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Red Wings-Flames quick take: a ‘homely’ win on the road

It wasn't pretty. That's the best way I can summarize the Detroit Red Wings' 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames.

The ice was a mess, the Wings' second period was awful, and the final goal against was both preventable (had the Wings not stood around as the Flames dumped the puck in 6 on 5) and pretty damn unfair to Jimmy Howard, who continues to be hung out to dry by those in front of him...

But the Wings put their shitty second behind them and played an all-but-dominant third period en route to assuaging for two goals scored against them in all of 2:32 to serving up a solid-enough road win in a barn that's been hellish for the Wings.

Now the Wings head to Edmonton, where Petr Mrazek will play tomorrow and Johan Franzen (???) probably won't knowing that, at least if the 2nd and 3rd holds up, the Cleary-Weiss-Alfredsson and Tatar-Andersson-Abdelkader lines will be there to back up the dominant Bertuzzi-Datsyuk-Zetterberg line going forward.

The Wings really seemed to start the game attempting to feel out a Flames team whose roster has changed massively from the one the Wings were familiar losing to over the past two or three seasons, and while the Wings were giving up a crapload of shots--12 in the 1st to 5 of their own, while taking 3 penalties--the Wings kept Calgary's snipers to the outside and helped Howard out with a little bit of run support.

Just over halfway through the first period, Jakub Kindl kept Pavel Datsyuk's shovel-back in, took a shot, Bertuzzi took the puck and placed it on Datsyuk's stick and he walked laterally to chip the puck in past MacDonald at the 10:57 mark:

The Wings kept hanging on throughout the balance of the first, and with 2:45 left in the period, Datsyuk won a faceoff,  Bertuzzi kept it going down low and riffled the puck behind the net to Zetterberg, who slammed the puck into an unkept left goalpost:

For reasons beyond my understanding, however, the bottom fell out of the Wings' game toward the middle of the second period. The Wings were actually out-shooting the Flames, but once they took a too many men penalty 4:32 into the second, the gents seemed to get skittish.

They began to over-pass the puck between defensemen, the turnover bakery in the neutral zone opened for business, and the Flames hemmed the Wings in and yielded odd-man rushes against Detroit.

Just after the halfway mark of the game, Jakub Kindl double-boobled the puck and allowed Jiri Hudler to chip it back into the slot, where Mike Cammalleri touched it to tap the bouncer down--on absolutely terrible ice--Chris Butler walked into the shot and it was tipped down by Joakim Andersson, allowing the Flames to get back into the game with 9:45 left in the 2nd...

And all of 2:32 later, with 8:34 left in the 2nd, the Flames dumped the puck in, Brian Lashoff softly let Mike Cammalleri steal the puck from him, Franzen let Cammalleri walk around him and Cammalleri slid the puck to Sean Monahan, who made no mistake in using Danny DeKeyser as a screen:

Tie game = Mike Babcock called a timeout, and it was very necessary.

From that point on, the Wings really just tried to "kill off" the second period as if it was a penalty-kill, and while they overworked Howard in terms of quality scoring chances against, the guys held tough.

Thankfully for Wings fans, the team came out shot out of a cannon in the 3rd, having put their mistakes behind them, and while this goal is credited to Tomas Tatar, the chip-on-the-net that Niklas Kronwall's dump-in yielded should be credited to Joakim Andersson at the 1:25 mark:

Sans Johan Franzen, who left the game late in the 2nd, the Wings went down to three lines--with Abdelkader playing alongside Tatar and Andersson, and Stephen Weiss centering Daniel Cleary and Daniel Alfredsson, yielding little to no ice time save a cursory penalty kill 4:00 into the 3rd (Kindl got called and the Wings took 5 penalties to 3 despite the fact that the Flames were all sorts of grabby)...

But those three lines really stepped up, and when Justin Abdelkader scored a top-shelf goal essentially off the rush, going top shelf on MacDonald with 3:24 left, the Wings thought the game was over:

The Flames were the ones who didn't think that the affair's result had been determined, however, and Howard found himself under siege late in the game. Eventually, the Flames broke through, with the Wings again kind of standing around and Danny DeKeyser more or less letting a dump-in go by him en route to Curtis Glencross chipping the puck off of Niklas Kronwall's skate with 10 seconds left in the game:

 

The goal marred a fantastic 3rd period in terms of the Wings' overall play and the play by defenders 1-6--even Smith and Quincey--and the Wings' 3-and-a-half lines...

But it's about getting 2 points at the end of the night, and the Wings got the job done, sometimes despite themselves, and their ability to get secondary scoring going and to put 'er on cruise control for most of the 3rd bodes well for the team's chances of success on Saturday.

The Oilers have been lying in wait since they dropped a 4-0 decision to Toronto on Tuesday, and the Hockey Night in Canada-broadcast status of the game will have the Oilers even more fired up than usual, but Petr Mrazek looks to have a team that's doing at least a solid job of "sorting themselves out" in front of them.

As long as the Wings play like they did in the 1st and the 3rd periods, they should be OK against the speedy Oilers. But they need to burn the tape of the 2nd--erase it from their hard drives, whatever people do these damn days with DVR's--on the flight to Edmonton.

Immediate update: Franzen's got the flu:

That explains why Franzen's play made Wings fans nauseous.

Statistics:

Shots 25-22 Calgary overall. Detroit was out-shot 12-5 in the 1st, out-shot Calgary 7-6 in the 2nd and out-shot Calgary 10-7 in the 3rd.

Detroit went 0-for-3 in 4:12 of PP time; the Flames went 0-for-5 in 8:12 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 22 of 25 shots; Joey MacDonald stopped 18 of 22.

The 3 stars were picked by Sportsnet West's Charlie Simmer, and he picked Todd Bertuzzi, Mike Cammalleri and Pavel Datsyuk.

The Wings' goals: Datsyuk (6) from Bertuzzi (2) and Kindl (3);

Zetterberg (7) from Bertuzzi (3) and Datsyuk (8);

Tatar (2) from Andersson (3) and Kronwall (8)--should read as Andersson's goal...

Abdelkader (2) from Kronwall (9) and DeKeyser (4).

Faceoffs 34-26 Detroit (Detroit won 57%);

Blocked shots 14-14;

Missed shots 14-11 Calgary (total attempts 53-47 Calgary, with the Wings firing 22 shots O Joey MacDonald and another 25 wide into Flames players);

Hits 12-11 Calgary;

Giveaways 11-4 Calgary;

Takeaways 9-5 Calgary.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 17-and-8 (68%); Weiss went 10-and-5 (67%); Andersson went 5-and-8 (38%); Franzen went 2-and-3 (40%); Alfredsson and Cleary lost their only faceoffs.

Shots: Bertuzzi led the Wings with 5 shots; Abdelkader had 3; Datsyuk, Tatar, Zetterberg and Cleary had 2 shots; Smith, Kindl, Eaves, Andersson, Weiss and Franzen had 1.

Blocked attempts: both Quincey and Franzen fired 3 shots into Flames players; Alfredsson had 2 attempts blocked; Smith, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Andersson Tatar and Zetterberg had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Quincey missed the net 3 times; Datsyuk missed the net 2 times; Smith, Abdelkader Andersson, Tatar, Lashoff and Zetterberg missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Tatar led the Wings with 3 hits; Abdelkader, Lashoff and Kronwall had 2 hits; Kindl and DeKeyser had 1 hit.

Giveaways: Smith, Kindl, Datsyuk and DeKeyser had giveaways.

Takeaways: Kindl, Datsyuk, Quincey, Zetterberg and Weiss had takeaways.

Blocked shots: DeKeyser blocked 3 shots; Smith, Andersson Miller and Lashoff blocked 2; Tatar and Quincey blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Kindl, Andersson, Kronwall and Franzen took minor penalties, and the Wings took a bench minor for too many men on the ice.

Plus-minus: the Wings finished at +5. Miller finished at -2; Smith, Eaves, Cleary and Franzen finished at -1; Kindl, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Andersson, Lashoff, Zetterberg and Kronwall finished at +1; Tatar and Bertuzzi finished at +2.

Points: Datsyuk had a goal and an assist for 2 points; both Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 2 assists; Tatar technically had a goal, as did Abdelkader and Zetterberg; Kindl, Andersson (for now?) and DeKeyser had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 23:39 played; DeKeyser played 22:51; Quincey played 21:38;

Datsyuk played 21:14; Zetterberg played 20:20; Smith played 18:04;

Weiss played 16:47; Lashoff played 16:39; Kindl played 16:32;

Bertuzzi played 15:43; Alfredsson played 14:56; Cleary played 14:37;

Andersson played 13:10; Miller played 12:24; Abdelkader played 11:58;

Tatar played 11:49; Franzen played 9:05; Eaves played 8:39.

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Comments

Avatar

Smith’s play always makes me nauseous. Always. The guy needs to go.

Posted by wingsrul91 on 11/02/13 at 12:36 AM ET

aerodude's avatar

I almost turned the game off after starting to watch in the second period as it was full of the disinterested play that summed up 4/5 of the previous games.

I feel its a Jekyll and Hyde sort of thing for now, but hey they fought hard in the third and got two points from a Calgary squad that SWEPT them in the regular series last year, so I cant complain too much.

Posted by aerodude on 11/02/13 at 12:42 AM ET

Chet's avatar

i agree smith was noticeably bad at times again in this one.

my problem with just saying he’s gotta go is how often people, including myself, used to complain about ericsson. he’s rounded into a very good NHL d-man.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/02/13 at 12:43 AM ET

PDXWing's avatar

RE: Smith - Although it feels like we’ve been watching him make turnovers for a long time, the kid hasn’t even played a full 82 game season (71 total, including playoffs). I know the playoffs are an accelerated education, but, still, let’s give the guy a break. He’s going to be fine. He’s on a normal offensive dman learning curve and mistakes on the d side are to be expected. It’s frustrating and maddening at times, but when it comes together it will be a thing of beauty. And if he can’t make the jump to a point-producing dman, then he will need to modify his game to be more conservative. Happens all the time with forwards (see Dan Cleary, Kirk Maltby).

@Chet - that’s a good point about Ericsson. Before last season, Kindl was looking like a bust, too. I also distinctly remember Fischer making some flagrant mistakes as an inexperienced NHLer (though he had Chelios to mop up for him).

Posted by PDXWing on 11/02/13 at 01:07 AM ET

Chet's avatar

I saw kindl play some of his earliest games in the nhl and always thought he was the real deal…

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/02/13 at 02:22 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Kindl should be converted to a winger. He is painful to watch in own end.
Lucky for us Joey Mac was asleep on that to short side goals, yikes. There is really no excuse for a goalie to give up goals from those angles not once but twice is pathetic.
Bert was excellent in the offensive zone doing Homer thing and quick sharp pass to Z for his goal.
Flames not a good team and minus a few top players due to injury.
Ugly game to watch but expect game against the Oil to be much better with high spirited Mrazek in net.

 

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 11/02/13 at 05:55 AM ET

Avatar

It’s going to be a year of excuse-making for Howard at TMR, apparently.

Detroit is paying Howard 5.3 to make tough saves, George.  The defense not protecting him is a crap excuse because a big part of the reason the defense isn’t protecting him is that the guy they are supposed to be protecting makes more than every single one of them.

That said, Calgary’s first and third goals came off of goofy bounces, namely a 20 foot tip off a stick for the first and a bounce off the back of Kronwall’s leg for the third.  I understand the rush to defend Howard against any and all criticism, but save up the finger-pointing at the D for when it actually comes up.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/02/13 at 09:46 AM ET

Avatar

a big part of the reason the defense isn’t protecting him is that the guy they are supposed to be protecting makes more than every single one of them.

What a stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid comment.

If they’re not doing their jobs because Howard makes more then it’s time to replace the entire defence because they are not professional hockey players.

Posted by Garth on 11/02/13 at 11:03 AM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

I think Smith would greatly benefit from a strong stay at home partner that could help cover for some of his errors, but we all know Quincey isn’t that guy.  So because of that, his erors are going to appear more glaring.  I imagine it is harder for a Defensemen with offensive abilities to adjust to the NHL than a keep it simple kind of dman like DeKeyser.  It was refreshing last game to hear him say he is working on knowing when to join the rush and when to stay back.  At least now he knows he needs to work on things.  I haven’t given up hope yet.  He may not live up to expectations but I think given time he could prove to be serviceable.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 11/02/13 at 11:42 AM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

I too think Howard is playing below expectations this year.  The D can be part of the blame but not all of it.  However I bet they sell out a lot more with Mrazek in net.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 11/02/13 at 11:46 AM ET

Sal's avatar

Grammer police, minor citation—nauseous v. nauseated. Sorry, long-standing pet peeve of mine, though professional linguists, of which I am not, argue the point. Common usage, language evolves over time, blah, blah, blah.

Franzen has indeed been nauseous in the sense that watching his lazy ass play is upsetting my stomach, but I don’t think that’s what the diggers meant to imply. He was nauseated, so he couldn’t continue his nauseous playing in this game.

Posted by Sal from the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains on 11/02/13 at 12:46 PM 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.