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Red Wings-Canucks quick take: Abdelkader, PK, goaltending deliver a clutch win

The Red Wings rather desperately, desperately needed to get back to playoff-point-race-point-earning form after Sunday's incredibly disappointing 6-5 shootout loss against Washington.

The Wings did so on Monday, earning a 2-0 win, perhaps thanks to a similarly-injury-plagued Canucks team that played incredibly tentatively as John Tortorella returned to the bench and perhaps despite of utterly fantastic goaltending from Eddie Lack, who really played amazingly well and frustrated the hell out of Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist.

Thankfully, the Red Wings were that much better, and between Jimmy Howard's penalty-shot save after coming in for a "dizzy" Jonas Gustavsson, Justin Abdelkader's two goals actually scored by Justin Abdelkader's stick, one 1:08 into the 2nd and one into an empty net, thanks to some fantastic special teams play (power plays were 5-2 Vancouver) and thanks to another remarkable effort by the Jurco-Sheahan-Tatar line (Tatar will get a talking-to by his senior teammates about that accidental knee on Ryan Kesler), the Wings defeated the Canucks 2-0, and have taken 5 out of a possible 6 points over their past three games.

As such...

The fact that the Wings killed a pair of 3rd period penalties en route to holding Vancouver to all of 3 shots in the 3rd stood out (let's just say that Brendan Smith might have a hard time getting back into the lineup), as did Howard's cool, calm play despite the light workload in the 3rd--though he did have to stop 13 2nd period shots...

And between Abdelkader picking up the slack when Zetterberg and Nyquist were unable to dent the back of the Canucks' net, especially on the 5 on 3, the superb PK work by Miller and Glendening and the fact that the Jurco-Glendening-Tatar line looks so absolutely dominant at times, things look really, really good for a team that played 3 in 4 nights and has 2 more games before the Olympic break.

The Wings will take Tuesday off and get back to work on Wednesday, and they'll face something of a new nemesis in the Florida Panthers on Thursday and a team they're chasing in the playoff race in the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

We can hope that Pavel Datsyuk will skate in one of those games--though I have no doubt in my mind that he's going to Russia to play in the Olympics either way--and I certainly hope that Jonas Gustavsson is okay.

The game wasn't pretty at points (caffeine for paint-dry-watching, please?), but this team is finding its form, and as I said on Twitter, I watched Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan play the kind of hockey that they're playing against grown-up NHL'ers this past fall in Traverse City, and it's remarkable that they've accelerated their development in such short order.

If the Wings get relatively healthy, they have to know whether Stephen Weiss is a "fit," Pavel Datsyuk and a Johan Franzen who was playing some of the best all-round hockey of his career when he went out of the lineup will make the Wings better, and I can't imagine that Todd Bertuzzi or Daniel Cleary are going anywhere, but when the playoffs begin and the 23-man roster limit and salary cap disappear, I really do wonder whether we'll see Jurco and Sheahan up here again and playing in Bertuzzi and Cleary's respective steads--unless the latter "grab their chunk of cheese" again.

Sheahan, Tatar, Glendening and probably Jurco are all but assured of being on next year's team, though, and in the interim, they've been key components of a Red Wings team that seems determined to go into the Olympic break on the in-the-playoffs side of the "wild card" race.

Here's Abdelkader's goal, 1:08 into the 2nd...

Here's Jimmy Howard's penalty shot save on David Booth at 4:41 of the 2nd...

And here's Abdelkader's empty-netter:

Here's Eddie Lack robbing poor Darren Helm twice, too:

Keep it going, Wings, your fans want to see you in the playoff mix when you return to the Joe for some not-so-nondescript game against Colorado on March 6th.

Update: Good news regarding Gustavsson:

Quick stats:

Shots 30-24 Detroit overall. Detroit was out-shot 8-7 in the 1st, the teams tied 13-13 in shots in the 2nd and the Wings out-shot Vancouver 10-3 in the 3rd period.

Special teams: Detroit went 1-for-2 in 2:23 of PP time; Vancouver went 0-for-5 in 10:00 and Jimmy Howard stopped David Booth's penalty shot.

Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 16 of 16 shots for Detroit; Jonas Gustavsson stopped 8 of 8 shots for Detroit; Eddie Lack stopped 28 of 29 shots for Vancouver, and Abdelkader scored into an empty net.

The 3 stars were picked by the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, and he picked Kyle Quincey, Eddie Lack and Henrik Zetterberg.

The Red Wings' goals: Abdelkader (7) from Zetterberg (32) and Nyquist (10);

Abdelkader (8) from Kronwall (28), both empty-net and on the power play.

Faceoffs 33-31 Vancouver (Detroit won 48%);

Blocked shots 10-5 Vancouver;

Missed shots 16-8 Detroit (total attempts 56-37 Detroit, with Detroit firing 30 shots on the Canucks' net and another 26 wide/blocked);

Hits 24-20 Vancouver;

Giveaways 9-2 Vancouver;

Takeaways 4-2 Vancouver.

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Chet's avatar

dats and franzen are locks to come back into the lineup. the problem becomes, who sits and how do you break up the GR line?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 02/03/14 at 11:44 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Great work by Abby, and our kids are phenomenal. Here’s to hoping we win *both* games in Florida.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 02/03/14 at 11:50 PM ET


I really do wonder whether we’ll see Jurco and Sheahan up here again and playing in Bertuzzi and Cleary’s respective steads—unless the latter “grab their chunk of cheese” again.
George, they never grabbed any cheese to begin with.  It’s a joke that they’re still on the roster, albeit both are scratched right now. Bertuzzi got an extension for playing well during a 2 week span. Cleary had only one—ONE—contract offer this year and it was from the Wings. What does that tell you? These kids should have been here since day one (I’m talking about Tatar and Nyquist). It’s just the icing on the cake now that Jurco Sheahan and Glendening are playing well. They’re all better hockey players than Cleary and Bertuzzi and anyone who suggests otherwise is delusional. If they (the kids) are sent back down so those 2 retreads can play in the playoffs i’ll lose my *#$%@& mind. No way Ken Holland and Mike Babcock are that stupid. No chance.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 02/03/14 at 11:58 PM ET


Just throwing this out there, but I watch the penalty that gave them the penalty shot and it’s hard to really get all that upset with Kindl.

He recognizes what is happening immediately, before the pass even comes, and was hauling ass back. Booth was just faster and had body position…Kindl probably should’ve just let Jimmy try to make the save, but really, that’s not a Kindl issue at that point. Any defensemen could’ve chosen to take the penalty or let the guy go, and usually they take the penalty.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 02/04/14 at 12:14 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

It’s hard to figure out what a penalty shot is these days. Sometimes guys get mauled on breakaways and nothing’s called, and sometimes you touch a guy as he’s going in, gain body position before you touch him to begin with, and they call a penalty shot.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/04/14 at 12:30 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

disappointing 6-5 shootout wi against Washington


taken 5 out of a possible 6 points over their past two games.


Does anyone know why Eaves didn’t play the third last game? I didn’t really notice him this game but I did hear his name.

I missed the first period, but heard on the radio that Miller was the best player. You could say that about any random game this season and have a pretty good chance of being right.

As far as the penalty shot stuff, you know that when the guy gets body position, that will be a penalty. The best thing to do is to give the guy a shove—preferably not into the goalie—to at least knock him off stride any maybe negate his scoring chance.

Mandatory Jurco is great but it’s too bad he’s not scoring. Sheahan is in the same boat now as Nyquist was earlier: nothing more to learn/improve in the AHL; he needs to be in the NHL but will likely be a roster limit casualty. And who the hell even knows what kind of player Glendening will eventually be? There’s no question he’ll be in the NHL for a long time.

Posted by bleep bloop on 02/04/14 at 12:39 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

You try writing with a closed head injury.

Sorry about that.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/04/14 at 12:41 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Just throwing this out there, but I watch the penalty that gave them the penalty shot and it’s hard to really get all that upset with Kindl.

The penalty itself is essentially one of those automatic, necessary penalties. I don’t know if the stats support this, but it feels like deliberately hauling a guy down and giving him a penalty shot is the better choice because a PS eliminates the variable that is the follow-up/rebound shot you get during live play.

Of course, you better be damn sure you’re actually preventing a good chance or you’re really just giving a guy two opportunities to score on your goalie.

I’m mad because Kindl should be the last man back here. There’s not a good reason for him to get beaten to the puck by Booth getting the jump on him coming out of the zone on the weak side.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/04/14 at 01:26 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

You try writing with a closed head injury.

I wouldn’t and I don’t know if it’s really stupid or not for you to, but I speak for everyone when I say that we appreciate these posts even when you aren’t 100%—even when the details aren’t 100%

Posted by bleep bloop on 02/04/14 at 01:51 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I like Jurco, and I think he has grown leaps and bounds over early in the season last year, but I don’t think he is ready for a permanent spot on the roster yet.  Let him go back down to the AHL when (if?) the team gets healthy and lead the Griffs in scoring for at least the playoffs, if not another season.

As for Sheahan, and I never thought Id be saying this but, he belongs in the NHL.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 02/04/14 at 09:39 AM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Ahhh, I was at that game in Nashville when Legace got injured… I snapped a few pics of him being stretchered off the ice.

Fun times.

Posted by RedMenace from The Luke Witkowski Fan Club on 02/04/14 at 09:50 AM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

Posted by RedMenace from Team Slovaskimo Fighting Snipers on 02/04/14 at 08:50 AM ET

I was at that one too; got a souvenir Preds boonie cap for attending the game to boot. I had round-trip trans from Ft Campbell to Nashville and seats in the lower bowl (in one of the corners) for only $50.
I also took pics; they are buried in a box somewhere. If i get around to digging them up, maybe i will post a couple.
I think i remember that i had a good time at that game. All the preds spectators were like “sit down” and such. I’m like “you need learn how to be at a hockey game”  lol

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 02/04/14 at 11:06 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

JFC.  Not bitching at you George, but I could grow my beard out down to my waist in the time it take the NHL’s video to load.  I don’t expect NFL level quality from the NHL, but the quality of service the league provides its fans just shows how taken for granted we are.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 02/04/14 at 11:51 AM ET


I speak for everyone when I say that we appreciate these posts even when you aren’t 100%—even when the details aren’t 100%

I agree 100%

Posted by leftwing on 02/04/14 at 02:30 PM ET

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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.