The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/09/13 at 12:05 AM ET
Update: I have been acutely since Tuesday evening, so the quick take is all I can do tonight. I'm sorry.
The Detroit Red Wings just dropped an awful 3-2 OT loss to the Anaheim Ducks, having whiffed on a 5-minute major power play (Daniel Winnik won't be suspended because Danny Cleary returned) and having absolutely abandoned Jimmy Howard to the wolves as the team was soft on the boards, soft on the soft ice and soft in the head...And now the Wings are heading back to Detroit needing to win on Friday or they're done.
Let me know what you think...I'll try to write up a recap.
Here: this is all I have to say as I have to go somewhere to bleed out of one of my orifaces: if you want to blame Brian Lashoff for this, you've missed the other four players on the ice.
Jakub Kindl was grabbed by Teemu Selanne on the cycle and just gave up. Damien Brunner did nothing along the boards as the Ducks whiffled the puck laterally north of the faceoff circles. Then, as Ben Lovejoy retrieved the puck and skated down low, Gustav Nyquist backed off and let him go to Lashoff, who whiffed on the poke check. And as Lovejoy's pass slithered toward the front of the net, with Brunner standing around in the slot, Joakim Andersson was holding Nick Bonino, and in an attempt to not take a penalty and negate his stick, he let go...And whiffed on the stick check.
Howard had no chance, and now the Wings have to win on Friday or they're done...With the same players who gave them an OT win on the ice for 2 OT losses.
For some reason, the veterans didn't lead when they should have, for some reason, the Ducks' furious forecheck and 18-to-9 shot advantage in the 1st and awful ice conditions seemed to give Datsyuk and Zetterberg of all people license to get far too cute and seem stunned when the puck didn't move as it should on that gravel and sand at the Honda Center...
And all game long, the Wings backed in as the Ducks shot pucks PAST Jimmy Howard while they attempted to PASS pucks toward the net and OFF Jonas Hiller instead of skating TOWARD him and THROUGH him.
The fact that Jimmy Howard was able to bail the Wings out for as long as he did was a minor miracle.
Sure, Franzen gave the Wings an early lead off HIller, and Mikael Samuelsson's 2-1 goal after Palmieri tied it was gorgeous, but the Wings' grit, determination and especially skating, attention to detail and poise all disappeared as the Ducks kept firing pucks past a goalie who never saw the puck--while Hiller continued to see almost all of the 31 shots the Wings fired AT him and the staggering THIRTY NINE PUCKS THE WINGS FIRED WIDE OF THE NET OR INTO DUCKS PLAYERS...
And the team's inability or unwillingness to try to "skill" their way out of a game whose ice, whose refereeing--let's be honest, folks, there was a shitload of interference on both sides that was let go with Chairman Mao himself in the house--and whose style required forechecking, puck support and endurance, effort and grit on a nasty ice surface and in a nasty atmosphere...
It's up to the Wings' veterans to steady the ship now and to lead, because when you lean as hard as the Wings have on their rookies during a brutal travel schedule and slate of games played over the last four weeks, really, the kids are going to bend and sometimes break.
The saddest part is that for most of the night and for much of the series, the Nyquist-Andersson-Brunner line has been the Wings' best in all three zones, and while Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl have the chemistry of sodium and water (i.e. explosively poor), Lashoff has worked hard and at times Kindl has been the team's most effective puck-moving defenseman.
Either the Wings' veterans step up and lead or the kids will keep making mistakes and Sunday or Monday the Wings will clean out their lockers.
Two games. Two must-wins. Kind of like the last week of the season, except that the team's playoff life is on the line now--and we're left desperately hoping that Justin Abdelkader of all people can come back and help this team find some desperately-needed heart and grit.
Update: Here's a slate of game highlights:
Shots 34-31 Anaheim overall. Anaheim out-shot Detroit 18-9 in the 1st, was out-shot 15-9 in the 2nd, out-shot Detroit 6-5 in the 3rd and was out-shot 2-1 in OT.
The Ducks went 1-for-3 in 5:01 of PP time; the Wings went 1-for-3 in 5:38 of PP time.
Jonas Hiller stopped 29 of 31 shots; Jimmy Howard stopped 31 of 34.
The 3 stars were picked by the Ducks, and they...Picked 2. Kyle Palmieri and Nick Bonino.
The Wings' goals: Franzen (3) from Zetterberg (2) and Brunner (3), PPG;
Samuelsson (1) from Zetterberg (3) and Datsyuk (3).
Faceoffs 34-32 Detroit (Detroit won 52%);
Blocked shots 17-14 Anaheim;
Missed shots 20-15 Detroit (total attempts 68-62 Detroit, with the Wings firing 31 shots ON Jonas Hiller and 37 wide or into Ducks players);
Hits 32-19 Anaheim;
Giveaways 15-12 Anaheim;
Takeaways 6-5 Detroit.
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 13-and-14 (48%); Filppula went 14-and-9 (61%); Andersson went 5-and-6 (45%); Emmerton went 2-and-3 (40%).
Shots: Brunner led the team with 6 shots; Datsyuk and Franzen had 4; Nyquist and Eaves had 3; Quincey, Zetterberg and Franzen had 2; Cleary, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi, Filppula and Kronwall had 1.
Blocked attempts: Quincey fired 4 shots into Ducks players; Smith, Kronwall and Franzen had 2 attempts blocked; Kindl, Eaves, Brunner, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi and Andersson had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Quincey missed the net 4 times; Smith missed the net 3 times; Datsyuk, Brunner and Andersson missed the net 2 times; Cleary, Nyquist, Eaves, Samuelsson, Zetterberg, Ericsson and Franzen missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Lashoff, Emmerton and Kronwall had 3 hits; Bertuzzi, Filppula and Ericsson had 2; Datsyuk, Eaves, Quincey and Fraznen had 1.
Giveaways: Nyquist had 3 giveaways; Datsyuk and Lashoff had 2; Smith, Emmerton, Zetterberg, Filppula and Andersson had 1.
Takeaways: Datsyuk had 2 takeaways; Kindl, Cleary, Nyquist and Filppula had 1.
Blocked opponent shots: Ericsson blocked 3shots; Kindl, Lashoff, Kronwall and Franzen blocked 2; Brunner, Quincey and Andersson blocked 1.
Penalty minutes: Smith took 2 minor penalties; Emmerton and Franzen took 1.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective 0 in the plus-minus department. Smith, Eaves, Emmerton, Quincey and Bertuzzi finished at -1; Kindl, Datsyuk, Lashoff, Samuelsson and Zetterberg finished at +1.
Points: Zetterberg finished with 2 assists; Samuelsson scored a goal; Datsyuk and Brunner had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 26:32 played; Ericsson played 21:48; Smith played 20:57;
Filppula played 20:48; Franzen played 20:27; Zetterberg played 19:34;
Quincey played 19:09; Datsyuk played 18:21; Cleary played 17:00;
Kindl played 16:18; Samuelsson played 15:14; Brunner played 15:11;
Lashoff played 13:38; Andersson played 13:17; Nyquist played 13:21;
Emmerton played 10:45; Bertuzzi played 10:26; Eaves played 9:42.
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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.