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Red Wings-Kings quick take: That’s one (and cross your fingers about the Mule)

The Detroit Red Wings may have made their biggest "statement" of the season when they needed it the most. They may have played the best playoff hockey they have in over a year, defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on a night that the team desperately needed to remain in control of its fate.

But it didn't start out "pretty," at least as far as finishing was concerned.

The Wings dominated the 1st period and out-shot LA 13-4, but they couldn't QUITE put the puck past Jonathan Quick, and as usual, Detroit got burned as the Kings shook off their road legs in the 2nd.

It was kinda classic stuff--Kings ground the puck down into the Wings' right half boards, Joakim Andersson over-committed, Damien Brunner was mushy in terms of his defense, Brendan Smith let the puck whiffle through his legs, Kyle Quincey went to his customary, "I shall stand at the left goalpost and stare as the puck goes into my own net" spot, and Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis mucked the puck out front, and after Howard got caught down and out, Clifford flicked it through Howard.

Wings fans, myself included, started going for the antacid...

But we were rewarded for our patience. Jonathan Ericsson made his ever-dangerous pinch up the right wing boards...And it worked! Datsyuk and Zetterberg ground the puck out down low, swept it back out front, and Ericsson made a GORGEOUS cross-ice pass to Datsyuk, who chipped the even-up goal past Quick 32 seconds after the game's halfway point:



The Wings continued to press--led in no small part by absolutely wonderful games from Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, as well as great hockey from Danny DeKeyser, someone who played like he knows his time in Detroit is up unless he plays balls-out amazing in Daniel Cleary, and, as per usual, the Wings went into the 3rd tied 1-1.

Most of the time thus far, they've whiffed on 1-1 games. This time around, the Wings got an early goal from an unexpected set of sources. Off a superb transition play, Smith assuaged for his shaky play on the first goal against, pinching to hold the puck in and passing the puck to Patrick Eaves--who shot the puck like nobody's business all night long--and Mr. "I ate raw beluga and caribou last night," Jordin Tootoo, tipped Eaves' shot down below Quick (much to the chagrin of one Eddie Olczyk):


And despite the fact that the game was a grind-and-muck-and-clutch-and-grab-and-grope fest, especially whenever Pavel Datsyuk was on the ice and the Kings attempted to remove his jock strap without taking off his hockey pants, Jimmy Howard made some amazing saves when the refs took their whistles and stuffed 'em where the sun don't shine...



And when the Wings finally did get a power play, the Mule is alive and then some. Despite sending far too many blind passes or pass-when-I-should-have-shot passes into empty space, Henrik Zetterberg and Datsyuk ground the puck out down low and won one-on-one battles along the boards masterfully, and on a rare power play, Datsyuk and Zetterberg worked the "to the half boards and back three or four times!" play on the right wing, Johan Franzen pissed off Matt Greene in front of the net, got free and jabbed a Zetterberg pass past Jonathan Quick for an insurance marker:



Regrettably, as I'm writing this, I heard Babcock state that Franzen was taken off the ice by the trainers at the end of the game, and after Babcock confirmed that Howard's going in another must-win game against the Predators (who watched the game along with a boatload of scouts), he thanked the fans and said that Johan Franzen's status would be determined tomorrow.


Anyway, I'm thrilled with this win but know that it's just one of two more the Wings want to get and at least one more that the Wings have to get with Columbus (1 point behind) and Dallas (4 points behind) breathing down the Wings' necks, playing against each other tomorrow...

And as we all know, the Predators want nothing more than to play the spoiler tomorrow.

So this was awesome and wonderful and beautiful to play, and when Henrik Zetterberg told Pierre McGuire that the Wings are, "Finding the pieces as we go along," my goodness, was he speaking the truth, but...The Wings are gonna enjoy this one and prepare for a game that will be just as hard as this one was under 21 hours from now.

Update: Here's the Franzen stuff--97.1 still hasn't lifted its Tigers blackout on its online streams, so I heard Babcock kinda mumble through my radio at home...

Update #2: FYI:

And via RedWingsFeed, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff has already posted a clip of Jordin Tootoo's post-game remarks:

Here's a full slate of highlights...

And here's the NHL Network's take on the game:




Shots 36-24 Detroit overall
. Detroit out-shot LA 13-4 in the 1st, 13-8 in the 2nd and was out-shot 12-8 in the 3rd.

The Wings went 1-for-4 in 4:55 of PP time, including 1:22 of 5 on 3 time; the Kings went 0-for-3 in 4:10 of PP tie.

Jimmy Howard stopped 23 of 24 shots; Jonathan Quick stopped 33 of 36.

The 3 stars were picked by the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, and he picked Gustav Nyquist (3), Pavel Datsyuk (2) and Patrick Eaves (1).

The Wings' goals: Datsyuk (14) from Ericsson (10) and Zetterberg (33);

Tootoo (3) from Eaves (6) and Smith (8);

Franzen (13) from Zetterberg (34) and Datsyuk (29), power play.

Faceoffs 33-21 Detroit (Detroit won 61%);

Blocked shots 12-5 Los Angeles;

Missed shots 16-9 Detroit (total attempts 62-38 Detroit, with the Wings firing 36 shots on Quick and antoher 28 wide or into Kings players);

Hits 25-22 Los Angeles;

Giveaways 9-6 Detroit;

Takeaways 8-3 Detroit.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Filppula went 13-and-7 (65%); Datsyuk went 11-and-8; Emmerton went 5-and-4 (56%); Andersson went 4-and-2 (67%).

Shots: Datsyuk led the team with 7 shots; Nyquist had 5; Eaves and Franzen had 4; Abdelkader, Tootoo, Brunner, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 2; Smith, Kindl, Quincey, Zetterberg, Filppula and Ericsson had 1.

Blocked attempts: Brunner, Zetterberg, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 2 attempts blocked by Kings players; Cleary, Tootoo, Quincey and Franzen had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Brunner missed the net 3 ties; Kindl missed the net 2 times; Smith, Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Eaves, Emmerton Quincey, Andersson, DeKeyser and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader led the team with 4 hits; Datsyuk had 3; Kindl, Cleary, Tootoo, Quincey and Kronwall had 2; Nyquist, Eaves, Ericsson, Andersson and DeKeyser had 1.

Giveaways: Smith and Datsyuk had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Abdelkader, Ericsson, Andersson and Franzen had 1.

Takeaways: Nyquist had 3 takeaways; Datsyuk had 2; Abdelkader, Emmerton and Zetterberg had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: DeKeyser blocked 2 Kings shots; Cleary, Quincey and Kronwall blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Quincey and Filppula took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +5. Nyquist, Brunner and Andersson finished at -1; Datsyuk, Eaves, Tootoo, Emmerton, Zetterberg, Ericsson and Kronwall finished at +1.

Points: Datsyuk had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Zetterberg had 2 assists; Tootoo and Franzen had goals; Smith, Ericsson and Eaves had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 24:00 played; Datsyuk played 21:02; Ericsson played 20:01;

Zetterberg played 19:52; Kindl played 19:30; DeKeyser played 19:13;

Franzen played 18:16; Smith played 18:15; Quincey played 17:59;

Filppula played 17:09; Abdelkader played 16:07; Cleary played 15:31;

Andersson played 14:49; Nyquist played 13:08; Brunner played 12:12;

Emmerton played 10:29; Eaves played 9:06; Tootoo played 7:22.

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Bugsy's avatar

Hope Franzen’s okay.
Keeping it simple: Wings get 3 more points, they’re in regardless, I believe.
If they win the last 2, “momentum” may actually be with the Wings going into the playoffs…. and we know how often #1 seeds fall,...

Posted by Bugsy on 04/24/13 at 10:38 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

So just so I have this straight:

If Detroit wins tomorrow


Dallas beats Columbus in regulation

Wings are in, right?

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 04/24/13 at 10:41 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

No, Hootinani, if Dallas beats Columbus in regulation, Detroit only needs to get to overtime/1 point. Dallas maxes out at 52 points. Columbus would max out at 53 points, but Detroit owns the tiebreaker in regulation wins. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/24/13 at 10:46 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Just before and after mule scored his goal, Carter cross checked him in the back and left arm/ribs. He looked in discomfort sitting on the bench. Hopefully nothing serious.

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/24/13 at 10:49 PM ET

Paul's avatar

You are right Bugsy and if Detroit gets a point tomorrow, even if Dallas gets two, that point eliminates the Stars.

Best scenario would be the Wings getting 2 points tomorrow, Dallas beats BJs in regulation, Wings are in.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 04/24/13 at 10:51 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

No, Hootinani, if Dallas beats Columbus in regulation, Detroit only needs to get to overtime/1 point. Dallas maxes out at 52 points. Columbus would max out at 53 points, but Detroit owns the tiebreaker in regulation wins. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/24/13 at 10:46 PM ET

Oh yeah, forgot Detroit had the tie breaker with Columbus.

I’d rather see another great effort and win like tonight, but I’ll take it however they wanna serve it up

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 04/24/13 at 10:53 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

I want them to win out to get momentum and since they have an outside chance of catching Minnesota. Since they would lose the tiebreaker I believe to the Wild, they have to get ahead of them. So, with Minnesota having 53 points right now, and Detroit 52 points, the best? case scenario would be Detroit at 56 and hope the Wild stumble in one of their 2 games and peak at 55.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/24/13 at 10:58 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

Mule was playing in playoff form early this year.  Hope he’s just taking an early rest before the game against the Preds.

Posted by The Meal from Longmont, CO on 04/24/13 at 11:11 PM ET


I saw Franzen grimacing after his goal, but it’s hard to imagine that could cause an injury with the padding…how hard can you really hit a guy with your fist wrapped around a hockey stick, covered in a hockey glove? Unless it was the stick, but still…

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 04/24/13 at 11:12 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

You guys aren’t watching Greene crosschecking the hell out of Franzen?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 04/24/13 at 11:19 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

Kyle Quincey went to his customary, “I shall stand at the left goalpost and stare as the puck goes into my own net” spot,

Well put George! Glad it didn’t cost the Wings any points!

It is odd the D scares me to death, but they are actually playing well with a lot of help from Howie!!

2 good games in a Row for the Wings and the same for the Preds. Rinne is always a concern!  Please don’t play down to their level!

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/24/13 at 11:24 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Kindl’s lazy pass to Kopitar in the neutral zone didn’t inspire confidence, either, OnlyWIngs. The D is going to be “hold our breath” for the rest of this year, I fear. Now, I’m curious how Bertuzzi looks if he comes back tomorrow night. Strange to root for Dallas tomorrow.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/24/13 at 11:34 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

last comment for me, from AP

“Detroit has been in every NHL postseason since 1991 in what has become the longest active run in North American professional sports.

“Everybody is talking about 21 years the Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “What’s the biggest accomplishment is what they’ve done since the salary cap.”

The Sharks and Red Wings are the only teams who have been in the playoffs every season since the 2004-05 lockout, which led to the league’s salary cap.”

Posted by Bugsy on 04/24/13 at 11:41 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

The D is going to be “hold our breath” for the rest of this year, I fear.

Right on with that!  Too bad we can’t play 7 D and give Quincey and Kindl less ice time. Lashoff seems to make me feel better but he hasn’t played for so long?

I hope we see both Bert and Mule against the Preds!!!

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/24/13 at 11:43 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The Wings continued to press—led in no small part by absolutely wonderful games from Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, as well as great hockey from Danny DeKeyser…

Gus has played “balls to the wall” for the last three or four games now. But he reminds me a bit of of Helm – almost going too fast for his own good. Once he gets that under control, he’s going to rack up some serious points. And can you imagine how exciting a line of Helm, Andersson and Nyquist would be next year?

As for DeKeyser, I don’t even know what to say. I’m just in awe of how composed and skilled he is, especially after just nine pro games. Pretty damn impressive.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 04/24/13 at 11:50 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

Two places where the Red Wings have sucked this season: when giving up the first goal and when outshooting opponents (they were worst in the league in the latter not long ago). They have also been a lot better at getting the puck out of their zone quickly, but they still turn the puck over way too much…

Smith kept doing just that was dumb plays in the defensive zone. Maybe Babcock needs to have a chat with him like the one with Quincey earlier in the season. Also, on the Kings goal (which play started with a Smith turnover), he pushed the puck out from under Howard’s pad right onto Clifford’s stick (I think he was trying to hold it against Howard’s pad to get the whistle, so can’t blame him too much). I’d much rather he tie Clifford’s stick up, than trying to play goalie.

Brunner was pretty bad on that 5-on-3

Cleary seems to always take the puck to the boards, even when there is no reason to, and then lose the puck. It’s a variation of the turn away and look for a pass play that has plagued so many Red Wings forwards this season, minus the passing

Posted by bleep bloop on 04/25/13 at 12:10 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

Lashoff seems to make me feel better but he hasn’t played for so long?

Probably because of his team-worst -10. Not much worse than Kronwall’s +/-, and I wonder how much of it was his fault

Posted by bleep bloop on 04/25/13 at 12:14 AM ET

SYF's avatar

led in no small part by absolutely wonderful games from Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson

Uncle Mike keeps them together, we might even have the new Flying Circus (along with Tatar or Mursak if they gets the chance to form some chemistry).  Jeebus, I could not stop looking for them in the game.

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 04/25/13 at 12:56 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

As a result of the Red Wings win, the Coyotes were eliminated. But I imagine they are giving the Stars a bit of a scar

Posted by bleep bloop on 04/25/13 at 12:57 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Oh well, still awake.

HTO, friendly suggestion. Maybe see your doctor about the blackout?

I miss the days when all 4 lines were rolling, there’s still hope. I keep looking at this team and wonder where their consistency has been, thinking “they’re better than a 52 point team” as if the ingredients are there but the souffle’s coming flat too often. (I’m hungry at this hour, food analogies, just go with it). Although I know Garth and others point out the Wings not being active at the trade deadline, maybe (maybe) with injured players returning they can get on and stay on a roll. If this hot and cold team is going to turn it on, this is as good of a time as any.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/25/13 at 03:15 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.