The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/31/13 at 01:28 AM ET
T'was a strange game. You would think that John Tortorella and the streaking Vancouver Canucks, having won 4 straight and coming into a game against an 0-2-and-2 Wings team that was giving up 32-and-change shots per game, well...
You'd think they'd shoot the damn puck. Instead, on some absolutely atrocious ice, the Canucks seemed relatively content to win a low-scoring affair.
The Wings were able to embrace something of an ugly road game at times; very regularly, they blocked Canucks shots--because Vancouver had 20 shots and hit Wings bodies another 15 times--and when shots did come through, Jimmy Howard was superb.
Sprinkle in some clutch scoring, and the Wings take a 2-1 decision over Vancouver, snapping the 4-game losing streak.
The first period was up-and-down. The Canucks have engaged in more personnel changes than the Wings have over the course of the summer and fall, and as such, the Wings were playing a surprisingly unfamiliar opponent.
The Canucks pressed very hard, Kesler, Sedin and Sedin played oodles of ice time, and while the Wings looked like a different team compared to the one that'd surrendered 40 shots against the Rangers, the Wings committed a catastrophic breakdown, and it caught 'em.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin engaged in a passing play as they skated into the Wings' zone, and, for lack of a better term, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller and Luke Glendening sort of stood around, Kyle Quincey tried to take Henrik, skittering out of position, and as such, Jimmy Howard had little to no chance to actually see Henrik pass back to Daniel, who shoveled the puck past a surprised Howard 14:29 in.
The Wings stuck to their guns, however, kept moving the puck through the middle of the ice with speed, and they did their best to sustain possession and control of the puck in the offensive zone, alleviating some of Howard's workload.
The Wings out-shot Vancouver 12-7 in the 1st, and, slowly but surely, Detroit began to take control of the game in the trenches, mucking, grinding, supporting each other along the boards and providing support when players won--and lost--1-on-1 battles for the puck. As Tomas Tatar noted after the game, the Wings were "tracking" better defensively, too, so the Sedin-to-Sedin play was a rarity as the Wings' man-on-man defensive scheme tended to rule the day.
A little over halfway through the game, a surprising set of defensemen made an offensive foray that WORKED. Off a strong outlet pass by Stephen Weiss, Daniel Alfredsson chugged up the right wing, he saw Kyle Quincey get open on the point, pushed the puck back to Quincey, and Brendan Smith made one of his wild gambles, skating up with the forwards...
But this time around, the Canucks overplayed Weiss, and more or less took Luongo out of the play as Smith took Quincey's blueline-to-near-goal-line pass. Smith reversed it to Alfredsson as he snuck into the slot, and with Luongo unable to see the puck, Alfredsson tied the game with 9:23 left in the 2nd (AND BRENDAN SMITH FINISHED AT +2 HOLY CRAP!):
The Wings kept rolling along in the second, and very, very late in the period, Danny DeKeyser retrieved a Canucks dump-in, sent it to Niklas Kronwall, and the Wings ROARED out of their own zone--on a surprisingly regular basis throughout the game--Tomas Tatar was on the ice with Zetterberg and Datsyuk, and he carried the puck into the Canucks' zone as Datsyuk and Zetterberg went to the net, and again, with Luongo partially screened, Tatar sent a knucklepuck through traffic, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead with 1:02 left in the 2nd:
The third period was much more of a goaltending battle, with Howard and Luongo trading spectacular saves as bad ice and pressing betrayed both teams at times, but the Wings got the better of the chances, and when the Canucks pulled Luongo--and when Daniel Alfredsson's "stumble" yielded one penalty and a Niklas Kronwall grab yielded an inevitable even-up with 26 seconds left...
Howard was huge in stopping Ryan Kesler at point-snuggle range; then he smothered a centering pass with his his blocker hand for a faceoff, and Joakim Andersson kept winning 'em to allow the Wings to simply clear the zone and win the game.
The Wings matched up Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser against the Sedins to an extreme--Kronwall played 28:57 and DeKeyser played 26:41 to Henrik's 26:41, Daniel's 24:09 and Ryan Kesler's 25:20--but it worked, and now the Wings head to Calgary for Friday's tilt with some confidence and an understanding that simply playing strong in terms of supporting each other and strong in terms of believing that they can out-work their opponent can yield superb results.
Statistics: Shots 27-20 Detroit overall. The Wings out-shot Vancouver 12-7 in the 1st, they tied in shots 6-6 in the 2nd, and the Wings out-shot Vancouver 9-7 in the 3rd.
The Wings went 0-for-3 in 3:46 of PP time; the Canucks went 0-for-3 in 4:54.
Roberto Luongo stopped 25 of 27 shots; Jimmy Howard stopped 19 of 20.
The 3 stars were picked by TSN, and they picked Pavel Datsyuk, Roberto Luongo and Tomas Tatar.
The Wings' goals: Alfredsson (3) from Smith (1) and Quincey (2);
Tatar (1) from Kronwall (7) and DeKeyser (3).
Faceoffs 32-25 Detroit (Detroit won 56%);
Blocked shots 19-15 Vancouver;
Missed shots 12-10 Detroit (total attempts 58-45 Detroit, with Detroit firing 27 on Luongo and 31 wide/blocked);
Hits 16-11 Detroit;
Giveaways 12-3 Vancouver;
Takeaways 6-5 Vancouver.
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 11-and-9 (56%); Weiss went 9-and-6 (60%); Andersson went 7-and-6 (54%); Glendening went 5-and-4 (56%).
Shots: Bertuzzi led the team with 5 shots; Abdelkader had 4; Datsyuk and Zetterberg had 3; Tatar and Quincey had 2; Kindl, Alfredsson, Eaves, Andersson, Glendening, Kronwall, DeKeyser and Weiss had 1.
Blocked attempts: Cleary hit Canucks players 3 times; Smith, Kindl, Abdelakder, Datsyuk, Eaves and Zetterberg had 2 attempts blocked; Andersson, Tatar, Quincey and DeKeyser had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Datsyuk missed the net 3 times; Kindl and Zetterberg missed the net 2 times; smith, Lashoff, Quincey, Bertuzzi and Kronwall missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Miller and Bertuzzi co-led the team with 3 hits; Abdelkader, ALfredsson, Andersson and Zetterberg had 2; Eaves and Tatar had 1.
Giveaways: Zetterberg, Kronwall and DeKeyser had giveaways.
Takeaways: Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Miller and Bertuzzi had takeaways.
Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 5 shots(!); lashoff, Quincey and DeKeyser blocked 2; kindl, Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Cleary blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Smith took 2 minors; Bertuzzi and Kronwall took 1 minor penalty.
Plus-minus: the Wings finished at +5 overall. Smith finished at +2; ALfredsson, Datsyuk, Tatar, Zetterberg, Cleary and Weiss finished at +1; Kindl, Eaves, Miller and Glendening finished at -1.
Points: Tatar and Alfredsson scored goals; Smith, Quincey, Kronwall and DeKeyser had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall played 28:57; DeKeyser played 26:41; Datsyuk played 23:20;
Zetterberg played 22:50; Quincey played 18:38; Bertuzzi played 18:33;
Alfredsson played 16:59; Smith played 16:27; Andersson played 15:05;
Kindl played 14:58; Cleary played 14:17; Weiss played 13:25;
Lashoff played 12:56; Tatar played 12:54; Abdelkader played 12:02;
Miller played 9:49; Glendening played 8:15; Eaves played 7:23.
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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.