Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Kings wrap-up: rope-a-dope win wraps up rough slate of 4 games in 6 nights

The Detroit Red Wings won their fourth agme played over the course of six "nights," third in four 24-hours periods of time and second game in 22 hours in less than convincing fashion, defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 mostly thanks to the fantastic goaltending of Jimmy Howard, who stopped 45 of the 47 shots he faced.

Given the comments in the quick take, I wasn't the only person who expected the Wings to be absolutely gassed today, but the manner in which the Wings simply allowed the rested and very gritty Kings (who'd had two days off) come at them in waves was a little bit disconcerting, especially given that the Wings seemed to willingly exhaust themselves trying to place an exclamation point on their 2-1 win over Edmonton on Saturday.

Mind you, it took three tries and six total games played for the Wings to finally win their first slate of back-to-back games, but there are nine more back-to-backs to come, and as satisfying as this win is from a Wings fan's standpoint, I hope that there's a "lesson learned" in here for the coaches and the players, especially given that the second half of the Wings' schedule will be so very heavily weighted with road games and back-to-backs that will add traveling between cities into the physical and mental fatigue mix.

The Kings almost spoiled Joe Louis Arena's party on Sunday because Alec Martinez scored a game-tying goal with 52.8 seconds left in the game (on both goals, Howard had no chance), but a faceoff loss by Pavel Datsyuk that was eventually kicked, passed and "mucked" back to Jonathan Ericsson by Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula and Danny Cleary (though no assists were given on the play) yielded a slap-shot goal for "Big E" via a screen and a one-hopper that skittered between Jonathan Quick's legs with all of 4.5 seconds left in regulation, and to some extent, the Wings really stole two points from Los Angeles.

The Kings have been trying to right their ship for some time now, and coach Darryl Sutter told the Los Angeles Times' Lisa Dillman that he was less than impressed with what transpired to rob his 3-5-and-2 team of at least one point:

"Need to make a save there," Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said.

The sight of last season's playoff MVP giving up that kind of goal has been limited. And it came after the Kings had seized and neatly wrapped up the momentum when defenseman Alec Martinez tied the score, 2-2, on a rebound with 52.8 seconds to play. The game-winning goal came from Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, from inside the right point, after some heads-up play from teammate Danny Cleary down low in the corner.

"I was on the right side of Cleary and Cleary was coming to the net. Ericsson shoots it to the left side of him," Quick said. "So as you're coming across, you lose it for a brief second and I wasn't able to make the save."

The Kings told Dillman that they were otherwise satisfied with their performance as they scooted out of Detroit to play the Blues on Monday night...

"It's a short season and we can't hang our head. . . . You can't look back, you've got to look ahead," [Anze Kopitar] said of the loss. "I would say, arguably, that was our best game this year. If we play like this, I think there's a good chance we're going to win more games than we're going to lose."


"Let's just say we haven't been playing our best hockey in some time," [Kings captain Dustin] Brown said. "You say at the end of losing streaks and at the end of winning streaks, sometimes you are losing games you shouldn't and sometimes you're winning games you shouldn't as well. That was probably our best 60 minutes in some time. Now we've got to forget about the last 10 seconds and we've got a game tomorrow."

Coach Sutter was his predictably gruff self while discussing the game with LA Kings Insider's Jon Rosen, but a little more optimistic than one might imagine...

On Sunday’s game: “We played a good hockey game.”

On what he liked about the team’s performance: “I liked our ability to stay with it and score a goal at the end of the first period. Last minute [we] scored a goal at the end of the [third period]…And then faceoff, disappointing. Had to make a save there.”

On whether the team generated better scoring opportunities than previous games: “Well, we’ve been outshooting our opponents two to one for quite a few games now. Around the net….the way Howard was playing, you had to get up on your second chances. But you know what? We played a hell of a game again. Disappointing. Remember, I hate to say ‘I told you so,’ but I told you so. Three-two.”

On what the team is getting ‘right now’ that they weren’t getting earlier: “Right now? The same. We lost two to start. That’s the same thing, last two. It doesn’t get different. You know what? We’ve been mixing lines up, trying to get more some more out of our top guys, quite honest. I liked the Richards line tonight. I thought Kopi, it was his first game where he…looked like he had some bounce in his game, so that’s a good sign.”

And I'm not sure if you'll find Keaton Ellerby's quips interesting, but Dustin Brown's quips are pertinent...

On the loss to Detroit: “At the end of the day, we didn’t get the result that we want. Let’s just say we haven’t been playing our best hockey and sometimes you say at the end of losing streaks and at the end of winning streaks sometimes you’re losing games you shouldn’t, and sometimes you’re winning games you shouldn’t, as well. That was probably our best 60 minutes in a long time. Now we’ve got to forget about the last 10 seconds. We’ve got a game tomorrow, and probably, especially in a shortened season we won’t have time to sit here and talk about ‘what-ifs’.”

On the team’s performance in the offensive zone: “If you look at their blue paint, we were there every shift or a lot of our shifts, and for us to be successful, that’s a staple of our game. We didn’t have one or two guys doing it. We had a lot of guys doing it. From an offensive standpoint, I think the biggest difference for us [was that] we had some Grade-A scoring chances. Howard had a pretty good game.”

On whether Sunday’s loss was “symbolic,” considering the way the season has started: “I don’t know. Like I said, this was the first time we lose a game and we had a good opportunity to win it. We lose a game, and we had a good opportunity to win it. A lot of the games that we’ve lost this year, we haven’t been in it from the start, and it’s hard to play that way [in] this league. Like I’ve said, we’ve got to take how we played and apply it to our next game. I think if you continue to play like we did tonight, you’ll start to see more wins than losses.”

And normally I'd keep going with Kings quotes, but Jonathan Ericsson really stole the show in more ways than one, as Rosen noted:

On his game-winning goal: “The funniest thing is actually that one of the linesmen was thanking me after I scored, and he said, ‘Thank you so much, I really had to go pee. I wouldn’t last overtime,’ so that was kind of funny.”

On Jimmy Howard: “Without Jimmy, we wouldn’t have [had] a chance today. I think they were better throughout the game. He made some really good saves, and he really kept us in the game the first two periods. We owe Jimmy this win.”

On the Red Wings: “We just have to bear down when we don’t play as good teams on the paper, of course. We’ve been playing a little bit better. Today I think we weren’t as good as we were yesterday. We’re on the right track, I think.”

Instead, the Associated Press's Larry Lage's recap will serve as our pivot point between the Kings and Red Wings' perspectives:

After raising the franchise's first Stanley Cup banner on Jan. 19, the Kings have played just two home games. They close a five-game trip on Monday night at St. Louis, return to Los Angeles for one game, then hit the road again for games in Chicago, Edmonton and Calgary. Los Angeles will play 13 of 16 games from Feb. 23 through March 23 at home, a stretch in which it may have to rally for a spot in the playoffs as it did last year en route to becoming the first eighth-seeded team to win an NHL title.

"I think we're a comfortable team on the road," Kings forward Dustin Brown insisted. "We showed that in the playoffs last year."

Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty tried to give his team a boost in Detroit by checking Datsyuk hard early in the first period. Datsyuk bounced back within a couple minutes to score on a wrist shot to the top right corner of the net.

"He was looking for an even up," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

The clip of the Doughty hit's below in the multimedia section. I still can't quite decide whether it was dangerous or just a smart but slightly predatory hit...

Brunner took a pass from Zetterberg and put Detroit up 2 late in the first period, scoring a team-high sixth goal on a sharp shot from the right circle. Kopitar scored at the 19:19 mark of the second period.

"I think it was Kopie's best game of the year," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "He had some bounce in his game."

USA Today's Kevin Allen actually kicks off the Wings-only quotes by describing the game as he saw it--as a rope-a-dope win for a "team in transition" (Allen's observations from the Kings in his article about LA's struggles are all repeats of Brown's quotes)...

"Every single night points are at a premium," Howard said. "You have to get points to be able to stay in the mix and stay in the playoff hunt. Every single night we're out there, that's all we're looking for is to get two points."

Today the Red Wings sit with a 7-4-1 record. If this were a regular 82-game season, that pace would be good enough to earn them their 13th consecutive 100-point season.

Detroit is performing well for a team that most experts had cast as a team that was now on a downward slope. Coach Mike Babcock seemed more impressed the Red Wings survival skills than he was with any other aspect in the game. The Kings badly outplayed Detroit.

"I thought we were real competitive in the third period," Babcock said. "That was will stuff. That had nothing to do with skill."

The Red Wings gave up a tying goal to Alec Martinez with 53 seconds left in regulation.

"We have to get better and we will continue to get better," Babcock said. "We are a work in progress."


"In beginning of the season, as soon as they got a power play it seemed like it went in our net," said Zetterberg, who was named captain this season.


"Specialty teams have been a little bit better the last three games," Zetterberg said. "But still, they have been tight games. But we have won three games in a row and it feels good, now we just have to keep on (going)."

We'll stick with the Datsyuk-vs-Doughty angle via DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose, who also received a brutally honest assessment of the Wings' performance from Mike Babcock:

“I knew it was going to be ugly today, but I just wanted it to be an ugly win not an ugly loss,” Babcock said. “When you wake up in the morning and look in the paper this isn’t a thing of beauty. That’s the way the league is. You have to find a way to win. We were awful. … We sagged there a bit in the second period, but we responded.

As for Datsyuk, who lost his helmet twice during the game thanks to Kings hits...

“He’s obviously always vulnerable, but when you’re short handed and Doughty’s flying, trying to come back … ,” Wings forward Daniel Cleary said. “But he scored right away. He’s a competitive guy.”

Datsyuk did get the last laugh, when on his next shift, he scored the game’s first goal in the Wings’ 3-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champions at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday afternoon. And as the case has been for the majority of two-plus seasons, when Datsyuk scores, the final verdict is usually a favorable one for Detroit. Since the 2010-11 season, the Wings are 38-1-5 – that’s a magnificent .920 winning percentage – when Datsyuk scores.

It’s so unusual for an opposing player to get a clean shot on Datsyuk, but even when it does happen he somehow bounces back with an even greater determination, coach Mike Babcock said.

“When I watch Pavel Datsyuk play all I think about is how much will he has and how determined he is,” Babcock said. “He just keeps coming. He doesn’t care who it is or who he’s playing. The best of the best are ultra competitive and they bring it every single day. They don’t have it every day, but they bring it. Those guys are our best players and they drive our bus.”

The Doughty hit came early in the game. While killing a Niklas Kronwall penalty, Datsyuk worked off the left wing, cut to the middle of the ice where he cruised by Kings defenseman Alex Martinez. Unfortunately, the Wings’ magician didn’t see Doughty, who entered the picture from the right side before he lowered the boom. Datsyuk got his revenge when on the power play, he skated into the zone at top speed, took a cross-ice pass from Henrik Zetterberg, cut to the middle, splitting the defense of Slava Voynov and Rob Scuderi, and fired a shot top shelf over Jonathan Quick’s glove hand.

“You know, Pav has been doing it all year for us, as he has year after year,” Kronwall said. “It doesn’t matter if he gets hit, though it rarely happens because he’s so smart. Tonight, Doughty was able to find him, but Pavel just got up and kept playing his game.”

Otherwise, the Wings absolutely lavished praise on Jimmy Howard, as the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted...

“Without Jimmy we wouldn’t have a chance today,” said Jonathan Ericsson, who scored the winning goal with 4.5 seconds left in regulation. “He made some really good saves. He really kept us in the game the first two periods. We owe Jimmy this win.

“This is a will win but a lot of thanks to Howie, of course,” Ericsson continued. “I think we weren’t battling as hard as we did the previous two games. But any two points is so important in this short season.”

The Wings have now allowed just four goals against in the last three games. Petr Mrazek began things on Thursday, allowing one goal against the St. Louis Blues. Howard followed that by letting one in Saturday against Edmonton.

“Our tenders have been phenomenal these last three games,” Ericsson said. “We have a lot to thank them for.”

“We were tired, no doubt,” Daniel Cleary said. “Howie won us the game.”

Howard credits his freshness to taking Wednesday off and sitting Thursday.

“That gave me a little extra push,” Howard said. “I felt really rested out there.”

As did Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji:

"If you watched that game, I think you'd say Howie stole that one for us, no doubt about that," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "Especially in the second period, when he came up with huge save after huge save, just robbed them. He gave us a chance to win and we found a way."


Howard didn't have a chance when the Kings pulled their goaltender, Jonathan Quick, in the last minute of the third and defenseman Alec Martinez scored on a rebound shot with 52.8 seconds left. But the hockey gods rewarded Howard for his perseverance when Jonathan Ericsson's shot from the right point trickled past Quick and into the net with 4.5 seconds remaining.


Howard finished with 45 saves, his most since recording 47 against the New York Rangers on Feb. 7, 2011. His career high is 52 saves against the Kings on Jan. 7, 2010.

"I think, to be honest, the days off last week really were key," Howard said after changing into some dry clothes. "I was able to have that extra push. Not practicing Wednesday and getting the night off against St. Louis, I felt really rested out there."

Howard looked like the only rested player for the Wings, which is kind of what coach Mike Babcock expected.

"We knew at some point that the energy wasn’t going to be as good, and they took over, forechecked us," Babcock said. "We turned over pucks, and we weren’t very good in the second period. Howie made some great saves, one after the other actually. This was a tough three games in four nights. I thought the guys did good. Howie gave us an opportunity to hang in there, and we got it done."

Howard actually shrugged off the workload to some extent...

"I love being out there and competing for the guys," Howard said. "I always joke around with the trainers about being bored when I’m not playing. I just love to compete."

And he reiterated his take facing tons of pucks to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

Said Howard of Sunday's workload: "Some nights you get a lot of work, some games you don't. You just have to find a way to make saves for your team and I was able to do that."

Who noted that the Wings were very happy to take the two points and run with 'em:

"You go from we're going to get a point, to we just got two points, back-to-back games in 20 hours, three game in four nights, you're just hoping for two wins," coach Mike Babcock said. "To get three is positive for us."

Give plenty of credit to goalie Jimmy Howard for Sunday's victory. Howard was outstanding in making a season-high 45 saves, and keeping the Red Wings in position to win with a huge 23-save effort in the second period with the Kings buzzing around his net the entire 20 minutes.

"We got off to a good start in the game and we knew at some point the energy wasn't going to be very good," Babcock said. "They really took over. But Howie made some great saves, one after another actually. He gave an opportunity to hang in there."


With the victory, the Red Wings moved to 7-4-1 (15 points). What made the win even more impressive was the fact the Wings were playing their third game in four nights and second in back-to-back games on the weekend. The Kings had two days off prior to this game.

"It gets us right back in the mix again," forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "We have to keep winning games, you can't relax. It's good for us."

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness found that Howard didn't know that the game-winner went into the net because the play happened so quickly...

“That’s just a great play by Big E throwing it to the net,” said Howard, who made 45 saves. “You never know what can happen. He was able to find a hole and it was a good way to get two points. I had no idea it crossed the line until everyone was going nuts and the horn went off,” Howard continued. “It was a great feeling. It was a great way to pull it off.”

And the same's true for Ericsson:

[A]fter losing a faceoff in the Kings’ zone, Cleary pressured the puck down low and it found its way to Ericsson at the point and with Valtteri Filppula screening, the Wings blue liner ripped a shot that eluded Quick and just trickled over the goal line.

“The guys were battling hard in the corner to get around the net, and then it just bounced off the boards to me,” Ericsson said. “I had a lot of time and just tried to get it on net. I guess it just rolled in.”

“Clears did a good job, cutting if off there on a (faceoff) loss and Fil went to the net and E hammered it so you go from, ‘OK we’re going to get a point to OK we just got two points,’” Babcock said.


“I don’t think it went between my legs,” Quick said. “I think it was between my arm and my body. I was on the right side of Cleary. Cleary was coming to the net. Ericsson shoots it to the left side of him as he’s coming across at that very second and I wasn’t able to make the save. It’s disappointing.”

Get used to some self-analytic repetiion that's worth my attempts to hammer into your brain:

“This thing when you wake up in the morning and look in the paper this is a thing of beauty,” said Babcock, who was coaching in his 750th career game. “That’s the way the league is, you have to find a way to win. We counted on our goaltender today, but I felt our guys really competed.”


“I think a lot of games we’ve played well and poorly in some and the score in indicative of that,” Babcock said. “We’re taking steps. I thought we were real competitive in the third and that’s will stuff, not skill. I was impressed with that. We got two good goaltenders that played well for us here this week so that’s a positive.

“We have to get better and continue to get better,” Babcock continued. “I’ve said this a number of times, we’re a work in progress. We’re trying to figure out the best way for this group to play and be successful. I thought our specialty teams have gotten a lot better and that’s a real positive for us but they have to get better.”

Babcock and the players issued similar statements to the Free Press's Helene St. James...

Howard’s 23-save second period, “was very, very good,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought in the third period we really settled down and got playing again and competed real hard. I knew it was going to be ugly today, but I just wanted it to be an ugly win, not an ugly loss. This thing when you wake up tomorrow and look in the paper, it’s a thing of beauty.”


The Kings were the fresher team, having last played Thursday, while the Wings took the ice some 20 hours after winning their previous game. The one guy who didn’t seem to be affect was Howard, who also started Saturday: He withstood an early barrage of shots minutes after today’s game began.

“Yeah he was not bad, huh?” Kronwall said of Howard. “I don’t know how many saves he had, and there were a few of them that should be saves of the year, really. He stood on his head, especially in the second period, when they were just coming after us.”


“They were a lot better than us,” Zetterberg said. “They were physical. They came in wave after wave and we couldn’t really match it. I think we had a little tired legs, but we stepped up in the third and played the way we have to in these games. It’s good for us.”

And MLive's Ansar Khan:

“We were lucky to find a way tonight,'' Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We knew it wasn't going to be pretty.''


“They played a lot better than we did,'' Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, who assisted on the first two goals, said. “They were more physical. They came wave after wave. We couldn't really match it.''

Games like this are just a matter of surviving, he said.

“You have to kind of trick your mind,'' Zetterberg said. “You're telling your legs to move and they're not moving. You just got to find a way to keep it simple and kind of battle out a win. To be able to do that, you have to have goaltending. Howie was sensational. That second period, I don't know how many key saves he had.''

I'm just going to nod my head along with MLive's Khan's "highlights and lowlights" from the game, and let you know that the team will have an actual day off for the first time in a week on Monday.


--Howard was terrific, showing no signs of fatigue while playing on back-to-back days. He made 45 saves.

--Datsyuk bounced back from a hard check by Doughty in the first period to score his fifth goal of the season.

--Zetterberg had two assists, giving him 18 points. For now, that is tied with Chicago's Patrick Kane for second in the NHL, behind Buffalo's Thomas Vanek (23 points).


--The weary Red Wings allowed 38 shots through two periods and 47 for the game. Their previous high was the 36 they yielded to St. Louis in the season opener.

The Wings will host the Blues in the final game of their 3-games-in-2-weeks mini-series on Wednesday and will host the Ducks on Friday to wrap up a four-game home stand, and then they'll hit the road for games in Minnesota on Sunday the 17th and in Nashville on Tuesday the 19th.


Highlights: The Red Wings' website's highlight clip is narrated by NBC's announcers:

NBC posted a highlight clip as well...


And ESPN and TSN also posted highlight clips from the game...

We All Bleed Red on YouTube posted a lovely clip of Henrik Zetterberg proving that he paid attention to Kris Draper's skate-passing skills...

And Paul posted a clip of Drew Doughty's hit on Pavel Datsyuk. Was it a predatory but clean one, a borderline hit or a blindside? You figure it out:

Post-game: The Wings-Blues game on the NBC Sports Network is part of "Rivalry Night?" Okay, sure, fine..."Subtle Interference" Olczyk and Mike Emrick set it up, and Pierre McGuire weighs in. This was recorded after to Sunday's game, I think:

Currich5 on YouTube posted a clip of Jonathan Ericsson discussing the game and his game-winning goal...

Jimmy Howard discussing his performance...

Niklas Kronwall talking about the team's rope-a-dope performance...

And Damien Brunner having a chit-chat about the game:

Via RedWingsFeed, Niklas Kronwall spoke to the NHL Network after the game via their creepy "Arena Cam":

The NHL Tonight's Glenn Schiller and Jamie McLennan discussed the game as well...

And the Red Wings' website posted clips of Kronwall...

Howard (the embed code might not work for this one...If not, head to the Wings' video page) [update: the Howard video can be seen here /end update]...

Henrik Zetterberg...

And Wings coach Mike Babcock speaking to the media. Babcock gave a very rare 5-minute post-game presser:


Photos: The Detroit Free Press posted a 26-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted a 23-image gallery;

The Windsor Star posted seven images from the game;

ESPN posted a 31-image gallery;

Yahoo Sports posted 13 AP images from the game in its Wings gallery;

I don't know what CBS Detroit was thinking, but if you want a wallpaper-sized picture of Darren Helm battling current San Jose Shark Michal Handzus from 2009, a wallpaper-sized image of Danny Cleary battling another puple-black-and-silver-clad King from the same season, or a re-posted image of Pavel Datsyuk receiving a hug from Johan Franzen and Damien Brunner on opening night, enjoy;

This time, the NHL's website "standards" for photo galleries aren't as such: the Kings' website posted a 17-image gallery;

NHL.com embedded 21 images in its website's recap;

And the Red Wings' website posted a 17-image gallery.


The Wings were out-shot 47-31 overall. The Kings out-shot Detroit 15-11 in the 1st period and 23-9 in the 2nd, but out-shot LA 11-9 in the 3rd period.

The Wings went 1-for-4 in 6:33 of PP time; the Kings went 0-for-3 in 5:33 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 45of 47 shots; Jonathan Quick stopped 28 of 31.

The 3 stars were picked by the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, and he went with Alec Martinez (3), Henrik Zetterberg (2) and Jimmy Howard (1).

The Wings' goals: Datsyuk (5) from Zetterberg (12) and Kronwall (9), PPG;

Brunner (6) from Zetterberg 913) and White (1);

And the game-winner is listed as Ericsson (2), unassisted, but Filppula and either Datsyuk or Cleary should have assists.

Faceoffs 37-27 Los Angeles (Detroit won 42%);

Blocked shots 9-7 Detroit;

Missed shots 12-6 Los Angeles (total attempts 68-42 Los Angeles);

Hits 25-24 Los Angeles;

Giveaways 14-6 Detroit;

Takeaways 6-2 Detroit.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 10-and-14 (42%); Datsyuk went 3-and-12 (20%); Andersson went 7-and-3 (70%); Emmerton went 3-and-6 (33%); Abdelkader went 3-and-1 (75%); Cleary went 1-and-1 (50%);

Shots: Datsyuk led the team with 6 shots; Miller had 4; Kindl, Brunner and Filppula had 3; Cleary, Tatar and Zetterberg had 2; Abdelkader, White, Lashoff, Quincey, Ericsson and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked attempts: Quincey fired 2 shots into Kings players; Kindl, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, White and Andersson had single attempts blocked.

Missed shots: Franzen missed the net 2 times; White, Tatar, Lashoff and Brunner missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Kindl led the team with 5 hits; Cleary and Ericsson had 3; Abdelkader, Miller, Tootoo and Kronwall had 2; Datsyuk, White, Tatar, Lashoff and Zetterberg had 1.

Giveaways: Andersson had 3 giveaways; Zetterberg, Filppula, Ericsson and Howard had 2 Cleary, White and Lashoff had 1.

Takeaways: Datsyuk and Brunner had 2 takeaways; Miller and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Cleary and White blocked 2 shots; Kindl, Datsyuk, Lashoff, Andersson and Franzen blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Cleary, Datsyuk and Kronwall took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective zero. Abdelkader, Miller, Lashoff, Quincey, Kronwall and Andersson finished at -1; White, Brunner, Zetterberg and Franzen finished at +1; Ericsson finished at +2.

Points: Zetterberg had 2 assists; Datsyuk and Ericsson had goals; White and Kronwall had assists.

Ice time: White led the team with 21:31 played; Kronwall played 21:28; Zetterberg played 20:53;

Lashoff played 20:41; Ericsson played 20:11; Datsyuk played 19:11;

Franzen played 18:38; Filppula played 18:16; Cleary played 17:44;

Kindl played 17:30; Brunner played 15:52; Quincey played 15:42;

Abdelkader played 14:12; Miller played 12:29; Tatar played 11:42;

Andersson played 10:58; Emmerton played 9:00; Tootoo played 8:02.


Red Wings notebooks: There's no surprise whatsoever that Joey MacDonald was placed on waivers on Sunday afternoon. The Free Press and the Detroit News offered sans-quotes confirmations, but the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness was able to speak to Wings GM Ken Holland about the team's decision to waiver MacDonald before sending him to Grand Rapids--when the Wings could have sent him down on a conditioning stint without waiving him...

"He hasn’t played in a year,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He wants to play in the NHL. He’s got to play some games.”

MacDonald hasn’t played in a game since March 14 when his back flared up in a 4-0 loss in Anaheim. It was learned later that he had a slightly bulging disc. He did not require surgery. He did have back surgery in 2006.

Normally, the Wings would have sent a player down that’s missed so much do for conditioning, but the roster is already at the 23-player limit.

“We’re not carrying three goalies for three roster spots,” Holland said. “Can’t put him in the NHL, he hasn’t played hockey in a year. He needs to play.”

Last season, MacDonald won seven games in a row as the starter and finished 8-5-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.

MacDonald is in the final year of a one-way contract at $550,000, which means he’ll get paid the same amount of money if he’s in the NHL or minors. For his career, MacDonald is 31-48-13, with a 3.04 GAA and .903 save percentage.

And MLive's Ansar Khan's confirming the quips while noting that the Wings ideally want to trade MacDonald to another NHL team.

There's a reason that MacDonald was waived, as MLive's Brendan Savage noted...

Detroit Red Wings backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, who has been sidelined with a sore groin since playing the third period of the season-opening loss in St. Louis, might finally be making some progress. Gustavsson said he skated for 50 minutes Saturday morning prior to the Red Wings 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. That was his longest session since getting hurt and he reported no problems.

"We turned it up a notch," said Gustavsson, who has been limited to one appearance this season. "It felt good. Another step in the right direction. We're going to do something similar tomorrow, do some stuff on ice and go from there. Last 4-5 days, I'm doing more and more, been on the ice a few times. It's tough to know exactly when you're going to be back. I felt good, felt it's going in the right direction."

And Savage spoke to Joakim Andersson about his call-up:

In Saturday's 2-1 victory over Edmonton, Andersson saw 7:22 of ice time and had three shots on goal in addition to a blocked shot. In the victory over Los Angeles, he played 10:58 and blocked a shot but had three giveaways.

"I thought we had some good shifts, me, (Justin) Abdelkader and (Tomas) Tatar," Andersson said. "I'm pretty happy about it."

Although he's 24, Andersson is already in his seventh pro season. After beginning his career in Europe, Andersson was in his third season with the Griffins when he was recalled to Detroit, where he played five games a year ago. In 36 games with the Griffins this season, Anderson had 10 goals, 17 assists and 55 penalty minutes.

"They told me I'm close to being here," said the 6-foot-2, 198-pound Andersson. "I'm happy about my season. I had a little break there with a knee injury so I missed 8-9 games. Other than that, I'm having a pretty good year.I think I've been coming closer and closer (to the NHL) every year here and last year I got a couple games in. I felt more comfortable than last year."

Next year, he'll be ready for full-time NHL duty.

Pleiness also penned a note about Henrik Zetterberg's scoring streak...

With his two assists Sunday, Henrik Zetterberg moved into second in points in the league with 20.

“I don’t think it’s something I thought I had to do,” Zetterberg said. “I just go in and play and the puck’s been bouncing my way. And (Damien Brunner) and (Johan Franzen) have done a good job and of course the power play has been better the last couple of games. That helps. So you just got to keep going. I know it won’t last forever. You will have slumps when you’re not scoring and getting points. You better be happy when they’re coming.”

And MLive's Brendan Savage took note of Pavel Datsyuk's coach and teammates' takes on his performance on Sunday, as well as his and Henrik Zetterberg's standards of competitiveness in general:

"You know, Pav has been doing it all year for us, as he has year after year," said defenseman Niklas Kronwall. "It doesn't matter if he gets hit, though it rarely happens because he's so smart. Tonight, Doughty was able to find him but Pavel just got up and kept playing his game."

Datsyuk, Brunner and captain Henrik Zetterberg have been three of the most productive Red Wings for an offensive that has struggled at times. Zetterberg is tied for the NHL lead in assists with 13 and is tied for second in points with 18. Datsyuk has 13 points and Brunner has nine.

Babcock praised Zetterberg and Datsyuk for the effort they give every time the Red Wings take the ice.

"When I watch Zetterberg, he's the energizer bunny," Babcock said. "He just keeps coming. He doesn't care who it is or who he's playing. The best of the best are ultra-competitive and they bring it every single day. They don't have it every single day but they bring it. Those guys (Zetterberg and Datsyuk) are our best players and they drive our bus. They have to play well for us and they are. You don't have to get them started or beg them to play. They come to play every night."

New Red Wings forward Jordin Tootoo is getting to see a different side of Datsyuk after playing against him for eight years when Tootoo was with the Nashville Predators before signing with Detroit as a free agent last summer. Tootoo thinks Datsyuk has no peer in the NHL or anywhere else.

"The nice thing is that he leads by example," said Tootoo. "He's a quiet guy but he does all the little things. You watch him in the game or in practice and it's kind of soothing to watch. I work to get better every day. I've been a pro for almost 10 years now and there's no better play to learn from than the best player in the world."

In the prospect department, in the QMJHL, Xavier Ouellet registered an assist in the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's 2-1 overtime loss to Drummondville;

Phillipe Hudon didn't register a point but finished at +1 in the Victoriaville Tigres' 7-2 victory over Gatineau;

In the OHL, Ryan Sproul didn't register a point in the Soo Greyhounds' 4-2 loss to Oshawa;

And Andreas Athanasiou didn't register a point in his Barrie Colts' 6-5 OT loss to sarnia;

In the WHL, Richard Nedomlel scored the game-winning goal in the Swift Current Broncos' 3-1 win over Edmonton;

And in Sweden, at the Oddset Games, Mattias Backman was injured and didn't play in Sweden's 5-2 loss to Finland.

Also of Red Wings-related note: Given the way the out-of-town media lambasts the Joe, I was surprised that LAKingsInsider.com's Jon Rosen didn't rip it to shreds;

For some reason, ESPN didn't post Craig Custance's "Insider" column regarding the Wings' and Edmonton Oilers' injuries until Sunday morning, but Custance's "experts" believe that the Wings can overcome their litany of injuries and make the playoffs because they've got age, experience and two superstars' worth of advantages over Edmonton:

"I'd go with the experience," said one NHL scout.

The other agreed with his explanation just as simple. "Datsyuk and Zetterberg," he said.

Both teams have star forwards, but the Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg come with the more developed two-way game and battle-tested experience. There's a difference between learning how to win and knowing how to win.

And also discovering new ways to win, which has been the case in Detroit this season. This version of the Red Wings doesn't have the huge talent advantage it's had in the past, which is the natural result when a future Hall of Famer such as Nicklas Lidstrom retires.

The exodus of talented defensemen Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Brad Stuart has been well-documented, but since losing in the Stanley Cup finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009, the Red Wings have also lost forwards Tomas Holmstrom, Jiri Hudler and Marian Hossa. Start adding it up and it makes that puck-possession style they dominated with at times a little tougher to maintain.

There will likely be more line mixing and defensive pair jumbling in Detroit this season than there has been in a decade.

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean we can't win," said coach Mike Babcock when we chatted before Saturday's win. "We have to get our head around how we gotta win. They taste and smell the same at the end of the game. It doesn't look the same, it might not feel the same, but at the end when you're walking out, it's the same. So let's embrace it."

The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo penned a column stating that the Red Wings are sending "Mixed Messages" at the NHL season's quarter pole, to which every Red Wings fan replied, "DUH!"

The third period summed up the Red Wings’ season thus far. It looked like a sure win when the Kings took a late penalty (which the Red Wings didn’t take advantage of). It appeared to become a point lost when improbably the Kings scored. Oh, but the Red Wings secured the two points anyway on Ericcson’s goal.

The Red Wings have had an inordinate amount of injuries, and their schedule is ominous because of a couple extremely difficult road trips in March, but it’s not like the Red Wings have underachieved so far. They are actually in pretty good shape in regard to making the playoffs. They haven’t looked like a team that couldn’t make a run in the postseason, either, especially considering the Western Conference features so much parity.

“I knew it was going to be ugly,” Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock said about his team playing for the third time in four days, including twice in less than 24 hours. “I just wanted it to be an ugly win, not an ugly loss. We’re taking steps. We played well in the third period. That is ‘will stuff’ not ‘skill stuff.’ ’’

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are the Red Wings’ resident stars. They must be productive for the Red Wings to be collectively. Both were lacking in goal scoring in recent years, especially last season. They have been better in that regard this season. Datysuk scored his sixth goal Sunday. It came with a scorer’s touch, too, breaking in on Kings’ goalie Quick and picking an upper corner. Datsyuk has an outstanding shot. He has been using it more this season.

Zetterberg has taken to the role of captain like a duck to water. He assisted on the first two Red Wings’ goals Sunday, and has 18 points on the season. He currently ranks among the top 5 scorers in the NHL.

“We still had 50 seconds left when they scored to tie,” Zetterberg said. “There was a lot of time left.”

And so it is for the Red Wings’ season as a whole. They have been too up-and-down for comfort, but they remain in contention — very much still a work in progress.

If Jan Mursak is still part of the Wings' organization next year, he'll be playing for Slovenia in the 2014 Olympics, and he spoke to the Windsor Star's Bob Duff about Slovenia's qualification for the Olympics at this year's qualification tournament, which included neither Anze Kopitar nor Mursak, but involved Kopitar's father, Matjaz, who coaches the Slovenian team;

It is possible but not probable that Larry Murphy will discuss hot dogs and his space goggles during a live chat during a Free Press-hosted chat at 11 AM on Tuesday;

And somehow, I'm not surprised that Jimmy Howard was named Yahoo Sports' first star for Sunday.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


RorSchach's avatar

Damn G. Money. Awesome work.

Posted by RorSchach from Datsberg on 02/11/13 at 01:24 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Boy, I love watching Datsyuk and Zetterberg play.
Magic, indeed!

Kindl had 5 hits! 
Lashoff played 20.41
Ericsson palyed 20.11
Anderson won 7 / 10 face-offs

The young guys are really contributing.

Posted by w2j2 on 02/11/13 at 12:31 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.