The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/06/13 at 10:18 PM ET
I'm writing the quick take soon, but for now...Talk about it. Smith and Quincey nearly cost the Wings the game on the 1-0 goal, Lashoff checked Howard on the 2-1 goal...
And yet Pavel Datsyuk tied it and Damien Brunner, whose ass was nailed to the bench in the 3rd, scored the OT winner via a Lashoff save and Nyquist-Andersson assist. Detroit wins 3-2 in OT.
2-2 going to Anaheim for Wednesday. *#$%@&' a.
Quick thought: Damien Brunner played 11:16, the least amount of ice time on the team, and his ass barely left the bench in the 3rd period, if it left the bench at all.
Okay, right, thoughts: The Red Wings do indeed have to win 2 of the next 3 games with 2 taking place in Anaheim, which isn't a pleasant thought...
But if this season hasn't been a microcosm of the Wings' season and the last week thereof, I don't know what it's been.
A team taking far too many easy shots on opposing goalies who end up looking like hockey Jeebuses because they're facing single, un-obstructed pucks that aren't chased down by a team interested generating secondary or tertiary scoring chances in any way, shape or form--to the point that I almost wanted to cry when I found out that Tomas Holmstrom was watching the game, because I shit you not, I fully believe that the Wings miss him more than they miss Lidstrom...
And, of course, a team committing so many self-inflicted wounds that the Ducks have no real right to lament their open-net and empty-net chances because the Wings essentially put both goals in for them, mostly because the Wings are so very young and error-prone (sometimes both, given the John Mayer and Taylor Swift love child that is, "Let it go through my legs and then I'll decide what to do with it" Kyle Quincey at times)...
Matt Beleskey's goal at 5:07 of the 1st was easy as easy could be. Brendan Smith screwed up a pass under pressure, Quincey spread his legs, and as soon as you could say, "Oh God no!" the puck was behind Howard.
Yes, no doubt, in a game where referees treated their whistles like suppositories while most of the hooking and holding was conveniently one-sided, the fact that the Wings held themselves in there, in no small part due to Jimmy Howard's play, while the team out-shot Anaheim 27-15 but did NOT out-chance them over the first 40 minutes, all of that was excellent. Kind of like Niklas Kronwall's hit on Emerson Etem solid. Rock solid.
Especially given that Mikael Samuelsson was iffy at best on the 1st line, that Valtteri Filppula still can't or won't shoot and given that Todd Bertuzzi's got a gigantic coat of rust on him. Who would have thought that not having Justin Abdelkader in the lineup (until Game 6, noted Mickey Redmond) would result in such a detrimental reduction in potency for the Datsyuk-Zetterberg pairing?
In the third period, after watching the Red Wings SO FRUSTRATINGLY continue their pattern of turning pucks over in the neutral zone, sending one or two puck carriers in on 3-5 Ducks and then responding to their one-and-done chances by, as Wings coach Mike Babcock just said, GIVING the Ducks so many amazing scoring chances...
Howard was there.
And Brendan Smith bailed his ass out, scoring a lovely goal while ripping a hard and retrieved shot passed back to him by Joakim Andersson and Danny Cleary into the Ducks' net, all off 2 Ducks and while Andersson did his best to impersonate Holmstrom.
Until Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff also imploded under pressure, turned the puck over, and Lashoff ended up checking Howard while Kyle Palmieri and David Steckel jammed the puck past Howard with only 9:20 left in the 3rd period.
All of a sudden, the Wings were down 2-1, and in a transition year, having reluctantly "gone with the kids," it looked like the Wings' season was going to evaporate in a cloud of brain farts, unforced errors and unpursued shots...
But the Wings did keep pressing, and they began to really roar up ice in numbers, with puck support and with north-south efficiency, and of all people, Quincey and Smith offered a slick set of outlet passes to Pavel Datsyuk, who walked up the wing and fired a sneaky slithery shot past Jonas Hiller with 6:33 remaining in regulation.
The Wings kept going, but couldn't dent the net going into OT...Though Johan Franzen tried...stupid black pads...
And Joakim Andersson, who made brilliant plays slightly more often than he put himself offsides during the game, took a mysterious high-sticking penalty because Corey Perry high sticked himself 1:05 into OT.
Again, Howard had to be superb and he got lucky more than once, but after that, it seemed like the Wings weren't going to give Corey Perry any more open nets (did I mention that part?), and instead, the Wings decided to play more like Anaheim does--and more like the Wings used to--charging up ice AND charging toward Hiller, and with 4:50 left in OT...
Andersson gave a lovely little outlet pass to Nyquist via smart 3rd/4th assists from the sometimes-shaky Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff, Nyquist roared up on the 1-on-2, lost the battle but managed to get the puck mucked back to Damien Brunner, who took the garbage and deposited it in the back of the net.
Detroit finally won, with its "kids" registering six of the 9 points scored by its players, and its goaltender perhaps playing better stopping 31 of 33 shots than Hiller was in stopping 46 of 49, and now the Wings are in a best of 3, having to win 2 to advance.
With enemy territory dominating the remainder of the series.
That's nothing less than appropriate, and after a belief-building and identity-finding game like this one, sure, the odds are still against Detroit, but the, "Why not us?" line seems incredibly appropriate right now. Especially given that, as Darren Eliot (of all people) points out, Zetterberg led the Wings with 8 shots, Datsyuk was amazing late and Kronwall and Ericsson were rock solid.
The leaders have needed some run support for a while now, and they finally got it...Even if it was only after the "kids" nearly killed their own team's chances.
Update: Here's a full slate of game highlights...
Shts 49-33 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Anaheim 13-8 in the 1st, 14-7 in the 2nd, 14-9 in the 3rd and were out-shot 9-8 in OT.
The Red Wings went 0-for-1 in 2:00 of PP time; the Ducks went 0-for-3 in 6:00 of PP time.
Jimmy Howard stopped 31 of 33 shots; Jonas Hiller stopped 46 of 49.
The 3 stars were picked by Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji, and she picked Jimmy Howard, Pavel Datsyuk and Damien Brunner.
The Wings' goals: Smith (1) from Cleary (2) and Andersson (1);
Datsyuk (1) from Smith (1) and Quincey (2);
Brunner (2) from Nyquist (1) and ANdersson (2), OT.
Faceoffs 39-31 Anaheim (Detroit won 44%);
Blocked shots 21-7 Anaheim;
Missed shots 19-12 Detroit (attempts 79-52 Detroit, with Detroit firing 49 shots on Hiller and 30 wide or into Ducks players);
Hits 38-26 Anaheim;
Giveaways 11-3 Detroit;
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 8-and-12 (40%); Andersson went 7-and-12 (37%); Filppula went 10-and-8 (56%); Zetterberg went 2-and-4 (33%); Emmerton went 4-and-3 (57%);
Shots: Zetterberg led the Wings with 8 shots; Eaves, Quincey, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi and Franzen had 4; Cleary and Datsyuk had 3; smith, Kindl, Lashoff, Brunner, Emmerton, Ericsson and Andersson had 2; Kronwall had 1.
Blocked attempts: Ericsson fired 6 shots into Ducks players; Datsyuk had 3 attempts blocked; Smith, Eaves and Zetterberg had 2 attempts blocked; Kindl, Nyquist, Emmerton, Quincey, Kronwall and Franzen had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Kronwall missed the net 4 times; Datsyuk, Eaves, Quincey, Zetterberg and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Smith, Kindl, Lashoff, Samuelsson and Ericsson missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Eaves led the Wings with 6 hits; Kindl, Datsyuk and Kronwall had 4; Nyquist had 3; Smith, Lashoff, Quincey, Ericsson and Franzen had 2; Cleary, Emmerton, Samuelsson, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Filppula and Andersson had 1.
Giveaways: Cleary, Nyquist and Ericsson had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Emmerton, Quincey, Samuelsson and Bertuzzi had 1.
Takeaways: Datsyuk had 2 takeaways; Eaves, Brunner and Kronwall had 1.
Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 2 shots; Kindl, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Lashoff and Zetterberg blocked 1.
Penalty minutes: Bertuzzi, Andersson and Franzen took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: the Wings finished at a collective +5. Filppula and Franzen finished at -1; Kindl, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Lashoff, Samuelsson, Zetterberg and Andersson finished at +1.
Points: Smith had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Andersson had 2 assists; Datsyuk and Brunner scored goals; Cleary, Nyquist and Quincey had assists.
Ice time: Ericsson led the team with 28:56 played; Kronwall played 28:50; Datsyuk played 25:07;
Quincey played 24:34; Franzen played 24:18; Zetterberg played 24:15;
Smith played 23:42; Kindl played 22:05; Filppula played 22:01;
Samuelsson played 21:48; Lashoff played 20:22; Cleary played 20:11;
Andersson played 16:35; Bertuzzi played 14:55; Emmerton played 14:13;
Nyquist played 14:05; Eaves played 12:37; Brunner played 11:16.
Via RedWIngsFeed: Here's Jimmy Howard speaking to the media after the game...
Here's Niklas Kronwall...
And here's Damien Brunner...
And We All Bleed Red's YouTube clip of the Brunner goal is awesome:
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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.