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Red Wings-Canucks quick take: what a difference a day makes

Updated w/ stats and videos at 8:40 PM: On Saturday afternoon, Red Wings fans were nervous...Or at least I was. The Wings were heading into a Saturday night tilt against Nashville in a must-must-win situation, having gone 0-3-and-2 over their past five games.

Saturday night, the Wings smoked Nashville 4-0, and we all felt a little better.

After the first period of today's game against Vancouver, Wings fans were pissed...Or at least I was. Jimmy Howard, who wasn't supposed to start but did because Jonas Gustavsson's groin is wonky again, hadn't had the best outing, and gave up a 3rd goal on a wraparound that was just awful, but he'd received absolutely no help from defensemen who'd simply stood around and watched the Sedins work their magic, and at the other end of the ice, the Wings had more missed attempts than shots, and Damien Brunner and Henrik Zetterberg were still afflicated with passitonitis.

I don't know what was said or imbibed between periods 1 and 2, but my Gord, was it the right thing to say and/or spike the Gatorade with. The Wings scored SIX consecutive goals, defeating Vancouver 8-3, despite refereeing that was bizarrely inconsistent (and blew off one good Wings goal and one illegal one), with the Wings killing off 2 Canucks power plays and going 3-for-5 on their own PP's...

And after the Wings' wonderful 3rd and 4th lines bore down, after Brian Lashoff and Ian White stopped passing the puck laterally instead of clearing it, and after the team got hungrier for the puck than the Canucks, started winning board battles and one-on-one scrums, offered puck support to each other, defensive support in all three zones, and simplified their game...

The onslaught began. Cleary. Zetterberg. Brunner. Brunner again. And then two cap-it-off goals from Andersson, who ensured that there would be no third period comeback after Vancouver had out-shot Detroit 8-0 to start the final stanza--and ended up out-shooting Detroit 11-10, but were out-scored 3-0.

Brunner ended up with 2 goals and 2 assists on the night, Niklas Kronwall become a league leader in defensemen's scoring with 1 goal and 2 assists, Zetterberg had 1 goal and 2 assists, Datsyuk and Ericsson had 2 assists, Cleary had a goal and an assist...

But, and perhaps more importantly, my friend Linda said something to me that reminded me why I still do game calls on a wee hockey board with the same people I've talked to since 1999, while Tweeting as well--because I watch the game with people who are smarter than me.

Linda pointed out that while the Wings remained injured, and we'd heard Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond state that Kyle Quincey (ankle) and Johan Franzen (hip) will probably return to the lineup during the LA-San Jose trip, but Brendan Smith and Carlo Colaiacovo's shoulders are apparently another week away for the third or fourth week in a row, Darren Helm is headed to a back specialist, and Todd Bertuzzi being "better" doesn't mean that he or Helm are anything less than 3-4 weeks from returning after the pair's backs start feeling better...

The Wings' personnel has been consistent for the past half-dozen or so games, and after struggling so very mightily, this team's personnel is building familiarity and chemistry. Tatar-Eaves-Andersson and Miller-Emmerton-Tootoo aren't exactly the kinds of third and fourth lines that Bertuzzi-Helm-Cleary and Miller-Abdelkader-Tootoo can represent, but they've been excellent in their own right, and even the Kent Huskins-Jakub Kindl pairing has been solid, White and Lashoff led the team in ice time on Saturday, Kronwall's digging himself out of the worst-plus-minus category and Danny Cleary's doing more than simply allowing Pavel Datsyuk to carry him and Justin Abdelkader.

This team is not the same team as it will be when and/or if it's healthy, but it's playing a simplified game and it's beginning to play a Red Wings-like game, emphasizing puck possession, forechecking and net-front presences, as well as a boatload of grit, jam and even poise, and this team's starting to find not just its post-Lidstrom identity, but it's also finding a amongst-the-injuries-and-awful-refereeing identity (and there is no doubt that both teams got away with everything but stick checks to hands, though the Canucks were better at those "moving picks" and Olczyk-hated "subtle interference" than the Wings were today).

The Red Wings head to California back in the thick of things in the Western Conference, they head to California having scored 12 goals and only having given up 3 over the course of 2 games, and they are starting to look like themselves--at least as far as the 2013 Wings can look like anything--as they head out West.

Poise, panache, resolve, work ethic and strong team play are all hallmarks of Red Wings hockey, as is determination and efficient puck possession hockey. We're just finally starting to see this team play like the Red Wings used to play, while finally implementing the adjustments that this Wings team needed to make to accommodate its slightly diminished skill level, and that's just fantastic.

Could everything change if the Wings go 0-for-the-road?

Yes. No doubt about it. The Wings have to continue winning, or as we saw during the 0-3-and-2 stretch, all their hard work can mean nothing in a hurry.

But tonight, and perhaps only for tonight and tomorrow, when the Wings can't incur any more on-ice injuries as they won't practice, the Wings, and their fans, are allowed to both smile and exhale for a bit.

Statistics:

Shots 28-21 Detroit overall. The Wings were out-shot 7-6 in the 1st, out-shot Vancouver 12-3 in the 2nd, and were out-shot 11-10 in the 3rd.

The Canucks went 0-for-2 in 4:00 of PP time; the Wings went 3-for-5 in 6:50 of PP time, but they went 0-for-1 in 13 seconds of 5 on 3 time.

Howard stopped 18 of 21; Luongo stopped 20 of 28.

The 3 stars, picked by the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, were Joakim Andersson (3), Damien Brunner (2) and Niklas Kronwall (1).

The Wings' goals: Tootoo (2), unassisted;

Kronwall (3) from Datsyuk (13) and Cleary (2);

Cleary (4) from Brunner (5) and Zetterberg (18), PPG;

Zetterberg (6) from Datsyuk (14) and Kronwall (12), PPG;

Brunner (9) from Kronwall (13) and Zetterberg (19), PPG;

Brunner (10) from Filppula (6) and Ericsson (5);

Andersson (2) from Tatar (3) and Kindl (4);

Andersson (3) from Brunner (6) and Ericsson (6).

Faceoffs 27-24 Detroit (Detroit won 53%);

Blocked shots 10-8 Detroit;

Missed shots 12-5 Detroit (total attempts 48-36 Detroit, w/ Detroit firing 20 wide or into Canucks players);

Hits 21-18 Detroit;

Giveaways 9-1 Vancouver;

Takeaways 7-7.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 7-and-7 (50%); Datsyuk went 10-and-4 (71%); Emmerton went 4-and-8 (33%); Andersson went 4-and-4 (50%); Filppula went 2-and-1 (67%);

Shots: Brunner led the team with 5 shots; Abdelkader and Ericsson had 3; Miller, Tootoo, Filppula, Kronwall and Andersson had 2; Kindl, Cleary, Datsyuk, Eaves, White, Emmerton and Zetterberg had 1;

Blocked attempts: Kindl had 2 attempts blocked by Canucks players; Tatar had 2 attempts blocked; Cleary, Datsyuk, White and Tootoo had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Kindl and Filppula missed the net 3 times; Datsyuk missed the net 2 times; Eaves, Tatar, Emmerton and Zetterberg missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader led the team with 5 hits; Eaves had 3; Huskins, White and Lashoff had 2; Datsyuk, Tootoo, Emmerton, Zetterberg, Ericsson, Kronwall and Andersson had 1.

Giveaways: White had the team's only giveaway.

Takeaways: Tatar had 2 takeaways; Abdelkader, Cleary, Eaves, Brunner and Zetterberg had 1 takeaway.

Blocked opponent shots: White blocked 3 shots; Lashoff and Emmerton blocked 2; Cleary, Miller and Ericsson blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Abdelkader, Tootoo and Brunner took minor penalties;

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +11. White finished at -2; Huskins and Emmerton finished at -1; Eaves, Tatar and Brunner finished at +1; Kindl, Zetterberg and Ericsson finished at +2; Kronwall and Andersson finished at +3.

Points: Brunner had 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points; both Zetterberg and Kronwall had 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points; Andersson had 2 goals; Datsyuk and Ericsson had 2 assists; Cleary had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Tootoo scored a goal; Kindl, Tatar and Filppula had an assist.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 20:52 played; White played 20:21; Kindl played 20:17;

Huskins played 20:01; Datsyuk played 19:38; Cleary played 18:33;

Ericsson played 18:35; Zetterberg played 18:12; Lashoff played 16:34;

Filppula played 15:56; Abdelkader played 15:44; Brunner played 15:10;

Tatar played 15:13; Miller played 13:46; Eaves played 12:02;

Andersson played 12:00; Emmerton played 11:30; Tootoo played 10:50.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 7-and-7 (50%); Datsyuk went 10-and-4 (71%); Emmerton went 4-and-8 (33%); Andersson went 4-and-4 (50%); Filppula went 2-and-1 (67%);

Shots: Brunner led the team with 5 shots; Abdelkader and Ericsson had 3; Miller, Tootoo, Filppula, Kronwall and Andersson had 2; Kindl, Cleary, Datsyuk, Eaves, White, Emmerton and Zetterberg had 1;

Blocked attempts: Kindl had 2 attempts blocked by Canucks players; Tatar had 2 attempts blocked; Cleary, Datsyuk, White and Tootoo had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Kindl and Filppula missed the net 3 times; Datsyuk missed the net 2 times; Eaves, Tatar, Emmerton and Zetterberg missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader led the team with 5 hits; Eaves had 3; Huskins, White and Lashoff had 2; Datsyuk, Tootoo, Emmerton, Zetterberg, Ericsson, Kronwall and Andersson had 1.

Giveaways: White had the team's only giveaway.

Takeaways: Tatar had 2 takeaways; Abdelkader, Cleary, Eaves, Brunner and Zetterberg had 1 takeaway.

Blocked opponent shots: White blocked 3 shots; Lashoff and Emmerton blocked 2; Cleary, Miller and Ericsson blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Abdelkader, Tootoo and Brunner took minor penalties;

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +11. White finished at -2; Huskins and Emmerton finished at -1; Eaves, Tatar and Brunner finished at +1; Kindl, Zetterberg and Ericsson finished at +2; Kronwall and Andersson finished at +3.

Points: Brunner had 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points; both Zetterberg and Kronwall had 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points; Andersson had 2 goals; Datsyuk and Ericsson had 2 assists; Cleary had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Tootoo scored a goal; Kindl, Tatar and Filppula had an assist.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 20:52 played; White played 20:21; Kindl played 20:17;

Huskins played 20:01; Datsyuk played 19:38; Cleary played 18:33;

Ericsson played 18:35; Zetterberg played 18:12; Lashoff played 16:34;

Filppula played 15:56; Abdelkader played 15:44; Brunner played 15:10;

Tatar played 15:13; Miller played 13:46; Eaves played 12:02;

Andersson played 12:00; Emmerton played 11:30; Tootoo played 10:50.

The Red Wings' website posted a slate of highlights...

 


And clips of Damien Brunner...

Henrik Zetterberg...

And coach Mike Babcock speaking to the media:

There are also recaps available from TSN, the Vancouver Province's Jason Botchford, the Vancouver Sun's Brad Ziemer, the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press and MLive.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

cowboycoffee's avatar

is it too early to start negotiating with Brunner’s agent?

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 02/24/13 at 09:01 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Few thoughts, for what it’s worth.
Detroit’s record last year vs. Vancourver was 2-1-1, the last 5 years: 12-5-3 before tonight.
Hopefully, there will be more than a few posts in the first few hours after this win. Killed the penalties? Check. Scored a few power play goals, check. The Wings’ highest scoring game of the year was 5 a few times (rebounds do help), but the concern is only St. Louis, Calgary and Columbus had given up more goals among Western Conference teams coming into the game. Considering they now have played 12 games at home and 7 on the road, they need every home point they can get. Jordan Tootoo = offense? That’s what I like to hear. It was nice to see the Wings came back after giving up the lead.

If the realignment goes through as rumored, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Boston, Ottawa and Toronto have more points than the Wings (realizing there is no cross-over play to truly tell how strong the East is right now), but what may have looked like just Boston as serious competition in the past could get a lot more interesting if they move to that “conference”—in the meantime, they have plenty of teams ahead of them to worry about. Now can they sustain some consistency from this weekend—are the overripe kids now able to help carry the team on the road the next few weeks? We hope, but nobody knows. It feels good regardless, to say it’s possible.

Oh, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Ken Holland isn’t negotiating with Brunner’s agent already (but keep in mind, even after tonight, he’s only +1 for the season).

Posted by Bugsy on 02/24/13 at 09:05 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Giveaways 9-1 Vancouver;

Just Gators, as I recall, ended up in the net.

Having said that - - Who are these guys?

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 02/24/13 at 09:15 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

If the realignment goes through as rumored, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Boston, Ottawa and Toronto have more points than the Wings (


That may be true…but lets compare the competition.

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 02/24/13 at 09:16 PM ET

Avatar

I wish, after one of these games that truly stands out as a game where the Wings flipped the switch and played Detroit Red Wings style puck possession hockey, I could accurately explain what it is they did so well.

But it’s really simple…they just went after the puck all the time, they kept it moving towards Luongo. When you think about it, puck possession is a pretty simple style of play. It just requires a high degree of skill, will, or some combination of both.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 02/24/13 at 09:23 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

As I said, no crossover games means can’t get a true gauge of east vs. west, but it wasn’t long ago that we would be seeing Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa hoping they could get into the playoffs and miss sometimes. Those 5 teams are in the playoffs right now, which I’m still doing a double take on, especially Montreal. The only team that’s been consistently top level the last few years have been the Bruins. The Wings now have more points than Tampa Bay, but I think dealing with Yzerman’s team and Paul MacLean’s team may be more of a challenge than in the past. Ottawa snuck in as #8 last year, Montreal was last, and Tampa Bay and Toronto didn’t make it last year.

Posted by Bugsy on 02/24/13 at 09:26 PM ET

Avatar

-So, Holland added Brunner, signed White and drafted Andersson, Tatar, and Lashoff.  My quibbles with most about what Lashoff really is aside (I think he’s a 6th dman/AHL guy, others view him more highly), I think Holland’s done a pretty decent below-the-radar job of restocking the team.

-I wonder if this game will be a redux of Detroit’s demolition of Patrick Roy’s career in Montreal.  I mean, 8 goals.  That’s a pretty big eff ewe.

-Energy is going to be a really funny, fleeting thing this year.  Detroit had it despite playing just yesterday (Howard notwithstanding), while Vancouver was pretty feeble at the end of a 4 game roadie.

-It appears a 2-3 game losing streak will put a team out of the playoffs and a 2-3 game win streak gets them a 5 seed.  This year is going to be really weird.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/24/13 at 09:44 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Tonight is not the night to worry about how well the Wings would have done against the East. Tonight is a night to be glad that the Wings can battle through what was truly horrific refereeing on both sides of the puck to take fewer penalties than their opponent, actually score on the power play and prevail despite almost giving the game away via all those first period gaffes.

Seriously. This is about the Wings getting 2 wins after 5 losses, and maybe kinda sorta being maybe kinda sorta 3 wins from getting their asses back to square zero.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/24/13 at 09:45 PM ET

Avatar

By the way, is it just a coincidence that the team got hot as soon as Quincey went out?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/24/13 at 09:46 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Yes I was worried after the 1st Period then the Wings just out worked the Nucks, some weird goals, young guns looked pretty good and Howie sucked it up in the 3rd.

I still think there was a fragile/not confident Wings team.  These 2 HUGE wins should help that greatly.

The upcoming Road torture is another matter. I am hoping for at least .500 on the Road and come late March still in the hunt.

Would help if Mule, Smith and Helm to get back soon.  I know Helm is a longer term injury but he is missed big time!

A healthy backup would be a novel idea, geez!!!

Nyquist, leading AHL in points, is better than Eaves especially having played with Tatar, Andersson in GR.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 02/24/13 at 10:06 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Okay, forget the realignment stuff. The Wings thrived on special teams when they got their opening in the past, but I’m not sure what to make of this the last 10 games. The only game they “won” the special teams battle and lost the game in their last 10 (defined arbitrarily by power play goals scored vs. given up) was against Anaheim. However, I’m not sure it’s as important if they draw fewer penalties as much as they play well on special teams and not have too big of a margin:

# power plays for opponent vs. Detroit (not time) the last 10 games:
St. Louis 3 vs. 1 (Detroit W)—Gave up 1 PP goal
Edmonton 8 vs. 7 (W)—Wings scored 2 PP goals, Edmonton 1
LA 3 vs. 4 (W)—scored one PP goal
St. Louis 3 vs. 4 (L)—gave up one PP goal
Anaheim 3 vs. 4 (L)—Wings scored one PP goal
Minnesota 2 vs. 3 (L)
Nashville 6 vs. 2 (L)—gave up one PP goal
Columbus 3 vs. 4 (L)—gave up one PP goal
Nashville 2 vs. 2 (W)
Vancouver 2 vs. 5 (W)

Posted by Bugsy on 02/24/13 at 10:08 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

forgot, obviously 3 PP goals tonight.

We try to play with the #‘s to try to help figure things out, but I had to give up my “win the turnover battle” theory (takeaways minus giveaways) when I looked back on the Stanley Cup Finals years a few years ago, and found they lost those battles more often than I thought even then.

Posted by Bugsy on 02/24/13 at 10:11 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Is this the start of a turnaround or part of the Jeckel and Hyde nature of this team?  Damned if I know.  I’ve seen good energy from the Wings lately.  Something that must continue for the team to win. All in all I feel the team is beginning to find their identity as George has said.

Posted by calquake on 02/24/13 at 10:29 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

We try to play with the #‘s to try to help figure things out, but I had to give up my “win the turnover battle” theory (takeaways minus giveaways) when I looked back on the Stanley Cup Finals years a few years ago, and found they lost those battles more often than I thought even then.

Takeaway numbers are determined by the home team’s statisticians, so they can vary wildly from one building to another.  I don’t think of them as being a terribly reliable statistic for any worthwhile analysis.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 02/24/13 at 10:38 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

I know what you’re saying, heck # of hits I don’t necessarily trust either, but the odd thing was I thought this year that the number of turnovers was a big difference in the Wings’ downfall vs. past years (because we’ve seen a few doozies). What I found was the Wings in those Stanley Cup years didn’t win that stat that often either (surprising given the good D reputation of Datsyuk, Z, etc.). Regardless of whether we trust these somewhat subjective #‘s on hits, takeaways, giveaways, etc., or not (and I understand the homer tendency) the point was that I felt less confident in the theory since the outcomes were similar comparing 3 different years. Thus, even if the rinks are widely variable in their #‘s, the similar trend over 3 different seasons with different Wings’ records/levels of success would seem to indicate that the turnover battle isn’t as important as I thought.

Forgetting all that, the simple “eye test” watching the Wings winning more battles along the boards, looking more confident this weekend, getting the good scoring chances was good enough for me before I looked at the stats.

Posted by Bugsy on 02/24/13 at 10:49 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

cowboycoffee  “is it too early to start negotiating with Brunner’s agent?”

No ... its never too early.  I’m with you ... wrap him up now.

HockeyinHD  ”...and drafted Andersson, Tatar, and Lashoff.”

Incorrect ... Lashoff was a free agent signing.
Babs watched him play in GR during the lockout and felt he deserved a shot.

HockeyinHD  “is it just a coincidence that the team got hot as soon as Quincey went out?”

Is it a bigger coincidence that Kindl may have gotten his proverbial poop in a group now that Queazy is out ??

WingedRider  “Nyquist, leading AHL in points, is better than Eaves etc.”

Like I said before ... management knows what Nyquist can do.  They need to evaluate the abilities of so many others so they know who to keep and who to trade in order to obtain another top4 Dman.  When we get down to the last 10 games or so and we’re in a playoff spot, thats when we’ll see Nyquist come up to give us that last little push over the edge.

Lastly I’d like to say ‘I told you so”.  Just after his signing, many had questioned “why Jordan Tootoo ??”  and I mentioned his offencive upside.  I believe my words were ... once he gets comfortable he’ll score some goals too.  Once Helmer gets healthy I’d like to see him on the 3rd line with Tatar.

2 wins in a row .. nice to see ... is it permanent ??  We’ll see how they do on the road.  They go more than 50% on the road and we can get excited .... for now lets just be cautiously optimistic.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 02/25/13 at 02:49 AM ET

Avatar

Once Helmer gets healthy I’d like to see him on the 3rd line with Tatar.

I actually love our fourth line as it is and would to see it stay together.

Also, while I am loving the Tootoo signing right now I’d hold off on mentioning his offensive upside until he gets a goal that isn’t a pass that went in because of a fluky bounce off a defender’s ass or stick.

Is it a bigger coincidence that Kindl may have gotten his proverbial poop in a group now that Queazy is out ??

It’s not a coincidence because, a couple penalties aside, Kindl was playing well enough that he should’ve been a regular in the lineup over Quincey before Quincey went down.

Posted by Garth on 02/25/13 at 02:21 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.