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Red Wings-Lightning quick take: Wings close out a tough stretch with a strong effort

The Detroit Red Wings absolutely, positively HAD to win both of their weekend games, and despite the fact that the Wings gave up a predictably fan-terrifying 3rd period goal against to make the game very close, Detroit closed out Radko "All Elbows" Gudas, Valtteri Filppula, Ryan Callahan, Steven Stamkos and the rest of the Tampa Bay Lightning via a 3-2 score, making the Bolts look at least human along the way--all during a game that really serves as a shining example of the shit-show that's become of the NHL's standard of officiating (or the lack thereof) since the Olympic break.

As you might expect, the Red Wings started with some slightly heavy legs and gave up the game's first goal, allowing Valtteri Filppula to steal the puck and flick a sneaky shot past Jonas Gustavsson (who, save the 3-2 goal, was excellent) 8:40 into the game...

But the Red Wings received a welcome offensive contribution from a player who's fighting for his job at present in one Joakim Andersson, who did a fine job of jamming home a give-and-go with Helm and Alfredsson at 11:08...

4 minutes and 16 seconds later, Gustav Nyquist did what Gustav Nyquist did--facilitated by smart play from the cold-for-a-bit David Legwand...

And as the Wings battled through a pair of penalty-kills in the second, they continued to play conscientious and dilligent hockey in terms of detail work, checking well, "boxing out' their opponents in terms of body position and placing sticks and legs in shooting and passing lanes, and really standing up to the Bolts' extremely physical push to the point that it was Steven Stamkos who was driven to distraction thanks to Justin Abdelkader and Luke Glendening.

Legwand continued to pull himself out of his slump on the power play, scoring a lovely net-front jab with 3:24 left in the 2nd...

 

And while this Salo goal with 4:29 left in the 3rd scared the Wings...

Gustavsson was superb otherwise, the Wings did a solid job of making the Bolts look human most of the time, the Wings stood up to some goonery and dished out some jabs of their own (though Gudas' forearms to Nyquist's face, on a repeated basis, were just...what a punk he is), and when the Wings needed Gustavsson to bail them out, he was there:

So the Wings wrap up a set of 9 games in 15 nights having gone 5-3-and-1, the Wings have knocked out 5 of the 9 or 10 wins they needed to earn out of their last 15 games to make the playoffs, and they're ahead of Columbus in the Wild Card standings--for the moment--while at least having dug into what was once a seven or eight-game Blue Jackets advantage in terms of regulation or OT wins.

Now the Wings get to take Opening Day off, but things get messy in a hurry as the team will host Boston on Wednesday, host Buffalo on Thursday, and head into Montreal on Saturday...They lather, rinse and repeat with another 3-games-in-4-nights stretch with road tilts against Buffalo, Pittsburgh and then a homer game against Carolina on the 8th, 9th and 11th, respectively, and the team will close out the season in St. Louis on Sunday the 13th, so they're going to play another 7 games in 13 nights.

The Wings still need to win over half of their remaining seven games to make the playoffs, and it'd be really swell if they could earn points in 5 of 7, but this weekend's turned what may have been an impossible task to a very achievable goal, and the secondary scoring Darren Helm's given Nyquist, the continued strong play of the Kid Line, Abdelkader's addition to the Glendening-Miller line (Miller was superb all night long) and Danny DeKeyser's re-emergence as a confident puck-carrier has rejuvenated the Wings' ability to skate through the neutral zone with speed.

The Wings look more like a hard-charging puck possession team that's going to out-work and out-attention-to-detail you on a nightly basis, with Abdelkader back in the lineup, they're less likely to demure when things get rough (the third period's start was delayed by a significant amount of Abdelkader chirping at a Bolt), and this team is ever-so-slowly starting to look comfortable in its skin, which is huge.

Statistics:

Shots 30-28 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Tampa Bay 12-6 in the 1st period, they were out-shot 13-8 in the 2nd and the Wings out-shot Tampa Bay 10-9 in the 3rd period.

Special teams: Detroit went 1-for-3 in 5:19 of PP time; Tampa Bay went 0-for-4 in 8:00 of PP time.

Goaltending: Jonas Gustavsson stopped 26 of 28 shots for Detroit; Ben Bishop stopped 27 of 30 for Tampa Bay.

The 3 stars were picked by NHL.com's Brian Hedger, and he picked David Legwand, Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist.

The Red Wings' goals: Andersson (8) from Helm (7) and Alfredsson (28);

Nyquist (27) from Legwand (36);

Legwand (13) from Franzen (22) and Kronwall (38), PPG.

Faceoffs 28-25 Tampa Bay (Detroit won 47%);

Blocked shots 9-8 Detroit;

Missed shots 9-6 Tampa Bay (attempts 46-44 Tampa Bay; Detroit fired 30 shots on the net and 14 wide/blocked);

Hits 26-22 Tampa Bay;

Giveaways 9-4 Detroit;

Takeaways 6-6.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Legwand and Andersson both went 5-and-7 (42%); Glendening went 6-and-8 (43%); Sheahan went 8-and-3 (73%); Abdelkader went 1-and-1 (50%); both Franzen and Miller lost their only faceoffs (0-and-1).

Shots: Legwand led the Wings with 6 shots; Abdelkader and Kronwall had 4; Nyquist, Jurco and Franzen had 3; Andersson had 2; Alfredsson, Miller, Lashoff, Quincey and Helm had 1.

Blocked attempts: Nyquist and Kronwall fired 2 shots into Tampa Bay players; Smith, Kindl, Tatar and Franzen had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Tatar missed the net 2 times; Alfredsson, Nyquist, Sheahan and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Helm had 4 hits; Abdelkader had 3; Legwand, Jurco, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 2; Smith, Alfredsson, Nyquist, Sheahan, Miller, Glendening and Franzen had 1 hit.

Giveaways: Gustavsson had 4 giveaways; Andersson, Miller, Helm, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 1 giveaway.

Takeaways: Miller had 2 takeaways; Abdelkader, Sheahan, Tatar and Glendening had 1 takeaway.

Blocked opponent shots: Smith and Helm blocked 2 shots; Kindl, Abdelkader, Miller, Glendening and Kronwall blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Smith took 2 minors; Quincey took a minor penalty; the team took a minor penalty for too many men on the ice. David Legwand served the penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective zero. Smith, Abdelkader, Miller, Glendening and Kronwall were -1; Kindl, Alfredsson, Andersson, Lashoff and Helm were +1.

Points: Legwand had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Nyquist and Andersson had goals; Alfredsson, Helm, Kronwall and Franzen had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the Wings with 26:27 played; DeKeyser played 25:54; Quincey played 22:43;

Smith played 19:18; Glendening played18:36; Miller played 18:14;

Legwand played 17:26; Nyquist played 16:10; Franzen played 15:57;

Helm played 13:53; Abdelkader played 13:33; Andersson played 13:10;

Kindl played 13:07; Lashoff played 12:29; Tatar played 12:15;

Sheahan played 11:51; Jurco played 11:40; Alfredsson played 9:27.

Update: The Red Wings' website posted post-game comments from Gustav Nyquist...

Jonas Gustavsson...

And coach Mike Babcock:

Here's a set of game highlights as well:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Down River Dan's avatar

Didn’t see the game, but watching the replay of nyquist’s goal it was interesting to see how much the Tampa player was hooking, interfering without the refs arm going up. Finally after the initial shot does the arm go up?

For or against the wings , it is absolutely absurd the level of inconsistency game in game out.

Job well done Gary, isn’t there a retirement condo in del boca vista with your name on it????  sick

Posted by Down River Dan on 03/30/14 at 08:06 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

I think Gustavsson is a bit like Hasek in terms of getting himself way out of position and somehow convincing the shooter he can’t score, so makes a belly save while splayed out on the ice. And sometimes every save is an adventure.

Posted by bleep bloop on 03/30/14 at 08:20 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Thoughts:

* Drew Miller shut up any critics today.  If you don’t get why he’s important by now, you never will.

* Helm’s kinda’ shut up the critics too last couple of games.  People ready to trade or waive him now still?

* I am not a David Legwand fan, but if he can make himself into the effective heir to Holmstrom in front of the net, he maybe should have a place on the team.  Otherwise, I really see no interest in pursuing a re-signing—there are too many good, young players that can do the rest of what he does with better legs and at a lower cap hit.

* Both Tatar and Nyquist have definitely passed the “adjustment” phase of the NHL.  They both no barrel ahead into the offensive zone with nearly reckless abandon.  And that’s a good thing.  It isn’t Tots and Gus trying things and hoping they work, it’s them doing things knowing they can.  Big difference.  You then throw Sheahan and Jurco in there who are getting there as well and… that’s a dangerous young group.

* Kronwall Kronwalling people again is a good sign.  As I’ve said before, he seems to have increased his physical play in the last couple of weeks, and it does make a difference.

* I spent a lot of time trying to explain and defend Filppula towards the end of his time in DET but, after watching him today…. the truth is pretty clear.  Fil was absolutely coasting and being lazy in DET.  He wasn’t really giving it his all.  Apparently everyone was supposed to feel bad for his hurt feelings for being behind Datsyuk on the depth chart or something.  Screw him, lazy piece of delicate sh*t .  By the end of the game I wanted a Wing to just run him through the boards.  It’ll be fun to watch when something happens in TB to hurt his precious little delicate feelings there and it all falls apart again.  People give Franzen sh*t for for being a 30-goal guy in DET, and yet Fil couldn’t even ever manage 20 because he was so freaking lazy.  Nyquist replaced Fils’ offensive output in like only 20 games.  What does that tell you?

Posted by Primis on 03/30/14 at 08:44 PM ET

Gary A$$ SUCK !!'s avatar

Job well done Gary, isn’t there a retirement condo in del boca vista with your name on it???? 

Posted by Down River Dan on 03/30/14 at 08:06 PM ET

And you mean the del Boca vista on the island of Iceland….I hope ?????
we don’t want him in Florida..
L.G.R.W.  tongue rolleye

Posted by Gary A$$ SUCK !! from Fort Myers, Florida on 03/30/14 at 09:03 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Isn’t Radko Gudas one of the best villain names you could come up with?  I can picture Rambo or some-such movie hero trying to take down Radko Gudas’ regime.  Seriously, what a great name (and the fairly dirty style of play to match!).

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 03/31/14 at 12:02 AM ET

EDJ's avatar

Drew Miller shut up any critics today.  If you don’t get why he’s important by now, you never will.

I think the awesome thing about Drew Miller is that you almost never, ever catch him doing something stupid. He may be unnoticeable and he may never score but he doesn’t mess up defensively.

Kronwall Kronwalling people again is a good sign.  As I’ve said before, he seems to have increased his physical play in the last couple of weeks, and it does make a difference.

What worries me about Kronwall is that he’s playing about twenty five minutes a night, and I don’t know if he has the stamina to keep doing that and play at the same level. Dekeyser is young and he’s probably a lot bigger and hasn’t been playing as many minutes over the season, and had the Olympic break too, but Kronwall’s getting older. and he’s not a huge guy. Even if he makes it to playoff time and the team makes it to the playoffs, can Kronwall keep up?

By the way, does anyone know when Ericsson is getting back? Even if he doesn’t play so well as he was nearer to the start of the year, he puts other players in places that fit their roles better. If they put Ericsson back on the first or second pairing, the third pairing has got to improve, and take some of the ice time Kronwall has been getting.

Posted by EDJ on 03/31/14 at 12:49 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

By the way, does anyone know when Ericsson is getting back?

iirc because of damage to a tendon, the estimate was 4 weeks. haven’t heard/read anything since

Posted by bleep bloop on 03/31/14 at 01:12 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

I can picture Rambo or some-such movie hero trying to take down Radko Gudas’ regime. —-  Figaro from Los Alamos, NM

I thought Rambo was the villain in those movies?

Posted by alwaysaurie on 03/31/14 at 06:54 AM ET

Avatar

quote] Helm’s kinda’ shut up the critics too last couple of games.  People ready to trade or waive him now still?

The last couple of games is exactly the moment when you can and should trade Helm next season to get something good back in return. We all love Helm, but to expect him to play more than 10-15 games in a row without getting injured is not realistic imo. And I hope KH does not make a mistake of thinking our center spots for next year are secured with Dats, Z, Weiss and Helm. First two are getting older and more injury prone and last 2 seasons showed all we need to know about Weiss and Helm in terms of their ability to stay healthy (and the amount of time it takes them to recover after every injury). The only sure thing for next season as far as centers concerned is Sheahan.

Posted by VPalmer on 03/31/14 at 04:29 PM ET

Avatar

The last couple of games is exactly the moment when you can and should trade Helm next season to get something good back in return. We all love Helm, but to expect him to play more than 10-15 games in a row without getting injured is not realistic imo.

While we are at it, we might as well trade Nyquist too.

Posted by neffernin on 03/31/14 at 05:36 PM ET

Avatar

We being the Detroit Red Wings, as much as I’d love to be a part of that.

Posted by neffernin on 03/31/14 at 05:37 PM ET

Avatar

While we are at it, we might as well trade Nyquist too.

I was suggesting we should consider trading Helm after one of his “good” stretches because the guy missed like 80% of the games in the last 2 seasons. Your ironic comment about trading Nyquist is totally out of place and out of content of what I posted.

Posted by VPalmer on 03/31/14 at 06:18 PM ET

Avatar

I was suggesting we should consider trading Helm after one of his “good” stretches because the guy missed like 80% of the games in the last 2 seasons.

And I was saying the Wings should trade Nyquist as he is going through one of his “good” stretches after being nearly invisible on the score sheet last year and is overachieving at the moment.

Both points are equally valid.

That being said, Helm comes at a great cap hit; no cap hit when injured, and is a dynamic presence when his “I’ve no regard for dying playing hockey” attitude doesn’t lead to injuries.  Why you’d want to shed that kind of asset I’m not sure; there’s no point in trading players because of their trade stock alone, that is not the kind of organization the Wings have built.

Either way, it is a moot point as neither of us are KH.

If Helm keeps playing the way he has been he’ll easily break his career best season point total next year (if he can do it without hurting himself).

Posted by neffernin on 03/31/14 at 07:39 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Either way, it is a moot point as neither of us are KH.

I just believe that you either earned the title of I OWN THE COMMENTS SECTION FOREVER DUE TO UNDERSTANDING OF REALITY or you have touched off a troll implosion that shall end in the destruction of the universe.

Either way, kudos!

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/31/14 at 07:57 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.