The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/14/13 at 02:37 PM ET
I've got some good news and some bad news, Red Wings fans...
The good news is that Jimmy Howard's left hand injury appears to be bruising/swelling and nothing more, and while he may not play tomorrow against Columbus, Jonas Gustavsson actually played remarkably well in the Red Wings' 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins.
I've got more good news: the Red Wings' game will re-air on Fox Sports Detroit at 8 PM tonight.
The bad news? You didn't get to see this game live.
The Red Wings slowly but surely rebound from the, "What the flying *#$%@&, Gus is starting?" funk to slowly but surely, well, pull off quite the rally against the powerhouse Bruins, at least assuaging the B's 4-1 win over the Wings just over a week ago, and it was AWESOME to witness it all playing out in real time.
The Red Wings didn't dominate possession and control of the puck early on, and in all honesty, if not for superb shot-blocking, the Wings wouldn't have made it out of the first ten minutes of the first "even"...
But the team settled down over time, and Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg made something really gorgeous happen thanks to dogged determinaton from Datsyuk and a perfect shot from the Captain, 11:33 into the 1st:
I can't say that I was overly thrilled with the Wings' efforts on the play that led to Loui Eriksson's off-my-knee goal a little under 3 minutes later, mostly standing around and watching as the Bruins moved the puck...
But the team began to kill what turned out to be an utterly ridiculous number of penalties given the clutching, grabbing, hooking and holding committed by both teams (Detroit ended up killing five penalties to one coincidental minor yielding a 4-on-4), and stifling 1:53 of 5-on-3 time in the 3rd period.
But the "pivotal" PK happened after the WIngs finally got their second and third lines going during the same game. During the middle of a strong second period...
Off a superb rush set up by Brian Lashoff, Johan Franzen slid the puck to Stephen Weiss (Justin Abdelkader didn't register a point, but it is VERY evident that he's pushing Franzen to play harder), and he buried the puck 8:21 into the 2nd...
And 2:20 later, Daniel Cleary jammed home a slick pass from Daniel Alfredsson, set up by strong forechecking by Alfredsson and Joakim Andersson, and that was all the WIngs would need.
The Wings got a helluva scare late in the tilt, after having killed 3 penalties, they wore down, and Dennis Seidenberg's down-low play and a bad bounce off of Justin Abdelkader's skate yielded a 3-2 goal by Milan Lucic with only 1:20 left in the 3rd...
But the Wings held on, blocking shots, blocking passes, "fronting" the Bruins' players and really just working their asses off to ensure that there would be no overtime. Even Johan Franzen made a pivotal shot block en route to a clutch, clutch, clutch win.
The PK was superb, it looks like the Wings finally have a fourth line that can crash, bang and sustain a forecheck, Bertuzzi knows that he's got to play like Abdelkader to keep his spot, Franzen is stronger with Abdelkader pushing him, Alfredsson and Andersson have superb chemistry, Weiss has found the back of the net twice over the course of five games, and while the team's defense is a little awkward at times...
It turns out that DeKeyser and Quincey work as a pairing, as do Kindl and Lashoff--and Gustavsson was wild, crazy, disturbingly scary to watch, and frickin' good. Really frickin' good, stopping 26 of 27 shots.
The Wings earned this one, and they should come back home for a rare late start--8 PM tomorrow against Columbus--feeling a lot better about themselves, having tucked away 2 wins and games in which they proved that their PP can roll and proved that even-strength scoring is not an issue either, respectively.
Now if Gustavsson can keep playing like he understands that his job is on the line, I think the Wings have set themselves up for the kind of strong second-half-of-October push that they need to start clawing their way up the standings and to establish a consistent standard of play.
As for Howard...
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 7-and-11 (39%) against Bergeron; Andersson went 8-and-7 (53%); Weiss went 5-and-2 (71%); Glendening went 3-and-1 (75%); Miller lost his only faceoff; Alfredsson won his only faceoff.
Shots: Zetterberg led the Wings with 6 shots; Ericsson had 3; Abdelkader, Lashoff, Quincey, Bertuzzi, DeKeyser and Weiss had 2; Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Miller and Cleary had 1.
Blocked attempts: Kindl, Datsyuk, DeKeyser and Franzen had 1 shot attempt blocked.
Missed attempts: Lashoff missed the net 4 times; Kindl missed the net 2 times; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Tootoo, Quincey and Ericsson missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Bertuzzi and Franzen led the Wings with 3 hits apiece; Kindl, Abdelkader, Miller and Ericsson had 2 hits; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Andersson, Zetterberg and DeKeyser had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Abelkader, Datsyuk, Andersson, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Weiss and Franzen had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Datsyuk had the Wings' only takeaway.
Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 4 shots; Lashoff, Zetterberg and DeKeyser blocked 3 shots; Andersson and Quincey blocked 2; Alfredsson, Miller, Glendening, Ericsson and Weiss blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Kindl, Alfredsson, Lashoff, Kronwall, DeKeyser and Cleary all took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +5. Abdelkader and Weiss finished at -1; Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Lashoff, Bertuzzi, Cleary and Franzen finished at +1.
Points: Zetterberg, Cleary and Weiss scored goals; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Andersson, Lashoff and Franzen had assists.
Ice time: Ericsson led the team with 26:22; Kronwall played 25:30; Quincey played 19:47;
Datsyuk played 19:17; Zetterberg played 18:36; DeKeyser played 17:43;
Andersson played 16:25; Kindl played 15:52; Cleary played 15:20;
Lashoff played 15:18; Franzen played 15:16; Alfredsson played 14:40;
Abdelkader played 14:25; Weiss played 14:06; Bertuzzi played 11:36;
Miller played 10:18; Glendening played 10:00; Tootoo played 7:29.
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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.