Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings early overnight report and Wings-Bruins Game 2 set-up: skate, evade, avoid B’s dumb-down

Updated significantly at 3:38 AM, and holy hell, Cam Neely and the Bruins' beat writers are in on the "Not So Subtle Interference" kick:

Moving on from the Milan Lucic silliness, Danny DeKeyser's reaction and Saturday's practice news, the vast majority of the Red Wings and Bruins' beat writers have already filed stories in advance of tomorrow's Game 2 (3 PM EDT on NBC, TSN and 97.1 FM), so...

Oh hell with it, we're not quite done with the Loosick stuff yet (I was waiting to hear Don Cherry defend Loosick after returning from a cheery pre-Easter grocery shopping run [bleh], and instead, he just skipped the incident entirely), while Loosick started singing Asia's Heat of the Moment, DeKeyser kept his composure and channeled a little Nicklas Lidstrom, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted:

DeKeyser made a clean body check on the Bruins’ 6-foot-3, 235-pound forward in the defensive zone. But as the play shifted up ice, Lucic, who was trailing the play, swung his stick upwards like a pitchfork between DeKeyser’s legs.

“I didn’t really know what happened, I was just kind of skating back to the bench and to be honest right after the play I didn’t even know who did it,” DeKeyser said. “I’m fine. Just something that happens during the game. Just deal with it.”

For his actions, which occurred behind the play at 19:55 of the second, the NHL’s department of player safety fined Lucic $5,000 on Saturday. No penalty was assessed on the play.

“I believe in playing within the rules,” said Lucic, who had a telephone hearing with the league but will not be suspended. “I definitely won’t be heading down that road again.”

As the Free Press's Helene St. James noted, Claude Julien took the *#$%@&'s way out...

Neither coach wanted to touch the subject: Detroit’s Mike Babcock said it’s not up to him to make calls or dole out punishment, while Boston’s Claude Julien said, “I didn’t see it, in our video it doesn’t show it so I can’t comment on it. I haven’t looked at it yet so I can’t say much about it. But obviously, if it’s serious enough to get a call, you know, hopefully he has to adjust and rectify that. So I’ve heard of it, I haven’t seen it.”

And the Wings weren't happy about what happened...

Teammate Brendan Smith was more vocal about the incident. “I don’t think there’s a place for it. When I look at Lucic, I think he’s just a big, enforcing man that - I mean, he can scare you in other ways than doing that.”

Jimmy Howard said the incident reveals that playoffs, “are a tough time of year to play. You just hope that the officials catch it but if not, you just have to play through.”

But the Wings aren't going to bite in terms of playing Boston's way, as they told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...

“We’ve got to keep our head out there, keep our cool, because they seem to thrive off of that,” Howard continued. “They like to get in those scrums after whistles and we just got to remember whistle-to-whistle and just skate away.”

There were only three penalties called in Game 1, two of which were to the Bruins.

...

“We have nothing to gain from getting into scrums and things like that after the whistles,” Niklas Kronwall said. “Do a good job of focusing on the game instead. Staying out of the box is something that’s very important because we know how dangerous their (power play) is.”

Boston was the 11th least penalized team in the league during the regular season, while Detroit was 27th.

“We want to play in between the whistles,” Smith said. “All that junk that happens after, there’s no point of it. We want to stay very disciplined in that sense and just play our game and use our speed and take advantage of it”

The coach agreed, as he told MLive's Ansar Khan...

“(Tomas) Jurco could have had a penalty for (using his) free hand; they could have had … well, I mean, they could have had a number of penalties,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “But they are what they are. I’m not interested in the referees solving any problems. I think the players are out there deciding who wins and I think that’s good. I thought the game was officiated just fine and I thought both teams tried to be as disciplined as they could.”

And instead, the Wings talked about withstanding the Bruins' offensive push instead:

Detroit has not allowed a goal in eight periods, a span of 161:36, dating back to Jiri Tlusty’s goal at 18:24 of the first period in Carolina’s 2-1 victory on April 11.

The key, in addition to strong goaltending, has been the defense’s ability to move the puck and limit turnovers.

“Obviously, they’re going to get way better,” Detroit’s Brendan Smith said. “We have to up our game and be ready for them. You’ll see the next game. It might be a little bit faster; there will probably be more hits.”

The Red Wings won’t out-hit the Bruins, but they must continue to out-skate them.

“That’s the only way for us to have success against this team is to really use our speed as much as we can, and I thought for stretches of the game we did a pretty good job of that,” Niklas Kronwall said.

DeKeyser ultimately agreed, as the Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin noted:

DeKeyser said that the Red Wings need to focus on their game, and “not getting into playing stuff after the whistle. We’re just going to have to keep playing.”

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan filed a practice video...

St. James spoke with DeKeyser and Smith...

And NHL.com posted "quickies" of Riley Sheahan...

Justin Abdelkader...

And coach Babcock:

If you wish to watch NHL.com's clips of Claude Julien, Johnny Boychuk, Jarome Iginla and this guy, you may most certainly do so...

 

The Detroit News's David Guralnick posted a wonderful 22-image practice gallery, too.

Again, Claude Julien was not-so-subtle in suggesting that the Wings are impeding the Bruins' progress in the neutral zone, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted...

One area the Bruins feel they can get better is get in on the forecheck. They felt the Red Wings were effective in slowing the Bruins down in that area Friday.

“They do a good job when it comes to our forecheck,” Julien said. “They get there, they like to have bodies in front of us on the forecheckers to kind of slow us down, and we have to find ways to get through that.

“That is one of the reasons we weren’t as effective on our forecheck yesterday as we have in the past. So we have to find ways to get through that and if they are going to slow us down, if we’re skating, hopefully they’ll end up taking penalties.

“But we have to work through those kind of things and establish the forecheck that we feel is an important part of our game.”

And Jarome Iginla put his spin on things while speaking with MassLive's Annie Maroon...

“We’re a very good puck possession team, and they didn’t have the puck all game, but it was probably pretty even,” Iginla said. “When we’re going, we have the puck more than the other team does, and like I said, yesterday was pretty close in that area, so we’d like to tilt it back in our favor.”

...

“(Detroit) got back to some pucks pretty quick and then we couldn’t get on them the way that we’d like,” Iginla said. “Saying that, it was a pretty low-chance game both ways. So defensively we were strong and solid, but offensively, we know we need to create some more.”

Ahem...

“It’s kind of the way it is,” Iginla said. “There’s a little bit more that teams get away with, but at the same time, you feel if you could make enough of those, you could maybe get a few power plays. We feel if we’re playing with that zone time and that forecheck, we can still draw some penalties.”

And Mr. Lucic weighed in as well, speaking with ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald:

“We’ve got to do a better job of playing our game, establishing more time in the offensive zone,” Milan Lucic said Saturday. “A lot of the times, what we talk about throughout the season that has made us successful is puck management and obviously that’s going to be an important part of this series for both teams, and that needs to get better heading into tomorrow.”

...

Boston’s top line excelled during the regular season. Lucic, David Krejci and Iginla were consistent for the majority of the season and combined for 189 total points. On Friday, that trio had only a combined four shots on net.

In past postseasons, it took a few games for Lucic and Krejci to start generating quality scoring chances, but this year with Iginla in the mix that production should come soon.

“Obviously, you want to figure it out sooner than later,” Lucic said. “That’s a part of a playoff series, is making adjustments and trying to figure out the other team’s system. We’re going to have to figure out, as a line, how to be better. We can’t get frustrated. We have to stick to the basics and what makes us successful as a line.”

The Bruins insisted that they'll get their game back in order on Sunday afternoon, as the Worchester Telegram's Rich Garven noted...

"We're fine," coach Claude Julien said Saturday following practice. "It's a seven-game series, and you certainly don't get down on yourself for a one-nothing loss that could have gone either way. It just shows you how close and tight it is."

While not down, the Bruins were nonetheless disappointed with the way things went. They also understand they must exhibit a decidedly desperate edge in Game 2 here at 3 p.m. Sunday.

"You can't dwell on this loss because if you do it's just going to put you at disadvantage," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "We have to go in and try to get that next one, especially since it's at home because we are going to be going to Detroit, and we want to be tied instead of down (2-0)."

 

...

"I know we have to get more pucks to the net, I know we need net-front presence — that's something that always needs to be done," Julien said. "But overall I think there are certain things that we are going to adjust for tomorrow that we hope will help us, but at the same time (knowing) scoring chances were low on both sides. So I think defensively, both sides did a good job. It's about finding ways to create more offense, and that is what we looked at this morning, that is what we discussed, and that's what we tried to work on a little bit."

And CSNNE's Joe Haggerty noted that the Bruins' third line's already getting the job done:

Loui Eriksson, Carl Soderberg and Justin Florek combined for seven shots on net, and had a couple of the best scoring chances for the Bruins in a game where Grade A opportunities weren’t exactly plentiful. That was almost twice as much shot production as Boston’s top forward line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla, and probably twice as many scoring chances as the other three lines.

“I think your third and fourth lines play against other third and fourth lines, so that doesn’t mean that the other lines aren’t trying. [The top lines] are playing against better lines, so that is a little bit tough,” said Claude Julien. “But in my mind our third line had more scoring chances than our top two. So we have to find a way to get our top two lines to get better scoring chances. I’m sure that they are probably looking at the same situation from their end.”

But that also means Julien is fairly satisfied with what he witnessed from a third line that’s made a huge impact this season.

Both of Jimmy Howard’s best saves in the game arrived in the third period, and the first was against Soderberg right in front of the net in a mad skirmish during Boston’s only power play possession. The Wings netminder managed to keep the puck out of the net, but the Big Swede did everything but score while trying to force the puck in at the goal-mouth.

The rookie, Florek, actually had the other high caliber scoring chance earlier in the game, but fired high and wide on a clear shot from the slot. NESN’s Jack Edwards said that Florek “dented the end boards” on a powerful shot, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to will it between the pipes. The third liners were clearly enthused with a good start in Game 1, but they all know that tangible production is better than unfinished chances around the net.

“We had a pretty good forecheck in the first period, and we had a lot of chances. But we didn’t score,” said Soderberg, who finished the season on a mad offensive tear that started right before the Olympic break. “We’ll bring the good stuff from [Game 1] and we’ll try to create some more chances tomorrow. The end result is that we’re looking to score some goals.”

The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa went a step further regarding the third line..

Soderberg and Eriksson were good for two reasons. First, they had the puck.

“We had a little better puck possession and we had the forecheck going,” Eriksson said. “We got it stuck in their end. We started skating a little bit more. I thought we had some good chances.”

Second, the third liners got the matchup they wanted. The Wings were good at deploying their top two pairs (Kronwall and Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey and Danny DeKeyser) against the Bruins’ first two lines. The Wings smothered the No. 1 line. Iginla, David Krejci, and Milan Lucic combined for only four shots on goal.

But Detroit’s No. 3 pairing of Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl couldn’t always slow down Florek, Soderberg, and Eriksson. Entering the series, the Bruins believed they had the upper hand in depth. Not many third tandems could slow down Soderberg and his wingmen.

On Friday, when the third line controlled the puck, this proved to be true. Because the Bruins will have last change in Game 2, they can continue to work this matchup.

“Our third line had more scoring chances than our top two,” Julien said. “We’ve got to find a way to get our top two lines to get more scoring chances. I’m sure they’re looking at the same situation from their end.”

Oh, and Shinzawa went so far as to play the Subtle Interference card...

The Wings do just enough in the gray area — hold, hook, interfere — to slow down opponents and not get whistled. They’re coached well. They carry out their bosses’ commands. No referee will call this stuff in the playoffs.

While Soderberg went so far as to suggest that, well, NHL.com's Matt Kalman had to defer to the Swede, but it sure wasn't "subtle interference":

The Boston Bruins aren't discouraged that they're down 1-0 in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings.

In fact, discouraged isn't even a word in their vocabulary.

"I don't know what that means, but I don't think so," said Bruins center Carl Soderberg, a native of Sweden.

The Bruins preached resilience, reslience and more resilience...

"I think this group in here, we're prepared to work hard and we take a lot of pride in that and competing," Iginla said after practice at TD Garden. "Things don't always go perfectly and they haven't even during the year. It's part of it. And we also, you know, we believe in ourselves and each other. One game isn't going to change that."

As well as hints that the cavalry might be coming back:

The Bruins might be a little healthier for Game 2. Defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller, who have had the flu, according to the Bruins, practiced Saturday. It was Bartkowski's first time on the ice in a week; Miller practiced once during the week. Coach Claude Julien said he didn't know if either will be able to play Sunday.

...

Forward Daniel Paille (head) skated on his own before practice for the second straight day. Forward Chris Kelly (back) was not seen.

NESN's Nicholas Goss is a big fan of advanced analytics, and he discussed the Datsyuk-vs-Bergeron match-up as well as this little stat (click for image) in his practice report...

–The Bruins first line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla was dominated from a possession standpoint by the Red Wings second line of Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar in Game 1. A major reason why can be found in the distinct corsi-for percentage (puck-possession stat) advantage that this Detroit trio had against Boston’s top group.

But I'd prefer to note the following--with no offense meant to the advanced stats conversation:

–Forward Daniel Paille and defensemen Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg skated together with Bruins strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides before the rest of the team practiced at noon. They participated in a few drills that worked on their skating, passing and shooting.

–Defensemen Kevan Miller and Matt Bartkowski returned to practice. It was the first time that Bartkowski had skated all week. Miller practiced Thursday but did not play in Game 1. Both D-men took part in drills as normal. Julien said that he doesn’t know if Miller or Bartkowski will play in Game 2. –Justin Florek wore the grey jersey on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson again. The 23-year-old winger replaced Chris Kelly in Game 1, and even got some work on the penalty kill. Kelly didn’t practice on Saturday.

...

Practice Participation

Line 1 (white jerseys): Milan Lucic — David Krejci — Jarome Iginla

Line 2 (gold): Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron — Reilly Smith

Line 3 (grey): Justin Florek — Carl Soderberg — Loui Eriksson

Line 4 (merlot): Jordan Caron — Gregory Campbell — Shawn Thornton

Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Johnny Boychuk, Torey Krug, Corey Potter, Andrej Meszaros, Kevan Miller, Matt Bartkowski

Did Not Participate: Chris Kelly

The Bruins also addressed the concept that the Wings have "stolen" home-ice advantage while speaking with the Worchester Telegram's Rich Garven...

The Bruins went a league-best 31-7-3 at home during the regular season. They were also excellent on the road, going 23-12-6 to check in fourth overall.

So the loss of home-ice advantage — at least for now — has been downplayed by many B's backers, none of whom actually coach the team.

"Well, I think it's important in a way that if you're going to have a Game 7, you'd like to have it in your own rink … you'd like to have your fans behind you," Julien said. "I'll take home-ice advantage all the time. It doesn't mean you can't win on the road — that's the main thing here, which is what we have to do in this series if we plan on winning this. We'll have to go back into their building and take another game."

But I might argue that the Patriot-Ledger's Mike Loftus got a little ahead of himself (and Dan Cagen penned a notebook about the Smith-vs-Smith rivalry):

As much as teams tell you they're not looking past their next game — well, in some ways, they have to. The NHL's new, bracket-based playoff system makes that a little easier.

Under the most recent system, playoff qualifiers in each conference were seeded No. 1 through No. 8, based on their regular-season finish. Seed 1 played Seed 8, Seed 2 faced Seed 7, and so on, in the first round. Teams were re-seeded after Round 1, and the same formula (highest vs. lowest, next-highest vs. next-lowest) was followed Round 2.

The current system, brought in with new conference and divisional alignments, takes some of the guesswork out of Round 2. Division winners, like the Bruins, play a Wild Card qualifier (in this case, Detroit) in the first round, and if they advance, they're guaranteed to play a division opponent — the winner of the first-round series between the second- and third-place teams in the division.

In other words, if the Bruins — No. 1 in the Atlantic Division — beat Detroit in the first round, they already know they'll play the winner of the Tampa Bay vs. Montreal series, no matter what happens in the two series in the Metropolitan Division-based portion of the bracket.

"The one advantage, I guess, is you have an idea of who you would play in the second round," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Before, it was sometimes waiting until the last minute to find out if this team won (a series), or that team won — it could be a different opponent. Now, it's all based on one (other) series, so you have an idea of which series to watch."

As the MetroWest Daily News's Dan Cagen noted (Cagen also posited a slightly late-to-the-party Datsyuk-vs-Bergeron notebook) the Bruins are preaching positivity downright relentlessly...

“It’s a chess match, these playoffs series,” said Gregory Campbell. “They made the first move, and we have to counter. You never want to go down by two games when you’re going back to the opposing building, but that’s not really our focus. Our focus is on Game 2.”

Campbell and his fourth-line wingers, Jordan Caron (subbing for injured Daniel Paille) and Shawn Thorton, were among the first to figure out how to spend any measurable time in Detroit territory. They were eventually followed by the third line – rookie fill-in (for injured Chris Kelly) Justin Florek, center Carl Soderberg, right wing Loui Eriksson – which coach Claude Julien said “had more scoring chances than our top two” lines.

 So it’s not hard to figure out which Bruins will come under the most scrutiny in Game 2 – especially with Kelly (back) almost certain to remain sidelined, and Paille (suspected concussion) a fair bet to sit out another game, too.

The B’s say they’re confident they’ll figure out how to generate more than 25 shots against Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

“They were good in some areas,” Jarome Iginla said of the Wings, “but at the same time, there’s stuff we can do better, too. We put that on ourselves – that there’s some adjustments we can make.”

...

Iginla, whose first playoff game as a Bruin was the 70th post-season game of his career, believes the B’s have enough post-season experience to react properly.

“No doubt at all,” he said. “We believe in ourselves, and each other. One game isn’t going to change that.”

And the Boston Globe's Benjamin can can certainly attest to that angle...

“It’s real important,” Milan Lucic said of winning Game 2. “Obviously you’ve got to take everything one game at a time. Obviously we don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we’re down 0-2. So it makes tomorrow’s game much more important for us, but we don’t want to put too, too much pressure on ourselves where we can’t control our emotions and go out there and play our game. That’s what we need to do.”

It’s a situation the team has been in before.

“We’ve been in a lot of different situations in playoffs, and being down 1-0 isn’t something new for us,” said Johnny Boychuk. “We don’t like it, obviously. We want to come in and get the next one in our rink before going into Detroit.”

...

Eriksson made his return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08, the last time (before this season) that Dallas had made it to the postseason. Asked whether it took him a little while to get back up to playoff speed, Eriksson said, “A little bit. But at the same time, I’ve been through it before. They’re just fun games to play. Everyone wants to win. It’s a battle.”

The Associated Press's Howard Ullman's meaty off-day notebook will serve as our pivot point between the teams' perspectives...

“We thought that the game was actually faster than it was,” Bruins centre David Krejci said. “We just have to hold on to the puck and make some confident plays.”

The more physical Bruins are usually the ones crowding opponents. They allowed the second-fewest goals during the regular season. But the speedy Red Wings stepped up their checking and limited the opportunities for the NHL’s third-highest scoring team.

“We did a fairly good job of boxing out and playing quicker on the defensive side of things,” Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall said. “In our zone when we got the puck we were able to get it out fairly quick. We were able to get the pucks deep and go after their defence instead.”

As Ullman's notebook ponders "5 more things to look for as the Bruins try to gain a split," including the following:

PAVEL PRODUCES: Datsyuk averaged 23 goals in his first 11 seasons with Detroit and had 17 this year despite playing in just 45 games. He missed 16 games with a knee injury and played just six more regular-season games after returning April 4. But he came through as he has so many times to score the winning goal.

“I’ve had him for a long time and, obviously, he’s a world-class player and he’s coming back from an injury, which is obvious when you see him out there,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, “but he can still do some very good things.”

JUST ONE GAME: The Red Wings aren’t likely to get overconfident after winning the first game, even if it was on the road. In the second round last season, they led Chicago 3-1, then lost the next three games. The Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup in six games over the Bruins.

“You don’t win the Presidents’ Trophy for not being a good team,” Detroit forward Drew Miller said. “So we’ve got to be prepared.”

TSN's Scott Cullen's tosses out advanced stats to add some sparkle to the mix...

While the Wings had every right to believe they could compete with Boston coming into the game, it's one thing to believe it and another to carry 58% of the possession play on the road against the Presidents' Trophy winners.

Why? That's Detroit's game.

The Bruins were missing defencemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller, which resulted in Corey Potter and Andrej Meszaros playing; both were break-even in possession terms. The real tough night for the Bruins came for the top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla. They were matched up against the Red Wings line of Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, with Danny DeKeyser and Kyle Quincey on defence. Sheahan had better than 70% Corsi% to lead all skaters.

Even Bruins stalwart D Zdeno Chara had a 35.1% Corsi%; he had a Corsi% lower than that twice all season, both in games against the San Jose Sharks games this season. Chara spent his night matched against Datsyuk and the edge clearly went to Datsyuk.

Naturally, in a 1-0 game, the goaltenders played well. While that's pretty standard for Vezina favourite Tuukka Rask in the Boston net, Detroit's Jimmy Howard had an uneven season, but he allowed two goals in each of his last five starts, before opening the playoffs with a 25-save shutout. In 43 career playoff games, Howard has a .919 save percentage, which ranks seventh among active goaltenders (Rask, incidentally, ranks second).

Detroit utilized their depth. Everyone in the lineup played at least 12 minutes -- Daniel Alfredsson, at 12:14, played the least for the Wings -- and, as a result, their top four defencemen were the only ones to play more than 20 minutes.

That's what I did notice last night--the Wings' ice times were superbly bunched together up front, and that's a "not-so-fancy stats" way of knowing that the bench was managed very well.

It wasn't easy for the Wings, but their Game One performance showed a template for how they can push the Bruins in this series; use a disciplined, puck-control game and don't get caught up in Boston's aggressive physical game.

The Wings know it, as they told NHL.com's Kalman...

"[Boston is] going to push hard. They're going to push hard the whole game," Howard said. "They're going to ratchet it up and we're going to have to answer. It's just part of the playoffs. As each game goes you just try and get better and better. You just play. Like I said [Friday] night, you never know how the game is going to unfold. You go into every game feeling your best but you never know what can happen, so you just go out there and play."

Captain Henrik Zetterberg (back) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (hand) skated Saturday, but there is no timetable for their return to the lineup. Game 3 is Tuesday in Detroit.

Who penned the NHL's game preview:

Big story: As the Presidents' Trophy winners, the Boston Bruins have the home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But that advantage lasts only as long as you're winning your home games, and the Detroit Red Wings tilted the Eastern Conference First Round series their way Friday with a 1-0 road win in Game 1 against the top-seeded Bruins. Now it'll be up to the Bruins to summon their experience and climb back into the series.

"It's just one game. We have to obviously play a lot better," Bruins center David Krejci said. "Like I said, we have to look at the video [Saturday] and make some adjustments. The next game is going to be important. It's a bit different if you go to Detroit going in 1-1 or 0-2. So, we have to do everything we can and get a win on Sunday."

...

Bruins [team scope]: If Boston is going to even this series, it needs to score. The Bruins' 25 shots in Game 1 were not nearly enough, especially considering their scoring chances could probably be counted on one hand. Krejci and his wings, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla, combined for four shots.

"It was a tight checking game, but nonetheless, I think everybody's got to find a way to create more, and that's going to be the challenge in this series with two teams playing really tight," coach Claude Julien said. "So it's about everybody working a little harder and then gaining your space and doing what you have to do here."

Not only will the Bruins need to find a way to generate more speed out of their own end and through the neutral zone, they'll also need to manage the puck better. There were far too many offensive-zone giveaways in Game 1 for a team with Stanley Cup championship aspirations.

Who's hot: Howard stopped 25 shots for his third career playoff shutout. Datsyuk scored on one of his two shots on net. Linemate Johan Franzen assisted on the goal and had three shots on net. … Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was credited with five hits in 8:52 of ice time. The Bruins' fourth line pulled its weight despite Daniel Paille's absence. The newly formed line of rookie Justin Florek with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson combined for seven shots.

Injury report: Paille (head) skated before the morning skate Saturday. Forward Chris Kelly (back) is day-to-day. Defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller might be battling the flu and Julien said he doesn't know if anyone will return in time for Game 2. They practiced on Saturday. … Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg (back) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (hand) are out, probably until the second round.

While I was penning this entry, via RedWingsFeed, NHL.com posted a Game 2 preview:

The Toronto Sun's Rob Longley noted some of Babcock's better off-day presser comments...

How tight was Game 1? Wings coach Mike Babcock said his staff had the scoring chances tallied at nine apiece. “I expect both teams will be trying to find a way to generate more,” Babcock said.

..

Babcock can be a tough and demanding coach to play for, but at the right times he knows what buttons to push. Obviously buoyed by the key result of striking first, it was an upbeat group on the Garden ice for an afternoon practice. “I believe our team is going in the right direction and you see growth every day,” Babcock said. “It’s way easier to practise after you win.”

...

Babcock on the officiating in Game 1 which, shall we say, involved whistles in the pockets for much of the night: “I’m not interested in the referees solving any problems and I think the players are all for deciding who wins.”

Though I would not worry about this given that a) Daniel Alfredsson has been playing through a bad back b) Daniel Alfredsson bailed out Helm, Jurco, Lashoff and Kindl at one point and c) it's early yet:

While youth is being served for these Wings, how much is left in the Daniel Alfredsson era? In 12 minutes and 14 seconds of ice time on Friday, the Detroit veteran didn’t manage a shot attempt, never mind one on net.

Speaking of jabs...

Iginla, by the way, wasn’t about to declare this Wings team up with the Cup winners he battled while with the Flames. “It was one game, they played well, they had a good game,” Iggy said. “They are a different team than 10 years ago or what I’ve seen. They’re a good young team. they play hard.” ... They were not surprise scratches by any means, but by not dressing Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary on Friday, Babcock assigned a combined 207 playoff games to the press box.

Going back the other way, Riley Sheahan spoke with the MetroWest Daily News's Cagen regarding his checking assignment, and this was intriguing and then soe:

With Datsyuk stuck on Bergeron, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock assigned center Riley Sheahan and wingers Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist to Krejci's line. Two-thirds of Krejci's even-strength shifts in Game 1 were against the line.

Nyquist is the old man of the group at 24 years old, with Tatar 23 and Sheahan 22. They have a combined 241 games of NHL experience, and in Game 1, they successfully stun down a Hall of Famer, a two-time playoff scoring champion and an intimidating power forward.

"I think we've got to stay with them and not be intimidated by them," Sheahan, a first-round pick in 2010, said. "Obviously they're tough guys. I think we're not going to back down and keep it in their zone and make some plays."

The Sheahan line played the best defense possible on the puck-possessing monster that is Lucic, Krejci and Iginla — they held the puck in the other end. Tatar, Sheahan and Nyquist, as well as defensemen Kyle Quincey and DeKeyser, are the smaller, speedier types. In an open-ice game, they'll move the puck around quickly, but in close spaces, the Bruins' size could overwhelm them. The home team never got that chance in Game 1. The Bruins couldn't establish their grind-and-goal style below the dots when the puck was on the other side of the ice.

...

Creating a way to move the puck through the neutral zone was a focus of Saturday's practice at TD Garden.

"Obviously they're going to make some adjustments and play with some speed," Sheahan said. "We're going to make some adjustments as well."

While DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's off-day article focused on the wider-view reaction of pro hockey players and celebrities to Pavel Datsyuk's game-winning goal, he also snagged some superb comments from the Wings' players about their tasks at hand (and please note: if Tomas Tatar were to peruse Twitter to read fan reaction to Datsyuk's goal, he would not be "trolling"):

For defenseman Niklas Kronwall grabbing a Game 1 victory in a series on the road is big, especially since it was 15 years since the last time the Red Wings took a series-opener away from Joe Louis Arena.

“I think it’s just as much about how we played,” Kronwall said. “I thought we played a fairly good game but let’s be honest, it was a pretty tight game. It could have gone either way. Howie came up with some huge saves for us. They’re a really good team but we’ve got to keep focused on what we need to do out there.”

Jimmy Howard stopped all 25 shots that he faced in Game 1, but the Red Wings’ goalie knows that Game 2 Sunday afternoon will be a much harder battle against the Bruins.

“They’re going to push hard. They’re going to push hard the whole game,” Howard said. “They’re going to ratchet it up and we’re going to have to answer. It’s just part of the playoffs. As each game goes you just try and get better and better. You just play. Like I said last night, you never know how the game is going to unfold. You go into every game feeling your best but you never know what can happen so you just go out there and play.”

...

Seven players made their Stanley Cup playoff debuts in Friday’s Game 1 at TD Garden, including three from Michigan – Red Wings forward Luke Glendening (Grand Rapids), and Bruins defenseman Corey Potter (Lansing) and center Justin Florek (Marquette).

Other playoff first-timers were Bruins forward Reilly Smith, and Red Wings forwards Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Tatar.

“It was a really tough game for the first playoff game,” said Tatar, who registered a Game 1 high five shots on goal. “I could picture this game coming a little bit later (in the series) than it actually was because it was really tight. It feels to me like the tightest game. I’m glad that I have it behind me and we can refocus on the next game and we don’t have to be so shaky and play with a little more confidence.”

As Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner suggests--in something of a "Spirit of the Thing" article--the Red Wings don't need to retaliate to the Bruins' entreaties, nor do they need to fear the spectre of Subtle Interference or Deception.

The Wings need to stick to their system, relentlessly so...

Once again we have a team approaching the Wings as if they're a collection of figure skaters -- just lay some muscle on them and they'll wilt -- which has always been a recipe for disaster against the Red Wings.

When will the Wing' opponents understand that they choose not to engage in extra-curricular activities, especially after the whistle?

In between whistles, the Wings are as tough as anybody. They're relentless on the puck, and their keep-away philosophy frustrates the opposition. Expect the Wings to continue to be aggressive during Game 2 on Sunday in Boston -- fast and in possession of the puck -- but also expect them to shy away from any of the Bruins' tactics of intimidation.

"We want to play in between the whistles," Wings defenseman Brendan Smith said. "All that junk that happens after, there's no point of it. We wanted to stay very disciplined in that sense and just play our game, and use our speed and take advantage of it. It was a good win for us. Obviously, they're going to get way better. That's just how it is. We have to up our game and be ready for them."

Otherwise, well...

"I think we need to just maintain playing our game and not get off our game by getting into stuff after the whistle and that kind of thing," DeKeyser said. "If we're skating and making plays, that's when we're at our best, so we have to keep playing."

Well-said, young man.

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Comments

Hippy Dave's avatar

The Heat of the Moment.  Gold!

Man I never thought I’d find the bottom of this post.  Your fingers must be killing you, George!

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 04/20/14 at 03:38 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I get so tired of coaches like Carlyle and julien who through some pretty dirty players over the boards and then try to act pike its the refs fault for the Bs not winning.  ” they somehowbmanaged to not let us skate unimpeeded through the nrautral zone.  It was almost like playing D.  We all know playing D against the Bs MST be a penalty right?”.  And pandering to the refs for more PPs is classless and weak.  I LOVE IT.  Now we know Julien is scared and it’s glorious.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/20/14 at 09:28 AM 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.