The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/28/13 at 05:25 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings have won two of their past three games--and their second of three meetings with the Boston Bruins, taking Wednesday's game by a 6-1 tally (the Wings lost 4-1 on October 5th, but won 3-1 on October 13th, with both games taking place in Boston; the teams won't meet again until April)--but the team won't be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors for long.
According to Fox Sports Detroit's Ken Daniels, the Wings will be practicing later today at Joe Louis Arena, despite today's status as "American Thanksgiving" and they'll fly to Long Island this evening ahead of Friday's 4 PM game against the Islanders and Sunday's Alfredsson-Senators reunion.
The Wings don't exactly have a Toledo Walleye-style bag skate on tap, but they're definitely not going to be enjoying their holiday or the lack thereof.
The Free Press's Helene St. James also reported that Wings coach Mike Babcock had revealed his goaltending rotation for this upcoming weekend...
And the Wings' general manager suggested that neither Pavel Datsyuk nor Todd Bertuzzi will rejoin their teammates until what Babcock told the media will be Howard's first start for the month of December:
The Wings' 6-1 win gives the 12-7-and-7 31 points, only 3 fewer than the 16-7-and-2 Bruins' Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference-leading 34 points, and Henrik Zetterberg's goal and assist gave him 30 points (11 goals and 19 assists registered over the course of 26 games played), only 3 fewer than Sidney Crosby's 33 points.
Johan Franzen isn't doing too bad, either, with Franzen having tied Daniel Alfredsson for third in team scoring (both players have 16 points over the course of 21 games played; Franzen has 6 goals and 10 assists, and Alfredsson has 4 goals and 12 assists), and Jonas Gustavsson was able to shave his goals-against average down to 2.17, he cranked up his save percentage to .927, and he's got a 6-0-and-1 record now...
But the stat that sticks out to me is this: of the Red Wings' 18 skaters, 10 registered points, and six of those players had multi-point games (Niklas Kronwall's goal and assist give him 17 points, 3 goals and 14 assists over 24 games played), 16 of 18 skaters had shots and 12 were a +1 or higher--and everybody on the team was at least even.
With the Wings' lines still in some flux, Stephen Weiss still on a scoring schneid (as Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika duly noted, Weiss played all of 17 games in 2013, prior to having major surgery on his wrist, and he's coming back from a groin injury), Daniel Cleary struggling and Mikael Samuelsson kind of serving as a boulder--in terms of productivity, but not effort, because, disturbingly enough, Samuelsson's been at least solid on the fourth line--and the defense still being very Kronwall-and-Ericsson heavy in terms of offensive production...
The Wings have spent the last seven days slowly waking up from a November slumber, reassembling their game plan and their "structure" (see also: strong positional defense with winger support, puck possession via outlet passes that do not sprout turnovers in the neutral zone, skating into the opposing zone with speed, shooting pucks on net as forechecking and both generating and sustaining possession and control by firing shots with traffic in front of goalies' sightlines and retrieval of rebounds) while applying themselves for longer and longer periods of time.
The Wings' efforts seemed to surprise the hell out of a Bruins team that had won 8 of its 10 previous games, and they also hauled ass out of Detroit because they've got a Friday matinee on tap, but not before Bruins coach Claude Julien issued the following comment to the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy:
“Everything we did tonight was just disastrous,” said coach Claude Julien, whose team managed just 10 shots on net through 47-plus minutes of play. “We dominated on faceoffs and I think that's about the only thing positive. From the back end to the front end, we turned pucks over in the neutral but we just gave it back to them. We never made them pay for that stuff. We didn't generate much. Every once in a while during the season you get a game like that and you just hope it wakes your team up a little bit. Hopefully a little jolt like that will help you get better here.”
For reasons beyond me--perhaps because it was an NBCSN game "out-of-market," perhaps because it was Thanksgiving Eve and everybody had to either get back home or enjoy the busiest bar night of the year, or perhaps for some other reason, the Bruins' press corps, which is by far the NHL's largest "at home," with up to 12 newspapers covering the team...
Mostly engaged in "spirit of the thing" recaps. As I don't subscribe to the Boston Globe, which is only subscriber-only, Conroy's recap for the Boston Herald and the AP and NHL.com's recaps serve as the only ones where the players and coach tell the story, so you're going to have to excuse me for quoting a significant amount of "the spirit of the thing" stuff instead of comments made by the Bruins' coach and players.
“It was pretty much everything we didn’t want to see out there,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We didn’t execute. Yeah, they played a pretty good game, but we pretty much handed it out to them. No disrespect to them, but we weren’t even close to executing our game and left (Rask) out to dry most of the night. You definitely can’t win playing like that.”
Another goal that was emblematic of the loss was the one from Tomas Tatar early in the second period that gave Detroit a 2-0 lead and set the stage for a kind of Bruins collage rarely seen. Tatar took the puck in his own end, swung around Chris Kelly in the neutral zone, cruised into the offensive zone and fell to his knees in front of Matt Bartkowski at the right circle. Tatar simply got up, maintained control of the puck and kept right on cruising behind the net before coming out on the other side and scoring on a wraparound past Rask.
After the buzzing Wings pumped a couple more home, Julien called a timeout but the game was long gone. In the third period, he mixed up all four of his lines.
“It was one of those things where it couldn’t get any worse,” he said. “So you move them around and hope you get something out of it. That was basically all I could do tonight because there was nobody that I could say was really good for us tonight. Nobody.”
As imperfect as the B’s have been this year, Julien hesitated to overanalyze his team in the wake of last night’s debacle.
“We’ve talked about that. We’ve said ‘Let’s not kid ourselves. We have to be better,’ ” the coach said. “But you’re not in first place because you’re playing so bad. I just find that right now, every little thing that goes wrong is being criticized. I know we’re not at our best. And I want to make sure we’re at our best when you have to be at your best. I’ve always said that the team that peaks at the right team has the better chance because of parity. That’s not to excuse our guys, because this is something that should not be excused. This is unacceptable.”
The Bruins continued while speaking with NHL.com's Brian Hedger...
"Everything we did tonight was just disastrous," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "We need to show more determination toward the net than we did. Right now, we're [settling for] a lot of perimeter stuff and criss-crossing, and that's why you see guys running into each other."
Tuukka Rask lost for the Bruins, who came into the game off a pair of overtime victories and were 8-1-1 in their previous 10. It was Boston's second loss to Detroit, its new Atlantic Division rival, in three games, with the final meeting here April 2.
"We let them skate and let them have some easy passes," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "Obviously [it's] a wake-up call."
The Red Wings continued to push in the third, with Gustavsson making a nice stop early to keep the Bruins scoreless, and Miller making it 5-0 at 8:38 with his first goal since Oct. 26, smacking a shot from close range that trickled through Rask's pads. Nyquist made it 6-0 before Iginla finally beat Gustavsson to get the Bruins on the board.
"We didn't come here to lose 6-1 or whatever the score was," said Bruins forward Reilly Smith, whose hit in the third briefly sent his older brother, Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith, to the bench in apparent pain. "It's embarrassing for our team, and we have to come out next game and show that we've got a short memory and bounce back from it."
And, at 2:40 in the morning, BostonBruins.com's Caryn Switaj (hooray for the late-night-posted recap?):
Trailing 1-0 heading into the second wasn't ideal, but the game hadn't pulled away from them yet.
"We’ve seen that before during previous games that we didn’t get the start that we want, but we still find ways to get back in the game and get a good shift and get momentum back," said Bergeron. "But tonight we didn’t do that."
In a span of 3:56 surrounding the midpoint of the second period, the Wings exploded for three straight goals on four shots. Tomas Tatar found a seam between Tuukka Rask's skate and the post on a wraparound, Henrik Zetterberg picked the space just about Rask's glove, and Niklas Kronwall found space on the power play. All goals came in close.
"That’s why I called a timeout," said Julien, of the regroup. Those in the Spoked-B usually find a way to stay composed, no matter the game's tempo. But they were obviously frustrated. What I saw from our team was all of the sudden we started to really get away from our game and everybody was trying to do everybody else’s job and when you get to that stage, it just gets worse."
Sounds like a Red Wings game in November...
"We were flat all game and we did not get results anywhere close to getting us a chance to win," said Bergeron. "So obviously it’s the only thing we could expect out of this game, was to get spanked like that."
The Bruins hadn't given up more than four goals in a game this season. It had only happened twice, prior to Wednesday night. Nights don't often go this way for the entire team, let alone Rask.
"I try not to think that way," said the netminder, when asked if he even thought a game like this was possible. "As a goalie, I think you just try to be there every day and try to give your team a chance to win."
We'll shift over to the Wings' press corps for the reaction of one player with some very local ties in Torey Krug, who spoke with DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose before the game...
Torey Krug probably played more games as a kid at Joe Louis Arena than he has suited up for the Boston Bruins. But the rookie defenseman, who grew-up in suburban Detroit and graduated from Churchill High School in Livonia, is excited to final play his first regular-season game at The Joe Wednesday night against the Red Wings.
“It’s great, it’s a lot of fun,” said Krug, who played midget hockey for Belle Tire. “We came in preseason it was a little bit different. Coming in now with our full squad playing their full team it’s going to be a lot of fun, especially coming in on Thanksgiving. It’s a good time to play in front of friends and family and hopefully the right team comes out on top.”
An undrafted free agent out of Michigan State, Krug has been dynamite for the defending Eastern Conference champions. An solid puck-moving defenseman, the 5-foot-9 Krug has shown a sound ability to contribute to the Bruins’ offense. Through 24 games, the former CCHA Player of the Year in 2012 has produced seven goals and eight assists with a plus-6 rating.
But after the game, he spoke with Michigan Hockey's Alyssa Girardi in a very, very different tone:
“Well after that result, it sucked,” said Krug. “No, it was fine. It’s always a fun building to play in. Terrible result, but it was fun.”
Wednesday was the rookie’s first NHL regular season game in Detroit — only about 20 minutes from his hometown of Livonia, Mich. — and he said more than 30 family members and friends came down to see him play.
Throughout the sea of red in the stands, clusters of black “Krug 47” jerseys popped out.
“It’s always fun playing in front of friends and family but at the end of the day, it’s just another hockey game,” Krug said. “It’s one out of 82 during the year for us. You just gotta show up and play your game but it didn’t happen.”
Reilly Smith wasn't thrilled with the result of his reunion with his brother, either, though he told the Boston Herald's Conroy that he didn't mean to hurt Brendan when the pair collided in the third period:
Brendan Smith said that, as a pro, he has to be aware of all the opponents with whom he’s on the ice, but he admitted his antennae go up a little bit when he sees his baby brother out there. That feeling is mutual.
“Yeah, I definitely notice No. 2 out there,” said Reilly Smith, who assisted Jarome Iginla’s goal in last night’s 6-1 defeat and is now third on the B’s with 17 points. “We don’t really hold back against each other and I’m sure it’s not going to change this time.”
In the third period, it looked as though Reilly might have injured his brother when he checked Brendan, who appeared to crash into the boards shoulder first. Brendan Smith skated off and then went down the runway, but soon returned. Reilly wasn’t too nervous.
“I didn’t really hit him that hard and he just fell, maybe lost an edge or something. When you’re in the heat of the games, things like that don’t bother you too much,” said Reilly.
In terms of the aforementioned "spirit of the thing," the MetroWest Daily News's Dan Cagen weighed in on the Bruins' loss...
Perhaps the Bruins had been getting away with a few substandard efforts in wins — Tuukka Rask called the overtime victory over the Penguins a “case of the Mondays” — but this still came out of the blue.
The Red Wings broke down and embarrassed the Bruins, skating around, through and past a team that looked like it got an early dose of tryptophan.
Knocked to the silver medal for Bruins’ worst game of the season is the 3-1 loss to the Islanders on Nov. 2, a game that looks like a joy compared to this one.
On Wednesday night, there was little emotion, essentially no chances when it was competitive on Jonas Gustavsson and just a general ugliness against a team that entered 2-3-5 in its last 10 games.
And while WEEI's DJ Bean tried to look on the bright side...
So Wednesday was really, really ugly for the Bruins. There was nothing good, but it was also nothing worth getting too worked up over. Teams throw stinkers from time to time, and Wednesday was the Bruins’. It wasn’t a case of the team trending towards a loss like this or the Bruins being so bad in recent games that a team was due to take advantage. It was bad and it won’t happen too many more times this season.
If there is one long-term lesson that can be taken from Wednesday’s game, it’s that the Bruins can be run out of the building. They can’t sleep through a game against a good team and expect two points, but then again you’d think that a team as experienced as this Bruins squad knows that.
The Bruins aren’t a team that’s usually concerned with just being in the playoff picture in time for Thanksgiving (although it certainly looked that way at the end of October in 2011). They’re a team that expects to be one of the best teams in the league and one that expects to go far each postseason.
Are they one of the best teams right now? Standings-wise they’re obviously sitting pretty, and they were having a strong go of it in recent games – 8-1-1 entering Wednesday night – so despite the bad taste that might be in their mouths after their showing against the Red Wings, things are actually looking pretty good for the B’s at one of the major checkpoints of the season.
CSNNE's Joe Haggerty offered "Hits and Misses"...
*Zdeno Chara also had a tough night for the Bruins, and is now a minus-3 more than a quarter through the season after he’d been a combined plus-80 over the past three seasons for the Black and Gold. He was caught chasing players far away from the front of the net, and had several shifts where he was just another guy running around in the defensive zone in a scrambled chaotic effort.
*Milan Lucic and David Krejci had a combined two shots on net and a minus-4 rating. They clearly didn’t look like they wanted to be in Detroit on the night before Thanksgiving at all.
*The Bruins coaching staff missed big time in opting to scratch Shawn Thornton in favor of Jordan Caron ostensibly to get the spare forward some game action. While it’s admirable they’re trying to get the best out of Jordan Caron, they miss too much on and off the ice when Thornton is absent from the lineup. He brings swagger, attitude and fearlessness to the rest of the players, and he also holds other players accountable when they aren’t putting out their best. All of that was missing in a lackadaisical effort against the Winged Wheels.
TURNING POINT: Three goals allowed in 3:56 in the second period when the roof absolutely caved in on the Black and Gold. They simply lost their composure once it started getting away from them, and had zero fight to try and claw their way back into the game. Nobody touched Tomas Tartar once he skated into the offensive zone on the wraparound for the second goal, and Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara did a lot of running around on the Henrik Zetterberg score. The roof finally caved in completely on the Detroit power play score that officially blew the Bruins out of the water.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tomas Tatar only played 13:14 of ice time and only put two shots on net, but made it all count. His rush from center ice ended with a wraparound goal when nobody touched him in the B’s defensive zone, and he helped set up another of the backbreaking goals in the second period with his speed and tenacity. That was in direct contrast to a Bruins team that basically rolled over and played dead in the second period, and stayed that way for the rest of the game.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3:56 – the amount of time it took the Red Wings to score three goals in the second period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- They were slow and they were sloppy. That’s that long and the short of it. The Red Wings skated circles around them and had long stays in the Boston zone. Especially on Zetterberg’s goal, which came shortly after Nyquist missed an empty net, the B’s had their top line chasing the puck around in their own zone....
- Rask wasn’t particularly bad, but he did allow a bad goal on the Red Wings’ second tally. The Bruins’ netminder obviously saw Tatar as he took a pass from Brian Lashoff in the neutral zone, skated into the offensive zone, fell down, got back up with the puck and skated behind the net before beating Rask on a wraparound.
It turns out that the Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin's recap popped up via an email alert, and I can access it sans a paywall, so I'll let her get in a late "jab" or two from the Bruins' locker room...
Perhaps the moment that best summed up the Bruins’ play Wednesday came toward the end of the second period. Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic collided, a hit more directly delivered than most of the 25 the Bruins dealt to the Red Wings.
By that point, the Bruins had allowed four goals and were on their way to their worst loss of the season, 6-1 at Joe Louis Arena.
“It’s not a good night to have that happen, against a team like that,” coach Claude Julien said. “Just everything, everything we did tonight was just disastrous. We dominate on faceoffs, that’s about the only positive we have tonight.”
Despite winning 61 percent of the draws, the Bruins couldn’t make anything happen against a team that had gone 2-3-5 in its last 10 games, and was missing Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.
And yet, it was the Bruins who looked lost, with a missing defense, an impotent attack, and a leaky goaltender. They were, as Patrice Bergeron said, “flat all game,” adding, “That’s the only thing we could expect out of this game is to get spanked like that.”
“We let them play the game that they wanted to play, which is open and kind of the easy game,” Bergeron said. “They have a lot of skills, and we let them skate and let them have those easy passes.”
And we'll let Jonas Gustavsson and the Associated Press summarize the Red Wings' take on the game:
"We really went after it tonight. It felt like we skated a lot, we played the kind of game we want to play. When we do that we're a really good team," said Gustavsson, who ran his season record to 6-0-1. "I don't know if it was our team that was really good or Boston had an off night. If we play like this we know we're going to win a lot of games. I feel like last few weeks we've been going in the right direction. Hopefully we have some more gears. I think we have, because we have a young group. Really good team effort."
Gustavsson deferred credit for his efforts to his teammates, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted, but the coach and defense suggested that hard work paid off:
“All the credit goes to the guys, they did a real good job,” said Gustavsson, who Babcock said will start Sunday in Ottawa after Jimmy Howard starts Friday on Long Island against the New York Islanders. “We know we can compete against any team in the league.”
Gustavsson raised his record to 6-0-1, earning at least one point in the standings in every game. It was Gustavsson’s second consecutive start in place of Howard (who is winless in his last seven starts). Jarome Iginla scored the lone Bruins goal with 2 minutes 25 seconds left in the game.
“We skated,” said Babcock, of what he liked best. “We had puck luck, and we havne’t had a whole lot of that this year. Good special teams, good goaltending. But we skated good (Wednesday)."
“Everything starts with good defense,” Zetterberg said. “We didn’t turn the puck over and spent time in their end. When we got our chances, we executed.”
Owning a modest two-game win streak, the Red Wings understand it’ll be important to sustain this streak on the upcoming two-game weekend road trip.
“It’s nice to see hard work rewarded and get some goals,” Zetterberg said. “We don’t get too high or too low in this locker room. But obviously it’s nice to win.”
Babcock and Zetterberg continued while speaking with the Free Press's Helene St. James...
"We got a good start, got puck bouncing our way," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "It started with good defense and when we got the puck, we didn't turn it over as much. We spent some chances in their end, and executed."
It was only the fifth game the Wings have won this month, which saw them suffer through a seven-game losing streak.
"Today we were rewarded," coach Mike Babcock said. "We had puck-luck and we got some energy and we got going. That was the biggest thing. We've played lots of good games this year. We haven't won lots of games."
Zetterberg scored his 11th of the season at 8:47, and Kronwall got in on the outburst during a power play less than two minutes later, roofing what was the Wings' 14 shot behind Rask. The Bruins got just three shots on net the entire period, too busy to try to stem the Wings to find any offense of their own.
"We played well and didn't give them a lot of chances," Miller said. "It was big not to give up a lot of shots. To play well on defense and also on offense, to have a big night, is big for our team."
But Zetterberg made sure to point out to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that the team played particularly well while playing shorthanded--minus Pavel Datsyuk...
“When you don’t have a player like that in the lineup everyone needs to chip in and be a little sharper,” said Zetterberg, who also added an assist. “You need to do a lot of good things and tonight we got rewarded for it.”
Boston’s Jarome Iginla spoiled Gustavsson’s bid for his first shutout as a Wing and sixth of his career with a goal late in the third period. Tuukka Rask made just 22 saves.
“We still miss (Datsyuk) a lot,” said Nyquist, who also added an assist. “He’s a great player, but it was nice to see really all our lines going and creating a lot of opportunities and in the end getting six goals at home was nice especially for sure.”
The win moves Detroit, which beat Buffalo on Sunday, just three points behind the Bruins, who have played one less game, for the overall lead in the Eastern Conference.
“We have a young group,” said Gustavsson, who will back up Jimmy Howard Friday at the New York Islanders and start Sunday in Ottawa. “When there are spots open there’s a competition. Everyone wants to be the guy to take that spot. That’s healthy for our group. Obviously we miss the guys that are out. But it’s always good to now we have other guys who can step up.”
And while Zetterberg preached an even-keel perspective to the point that he almost looked annoyed in the post-game presser he conducted...
“We knew we had done a lot of good things, but we couldn’t do them for 60 minutes,” Zetterberg said. “I started to sound like a broken record there for a couple of weeks, so it was nice to see that the hard work was rewarded.
“We don’t get too high or too low in this locker room,” Zetterberg continued. “We know it’s one game. It’s nice to win, now we can celebrate Thanksgiving, fly to the Island and play another one there.”
Babcock was blunt, as Pleiness noted in his "Quote of the Day":
“We work pretty hard most nights, today we were rewarded,” Babcock said. “We had puck luck and got some energy and got going. I think that was the biggest thing. We’ve played lots of good games this year, we haven’t won lots of games. That’s the fact, because we never score in the ocean. The puck’s been going in. I thought we built off what we’ve been building and it was a positive for the guys.”
The fact that Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Brian Lashoff, Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader all lent a hand gave the Wings the kind of secondary scoring punch they've lacked far too regularly, too, as DetroitRedWings.com's Roose suggested:
Tatar snapped a 10 game goal-scoring drought and added an assist Wednesday as the Red Wings got offensive contributions up and down the lineup in a 6-1 shellacking of the Boston Bruins.
“It’s been some time since I scored the last one, so this is a relief,” Tatar said. “Before I had some huge opportunities in (past) games but just couldn’t put it in. So I was mad. I might change the game before, but now I’m really happy it went in, especially that we get the win against the Bruins. This is huge for us.”
Tatar’s goal at 6:05 of the second period was the Wings’ first shot on goal in the middle frame, and it wasn’t short on flair and theatrics. The highlight reel goal began at the Red Wings’ blue line. He took a pass from Brian Lashoff, danced around Bruins center Chris Kelly near center ice and out-raced defenseman Matt Bartkowski to the goal line. As Tatar gained speed around Bartkowski, he fell, but quickly picked himself up, dashed around the net and stuffed the puck into the empty side before Boston goalie Tuukka Rask could react.
“I think the slick little play that he made in the neutral zone to get around that guy, not a lot of guys can do that, so for him to make that play was great,” forward Drew Miller said. “Then to carry it in and go all the way in to get the wraparound goal was a big goal for us. It shows the possibilities that he has offensively to hang onto the puck and hold on to it.”
Tatar’s goal was the beginning of a three-goal effort in the second period in which the Red Wings only generated eight shots on Rask. Niklas Kronwall’s third goal of the season put Detroit up 3-0, and then Henrik Zetterberg scored on the power play to give the Red Wings a 4-0 edge. Tatar later added an assist on Miller’s third-period goal, which was followed by Gustav Nyquist’s third in four games since being called up permanently from Grand Rapids.
Tatar, Nyquist, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Joakim Andersson all had two points each, while Johan Franzen chipped in with three assists.
“I was really happy every line kind of had something to do for the team and it was a great team effort,” Tatar said. “It’s really nice to win against a team like this with this kind of score.”
Tatar also spoke with Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus about his goal...
“I just remembered when I got the puck in the middle zone, I made a move and actually toe pick and fell for a second, but I stood up really fast and I guess the defenseman didn’t really expect that,” Tatar said of his goal. “I faked like I was going to go in front of the net, but I went behind and I guess the goalie just didn’t make it over in time.”
Gustav Nyquist had a scoring chance two minutes later, taking a pass at the bottom of the right circle with Rask out of position, but sent the puck over an empty net. Moments later, however, Nyquist fed Zetterberg in the high slot, who ripped a shot over Rask’s glove to extend the lead to 3-0. Less than two minutes later and on the power-play, Franzen sent a pass through Loui Eriksson’s legs and over to Kronwall, who buried it for his third of the year at 10:01 of the middle frame.
“Our second periods haven’t been our best,” Zetterberg said. “But tonight, we found a way. Special teams were good, we were good on PK and scored some power-play goals.”
Miller and Nyquist added goals in the third period to make it 6-0 before Jarome Iginla scored his fifth of the year to end Gustavsson’s shutout bid. The line of Tatar, Miller and Joakim Andersson combined for two goals and five points, despite seeing limited ice time.
“I’m happy Drew put it in, as well,” Tatar said of Miller’s first goal since Oct. 26. “I bet it’s going to help him, as well. I think our line played good defensively and offensively, as well.”
And MLive's Ansar Khan will take us out with a recap which points out that the Wings were firing on all cylinders for the first time...in a while:
This is the first time the Red Wings have won back-to-back games since winning three in a row from Oct. 30-Nov. 2. It was just their second win in their past 11 home games (2-3-6).
"Everything started with good defense,'' Zetterberg said. "When we got the puck we didn’t turn it over as much and we spent some time in their end. And when we got our chances we executed.''
“As good as we were offensively, we were as good defensively,'' Gustavsson said. "Usually when you play Boston you’re going to have to step up to be the guy to win the game. Tonight it felt like I almost could watch the game for a long period of time. It was almost hard to stay in it mentally. Once again, all the credit to the guys, who did a good job.’’
Now the Wings have to take their rest while they can get it, try to earn a rare win in Long Island, and prepare for the maelstrom to come in Ottawa--hoping to earn a win against a team that's defeated the Wings 6-1 and then 4-2 at the Joe.
In the "Bonus Swedish" category, Niklas Kronwall and Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom note that Alfredsson shouldn't have to worry in terms of support from his Swedish compatriots (and what follows is roughly translated, and comes to us via RedWingsFeed):
The Red Wings' Swedes registered 12 points: 3 goals and 8 assists.
"We represent half the team, so it's only right," says Niklas Kronwall to SportExpressen.se.
He scored a goal and assisted on another, and was named the game's second star after Henrik Zetterberg. The third star was Johan Franzen, and perhaps it's there that you understand it was a real "Swedish evening" that the audience at Joe Louis Arena was treated to.
"Well, we had a little outburst tonight, but it tends to be pretty damn tight in games against Bostons otherwise," says Kronner....
Franzen's assist on Justin Abdelkader's 1-0 goal was elegant. Franzen's scored 6 points, 1 goal and 5 assists, over his last 5 games.
"Frasse's been really good since he came back from his injury. His line with Zata and Gustav creats lots of chances all the time, giving us pressurein the opposition's end."
Jonas Gustavsson tended the goal in Detroit last night, and was just over two minutes removed from a shutout.
"The Monster was incredibly stable right through the game. It was a little disappointing that Boston scored that goal in the final minutes," says Kronwall.
Aftonbladet's Per Bjurman was watching the Avs-Ducks game in California, but he spoke with Zetterberg and Kronwall after the Wings game:
Last night Detroit scored--a lot. The Red Wings smacked the Boston Bruins 6-1.
"A lot of it had to do with the Bruins having no energy tonight, but it was fun that we could score some goals for the home crowd," says forward Henrik Zetterberg to SportBladet.
Boston has been all but an incorruptible winning machine since the beginning of this year's NHL season--while Detroit's been precariously perched in the middle. So the fact that Detroit suddenly hit Boston with six goals is particularly remarkable.
But nobody in Motown's dancing or howling about a paradigm shift having taken place in the Atlantic Division.
"No this was a classic example of what happens in this league when one team's fresh and the other team isn't. We've been on the other side several times, but this time it was boston who had no energy, and that's why it went like this," says Henrik Zetterberg when we speak with him after the final whistle.
He's still happy with the victory, of course.
"Yes, I still think that we played well, and it was great that we could finally score some goals for the home crowd. Our fans have deserved it," says Zata.
Zetterberg scored one--his eleventh of the season--as did Gustav Nyquist and Niklas Kronwall.
"I had a fantastic pass from Frasse (Johan Franzen) and basically had an open net. He's been really great since he came back from his injury," said Kronwall.
"The Mule" registered 3 assists in total, Joakim Andersson two and Zetterberg, Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson also registered points.
The total Swedish quota: 12 points.
"Yes, it's been going well for all of us, all five, with Franzen, Nyquist, Kronwall and 'Jonte' and I all had really good flow tonight," said Zata.
And Jonas Gustavsson stopped 16 of 17 Boston shots in the Red Wings' goal.
Now the Red Wings will go on a shot road trip, and it will include Daniel Alfredsson's first visit to his old hometown in Ottawa sincehe signed with Detroit.
"It's definitely going to be very special. They'll do something for 'Affe' before the game and I really hope he gets a nice reception," says Kronwall.
I hope so, too, but "Boo" in Canadian English and "Boo" in American English sound exactly the same.
Highlights: Because the game aired on NBCSN, you get Dave Strader and Brian Engblom instead of Ken and Mick:
ESPN posted a 42-second highlight clip;
Post-game: NESN posted a 1:16 clip of Bruins coach Claude Julien's post-game comments, and Chris Chelios did this:
The Bruins' website posted a 2:42 post-game clip in which Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask and coach Julien speak with the press:
The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a 46-second clip of Henrik Zetterberg, Drew Miller and coach Mike Babcock discussing the game:
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted clips of Miller...
And Jonas Gustavsson's post-game comments...
And the Red Wings' website posted clips of Tomas Tatar...
And coach Babcock's post-game presser:
Tatar spoke with the NHL Network, too:
Photos: The Detroit News posted a 27-image gallery;
The Detroit Free Press posted a 22-image gallery;
The Windsor Star posted 6 big images from the game;
Michigan Hockey posted a HTML5 slideshow from the game;
ESPN posted a 44-image gallery;
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.
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.
Red Wings notebooks: The Red Wings signed Jonathan Ericsson to a 6-year, $25.5 million contract extension on Wednesday, and the Free Press's Helene St. James noted that both Wings GM Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock felt that the 29-year-old defenseman's earned a career-defining payday:
“To me, he’s a unique player,” general manager Ken Holland said, citing Ericsson’s size and mobility. “That’s a tough combination. There are some defensemen like him in the league, but not a lot. He’s homegrown. We’ve watched him grow from the draft table to Grand Rapids into a bottom-pair defenseman to a top-pair defenseman.”
Ericsson has taken a path typical of many a defenseman — from a debut buoyed by playing under no pressure, in the 2009 playoffs, to some rough stretches once he became a regular. As the Wings lost one top defenseman after another in Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Brian Rafalski, Ericsson emerged as a go-to guy.
“It’s not like Big E didn’t have his moments where he struggled,” coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s hard. There’s only so many stars, and even those guys have ups and downs at times. Sports mirrors life. Sometimes it doesn’t go good, so what, get up and go again the next day.”
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan also noted the GM, coach and player's respective comments...
"I'm really happy about it, getting the chance to stay here in this organization," Ericsson said. "I really like it here and for me to be able to get a deal done now, it means a lot for me and my family. I'm really proud to be a Red Wing. Hopefully this will turn out good for both of us."
With the draft now seven rounds instead of the nine when Ericsson was drafted, no player will ever be drafted lower in the draft and make it in the NHL than Ericsson.
"It's an amazing feeling," Ericsson said. "When I got drafted, this was a long shot for me."
With the loss of defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski to retirement, and Brad Stuart returning to San Jose, the Red Wings couldn't afford to lose any more experienced defensemen. Especially a 6-foot-4, 220-pound defenseman who has developed into a top-pair shut-down player alongside Niklas Kronwall.
"You can't just keep losing players," general manager Ken Holland said. "After a while, you wake up and there's not enough players. I went to his agent and told him it was a priority for us to get him signed. He's a real important player on our team."
As did MLive's Ansar Khan:
“He’s paid his dues, he’s gone to Grand Rapids (for three seasons),’’ Holland said. “He was a forward earlier in his career (as a teen in Sweden), but he made the transition to defenseman. It’s been a learning process.’’
Ericsson said he has always been a late bloomer.
“I think working out and being determined in what you want to do is a key factor,’’ Ericsson said. “I haven’t always been the most talented guy. My older brother (Jimmie, who plays in Sweden) is more talented than me, but he doesn’t like working out or being that determined to reach that far. He’s a great hockey player, but he doesn’t have that mentality off the ice that maybe I have, and that’s kept me going.’’
He said he’d rather be known as the last pick in the draft than the fifth-to-last pick. And since the draft is seven rounds now, not nine, like it was in 2002, Ericsson said, “I know there won’t be any later picks than me now … so that’s pretty special.’’
It generally takes defensemen longer to blossom than forwards.
“If you have Lidstrom or Kronwall, and it looks like maybe (Danny) DeKeyser, to play guys with, they look good,’’ Babcock said. “But when you don’t have one of those guys to play them with it maybe takes you some time to become a good player in the league.’’
If you really want to read the Windsor Star's Bob Duff's profile of former Windsor Spitfire and current Bruins coach Claude Julien (Julien, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer are all Spitfires alums), enjoy, but the Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin's profile of the Smith brothers, focusing on Reilly, offers more Wings-related interest:
Earlier this week, Bruins center David Krejci referred to teammate Reilly Smith as playing like “a 10-year vet.” And maybe there’s a reason for that.
Smith grew up with two older brothers, Rory and Brendan, both of whom are also professional athletes. So Smith spent his time with the older kids, tagging along, playing with them. It’s something that shows around a locker room in which he often seems like one of the seasoned players, rather than one who had just 40 NHL games under his belt coming into this season.
“I think that he’s always had that,” said Brendan Smith, a defenseman for the Red Wings. “I think he’s a little bit more mature than his age  and I think maybe that’s [being] able to hang out with my older brother [a professional lacrosse player] and myself. He’s always been with an older class. He’s very mature for his age. He’s extremely wise — I can’t say that for myself — but he’s the smart one of the bunch. He’s quiet, he observes, he’s very good at that. I think that’s what people see is he’s got that maturity level.”
It’s something that has been evident to the Bruins’ players and coaching staff, even in Smith’s short time in the organization after being traded from Dallas in July.
“He’s a really quiet individual for his age,” coach Claude Julien said. “Sometimes those guys have a tendency to want to joke around and play around a little bit more than the veteran players, but he acts more like a veteran, and when he does say something it’s quiet and it’s kind of a dry humor. He’s actually pretty funny, but in a quiet way. That’s how he plays out there, too. He’s a quiet player that accomplishes a lot of good things that you expect out of veterans. That’s the part for me that impressed me in training [camp].”
Julien checked off the good qualities: “He’s poised, he’s smart, he doesn’t panic under pressure. He makes a mistake, he knows right away. He’s hard on himself.”
"Yes, yes, sometimes, yes, not necessarly" for the older one?
And in the prospect department, aside from the Toledo Walleye's bag skate after a 7-0 drubbing, three other Wings prospects played games on Wednesday.
In Sweden, Mattias Janmark scored a goal in 21:13 of ice time for AIK Stockholm, but AIK lost 2-1 to Farjestads BK;
On this side of the pond, and in Michigan, the OHL's Saginaw Spirit defeated the Windsor Spitfires 6-2 with Jake Paterson watching from the bench....
In my backyard, Red Wings prospect Zach Nastasiuk scored a goal, added an assist and was named the first star in the Owen Sound Attack's 3-1 win over the Plymouth Whalers;
And in Griffins news, via Hockey's Future's Tony Androckitis' AHL Western Conference Notebook:
Griffins’ Surge Continues
The defending 2013 Calder Cup champions are off and running in 2013-14 and wasted no time showing that last year wasn’t a fluke. The Grand Rapids Griffins opened the season with an 8-1 win over Rochester and lead the Midwest Division by six points with a record of 13-4-1-1.
Leading the way for the Griffins has been second-year forward Tomas Jurco. The Detroit Red Wings’ second round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft is fifth in the AHL in scoring with 22 points (10G-12A) in 19 games played and is already approaching his offensive production from his 74-game rookie season where he tallied 28 points (14G-14A). Jurco is not enduring “the sophomore slump” and started the season on a four-game points streak. He hasn’t shown signs of slowing down just yet ,either, recording points in five of his last seven games (5G-3A), including his first professional career hat trick in a 5-3 win over Rockford on November 15th.
Gustav Nyquist has split time between the NHL and AHL the past two seasons in the Red Wings organization and, after 21 points (7G-14A) in 15 games in the AHL, he is now second on the Griffins in scoring thanks to a recent NHL call up. Nyquist looks to be teetering between an AHL and NHL forward for a third straight season. A point-per-game player over the course of his career at the AHL level, there hasn’t been any signs that Nyquist won’t stop producing at en elevated rate. Currently in the NHL with the Red Wings, Nyquist is off to a good start in his first NHL stint this season, posting two goals in three games so far.
On the backend, rookie defenseman Ryan Sproul leads the Griffins offensive attack with five goals and eight assists on the season after coming off back-to-back 20-goal seasons as a defender for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. His five goals leads all rookie defensemen while his 13 points have him third in the AHL among rookie defenders. The 2012-13 CHL Defenseman of the Year hasn’t appeared in his first NHL game just yet, but it’s only a matter of time for the offensive defenseman to be given an NHL look.
The Red Wings are practicing today, but I am American and I am celebrating Thanksgiving with the mom and aunt, so I hope you'll excuse me for going into "lite mode" for the rest of the day. I got up at 10:30 and found the Wings had signed Jonathan Ericsson (after about five hours of sleep) and I've been a wee bit busy since then, so I'm kind of beat.
Be safe and try not to kill your relatives today. I am grateful for your readership all the dang time.
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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.