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Red Wings-Devils quick take: mistakes doom Wings against trappy Devils

What a shitty, shitty game.

The Red Wings gave up a goal on the first shift and the next-to-last shift, and that was more than enough to cede two points in a "four-point game" against the Devils, who prevailed 4-3 over Detroit thanks to an Adam Henrique goal 27 seconds into the 1st, a Stephen Gionta game with 47 seconds left in the 3rd...

And awful, awful defense in between.

Was Jimmy Howard shaky? At times. Were Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall doofy? At times. But the Wings spent the entire night playing like they do against the San Jose Sharks--shoveling pucks from the side boards into the slot, with no forwards to clear the puck save Devils ones.

The turnovers in all three zones were as predictable as watching Daniel Alfredsson pick his teeth up off the ice after losing at least a pair to an uncalled Andrei Loktionov high stick was sad...

Or losing Darren Helm was grimly predictable--and as wonderfully as Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi, Justin Abdelkader and Alfredsson played...

There was little to no support from the other lines, and, save Smith's goal, no defensive support for Howard, who was aided on goals #1 and #4 by stupid stickwork from Ericsson.

Adam Henrique needed little assistance to shovel a turned over puck past Howard only 27 seconds in, but Ericsson sure helped twist Howard...

Johan Franzen responded 11 minutes later--10:59, actually--with a lovely unassisted marker on the power play...

And Brendan Smith gave the Wings a 2-0 lead nearly 7:03 into the 2nd, thanks to a wonderful push by Justin Abdelkader up and around the Devils' net...

But when Helm didn't return to the game, the Devils--who clutched and grabbed with impunity all night long--scored a pair of penaltied by Quincey and then Lashoff late in the 2nd period yielded a Zidlicky goal 41 seconds into the 3rd, with Ericsson literally shoveling the puck out of Howard's glove...

Howard got turned around after the Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco line just let the Devils walk into the zone (with Kronwall and Ericsson on the ice), and Tomas Jurco ended up putting in Travis Zajac's rebound at 6:30 of the 3rd...

And while Johan Franzen did his best to make a game of it by deflecting a puck off of Todd Bertuzzi at 9:43, on the power play...

The Red Wings managed to take all of FOUR shots in the 3rd while giving up FOURTEEN, and Howard was in fact quite valiant after giving up the Zajac goal, keeping the Wings in it.

Regrettably, the turnovers continued, the Wings kept ceding ground to the Devils like Jonathan Ericsson has been soft on opposing players because he still thinks he's playing on 100-foot-wide ice and has room to back in, and the tip-down from Gionta via Fayne was created by a Zubrus turnover down low--and this time, it was Kyle Quincey who helped make it happen, Danny DeKeyser who let Gionta tip the puck down, and Abdelkader who helped provide an impenetrable screen as the Wings lost two points with only 37 seconds left in the game:

And AGAIN, the Jurco-Sheahan-Tatar line got caught giving the puck up and then standing around as the Devils scored.

The Wings are now only 2 points ahead of New Jersey, and after what will probably be an optional skate tomorrow, they play the Avs on Thursday and the Devils on Friday.

They can't keep making the same mistakes if they plan on making the playoffs, and while the mistakes were made from the goal on out, and from Kronwall and Ericsson on out...

Each and every player on the roster deserves blame--as does the coaching staff--for not recognizing that the Devils were taking advantage of the Wings' style of play and were predating on it. This was a "team" loss, and it sure as *#$%@& hurts.

Update: My summary of Babcock's interview with FSD's John Keating:

Babcock tells Keating that the Wings didn't play well enough in the 3rd, didn't execute, was tough to lose points with 36 left but they need to regroup and play better.

He feels that the special teams were good but the third period cost them and they weren't as good as they could be.

He says that Helm left the bench--a lot of guys have left the bench, tough situation--but guys get hurt, he wasn't available for the third. That's all he knows.

He says that he's been approaching it as a game day, a practice day and a game day, not as Brodeur night or trade deadline eve or whatever.

Statistics:

Shots: 29-23 Devils overall. Detroit was out-shot 8-7 in the 1st period, the Wings out-shot the Devils 12-7 in the 2nd and were out-shot 14-4 in the 3rd period.

Special teams: The Wings went 2-for-4 in 5:36 of PP time; the Devils went 1-for-3 in 4:45, including 0-for-1 in 17 seconds of 5 on 3 time.

Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 29 shots for Detroit; Martin Brodeur stopped 20 of 23 shots for New Jersey.

The 3 stars were picked by the "Attending Media," and they were Adam Henrique, Johan Franzen and Stephen Gionta.

The Wings' goals: Franzen (13), unassisted, PPG;

Smith (2) from Abdelkader (16);

Bertuzzi (8) from Franzen (17) and Nyquist (13), PPG.

Faceoffs 27-22 Detroit (Detroit won 55%);

Blocked shots 6-6;

Missed shots 6-6 (total attempts 41-35 New Jersey; Wings fired 23 on Brodeur and 12 wide/blocked);

Hits 18-17 New Jersey;

Giveaways 12-8 Detroit;

Takeaways 7-7.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Sheahan went 6-and-6 (50%); Glendening went 7-and-4 (54%); Andersson went 6-and-4 (60%); Helm went 5-and-4 (56%); Franzen went 3-and-3 (50%); Abdelkader lost his only faceoff.

Shots: Bertuzzi led the Wings with 5 shots; Alfredsson and Tatar had 3; Nyquist, Glendening, Ericsson and Franzen had 2; Smith, Andersson, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 1.

Blocked attempts: Alfredsson hit Devils players 2 times; Glendening, Helm, DeKeyser and Franzen had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Glendening missed the net 2 times; Alfredsson, Sheahan, Lashoff and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Kronwall led the Wings with 4 hits; Glendening had 3; Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Miller and Ericsson had 2; Jurco and Franzen had 1.

Giveaways: Bertuzzi had 3 giveaways; Nyquist and Jurco had 2; Smith, Quincey, Kronwall, DeKeyser and Franzen had 1.

Takeaways: Smith, Lashoff, Glendening, Bertuzzi, Ericsson, Kronwall, DeKeyser and Franzen had takeaways.

Blocked opponent shots: Smith, Miller, Tatar, Quincey, Ericsson, Kronwall and Franzen blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Quincey took 2 minors; Lashoff and Glendening took 1 minor penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -10. Sheahan, Jurco, Ericsson and Kronwall were -2; Abdelkader, Tatar, Quincey, Helm and DeKeyser were -1; Smith, Lashoff and Glendening were +1.

Points: Franzen had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Smith and Bertuzzi had goals; Abdelkader and Nyquist had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the Wings with 26:01 played; Ericsson played 23:38; Franzen played 20:43;

DeKeyser played 19:44; Quincey played 18:29; Nyquist played 18:53;

Alfredsson played 17:30; Andersson played 17:04; Abdelkader played 14:51;

Sheahan played 14:25; Lashoff played 14:10; Glendening played 13:49;

Jurco played 13:48; Tatar played 13:38; Bertuzzi played 13:21;

Smith played 13:18; Miller played 11:51; Helm played 10:22.

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Comments

aerodude's avatar

I think Gus gets the start Thursday on Nick Liddy night. Or at least I would give it to him after tonight.

Posted by aerodude on 03/04/14 at 09:49 PM ET

Primis's avatar

This game kinda’ leaves us with the fact that DET maybe shouldn’t be Buyers tomorrow.  There’s really just too many bodies out, and nothing any acquisition can really fix at this point.

11 of DET’s final 22 games are against West opponents, limiting DET’s opportunities to make headway in the East.  With injuries and honestly efforts like tonight… just save your assets, Ken.

I realize DET will get guys back from injury eventually, but at the rate they’re slipping…. it won’t matter.

Posted by Primis on 03/04/14 at 09:52 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I think the No Playoffs sign is getting clearer.  Injuries and defensive, including Goalie strength is poor.  Enjoy being spoilers and enjoy the youth!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 03/04/14 at 09:58 PM ET

aerodude's avatar

Rider I agree, these injuries have really let us look at our prospects and make sure the right ones get called up for good next year.

Posted by aerodude on 03/04/14 at 10:04 PM ET

gowings's avatar

To make matters worse…..Columbus won….officially out of a playoff spot tonight. No way in hell can we ever reach the Habs and TO will continue winning….


Oh…and I foresee an Ottawa win tonight


I hate this…..

Posted by gowings from MTL on 03/04/14 at 10:07 PM ET

Avatar

  Injuries and defensive, including Goalie strength is poor

It’s almost like we should, I don’t know…trade for a defenseman who can play.

Again, we lost three out of our top four defensemen from our last Cup team and our last contending team.  We replaced them with Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo, and Kyle Quincey—placeholders—and crossed our fingers that our kids would develop.  The bottom line is that they haven’t—Kindl and Smith are not good enough after having been first round draft picks and brought along at a leisurely pace (eight and six seasons later.)  We were extremely fortunate to land Danny DeKeyser and ameliorate this loss.

The process of adding genuine talent to our blueline does not need to be done in one fell swoop.  It was a mistake, last season, to let Montreal resign PK Subban instead of aggressively pursuing his rights and it was a mistake, Anthony Mantha notwithstanding, to let St. Louis trade for Bouwmeester while we stood pat.  It will likewise be a mistake tomorrow when we watch Edler and Ehrhoff move to other teams while we cross our fingers and hope either to draft a guy who might be a #5 defenseman in 2020 or to sign the cream of the 2014 free agent crop—you know, Andrei Markov who will be 36 and cost $6M.

Posted by captaineclectic on 03/04/14 at 10:13 PM ET

Avatar

It’s almost like we should, I don’t know…trade for a defenseman who can play.

What?

Attempt to improve?

Why would they do that?  Don’t you understand that, since the Wings aren’t Cup favourites, they should just throw in the towel?

Posted by Garth on 03/04/14 at 10:28 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Last season, our D was terrible at the start and the panic button was hit, but as the season wore on, the D improved and by the end of the year, we boasted a blue-line that was pretty much a shut-down crew.

This season, our D was terrible at the start and the panic button was hit, but as the season wore on…um…they got worse?  At this point, it might improve our team by throwing a little cash at Chelios…  raspberry

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 03/05/14 at 12:18 AM ET

Avatar

Last season, our D was terrible at the start and the panic button was hit, but as the season wore on, the D improved and by the end of the year, we boasted a blue-line that was pretty much a shut-down crew.

That is what happened, but remember, there was a lot that went into it happening.

—as noted above, we acquire DeKeyser, who was an immediate boost.  While he is a special kind of player, it is not a good sign that the undrafted college free agent is immediately better than half the defensemen on your roster, including two first round draft picks and a guy you traded a first for at the last deadline.

—if you recall, we tweaked our system to put less pressure on the defense and more on forwards.  This was one thing when Datsyuk and Zetterberg played effectively the entire season, Franzen only missed a little time, and we still had Filppula.  This season we do not have those things.

—Babcock began to heavily shelter Kindl and Smith, who wound up starting 58% and 57% of shifts in the offensive zone.  Kindl also only saw the ice against weak competition.  Kronwall wound up seeing the 10th-hardest competition of any player in the NHL (minimum 20 games played). The result was great possession numbers from our bottom pairing defensemen and middling numbers from our top guys.  Lashoff, in contrast, recorded lousy possession numbers—he played the hardest competition and was the least sheltered of the bottom-half guys.

Posted by captaineclectic on 03/05/14 at 07:26 AM ET

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About The Malik Report

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.

 

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