The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/08/14 at 09:47 PM ET
What looked like a promising effort turned out to be an utter bullshit game. The Red Wings go into the Olympic break still far behind the Bolts and still in "Wild Card" instead of division playoff spots thanks to a combination of poor play during key points of the game and dreadful refereeing or the lack thereof on the game-winner--despite Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall looking and playing inept on the Killorn goal, Ericsson's stick was held 2 separate times and Kronwall's stick was held on the goal itself (Glendening's stick being grabbed, held and tugged out of his hands by Tampa was fine though)--and as such, the Red Wings blew a pair of one-goal leads end ended up losing 4-2 to Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
It was that kind of evening, a night where Ye Olde Dan O'Halloran's standard of, "You can cheap shot whoever the hell you want...Well, wait a minute, THAT's a penalty" refereeing, two non-engaged teams (not one: both the Bolts and Wings looked disinterested as *#$%@& in the third period), some really awful defense by a team that Daniel Alfredsson somewhat ominously predicted needed to stand up in the neutral zone instead of opening up the freeway to Jimmy Howard's cage and some just doofy play by both the "kids" that led the offensive effort and the veterans alike--with no support by the support players in between--added up to a bitter loss that should leave the Wings and their fans equally frustrated for the next two-and-a-half weeks.
In a perfect world, the Red Wings would've held onto their 1-goal lead going into the 3rd and could've added to it, but the Wings blew a power play 5:55 in, and the team seemed to unravel as, perhaps outside of Datsyuk, the Zetterberg line, the Jurco line and the Kronwall-Ericsson tandem that ended up struggling so mightily on decisive plays, the guys who were supposed to lend a hand didn't (the defense looked very green and the backchecking assignments were missed incredibly regularly)...
And the fact that the Wings were also awarded a penalty shot against during a play in which the Lightning set up Nikita Kucherov's breakaway by having 6 men on the ice, and then the utter lack of support for Alfredsson's rim-around on the 6-on-5 that yielded the Bolts' empty netter just poured salt into the wounds of a team that could've, should've and had to but did not win this game.
The high points were Daniel Alfredsson's slick goal via Pavel Datsyuk's assist at 17:18 of the 1st...
And Tomas Jurco's 2-1 goal 11:19 into the 2nd, via Riley Sheahan and Danny DeKeyser...
But far too often, each and every Red Wings player let the Lightning basically set up at their blueline and speedily chug up through the neutral zone and charge into Detroit's zone and toward Howard with little to no resistance, on the game-tying goal, Jimmy Howard was leaning too far left but Kronwall and Ericsson tipped the puck past him and there was no attempt by Zetterberg, Nyquist or Abdelkader to defend the rush...
And that goal was more or less representative of the night. There was far too much standing around by the Wings and passive play against an incredibly aggressive and chippy team, and when the Bolts made attempts to injure Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Brendan Smith, there was no push-back, neither in terms of physicality nor intensity.
So we go into the break with a team that earned most of the points it needed to earn to remain in the mix but a team that also surrendered losses that left bitter tastes in fans' mouths because the self-inflicted wounds were so utterly predictable.
Shots 33-28 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Tampa Bay 14-10 in the 2nd, they out-shot Tampa 12-11 in the 2nd and the shots were tied 7-7 in the 3rd.
Special teams: the Red Wings went 0-for-3 in 6:00 of PP time; the Lightning wnet 1-for-2 in 2:35 of PP time.
Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 24 of 27 shots for Detroit, and the Lightning scored into an empty net; Ben "Divin' Like Mike Smith" Bishop stopped 31 of 33 shots for Tampa Bay.
The 3 stars were picked by the "Attending Media," and they picked Jimmy Howard, Ondrej Palat and Ben Bishop.
The Red Wings' goals: Alfredsson (14) from Datsyuk (18);
Jurco (3) from Sheahan (8) and DeKeyser (9).
Faceoffs 34-26 Detroit (Detroit won 57%);
Blocked shots 13-11 Tampa Bay;
Missed shots 14-9 Detroit (total attempts 60-48 Detroit, with Detroit firing 33 shots on Bishop and 27 wide/blocked);
Hits 20-19 Tampa Bay;
Giveaways 11-3 Tampa Bay;
Takeaways 8-3 Tampa Bay.
Mickey Redmond said that the Wings took 14 of 21 points available prior to the break, and going at a 2/3rds clip is what you need--even when that margin from 50% to 67% is tight--but the losses have been devastating beat-downs or dramatic collapses. That's why people like you and me are so bloody scared about the team not making the playoffs, and why we're rightfully frustrated when the Wings flop and flail like they did tonight in the 3rd period.
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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.