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Red Wings-Lightning quick take: yet again, Bolts bite Wings in the butt

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.

Statistics:

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.

Update:

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.

Update #2:

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Comments

Chet's avatar

disappointing:

- they GAVE this game away;

- ericsson again looked retarded in this game; is it 2009 again?

- howard sucked;

- datsyuk a shadow of himself right now.

ugly.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 02/08/14 at 10:51 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Howard wasn’t great but the Wings let the Bolts skate in on the net and stay at the net like there was a freeway to Howard and no admission for groping the goalie. It was a shit defensive performance by the entire team, and they looked VERY thin on defense.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/08/14 at 10:59 PM ET

Avatar

They ARE thin on defense, George. They need someone who is solid now, not maybe in a couple years. They should probably trade either Smith or Kindl with someone else and/or a pick to get someone to help shore up the second pair now. Quincey is not getting it done. Kindl and Smith look like they will figure it out, but not this year, or next. Lashoff just doesn’t have the speed/skill they need him to have. They need help. They can afford to trade away some young talent and a prospect due to their defensive depth.

Posted by teldar on 02/08/14 at 11:06 PM ET

topshelf14's avatar

How many penalties weren’t called on the Bolts tonight? Bishop ran multiple interference plays, there were slashes resulting in broken sticks uncalled. The Wings played another solid game and looked like the better team most of the night.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 02/08/14 at 11:13 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Either at the deadline or after we figure out who’s going to get bought out (remember that Weiss needs to show both the Wings and possible other employers what he can do as he’s not eligible to be bought out w/o penalty as he was signed after the lockout) ahead of the UFA period, I do believe that the Wings will go after a defenseman. I think that at least Kindl doesn’t have a long-term future in Detroit, and with Almquist out of options and Ouellet playing very well, Smith or Lashoff may be endangered species.

But the fact that going to the Wings’ net was like driving on the Lodge at night minus any cops (go 90! Why not?) and given the selective refereeing (see: Glendening’s stick being held big time; the held sticks on the game-winner), the odds tilted toward the Bolts in the 3rd.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/08/14 at 11:18 PM ET

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The officiating was awful. There were a couple calls which should have been boarding not called against the lighting based on what they called on jurco, the interference by bishop which wasn’t called close to when their player ran Z into bishop, then the roughing by their player who ran z into bishop… it goes on and on. Officiating took the night off before the Olympics more than the Wings players did.

Posted by teldar on 02/08/14 at 11:31 PM ET

Gary A$$ SUCK !!'s avatar

That was an ugly game…we really need to improve the D,,, and it would be nice if short side Howard could steal a game once in awhile.
big surprise

Posted by Gary A$$ SUCK !! from Fort Myers, Florida on 02/08/14 at 11:59 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The officiating sucked. Howard was crap. The defense a seive. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Honestly, at this point, I don’t care about any of that.

Here’s what I do care about. Tatar is a fricking puck hound, albeit one who is a bit out of control half of the time. Jurco is not only learning how to be creative at the NHL level but he’s starting to use his size to free up space in the offensive zone. And Nyquist, Sheahan and Glendenning are getting comfortable enough at the NHL level to play at the highest level they’ve ever played at.

So I really don’t care whether or not the Wings make the playoffs this year. What I do care about is the organ-I-zation’s willingness to trust these “kids” to take the Wings into the playoffs next year (and every year after that).

I’m disappointed in the way some things have played out this year, but I can’t remember when I’ve been more excited about what next year (and the years after that) will bring.

Screw the Olympics. Screw the signings of Sammy and Cleary and Quincey. That’s the past, or it soon will be. Let’s get this season over with and start what should be a great future for the Wings.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying every Wings game I watch – even the ones they lose.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/09/14 at 01:27 AM ET

Alan's avatar

This was not a surprising outcome, to be honest.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 02/09/14 at 03:03 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

I commented during the game that after the first period ended, they just looked incredibly slow in their own zone and the Lightning were much faster. I was hoping that was just their normal second period lollygagging, but they never seemed to play with any kind of purpose in the third. Maybe too many people’s brains were already half a world away by that point.

Posted by bleep bloop on 02/09/14 at 03:11 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Toronto gets a greatly respected defenseman Gleason ( metro Detroit boy) for virtually nothing and the Kings give up a few early round draft picks last year for a huge space eater named Regehr but we got Kindl, Lashoff and Ericsson so no complaints shock
It’s obvious this team won’t be scoring many goals for rest of this season and next so maybe just maybe Kenny should try to acquire a veteran defenseman for something similar to what the Kings and buds gave up in mentioned trades.
Two blown leads in this game and no Stamkos, Val and dinged up Bishop starting, argh.
The Ericsson and Kronwall confusion as to who is supposed to be screening Howard seems just a regular thing. Perhaps these two should not be defenseman pairs.

I thought O’Halloran works games at The Joe mostly because of residency or family? Why is he following us around on road games too, lol.

 

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 02/09/14 at 04:22 AM ET

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Howard wasn’t great but the Wings let the Bolts skate in on the net and stay at the net like there was a freeway to Howard and no admission for groping the goalie.

This was, I believe, the first mention of Howard’s play made by George in a game Howard was mediocre at best, which is an omission that slips the mask a bit on George’s pro-Howard (pro-goalie?) bias, that in itself chips away at the ability of a reader to take his posts as a substantive review of what really happened.

No, the defense did not envelop Howard in a comfy, warm womb of utter protection.

No, the offense did not provide Howard with THREE leads at various points in the game.

However, as I have mentioned previously, for 5.3 million bucks a year (third highest paid player vs the cap on the team behind only D and Z) the Wings shouldn’t have to do either or both of those things in order to win games consistently.  The team has more wins without Howard than with him, and in five fewer starts.

At some point George will awaken to the reality that for as much as there are other issues on the Wings, Howard’s significantly decreased level of play compared to the past two years is, rather than a side effect of those issues, a root cause of many of them.  I don’t anticipate that to be soon, but still.

Last night was a game of uneven intensity, which are the ones always there for the taking by the better goalie… and it was.  Which is a big part of Detroit’s problem.  Detroit gave Jimmy Howard a whole bunch of money to fix the goalie position after years of getting by on the cheap there and dealing with some scattershot regular season performances as a result.  For that they are now getting… another scattershot regular season performance, just without the extra three million bucks to spend elsewhere.

This is a short term problem, hopefully.  In a season full of weirdness I hope this is just a blip Much like Weiss’s deal, however, it’s pretty tough to stare off into the next four or five years and not get a little flinchy.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/09/14 at 04:41 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Trade Kindle already. Sheesh. Lashoff is slow as feck but at least he’ll hammer guys in front of the net. None of the other pansy assed feckers on our team will. Soft!

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 02/09/14 at 09:45 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/09/14 at 12:27 AM ET

Thank you for this post.  I’m with ya.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 02/09/14 at 11:47 AM ET

Avatar

the problem with every trade scenario ive read in the comments is you have to have a willing partner. here please trade me your good defenseman for Kindl. DOESNT WORK. Ericsson is clearly a top 4 Dman but he is not top 2, he plays smaller than he is and misses coverage a lot (so does kronwall). Datsyuk playing in this game was joke. I know he had an assist but he couldnt even stand up on his skates. He is clearly REALLY hurt. I hope it doesnt get worse in Sochi, maybe the russian trainers will do a better job than our hatchet team can do and he comes back healthy. Please let that happen. Ramble complete.

Posted by brians neck on 02/09/14 at 12:43 PM ET

Avatar

Agree with OTC.  24 games left in the regular season.  Then we clear out a whole lot of dead weight from the roster.

Posted by maltby18 on 02/09/14 at 02:50 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

It all boils down to defense.
The Wings’ D sucks.

Posted by w2j2 on 02/09/14 at 02:55 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

So I really don’t care whether or not the Wings make the playoffs this year. What I do care about is the organ-I-zation’s willingness to trust these “kids” to take the Wings into the playoffs next year (and every year after that).

I’m disappointed in the way some things have played out this year, but I can’t remember when I’ve been more excited about what next year (and the years after that) will bring.

Screw the Olympics. Screw the signings of Sammy and Cleary and Quincey. That’s the past, or it soon will be. Let’s get this season over with and start what should be a great future for the Wings.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying every Wings game I watch – even the ones they lose.

The statements above pretty well sums up the 2013-14 edition of our Detroit Red Wings. Not sure if a trade will be made for a top defense man due to Salary Cap constraints, but hopefully during the off season when the Salary Cap increases and some contracts expire. The officiating last night seems to be a continuation of he B.S. from the 2009 SCF’s. I assume it’s a result of the Red Wings success over the years, but who knows? Frustrating.

Posted by bigfrog on 02/09/14 at 08:26 PM ET

Avatar

Brian’s neck, the only defensemen safe from bring traded as far as I could imagine… kronwall, Ericsson, sproul, marchenko. Even those would be open to negotiation.

Posted by teldar on 02/10/14 at 05:15 PM ET

Avatar

So tiresome that George slips in the whining about officiating.
Wings have outperformed my expectations since the Chicago and Montreal games. That they’re in a wildcard spot despite injuries to Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, and terrible play by Weiss and Howard, speaks to the quality of Eastern Conference hockey.
I don’t see how or why we can’t make the playoffs. We’re in the picture right now, and I don’t imagine the injury situation will get worse.

Posted by Captain Bob on 02/11/14 at 02:24 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.