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Red Wings-Flames quick take: predictable tale except for the finish

The Detroit Red Wings played what seemed like an incredibly predictable game against the Calgary Flames, save perhaps the finish, in a 3-2 OT win over the Calgary Flames.

Daniel Alfredsson scored a slick goal right off the hop, chipping the rebound of Pavel Datsyuk's shot past Karri Ramo only 26 seconds in...

But as has become so predictable, the Red Wings' top line and top defensive pair got caught standing around as Mikael Backlund chipped the rebound of a Red Wings-like bounce off the end boards past a swimming Jonas Gustavsson 5 mintues later...

And the Wings kept battling, kept battling and kept grinding against a team built to bump and grind right back in the gritty, clutch-and-grab-and-tackle-y Flames, hanging in there until Joakim Andersson's skate tipped another Alfredsson shot past Ramo at the 11:38 mark of the 2nd, with Alfredsson registering assist 700 on the play...

And the Wings thought that Alfredsson had made it 3-1 soon thereafter, but Kari Ramo made an amazing save instead, per the NHL:

At 12:52 of the second period in the Flames/Red Wings game, video review determined that Daniel Alfredsson's shot hit the crossbar before landing on Karri Ramo's right pad, never crossing the goal line. No goal Detroit.

And the Wings were just absolutely battered by penalties--some real and some imagined--as Tomas Jurco, Brendan Smith and Jonathan Ericsson went to the box in quick succession, and just as Smith got back on the ice, with 4:07 left in the 2nd, Mark Giordano shot the puck through, well, Smith and a screened Gustavsson to tie the game at 2:

With Datsyuk looking like himself again after re-learning how to play fearless once having suffered his first concussion (it takes a while), Alfredsson on fire, the line of Eaves, Glendening and Tootoo grinding it out, and the Wings seemingly playing with more desperation and poise than it has displayed in its past half-dozen games combined, the Wings pushed the game to overtime--in no small part thanks to some fantastic goaltending from Gustavsson when the Wings made boo boos--and having earned a very, very late power play, they started OT 4 on 3, and this happened:

Alfredsson told Fox Sports Detroit's Trevor Thompson that he kept the puck for his sister's daughter (i.e. his niece), who was visiting from Sweden, and he had a helluva night...

But the Wings' defensemen were markedly better (especially Kindl), Niklas Kronwall played superbly well, Datsyuk was himself, Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco proved to be equally slick and gritty, in limited action, Sheahan and Tootoo were good, Glendening was excellent and Todd Bertuzzi was finally back to his net-front-jamming self, using his big butt to make room for his teammates and to create chaos and havoc in the corners.

The Wings earned a desperately-needed win (fight on the ice, fight in the stands, it was gritty all over), and it feels good to have seen them win in overtime for the first time in what only seems like forever.

I sure hope this is a turning point, especially after the "race to 5" went wrong on Tuesday against Anaheim. The Wings will be skating into the 24/7 hype machine and Maple Leaf media hype machine on Saturday, but with DeKeyser possibly coming back and more players set to come back after Christmas, it's time for the Wings to string three strong games together (the team comes home to host the Islanders on Monday) heading into their holiday break.


Shots 38-22 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Calgary 15-6 in the 1st, 11-9 in the 2nd, 10-7 in the 3rd and 2-0 in OT.

Special teams: Detroit's power play went 1-for-5 in 7:11 of PP time, going 1 for 1 in 1:03 of 4 on 3 time; the Flames' PP went 1-for-4 in 6:07 of PP time, scoring 1 goal in 4:07 of 5 on 4 time.

Goaltending: Jonas Gustavsson stopped 20 of 22 shots for Detroit; Karri Ramo stopped 35 of 38 shots for Calgary.

The 3 stars were picked by the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, and he picked Niklas Kronwall, Mike Cammalleri and Daniel Alfredsson.

The Wings' goals: Alfredsson (8) from Datsyuk (13) and Kronwall (19);

Andersson (5) from Alfredsson (18) and Datsyuk (14);

Alfredsson (9) from Datsyuk (15) and Kronwall (20), PPG.

Faceoffs 37-27 Detroit (Detroit won 58%);

Blocked shots 15-11 Calgary;

Missed shots 14-3 Detroit (total attempts 67-35 Detroit, with Detroit firing 38 on Ramo and 29 wide/blocked);

Hits 29-23 Detroit;

Giveaways 9-5 Detroit;

Takeaways 5-4 Detroit.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 19-and-7 (73%); Glendening went 6-and-7 (46%); Andersson went 2-and-8 (20%); Sheahan went 5-and-3 (63%); Cleary went 3-and-0 (100%); Eaves went 1-and-1 (50%); Bertuzzi went 1-and-1 (50%).

Shots: Datsyuk led the Wings with 7 shots; Alfredsson had 5; Andersson had 4; Eaves, Miller, Quincey, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 3; Kindl had 2; Smith, Sheahan, Tootoo, Quincey and Ericsson had 1.

Blocked attempts: Kindl had 3 attempts blocked; Datsyuk, Quincey and Kronwall had 2 attempts blocked; Sheahan, Andersson, Tootoo, Lashoff, Ericsson and Cleary had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Datsyuk, Sheahan, Jurco and Bertuzzi missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Eaves, Andersson, Tatar, Ericsson and Kronwall missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Andersson, Tootoo, Glendening, Bertuzzi, Ericsson and Cleary had 3 hits; Smith and Eaves had 2; Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Miller, Lashoff, Jurco and Quincey had 1.

Giveaways: Both Alfredsson and Tatar had 2 giveaways; Smith, Datsyuk, Eaves, Andersson and Bertuzzi had 1 giveaway.

Takeaways: Lashoff had 2 takeaways; Quincey, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 1 takeaway.

Blocked opponent shots: Quincey, Ericsson and Kronwall blocked 3 shots; Andersson and Lashoff blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Andersson took 2 minors; Smith, Jurco and Ericsson took 1 minor penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at +5. Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Andersson, Ericsson and Kronwall finished at +1.

Points: Alfredsson had 2 goals and an assist for 3 points; Datsyuk had 3 assists; Kronwall had 2 assists; Andersson had a goal.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 25:18 played; Datsyuk played 23:29; Alfredsson played 21:26;

Quincey played 20:24; Ericsson played 19:56; Bertuzzi played 18:39;

Kindl played 18:18; Miller played 16:38; Smith played 16:26;

Andersson played 15:50;  Tatar played 15:45; Lashoff played 14:58;

Eaves played 14:49; Glendening played 14:33; Cleary played 14:15;

Jurco played 11:59; Sheahan played 7:33; Tootoo played 6:07.

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Alan's avatar

Un-fuching-believable. We got a decent effort out of the guys tonight, Datsyuk is starting to look like Datsyuk again, and we FINALLY got a win at home.

You could tell some of the guys were shaken, as far as their confidence, whenever the Flames struck back. I hope this win helps them, and the team, feel better about themselves moving forward.

Best of all? We now have a win for the 24/7 crew.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/19/13 at 10:44 PM ET

DocF's avatar

The main impression I had was that both teams played well.  They actually played well enough to make a viewer forget their record.  Alfredsson was most assuredly on fire.  He looked like he is 10 years younger than he is.  Most nights, Alfie has a lot of jump to his game.  The game winner came from his sweet spot on the ice. 

I also have noticed recently how good a stay at home defenseman Lashoff has become.  He is playing a simple game and has a lot of confidence in himself right now.  In the last half dozen games, the weak link of defense has been Kindl.  He need something to boost his confidence right now.  Smith made some mistakes, but he has been playing well and he uses his speed constructively now.

The Griffins played well.  Tootoo and Eaves made a very difficult line to play against out of a patchwork.  Sheahan played much better with them than he did in the previous game.Sproul played all over the place.  He was on the first power play (by the end of the game, he was cooking) and he played with about every combination of players possible.

Tonight, the best forward was not Drew Miller.  That is good.  While I love him and what he brings to the team, it is a sign of major trouble when he stands out.

Gustavsson was just good enough to win most of the night.  He did come up with some real highlight reel saves, but he is proving to be a backup and that is what he is and always will be.  Howard’s real threat is Mrazek.  That kid will be brilliant in a couple of years.

Anyway, 2 points is golden right now.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 12/19/13 at 11:31 PM ET


LUCKY monster bailed out Smith a few times or we would be in full on freak out mode. NEEDED those points.

Posted by brians neck on 12/19/13 at 11:41 PM ET


So, just to throw a new topic out there.  When do we start asking when Alfredsson makes a decision on next season?  He’s been amazing for a good month now and his effect on Mule is undeniable.  I’m sure he’ll start being asked frequently after the Olympics, but the sooner he gives the team an indication the better for Kenny and co at the trade deadline.

Posted by maltby18 on 12/19/13 at 11:44 PM ET


Wish I could’ve seen it. As painful as it can be to watch right now, being there during the struggles make it feel like you’re part of the team.

I had class though, so I wouldn’t have seen the ending anyway. I just hope the next game I can watch is a win…going right back to a loss isn’t good enough. We need a few more before the reinforcements arrive.

I’m looking forward to the 24/7 episode that covers this game.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 12/20/13 at 12:37 AM ET


Alfie seemed to will a win and that worked. What a huge talent. I hope he can stay.

Posted by griffinsfan on 12/20/13 at 12:44 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

But the Wings’ defensemen were markedly better (especially Kindl)

I thought Kindl was worse this game than he has been the past few. He kept getting in trouble with the puck and losing it in the d-zone, though I don’t remember if that led to scoring chances against.
Quincey had one shift where he attempted to make 3 different no-look backhand passes with a completely predictable outcome each time. It is worth mentioning that he wasn’t completely responsible for deflecting the puck past Gustavsson.

The Wings’ goals: Alfredsson (8) from Datsyuk (13) and Kronwall (19);

Alfredsson (9) from Datsyuk (15) and Kronwall (20), PPG.

Kronwall had an assist.

Posted by bleep bloop on 12/20/13 at 01:53 AM ET


Detroit’s best on paper forwards were great.  Datsyuk and Alfredsson were simply awesome all night long.  I think some of the younger players are far more interested in being ‘slick’, as George puts it, than in being effective right now.  There’s way less open ice in the NHL.  Slick in the AHL scores you points.  Slick in the NHL only gets you to the point where you can be effective if you’re willing to go to the net.  That’s why Jurco had his IT cut, mostly.

I thought the D was it’s usual self: mostly mediocre with Kronwall being the only barely plus matchup out on the ice (not in terms of plus minus, in terms of plus compared to the opposition).

Gustavsson was solid.  Around a week into Howard’s absence he’s not been missed.  Oh man.

I didn’t think either Shehean or Tootoo or Glendening were any good at all, really.  They didn’t do anything, which I suppose is better than being malignantly awful, but George seems a bit to casual with terms of effusive praise.

Man, just imagine how much it must suck to be a Flames fan.  Wow.  That team has nothing going on.  Detroit’s a jumbled pile of misfit toys right now and beat them.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/20/13 at 05:29 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

It felt like they were never going to feed Alfie on the last PP. Thank goodness they found him.

Posted by MoreShoot on 12/20/13 at 07:13 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Was Jurco in the doghouse in the third last night?  He seemed to get little ice time.

Posted by MoreShoot on 12/20/13 at 07:37 AM ET


I’m thinking he must have been, after his little between the legs move I didn’t see much of him… But I thought he looked great. Being slick is the kid’s game, I’ll admit he made a couple poor offensive reads, namely his no-look pass back to alf on the PP, but apart from that the kid has hands. There were numerous times where his creativity in the O zone allowed us to maintain possession. He’s calm with the puck. That’s shown when he shook off the flames D coverage by turning back and forth three times… Most wings would have shot the puck around the boards and inevitably given it to the flames D.

If Mikey really believes putting a right-choke collar leash on a creative type player is a good idea why not do the same for Pav? Sure, Jurco is young, but there were times tonight where he downright looked like he belonged. I thought he had a great game, and there’s an honest chance he can push for a spot on the wings next season…

He’s tearing it up in the AHL, and he isn’t going to learn the nuances of the NHL pace if he isn’t given time to play, so, play him. Now, and hopefully next year. In my opinion holding him in the AHL will only hinder his development

Posted by Robert on 12/20/13 at 08:27 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Well maybe Mike will take time to recall that the rest man on the roster, the guy who won the game, also made the most egregious turnover of the night. I should say that I was prepared to be underwhelmed by Jurco, but I’ve been the absolute opposite. He’s got stuff Cleary will never have.

Posted by MoreShoot on 12/20/13 at 08:39 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

.He’s got stuff Cleary will never have.

Jurco is a very different player than Cleary;  of course he, a sublimely skilled guy, has stuff Cleary, a grind and effort guy with offensive upside outside his skill set’s predicted norm, will never have.  That’s not to say he’s necessarily better; Ville Leino has stuff cleary will never have too.  I’m bullish on Jurco but don’t forget that Leino looked great his first few games up as well- it’s an audition and what they’re putting out there tenacity-wise may not be something they can sustain.  Where Jurco played is important too.  Brunner looked like a world beater his first twenty games playing on Datsyuk’s wing (which seems to be where Jurco was playing in the bit I caught - but I was distracted by making goddman rudolf shaped hot chocolate bags for my children’s Christmas parties and by the time I washed my hands of that “project” I was seeing nothing but red.)

The behind-the-back-with-a-week-shot move was something else Cleary would never do.  That’s why Mike likes him.  He’d have made more out of the scoring chance.  Of course, that’s if we are talking 09 Cleary.  Today’s Cleary obviously couldn’t have gotten into position to mess the opportunity up, which, I guess makes the case for Jurco in and of itself.

I think it’s probably fair that Jurco got a bit of Babcock’s ire trying that move.  If you’re playing with Datsyuk the job is to pull the piano after all.  On one hand I like seeing guys like Jurco in a less showy role (IMO, swap Tatar and he- what was up with Tatar?  Dude seemed invisible).  Jurco and Datsyuk on a line seems slightly redundant.  Of course the other hand is that you need to give Datsyuk more high skilled players and the roster is looking pretty thin if not Jurco.  I also expect part of the reason he was benched a bit was so he could watch Datsyuk.  “Okay, THIS is how I want you to use your silly-good handle and skills, not THAT,” if that makes sense?

Regardless, I think it is semi clear that Jurco is a real player.  He’d at least be able to be that offensive spark on the third line Jiri Hudler type guy next year if he were allowed, right?  (And he even wore 26 did he not?) I couldn’t follow his defensive zone play very well but he seemed to go into tough areas in the small sample size I saw which isn’t really indicative of more than that he can if he will continue to.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 12/20/13 at 09:17 AM ET


just imagine how much it must suck to be a Flames fan

Detroit 41 pts in 37 games
Calgary 32 pts in 35 games in a much, much tougher conference and the best division in hockey

Not a big difference in reality, although on paper talent-wise there is.

Posted by jkm2011 on 12/20/13 at 11:10 AM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

So, just to throw a new topic out there.  When do we start asking when Alfredsson makes a decision on next season?  He’s been amazing for a good month now and his effect on Mule is undeniable.  I’m sure he’ll start being asked frequently after the Olympics, but the sooner he gives the team an indication the better for Kenny and co at the trade deadline


I think you have to give it some more time.  He needs to see that we are a threat to win it all and right now we are not. I think the further we go in the playoffs, provided we make it this year, will determine if he makes a go for it next year.  Personally, I think he will be back.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 12/20/13 at 12:28 PM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

The boys played a lot more physical in this game.  Bringing TooToo up sent a message that was well received.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 12/20/13 at 12:32 PM ET


Not a big difference in reality, although on paper talent-wise there is.

That’s a part of it, but speaking more broadly it’s got to feel terribly pointless to be a Flames fan nowadays.  I guess having just fired the front office might provide a spark of optimism for them, but still.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/20/13 at 12:37 PM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

The D is improving in my opinion.  Kindl looked better.  Yes he had errors, but I recall a couple of times thinking nice move.  I haven’t thought that in previous games.  Lashoff looks like he’s really starting to get the game at the NHL level and is making some nice decisions out there.  Kronner looked better too.  As if he’s no longer trying to take the whole D on his back. Now if we can get a second win in a row.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 12/20/13 at 12:42 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.


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