The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/05/13 at 09:34 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings skated into Boston having played 2 games in 3 nights and having overcome some missteps to win a tight 2-1 decision over Buffalo and having rallied for a 3-2 OT decision over Carolina...
While the Beasts of the East beat the Bolts on Thursday and were able to rest and wait for the Wings. As such, and especially given that the Wings were able to "get away" with sloppy play and a middling power play during their first two games, the result was predictable in the form of a 4-1 loss--and as such, we'll have to see whether the Wings can present a better effort in their Columbus Day matinee in Boston nine days from now.
When the Wings get away from their fundamental system of play in puck possession, and add in some brain farts, bad things happen, and bad things happened in a hurry on Saturday night.
While Jimmy Howard was spectacular yet again, the players in front of him continued to cede defensive territory, turn over pucks, and generally attempted to play dump-and-chase hockey against the best trapping team this side of the Columbus Blue Jackets or St. Louis Blues.
That ain't gonna cut it, and as such, the Wings really did walk right into the Bruins' trap, literally skating into Bruins players who plucked the pucks from their sticks and skated around their opponents--or, in the words of Mickey Redmond, the Wings' combination of inability to win puck battles and giveaways, "Made the Bruins look good." And the B's don't need any help in that department.
During a night when the refs "let 'em play" to a fault, the Bruins received the first power play, and it cost the Wings immediately. Off a lost faceoff at the left dot, both Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen chased the puck carrier on the left side in Milan Lucic, he slid the puck to a wide-open Torey Krug and as Jimmy Howard was screened by Zdeno Chara, Howard had no chance on the goal scored 9:11 into the 1st.
The Wings showed some life late in a 1st period in which they were out-shot 14-5. Off a puck that literally went into the Wings' bench, Pavel Datsyuk roared up the ice, sent a pass to Justin Abdelkader, and Abdelkader and Henrik Zetterberg kept hacking at the puck until Zetterberg rifled one in. With 3:11 left in the 1st, things were tied...
But the Wings opened the 2nd period with a horrific first shift and on a 3-on-3 rush, the Wings' defensemen backed in and Johnny Boychuk found Brad Marchand and marchand slid a post-hugging shot past Howard, who was again somewhat distracted by the man in front of him and off his angle--this time with his own defenseman, Niklas Kronwall, screening him.
36 seconds into the 2nd, it was 2-1 Boston.
A little under seven minutes later, off a doofy giveaway by Jakub Kindl and a stand-around-and-stare effort from Kyle Quincey, Adam McQuaid held the puck in, slid it to Reilly Smith, and Smith moved the puck laterally to Jordan Caron, who fired a shot that Howard had no chance upon 7:58 into the 2nd. This one was the dagger.
The Wings had ONE attempt to really dent the deficit in a power play with 6:15 left in the 2nd, but they did jack and shit with it, and while they put 15 pucks on Tuukka Rask, Howard's 13-shot workload represented much harder "quality" chances.
The Wings came out for the third period with lines shaken up (Abdelkader with Alfredsson and Weiss and Franzen with Datsyuk and Zetterberg), and they played strongly until Danny DeKeyser took a penalty 6:33 into the period.
That penalty seemed to take the wind out of their sails, and while the Wings killed their third penalty, they looked like they'd hit a mental and physical wall.
You can't win every game, especially when your hardest opponent is your third in four nights, when Kyle Quincey shovels a terrible pass at Pavel Datsyuk on the PK, he's kneed by Milan Lucic, and the only man left is Brendan Smith, even Zdeno Chara can deke and dangle his way to a 4-1 goal.
Quincey, Smith and Kindl were giveaway machines--as was Kronwall, oddly enough--and when your defensemen are playing east-west hockey and back-passing endlessly, you can't get your transition game going, especially against the Masters of the Trap...
And especially when clutch-and-grab is the order of the day.
The Red Wings get four days off before a merciless stretch of 4 games played over 6 nights--including a rematch in Boston on that Columbus Day matinee--begins when the team entertains Phoenix on Thursday and Philly next Saturday, and the team needs to do two things between now and then:
1. Rest and recover--especially in the case of Jimmy Howard, who faced 37 shots to 26 taken by the Wings;
2. LEARN from this game, because the Bruins just issued a blueprint as to how to beat the Wings in the East, and thats worrisome;
3. Get some bloody scoring going from the bottom two lines, because there are nights that the Wings will be facing teams that can check both Piano-Pav-Hank and the Weissfredsson line.
Shots 37-26 Boston overall. Detroit was out-shot 14-5 in the 1st, out-shot Boston 15-13 in the 2nd and were out-shot 10-6 in the 3rd.
The Wings went 0-for-2 in 4:00 of PP time; The Bruins went 2-for-4 in 6:03 of PP time.
Jimmy Howard stopped 33 of 37 shots; Tuukka Rask stopped 25 of 26.
The 3 stars were picked by 98.5 FM, and they picked Jordan Caron, Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
Faceoffs 32-25 Detroit (Detroit won 56%);
Blocked shots 11-9 Boston;
Missed shots 13-8 Boston (total shot attempts 59-45 Boston, with Detroit firing 26 shots on Rask and 27 wide or blocked);
Hits 23-16 Boston;
Giveaways 12-9 Detroit;
Takeaways 7-6 Detroit.
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Weiss went 8-and-9 (47%); Datsyuk went 10-and-6 (63%); Andersson went 9-and-7 (56%); Emmerton went 5-and-2 (71%); Tatar lost his only faceoff.
Shots: Zetterberg led the team with 4 shots; Kindl had 3; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Miller, Emmerton Kronwall and Franzen had 1.
Blocked attempts: Datsyuk and Ericsson had 2 attempts blocked by Bruins players; Kindl, Alfredsson, Andersson, Quincey, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Cleary had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Smith missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Emmerton, Quincey, Bertuzzi, Cleary and Weiss missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 3 hits; Tatar and Bertuzzi had 2; Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Ericsson Kronwall, DeKeyser Cleary and Franzen had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Smith, Alfredsson and Weiss had 2 giveaways; Datsyuk, Andersson, Quincey, Ericsson, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 1.
Takeaways: Datsyuk had 4 takeaways; Andersson, Emmerton and Weiss had 1.
Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 3 Bruins shots; Kindl Datsyuk, Ericsson, DeKeyser, Cleary and Weiss blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Bertuzzi, Kronwall, DeKeyser and Franzen took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -5. Kindl, Alfredsson Andersson, Quincey and Bertuzzi finished at -1.
Points: Zetterberg scored a goal; Abdelkader and Datsyuk had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 21:08 played; Ericsson played 20:34; Quincey played 20:33;
Datsyuk played 20:09; Kindl played 19:33; Zetterberg played 19:05;
Alfredsson played 18:45; Smith played 18:43; DeKeyser played 16:45;
Franzen played 16:42; Andersson played 15:13; Weiss played 15:00;
Cleary played 14:46; Bertuzzi played 14:04; Abdelkader played 13:37;
Miller played 10:13; Emmerton played 9:59; Tatar played 9:08.
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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.