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The Malik Report

Red Wings-Bruins quick take: unexpected but pleasantly surprising

The end wasn't pretty--Torey Krug's skate put in a Gustav Nyquist goal and Jarome Iginla may or may not have kicked in a goal that spoiled Jonas Gustavsson's shutout, but the first 57 minutes of the Red Wings' 6-1 win over the Boston Bruins was...

Masterful. As if the Wings had chosen to finally give their fans a little bit of deferred compensation for their awful home record, and as if the Wings had finally chosen to wake from their November slumber to prove that winning three out of four can make up for winning one of nine.

Because the East is such a mess, the Wings are now only 3 points behind Boston despite a vastly inferior record, and astonishing attention to detail, poise and composure, incredibly strong skating and winger support, a dash of superb goaltending, absolute adherance to puck possession hockey "structure" and execution of all the opportunities the Wings had been failing to execute upon over the past three-and-a-half weeks yielded a dominant victory against a still-superb Bruins team.

The game didn't involve that many shots--28 for Detroit and 17 for Boston--but the Wings struck first at the halfway mark of the 1st, with Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader racing up ice, Franzen's stick breaking as he took a shot and the puck deflecting to Abdelkader, who easily deposited the puck past Tuuka Rask:

The game remained a tightly-contested, intense and focused affair until the six-minute mark of the second period. Tomas Tatar basically took a pass from Brian Lashoff at the Wings' blueline and took off, tumbled on what was surprisingly bad ice, kept control of the puck and executed a remarkable wraparound on Rask at the 6:05 mark...

On what looked like a Wings power play, was tic-tac-Zetterberg on passes from Kronwall and Nyquist, 8:47 in...

And Niklas Kronwall was the beneficiary of a PP performance with Johan Franzen driving the middle after Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson (who played distracted, perhaps not surprisingly given Sunday's reunion with Ottawa) and Kronwall played tic-tac-toe until Franzen's rush allowed Kronwall to sneak in from the point 10:01 into the 2nd:

Drew Miller then took what was a mucked set of passes from Tomas Tatar--who couldn't beat Tuukka Rask, but stuck with the puck--and Joakim Andersson and jammed a whifflepuck past rask 8:38 into the 3rd, and after Nyquist put the puck off Krug, Iginla got a fortunate bounce, but the three second-period goals really told the game's tale.

Just as importantly, while Weiss, Samuelsson and Cleary didn't get off the scoring schneid, even that line played very well, and the Wings never really let their foot off the gas until the game's final five minutes, which is understandable given the situation.

The Wings were sharp, speedy, strong on the puck, smart positionally, slick, efficient and resilient given that Johan Franzen was elbowed in the face by Zdeno Chara and that Brendan Smith was dumped from behind into the boards, left shoulder first, by his own brother in the 2nd.

The Wings rose their level of individual and collective play to the occasion, and their efforts over the past week-and-a-half seemed to be building toward this one.

Gustavsson was utterly superb in stopping all of 16 of 17 shots and facing 3 in the 2nd, too, and his calm presence in the net may have earned him one more start before the Wings get Jimmy Howard going again.

Here's hoping they keep it going Friday afternoon on Long Island and Sunday in Ottawa, and that they take some of that sketchy but lucky ice with 'em.

As Ken Daniels said, to do this without Pavel Datsyuk...Is remarkable. But the Wings have to keep it going. Henrik Zetterberg's second in NHL scoring, but the Wings need all hands on deck ASAP.


Statistics:

Shots 28-17 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Boston 11-7 in the 1st, 8-3 in the 2nd and 9-7 in the 3rd.

Special teams: The Wings went 1-for-4 in 6:51 of PP time; the Bruins went 0-for-3 in 6:00 of PP time.

Goaltending: Jonas Gustavsson stopped 16 of 17; Tuukka Rask stopped 22 of 28.

NHL.com's Brian Hedger picked the 3 stars, and he picked Franzen, Kronwall and Zetterberg.

The Red Wings' goals: Abdelkader (3) from Franzen (8);

Tatar (3) from Lashoff (2) and Kronwall (14);

Zetterberg (11) from Nyquist (1) and Kronwall (14);

Kronwall (3) from Franzen (9) and Zetterberg (19), PPG;

Miller (2) from Andersson (5) and Tatar (5);

Nyquist (3) from Franzen (10) and Ericsson (5).

Faceoffs 34-22 Boston (Detroit won 39%);

Blocked shots 13-5 Detroit;

Missed shots 10-8 Detroit (total attempts 43-38 Detroit);

Hits 25-16 Boston;

Giveaways 8-6 Boston;

Takeaways 16-11 Detroit.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Helm went 4-and-12 (25%); Zetterberg went 4-and-11 (27%); Andersson went 10-and-5 (67%); Weiss went 4-and-4 (50%); Tatar and Nyquist lost their only draws.

Shots: Abdelkader, Kronwall and Franzen had 3 shots; Alfredsson, Nyquist, Miller, Tatar, Ericsson and Cleary had 2 shots; Smith, Kindl, Andersson, Quincey, Samuelsson, Zetterberg and Weiss had 1.

Blocked attempts: Alfredsson, Miller, Tatar, Kronwall and Cleary fired pucks into Bruins players.

Missed shots: Helm missed the net 3 times; Alfredsson missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Nyquist, Andersson, Ericsson and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Kronwall led the Wings with 4 hits; Abdelkader had 3; miller, Ericsson and Franzen had 2; Tatar, Lashoff and Zetterberg had 1.

Giveaways: Nyquist, Tatar, Zetterberg, Ericsson, Franzen and Gustavsson had giveaways.

Takeaways: Nyquist had 3 takeaways; Ericsson and Kronwall had 2; Smith, Kindl, Andersson, Miller, Tatar, Zetterberg, Helm, Weiss and Franzen had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 3 Bruins shots; Miller, Lashoff, Quincey and Zetterberg blocked 2; Abdelkader and Helm blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Smith, Zetterberg, Cleary and Franzen took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at +20. Franzen was +3; Kindl, Nyquist, Lashoff and Zetterberg were +2; Smith, Abdelkader, Andersson, Miller, Tatar, Quincey, Helm, Ericsson and Kronwall were +1.

Points: Franzen had 3 assists; Nyquist, Tatar, Zetterberg and Kronwall had a goal and an assist for 2 points apiece; Abdelkader and Miller scored goals; Lashoff and Ericsson had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall played 25:07; Ericsson played 20:01; Abdelkader played 19:23;

Quincey played 18:44; Helm played 18:38; Alfredsson played 18:36;

Kindl played 18;33; Smith played 17:17; Franzen played 16:36;

Zetterberg played 16:35; Miller played 15:53; Lashoff played 15:40;

Andersson played 15:25; Tatar played 13:14; Nyquist played 11:48;

Weiss played 10:46; Samuelsson played 10:12; Cleary played 9:32.

Update: FYI:

Update #2: Via RedWingsFeed, here's Jonas Gustavsson speaking to the Windsor Star's Bob Duff and the rest of the media:


Update #3: And here's Drew Miller:


Update #4: Wow.

 

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Comments

Avatar

I still found myself wanting to just go bang my head against a wall at times, when the puck was up for grabs mostly. A lot of problems would go away if the team could move out of our zone better.

But games like this are why I stick to the belief that puck possession doesn’t require a team of super skilled small guys. The skilled guys hold onto the puck with skill. The fast guys stay on the puck and get it back if they lose it. The checkers and grinders hold onto the puck with their will.

They can pull this kind of game out at any time, the key is just doing it consistently. If this can become a habit once again…this team will be in good shape.

Tough luck for Kindl, not getting an assist on Miller’s goal and then being out there for the Iginla goal.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 11/27/13 at 11:23 PM ET

Avatar

How fast you forget your scolding from this morning….you must speak highly of the Bruins when you blog.  Lol yea right.

Great team effort tonight… Individuals scored but to me this is how Red Wings hockey is played as a whole not as individuals.

This game will be used as re enforcement come playoffs…. These Wings can play and beat anyone when they play together as Wings.

Posted by AZ_WingNut on 11/27/13 at 11:48 PM ET

Primis's avatar

It seems to me as simple a thing as… before the season the question was how DET would deal with say a BOS a bunch of times.  Turns out BOS was the one unprepared apparently.

That’s is what, 3 out of 4 times now the Wings have looked strong against the Bruins?  DET is just a bad matchup for BOS I guess.

I really need to see DET have this kind of game and effort against some other teams before I’ll declare that they’re back on the right track.  Still some bad signs.  Smith taking penalties.  Cleary taking penalties.  Its the same few guys every game it seems.

I wanted to throw something through my TV in the 3rd when Babcock put that PP unit out there with Cleary, Samuelsson, and Weiss, and Ken & Mick kinda’ chuckled about it.  That right there is the EPITOME of what is wrong with this team.  A guy like Tatar makes 1 mistake?  Bench him for the rest of the game.  But hey, it’s cool if a vet player who is supposed to provide secondary scoring is a waste of time and space on the ice with no production at all, and takes dumb penalties to boot..

Posted by Primis on 11/28/13 at 12:09 AM ET

DocF's avatar

I have felt for some time that Detroit plays better against the good teams. 

The thing that did in Boston is the lack of speed in their blueliners.  Chara has the mobility of a tree stump nowadays.  If he was made to play with legal equipment, he would be out of the league in no time.  Those guys got shown up by almost every one of the Wings players. 

The Detroit defenders looked better than they have all season.  One thing I noticed is that Kindl needs to develop a stand-up move.  There were two plays where he was having trouble stick checking a Boston player, but he was in a perfect position to stand the guy up.  Another thing I saw was Brendan Smith playing a very simple game.  He has looked good to excellent since returning from his injury.

Anyway, it was a sterling victory and I hope the guys can keep it together.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 11/28/13 at 12:17 AM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

hate to say it but I am looking right past Sat to payback time on Ottawa on Sunday ... just hope the Wings aren’t :-D

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michgian on 11/28/13 at 01:37 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

Scott Cullen     ✔ @tsnscottcullen

Red Wings C Henrik Zetterberg 5 G, 13 A in last 13 GP

Z is haing the best year of his career by a mile, glad to see him racking up the points at a Crosby- level lately. (To put it in perspective, 18 pts in 13 games is equal to 108 pts in 78 games.)

I still found myself wanting to just go bang my head against a wall at times, when the puck was up for grabs mostly. A lot of problems would go away if the team could move out of our zone better.

I’m not sure what type of complaint this is, we only had 6 turnovers all day and we moved the puck marvelously.

Nyquist and Tatar had a turnover each, but I don’t think those are egregious growing pains for us to endure. It’s what you should expect. Heck, it’s better than we should expect, they played real well.

Our defense easily had its’ best game of the season with only 1 giveaway. Our 4 centers covered every pinch and rush the D made all game - it was almost textbook, and all of this being done without our best defensive forward and puck possession specialist.

That’s is what, 3 out of 4 times now?

2 out of 3 times.

I wanted to throw something through my TV in the 3rd when Babcock put that PP unit out there with Cleary, Samuelsson, and Weiss, and Ken & Mick kinda’ chuckled about it.  That right there is the EPITOME of what is wrong with this team.

After Z has his game of the season it’s wrong to reward him with his least amount of TOI? That’s why they were playing so much in the 3rd, we were rewarding Z with time on the bench in a blowout, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And, considering it’s the first time all season Z got some quality time on the bench it’s obviously not the “epitome” of anything the Wings have done this season.

A guy like Tatar makes 1 mistake?  Bench him for the rest of the game.

Tatar was never benched. He was given limited minutes, and so were Nyquist and Lashoff,  because that’s how we ease our players along - we don’t just throw rookies out there into the deep end, we put them into situations where they can succeed and gain confidence in themselves.

Another thing I saw was Brendan Smith… has looked good to excellent since returning from his injury.

I’ve noticed that as well, it’s beautiful.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 11/28/13 at 07:00 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

He has looked good to excellent since returning from his injury.

After reading many of your posts regarding Smith, I am convinced we are consistently watching a different player

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 11/28/13 at 12:01 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Smith taking penalties.  Cleary taking penalties.  Its the same few guys every game it seems.

That’s such an odd nitpick.

Smith and Cleary took penalty… singular.  Cleary’s was a two-man call that pulled a player better than he is off the ice for two minutes and Smith drew twice as many penalties as he took.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/28/13 at 12:02 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

After reading many of your posts regarding Smith, I am convinced we are consistently watching a different player

Simply watching through different lenses.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/28/13 at 12:57 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

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.