey, if you can't get yourself going there's something wrong. You shouldn't need a ton of animosity to motivate yourself this time of year."
And the B's media went all "aww" regarding the fact that Milan Lucic apparently needed stitches after cutting his foot (one skate blade cut into the top of his other foot) slamming into the boards on a forechecking shift, and he returned in time to help Iginla score. "Aww." I do not feel similarly:
"I was 50/50 there a little bit," Lucic said. "I cut my foot up pretty good there with my own skate blade, but luckily I didn't get off. Kruger made a great play to me and Iggy made a great fake-shot pass and found me driving the net, so good thing I stayed on the ice and it ended up being a big goal to regain that two-goal lead."
Between periods, Lucic needed stitches to close the gash in his foot but it did not affect his game in the third period.
"A couple of stitches, but a long way from the heart, right?" Lucic said. "Add a little tape and aspirin to it and keep going."
And brain. Always a long way from the brain.
McDonald also noted Reilly Smith's comments regarding his brother's stupidity...
“He wouldn’t be the first guy I’d choose in the NHL to go against,” Reilly Smith said. “He should probably think twice next time.”
When asked if he was worried for his brother’s safety, Reilly said, “No, not too much. That’s the least of my worries right now.”
Brendan Smith did not speak with the media after the game, and Chara downplayed the situation as part of the game.
“Nothing really, it’s just playoff hockey,” Chara said.
On Sunday, Florek and the Bruins took advantage of a Detroit miscue to gain a 1-0 lead at 7:28 of the first period. Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard came far out of the crease to play the puck and attempted to move it to Brendan Smith, but the puck ricocheted off the defenseman’s leg.
The puck came to Florek, who was in the right place at the right time, took a shot from the left faceoff circle and scored with Howard out of position.
“It felt great,” Florek said. “Just great to get the fans into it and get everyone going, especially the team. So I think it was a good start for us, and hopefully, we can carry that out through the rest of the series.”...
“It was great for him,” Julien said. “It was also great for the team, I think, to give us that early lead and really get that confidence going, that energy that we were looking for. That was a big goal for us, so it was great to see him stay on it and react well and quick enough so that it ended up being a good goal for us.”
On to WEEI. whose DJ Bean praised the Lucic-Krejci-Iginla line's job done against the Sheahan and Glendening ones...
"We felt like we didn’t leave enough out there in the first game, and sometimes in a series it takes a little bit to get things going," Lucic said. "As this has gone on I think it got a little bit better today, but I think moving forward we still have to get better to get to the top of our game."
The Sheahan trio features three young players. Tatar and Nyquist, the line's wings, each stand under six feet and weigh 185 and 186 pounds, respectively. Lucic is 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, while Iginla and 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds. If the B's are able to slow the Red Wings down the way they did on Sunday, Boston's power forwards can wear down Tatar and Nyquist over the course of a game.
(The Kid Line wasn't very good)
“I think they had the sense that they had to get going and they needed to produce and be a positive influence in this game, so they went right back at it and they scored a big goal for us,” Claude Julien said. “They’ve been a good line for us all year, and the biggest challenge for those guys is they’re going to be checked on a little bit tighter in the playoffs.
“They’ve got to battle through those situations and continue to be a real productive line for us. I thought tonight was better. Obviously the first game, they had a tough game, but I thought they bounced back well in this afternoon’s game.”
“Our guys just did a great job,” Claude Julien said. “David Krejci hasn’t killed much this year. He’s killed in the past and he’s been a good penalty killer. We’€™re, I guess, blessed with a lot of them this year, where we’re able to save David for the line following a penalty kill. But we need him now. He’s stepped up.
“Florek’s another guy that’s killed penalties in Providence and is pretty good at it as well. So guys have done a good job. Our regular guys continue to do a good job on it, but then new guys have come in and really stepped up and replaced those missing guys in a good way.”
Over the last 24 games, the Bruins’ penalty kill is operating at a phenomenal 89.4-percent clip. To put that in perspective, the Devils finished the regular season with the NHL‘s best penalty kill at 86.4 percent.
Comcast Sportsnet Northeast's Joe Haggerty is going to piss you off in the video below, but he tends not to pretend that he's objective at least. He talked about Kevan Miller, the "KIL" line, including Iginla's "dagger" goal near he end of the 2nd period...
With less than two minutes left in the middle stanza, Torey Krug fed a long pass up to Lucic, who moved into the offensive zone and dropped back a pass to a rushing Iginla. Rather than muddle through the motions Lucic moved hard to the net, and was ready to fire when Iginla finished off the give-and-go with a perfectly placed pass.
Jimmy Howard got a piece of Lucic’s shot just as he did in the third period of Game 1, but this time the bounce went against him as the puck trickled into the back of the net for Boston. The score gave the Bruins their insurance goal in a gut-punching manner, and signaled to Detroit that Boston’s most dangerous forward line was gathering steam.
“The good thing is, we were able to respond before the period was done. Especially when it felt like we were penalty-killing all period. It was a great play by Kruger [Torey Krug] to me to show some patience, and another great pass by Iggy [Jarome Iginla] to me,” said Lucic. “I had a lot of net to shoot at and thankfully it went in this time and didn’t take a hard left out. It was a good effort by all.”
The referees are paying much closer attention to the holding, interference and obstruction today, and that’s not a good sign for the Detroit Red Wings’ tactics against the Bruins. That will open the door for the Bruins to attack with much more speed than Game 1, something we’ve already seen today.
Cough bullshit cough--though the margin for error in "skating versus getting skated" is obviously razor-thin against Boston..
And amongst his "Talking Points":
“I think it’s important for us to really grasp what we did tonight, and really bottle that up, and know that’s what it’s going to take to beat this team. It’s going to be important for us to have that kind of intensity and that kind of determination to beat this team because it’s not an 8th-seeded team. It’s a really good hockey club.” –Claude Julien after Boston’s solid 4-1 win in Game 2.
It's going to take convincing the Wings to beat themselves and then executing better than Detroit does?
Boy, do I hope that it's more of the former than the latter, but what do I know, I'm biased.
Bruins Daily's Tim Rosenthal took note of other comments regarding the Bruins' would-be transformation:
“We knew the first game we didn’t play our best,” said B’s captain Zdeno Chara. “We wanted to make sure that we were better today, and I think we were. So we’ve just got to, again, continue to do the things that we do well and keep adjusting.”
The stat sheets show that the Bruins outhit the Red Wings 33-29. But as sexy as some stats are, there are other times where they don’t do justice, and that was certainly the case on Easter Sunday.
From the get-go, the Bruins were big and bad. From the bigger guys like Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Kevan Miller to the not so bigger guys like David Krejci, Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, the B’s threw their bodies at the Red Wings.
More importantly, those Big Bad Bruins threw the Red Wings off their game. Their frustration showed at key moments, too. Just ask Brendan Smith, who tried to engage in some post whistle activity with the bigger Chara, but was on the laughing end of Big Z’s smile and the other 17,565 chuckles inside TD Garden.
"I thought all the guys right from the start of the game were able to get some good, clean, hard hits consistently,” said Jarome Iginla, who tallied three hits and an assist in 17:12 of ice time. “It was a good emotional game, and it was nice to get that going in the right direction.”
The Toronto Sun's Rob Longley will actually continue that narrative...
“It should be every night,” Thornton said, emphasizing that the bruising Bruins approach had gone missing in the series opener. “We are aware this time of year that there’s no excuse not to have it. This time of year, we should always have that physical presence going.”...
If Game 1 was a feeling-out process for both teams and an opportunity for the Wings to dictate the play and Game 2 was vintage Bruins, what lies ahead for Game 3?
“I think it’s important for us to really grasp what we did and really bottle that up and know what it’s going to take to beat this team,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “They’re certainly capable of doing damage if you’re not ready.”
As will NESN's Nicholas Goss:
The Bruins made a strong effort to crash the net and establish more traffic at the crease in Game 2. This adjustment made it difficult for Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard to see the puck, which resulted in him giving up many more rebounds than he did in the series opener.
Boston’s first power-play goal was made possible by Loui Eriksson screening Howard at the top of the crease. As the shot from the point came into the blue paint, Howard wasn’t able to track it and cover the puck. This allowed Bruins winger Reilly Smith, who went hard to the net for a potential rebound, to pounce on the loose puck for his first career playoff goal.
“It’s been a strength for us throughout the season, and we’ve just got to keep making plays and take our chances when we have them on the (power play),” Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. “It’s not always going to be pretty, it’s going to be those goals where you have to chip away and get those second or third shots. And you saw the two goals that were scored there on the (power play in Game 1) they were right in the crease.”
That was bad. That was very bad. Howard was shaky as shaky could be, but there was a Turnover Bakery open in the neutral zone and Highway to the Danger Zone was playing as the Wings backed in and let the Bruins crash their crease. They barely had to cycle the puck--they just moved it laterally in the corners a bit. The Wings' defensemen would wander off their angles, bang bang, out front and in the net.
“I think getting that first one was huge, especially after not being able to get one past them last game,” winger Milan Lucic said. “Sometimes all it takes is a lucky bounce like that to kind of turn the tide and get some confidence and momentum in the goal-scoring department.”
A longtime thorn in Boston's side as captain of the Ottawa Senators, Daniel Alfredsson finally left his first NHL club as a free agent to join the Red Wings so this enemy player knows the Bruins better than most. He admitted after Sunday's game that the Bruins got his team off its game. "A little bit. There were a few scrums, but I think overall we handled it pretty good. I don't think that's really an issue in this series," said Alfredsson.
After winning Game 1, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was diplomatic about the style of game. But after losing Game 2 he challenged his team to dictate a game that would get the Bruins — but not his own players — into the penalty box.
"I just think you've got to decide what you want to do. Do you want to play like them or play like us?" he asked rhetorically. "I just looked at the sheet here. We had one, two, three, four roughing calls. We haven't had four roughing calls this year. So you've got to do what you do, not what they do."
The MetroWest Daily News's Dan Cagen noted that the other coach was completely satisfied with the way his team played...
"We're a team that doesn't mind the physical game, and it only works if you get there," coach Claude Julien said after the Bruins' 4-1 win at TD Garden. "Last game, we're weren't. Today, we were.
"We were able to use the physical aspect of our game a little bit more, and because of that, we were able to get pucks and turn pucks over a little bit more as well."
"I think power plays definitely helped us in the start and changed the tide," Smith said. "You know we're not getting too many pucks to the net at the start, and then you get the five-on-three and you're able to fire as many as you want. So that does definitely change the pace of the game and we benefitted off of it."
"When we play that style of hockey," Johnny Boychuk said, "everybody is going and everybody feeds off of each other."
"[In] Game 1, I think both teams played pretty solid defense," Rask said. "Today again, we crashed the net a lot and got rewarded... Once we got that 4-1 lead, we kind of let up a little bit and gave them that speed and some chances. For the most part, I think our defense has been tremendous throughout these two games."
Rask continued while speaking to BostonBruins.com's Caryn Switaj (FFS screen Rask already!)...
Rask earned First Star honors, making 34 saves on 35 shots. David Krejci passed on the Old-Time Hockey Player of the Game Jacket to him in the Bruins' locker room for the effort.
His best save came with about nine minutes left in the third, when he got a piece of Brendan Smith's booming shot after Pavel Datsyuk had threaded him the puck wide open in the slot. The Bruins' netminder was as sharp as ever, and his teammates safely cleared any rebounds.
"It’s good to see that we’re pushing hard and we got rewarded pretty early, too," said Rask. "Especially at home, I think it’s important to get that physical start."
Who also noted this:
"[Our urgency] was much better, it was where we needed it to be to get a win," said Lucic. "And if we want to have some success moving forward that urgency has to remain high."
"When you play one game, I don’t think it speaks much about the series. We have to go in there and make sure we continue to do those things well," said Torey Krug. "I don’t think we can say we are comfortable. I think we understand what it takes to beat these guys and I think if we play like that, we will have success this series."
The Boston Herald's Ron Borges will start our slow and steady shift toward the Red Wings' perspectives...
"I just looked at the (stat) sheet here,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We had one, two, three, four roughing calls. We haven’t had four roughing calls this year. I just think you’ve got to decide what you want to do. Do you want to play like them or play like us? You’ve got to do what you do, not what they do.”
The Herald's Mark Daniels noted that Florek is from Michigan (no offense, but in hockey, I don't give a shit, if you're not wearing a winged wheel on your chest, you're the enemy), and I like Steve Conroy, so I am going to take a deep breath before noting that he's bought into Julien's line of bullshit trucking. He penned a notebook, too.
The Bruins also benefited from some stricter enforcement of the rules. In Game 1, the B’s had to wait until the third period for their first and only power play, while the Wings were able to do a good job of interfering with puck-chasers, not blatantly enough to get called — especially not in the postseason — but just enough to prevent them from getting to their destination.
Yesterday, the Bruins forced Detroit to be a little more obvious about it, and the penalties were called. The B’s had three power plays in the first period to help stake them to a 2-0 lead.
What the Bruins' press corps has taught me, after 4 days?
It's good to have as many as 12 local news outlets trumpeting your coach's line of bullshit toward the NHL, because the NHL listens. They listen in Toronto, they listen in Montreal, and they listen in Boston.
Now does that mean that the Wings did not commit some lazy, STUPID penalties today? Oh of course they did. But still. Be *#$%@& consistent despite commentary, or the score. It's your one *#$%@& hard job, refs.
Amongst the Boston Globe's articles comes this from Amalie Benjamin's recap--appropriately, from Julien...
“It’s important for us to really grasp what we did [Sunday] and really bottle that up and know that’s what it’s going to take to beat this team,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It’s going to be important for us to have that kind of intensity and that kind of determination to beat this team because it’s not an eighth-seeded team.”
She also talked about Florek's goal, and well...
The Bruins killed all four Red Wings power plays, after killing both in Game 1. “Penalty kill to me is extremely important,” Julien said. “Our penalty kill right now is doing a pretty good job, but when you have both units being able to do the job right, it helps a lot, and obviously it was a big difference in today’s game, the penalty kill being so good and getting [two] power-play goals.”
We will politely skip Dan Shaugnessy's "No way the Bruins were going to lose Game 2" and we will in fact transition to the Wings' perspectives full-time by the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa's penned praise for Lucic...
“As poor as we were, I thought in the second period, we got the game to right where we wanted it,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. “It’s 2-1 and we’re going to be going into the third. It’s a simple two-on-two cross play and we don’t execute. Now we’re down, 3-1, and the game’s over.”
So Krug waited for a seam to develop to Lucic in the neutral zone. Once Lucic received Krug’s pass, he attacked Smith and Quincey. Once Lucic gave the puck to Iginla, he drove to the net. Smith got his stick tangled with Lucic and couldn’t recover. Neither could the Wings after Lucic’s goal beat Howard.
“I just didn’t get enough of it,” Howard said. “I got a lot of it, but I didn’t get enough of it and it went in.”
Babcock was displeased with his team's play, period, as he told the Boston Globe's Nancy Marrapese-Burrell...
“I thought we were ineffective period, to tell you the truth,’’ said the coach, whose team is 0 for 6 on the power play in the series. “I didn’t think we were very good. I thought they were better. I thought we were better than them in Game 1. I thought they were way better than us in Game 2. They were engaged, they won the battles. They were quick, we were slow. We didn’t execute.
And if you wish to read the Worchester Telegram & Gazette's Rich Garven's recap, the Eagle-Tribune's Bud Barth's "5 reasons to like the B's chances going forward" or NHL.com's Matt Kalman's recap for CBS Boston, which focuses on Zdeno Chara's increased ice time, enjoy, but it's time to let the out-of-towners make the permanent B's-to-Wings transition, with the Hockey News's Jason Kay wondering whether the Wings can stop the Bruins' train, and SI's Brian Cazenueve provides this from the Kaptain:
Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall knew the club would be in for a hard series after the first game. “Of course they were going to come out harder tonight,” he said. “They were better than us. Much better. We didn’t work hard enough to get zone time. We didn’t win battles on the boards. We didn’t do the little things. We get to go home now, but we can’t count on that.”
Daniel Alfredsson agreed while speaking to the Associated Press...
"It seems like we got hesitant and we weren't as assertive as we normally are," Detroit forward Daniel Alfredsson said. "That's been one of our strong suits ... setting up in the other team's end."
And he continued while speaking to NHL.com's Kalman:
"We didn't set up in their end," Detroit forward Daniel Alfredsson said about his team's power play. "Our breakouts, I think they read them too easily, and they did a good job in the neutral zone. Seems like we got hesitant and we weren't as assertive as we normally are, and I think that's been one of our strong suits is setting up in the other teams end. We are going to have to do a much better job of that because that's probably the difference today, the special teams."
Back to Kronwall, via DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...
“I think they were even more aggressive than they were in Game 1. At the same time we weren’t as efficient as we were in Game 1,” Kronwall said. “They played their game better than we played our game and specialty teams that’s what made a difference, so they’re a really, really good team there’s no doubt about that.”
Still, the Red Wings feel somewhat satisfied to return home where they will play the next two games of the series – Tuesday and Thursday – in front of their fans after stealing home-ice advantage from the Presidents’ Trophy winners.
“You always want to win every game there’s no doubt about that,” Kronwall said. “But at the same time we got one here and now we’re heading back to Detroit, looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd.”
And now Alfredsson:
“They get off to the start that they want, get two quick goals there and they’ve always been one of the best teams at defending a lead,” Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson said. “I thought we did a good job of battling back in the second, but that third one for them hurt us a bit.”
Kronwall and Alfredsson had a bit of a special teams kibitz while speaking with the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
“It’s a combination. They’re doing a good job on the PK, no doubt, their forecheck,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “At the same time we’re not doing a really good job, we’re not organized enough and executing on our break-ins.”
And that lack of effectiveness on the power play hurt Sunday, in the second period, with a golden chance to get back into the game.
“Our power play could have gotten us going,” Alfredsson said. “Last game, we were in it all the way. I don’t think we had to press as we did today to get back into the game and we can be a little bit quicker through the neutral zone. If we do that, we’ll get into their end a little bit better. (Sunday) we made it too easy for them at times.”
“We didn’t execute very well in our own zone and we spent too much time in our own zone,” Kronwall said. “You know last game we were able to come out a lot quicker than we did (in Game 2). Specialty teams like I had mentioned before was also a factor. We got to flush this one out and get back to playing again in Detroit.”
“We played real solid in Game 1 and we had spurts (Sunday),” forward Daniel Alfredsson said. “But we can do better. We can be quicker (five-on-five), move the puck quicker. Not be too predictable. Coming back home and using the crowd with their energy and getting back to the way we play a little bit more.”
More than anything, get into the mental frame of mind that Babcock wants to see, and wasn’t there for large portions of Game 2.
“Let’s not take anything away from (Boston),” Babcock said. “They did a good job. We did a good job in Game 1. I didn’t think we did a good job in Game 2. So the lesson is, when you win Game 1, you’ve got to get ready for Game 2. You’ve got to get mentally engaged and ready to play. And we weren’t ready to play (Sunday) — I shouldn’t say that. We started fine, but we didn’t do what we needed to do.”
As well as something of a "Bottom Line" from Howard in his Wings notebook...
“We have to stay out of the BS out there and just play whistle to whistle,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “Don’t worry about getting into any scrums or anything like that and proving your manhood out there. Just skate, play our hockey. Don’t get into their motive and get into their scrapping and playing real physical. Just get back to playing our game. We knew this was going to be a long series and they played a real solid game.”
Which brings a new voice into the conversation:
“It’s all about momentum in the playoffs,” forward Riley Sheahan said. “They played a great game and they were physical. There isn’t anything we can do now, so we’ve just got to take it back to Detroit, regroup, and go from there.”
Red Wings center Riley Sheahan: “Obviously they’ve got some heavy checkers, but we can’t let it get to us. We’ve just got to keep going and keep our feet moving, and use what we can do to our advantage.”
And Khan also noted that Babcock is well aware of his team's inability to win the first offensive zone draw on the power play...
“On special teams, they won the faceoffs, so they cleared it down,” Babcock said. “Their penalty kill forecheck was good, our power-play breakout failed to execute, so we got no zone time. It was like an exercise in skating up and down the rink.”
Just as Jimmy Howard was willing to address his dunderheaded channeling of Petr Mrazek head-on:
Justin Florek scored at 7:28, after Riley Sheahan passed the puck back into his own zone. Howard came out of his net to pass it to Brendan Smith, but it bounced off the defenseman’s leg. Florek corralled it and fired it into the net before Howard could get back into position.
“(The puck) flipped up a little bit and just sort of sailed,” Howard said. “It’s hockey, it’s a bad break and just unfortunate for us. Got them a little bit rolling in the first period.”
The Bruins went ahead 2-0 on the power play, when Smith knocked in a loose puck in the crease at 10:35.
“That was the moment when they started to get better,” Tomas Tatar said. “We get a penalty and they scored right away. They got on their horse and they were better in certain minutes than we were.”
Said Kronwall: “We’ll flush this one out, and get back to playing again in Detroit.”
The Free Press's Helene St. James put things bluntly regarding the game at even-strength...
The Wings won one game because they engaged the Bruins in a track meet, and the Wings are faster. They lost a game because they engaged in the Bruins’ goading, and the Bruins are bigger and nastier. When Smith went after Chara, Chara responded by encouraging him. Chara called it “playoff hockey.” He should have been specific: It’s Bruins’ playoff hockey.
Having Chara laugh in his face probably hurt Brendan Smith’s pride — he wouldn't talk to reporters after the game — but what hurt physically was first being hit by Johnny Boychuk and then by David Krejci. Smith had to sit on the bench for a bit after that before playing another shift. Justin Abdelkader was another guy who got hit hard as the Bruins took aim at a slower opponent than the one they got beat by in the opener.
The Wings learned something this weekend: If they play their style, they can win this series. They’ve got areas to improve upon — most pressingly, their power play — but they have four solid lines and a defense corps that at least in one game did a great job moving the puck. But the silly stuff has to stop, or Chara is going to be laughing a lot more.
And on the power play, too:
There’s little to do personnel-wise — captain Henrik Zetterberg is not available, and there’s no forward not on a unit who’d be an improvement over the personnel assigned. Each unit has what should lead to success — creativity, good shooters, net-front presence, someone who can shoot from the point.
I'd like to see two defesemen on the point, but that's just me.
Otherwise, Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus posited a game analysis...
The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo called the proper offensive players out after pointing out that Jimmy Howard laid several Easter Eggs...
Youngsters Nyquist and Tomas Tartar are capable of scorers — and they need to put the puck in the net.
But this is more than a “kids” thing. The Red Wings acquired Daniel Alfredsson for a playoff run. He was a non-factor in the first two games. With Ottawa, he scored 100 points and 51 goals in 121 playoff games, including 10 points in 10 games last season. Johan Franzen carries a reputation for “scoring goals in bunches.” Hey, the Red Wings could use a bunch about now.
David Legwand was acquired at the trade deadline with the hope he’d fill a void at center ice in the playoffs. He played 20 minutes per game in 22 playoff games the last two times Nashville got in, and scored nine goals. He wasn’t that type of threat in Game 1 and Game 2.
(Legwand's looked like he belongs on the 4th line. That's not good)
Surprisingly enough, the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa called out Howard for the weaknesses we're all familiar with...
He has given his club lots of chances to win over his five season, generally lifting his game in stretch drives to the playoffs and in the postseason. But Howard has weaknesses. Most prominently, handling the puck and rebound control.
Both bit him and the Red Wings Sunday, with nasty results. Howard’s mistake with the loose puck out of the Bruins zone on the first goal was a glaring example.
His failure to handle rebounds seemed to contribute significantly to both Smith’s goal and the third one by Milan Lucic, which restored the Bruins’ two-goal lead after Luke Glendening had brought it to 2-1.
Howard nearly had the puck wrapped up at Lucic’s feet. But it came out. That was a back-breaking goal at 18:16 of the second period, when the Wings had fought valiantly to restore their game.
So where do we go from here? Where's the denoument? The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that Niklas Kronwall's going to be a dad, that Johan Franzen's going to be a dad for the second time, and she also noted Babcock's telling comments from before the game:
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Asked for his impressions of the first-round playoff series so far, Babcock replied, “Too many penalties. Same as every year first round. First round of the playoffs, you call too many penalties. It’s too tight. Then you loosen it off until there’s no penalties by the end. It’s the same every year. We say the standards the same? OK.” The Wings were assessed seven minors Sunday, same as the Bruins.
THE POWER OF PRESSURE: The fact the Wings are playing the NHL’s top regular-season team has brought up a lot of talk about how the pressure is on the Bruins. Babcock said there’s pressure on the Wings, too, because “pressure means you have a chance. We felt pressure coming in because we felt we had a chance. We’re going to feel that the whole time. Pressure is just something that should motivate you and help you be better. If you don’t have any pressure in your life, you’re probably sleepwalking through your job, think you’re doing a better job than you are, and getting fired soon.”
If you want to read MLive's Josh Slaghter's tidbits of NBC wisdom, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted that Babcock and Julien offered some quid-pro-quo regarding the lineup machinations made during warm-ups (hint: DECEPTION!), the Free Press's Kirkland Craword looked at the Wings' records after splitting Games 1 and 2 in playoff series before heading home for Game 3 (and there's a picture of Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom with Homer's first set of teeth), the CBC's Tim Wharnsby penned an oddly-timed Smith-vs-Smith article (after Game 2?), and...We end up with the Free Press's Steve Schrader, who noted that the Bruins very happily admit they've been going after Brendan Smith..
“Reilly’s brother seems to be playing against our line a lot,” Marchand said before the game. “He’s on my side a lot too, so I’m up against him quite a bit. … I’ve got the inside scoop that he doesn’t like me very much.”
So we may as well end with a Mickeyism:
“Smith’s a tough kid,” Mickey Redmond said on Channel 4’s postgame show. “I can’t imagine him getting the better of a guy that’s got arms on him about 7 feet long.”
Better idea? Move the puck a little faster and be aware of the fact that the Bruins are targeting you. And avoid the skating redwood. Just say ni.
Highlights: Even the Wings' website has Emrick and the Flying Monkeys:
ESPN posted a 1:07 highlight clip;
The CBC posted a 1:18 highlight clip;
TSN, which aired the game in Canada, posted a 2:30 highlight clip;
And Sporstnet posted a 2:10 highlight clip.
Post-game: NHL.com posited a recappy thingy;
The Bruins filed a 2:42 post-game report;
Yes, Kerry Fraser did tell TSN that refs haven't "taken control" of several series;
Sportsnet's John Shannon raved about the Bruins' adjustments;
Pro Hockey Talk did the embedded highlight-slash-recap thing, and posted a clip too embarrasing for me to acknowledge (Oh, Brendan...)--ditto for the Hockey News's Jason Kay, click on Smith-vs-Chara stuff at your peril;
And CSNNE's videos include a bit from Babcock, comments from Tuuka Rask, Kevan Miller, Florek and Reilly Smith, and this from Joe Haggerty, who thinks that the Wings are going to continue to get hurt by their interfering ways, and that Jimmy Howard is shaky:
Photos: The Detroit Free Press posted a 35-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 33-image gallery;
The Windsor Star posted 17 BIG photos from the game;
ESPN posted an 85-image gallery;
Shots 35-29 Detroit overall. Detroit was out-shot 18-10 in the 1st period, but Detroit out-shot Boston 13-6 in the 2nd and 12-5 in the 3rd period.
Special teams: Boston went 2-for-4 in 4:31 of PP time, including 2-for-3 in 5-on-4 time; Detroit went a horrific 0-for-4 in 7:49 of PP time.
Goaltending: Tuuka Rask stopped 34 of 35 shots for Boston; Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 29 for Detroit.
The 3 stars were picked by 98.5 the Sports Hub, and they picked Pavel Datsyuk, Johnny Boychuk and Tuuka Rask.
The Wings' goal: Glendening (1) from Helm (1) and Miller (1).
Faceoffs 35-27 Boston (Detroit won 44%);
Blocked shots 14-7 Boston;
Missed shots 9-7 Detroit (attempts 58-43 Detroit; Detroit had 35 shots ON the net and another 23 attempts wide/blocked);
Hits 33-29 Boston;
Giveaways 11-4 Boston;
Takeaways 8-2 Boston.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 13-and-12 (52%); Sheahan went 6-and-8 (43%); Helm went 5-and-8 (38%); Glendening went 1-and-6 (14%); Legwand went 2-and-1 (67%).
Shots: Helm led the team with 5 shots; Nyquist, Sheahan and Jurco had 4 shots; DeKeyser and Franzen had 3 shots; Smith, Abdelkader and Tatar had 2 shots; Datsyuk, Legwand, Miller, Quincey, Glendening and Kronwall had 1 shot.
Blocked attempts: Helm fired 4 shots into Bruins players; Nyquist fired 3 shots into Bruins players; Alfredsson fired 2 shots into Bruins players; Smith, Sheahan, Jurco, DeKeyser and Franzen fired 1 shot into Bruins players.
Missed shots: Abdelkader, Legwand and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Smith, Nyquist and Sheahan missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Abdelkader, Tatar and Kronwall had 4 hits; Miller and Quincey had 3; Smith, Jurco and Helm had 2; Datsyuk, Legwnad, Glendening, DeKeyser and Franzen had 1.
Giveaways: Howard, Alfredsson, Sheahan and Helm had giveaways.
Takeaways: Alfredsson and Franzen had takeaways.
Blocked opponent shots: Quincey blocked 2 shots; Datsyuk, Lashoff, Glendening, Helm and Franzen blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Tatar and DeKeyser took 2 minor penalties; Smith, Kindl and Quincey took 1 minor penalty.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -5. Smith, Miller, Tatar, Glendening and Kronwall finished at -1.
Points: Glendening had a goal; Miller and Helm had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the Wings with 25:03 played; DeKeyser played 21:06; Datsyuk played 21:05;
Quincey played 19:30; Franzen played 18:27; Smith played 17:04;
Alfredsson played 17:03; Nyquist played 16:11; Tatar played 15:48;
Kindl played 15:04; Jurco played 14:25; Helm played 14:16;
Sheahan played 14:07; Lashoff played 13:41; Abdelkader played 13:16;
Glendening played 13:06; Legwand played 12:58; Miller played 11:50.
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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.