Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Lightning wrap-up and overnight report: discipline is key

The Red Wings' 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning looked like a tale of two games. Over the first period and the first half of the second period, Detroit's pop-gun offense and stellar goaltending were too much for the Lightning to handle;

Over the second half of the game, however, Detroit found itself chasing the Lightning's puck possession game, and between some undisciplined penalties (including two too-many men calls), shaky special teams play and iffy goaltending by Petr Mrazek, Detroit's 3-1 lead unraveled and Tampa Bay plain old took over the game.

The Lightning were well aware of the fact that a "lucky" 3-2 goal and a 3-for-3 power play allowed them to swipe control of the game from the Red Wings, as Cedric Paquette told the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith...

F Cedric Paquette said he wanted to think more offensively this season, and he proved that with an unassisted goal in the second period that cut the Red Wings' lead to 3-2.

Paquette broke into the offensive zone along the left boards. Instead of dumping the puck like he said he would have last season, Paquette shot on net. The puck found its way past G Petr Mrazek.

"Just tried to get it on net and got lucky there," he said.

The goal seemed to spark the Lightning, which scored the next three goals.

"After my goal, I think we took it over," Paquette said, "and we didn't look back."

And Smith discussed the Bolts' multitude of positive storylines in his main recap...

Cedric Paquette's two-point night — one point more than he had in 17 playoff games last season — sparked Tampa Bay's comeback from a two-goal deficit. Brian Boyle scored the tying goal, giving the Lightning two goals from its bottom six. Victor Hedman had two assists in another monster 24-minute game. Goalie Ben Bishop shut the door in the third.

But it was [Jonathan] Drouin, positioned on the side wall, who gives the Lightning the power-play quarterback it has needed. It's a familiar spot for Drouin, who was a fixture there in juniors. "That's where I like to be," he said.

From that spot, Drouin stepped into the right circle and ripped a laser over the shoulder of Petr Mrazek to bring Tampa Bay within 2-1 midway through the second. "That was pretty unbelievable," Johnson said.

Johnson scored the go-ahead gal with a power-play goal of his own in the third, a nifty redirection of a pass from Steven Stamkos, who received the largest ovation from the sellout crowd of 19,092 during introductions.

Drouin set up the eventual winner, though, a diagonal pass right on the stick of Alex Killorn.

"He's very offensively gifted, there's no doubt," Johnson said of Drouin. "He can make some plays. When he's going … he's helping us make a difference. He has that confidence, moving it around, playing huge."

This one was far from perfect. The Lightning was at times sloppy in its zone, gift-wrapping two goals for Detroit with turnovers. "We gave them two goals," Cooper said. Bishop, who bailed out the Lightning so often last season, gave up a juicy rebound on the Red Wings' third goal. Detroit scored twice on its first five shots, putting Tampa Bay in an early hole. Kucherov, one of the game's top young scorers, missed the net on a second-period breakaway. But the power play for once helped save the day.

"We have been working a lot on it in the preseason," Johnson said. "We talked about it. We had to have better execution. It wasn't acceptable what we did last season. I thought we did a pretty good job (Thursday)."

And just as some Red Wings fans might as well be on suicide watch after a single loss, the Tampa Bay Times' Tom Jones needed to be peeled off the ceiling after the Lightning's win:

That's how you start a season. All the excitement. Pregame introductions. Sellout crowd chanting for Nikita Kuuuuuu­cherov. Big ovation for Steven Stamkos. Welcome back home, captain.

Then, bang, overcome two two-goal deficits and beat the Red Wings 6-4 Thursday with four goals in the third period. Wow.

"If that was your first hockey game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said, "that was a pretty good one to go to."

Stanley Cup, here comes the Lightning.

"It's good to get off to a good start," forward Jonathan Drouin said.

Call it a great start. Okay, so it's only one game. But what a game. What a comeback. What a way to start the season.

There's lots of talk about the Lightning winning a Stanley Cup. For good reason. This team is good. It should have a good season. Then again, what exactly does that mean? What is a good season?

Today's Slapshot's Roy Cummings (via RedWingsFeed) duly noted that the Lightning won thanks to power play dominance...

“We have two units we can roll out there and they’re both dangerous,’’ Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “Sometimes you just have one, but I feel for us, both units are pretty dangerous groups.’’

Drouin, who heads up the second of those dangers squads, scored the first Lightning power play goal when he snapped a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Red Wings goalie Peter Mrazek at the 7:23 mark of the second period.

Johnson scored the second, breaking a 3-3 tie and giving the Lightning their first lead of the game by redirecting a Steven Stamkos pass past Mrazek at the 8:34 mark of the third period.

Eight minutes later, Alex Killorn finished off the special teams scoring, potting his first goal of the year off a feed from Drouin, who says the changes [assistant coach Todd] Richards made with the power play are mostly subtle.

“We have a lot of the same set-ups, but we’re making sure we get more shots at the net and more traffic in front of the net,’’ he said. “We’re making sure to pass the puck more but it’s really a matter of getting more shots.’’

The Lightning generated nine shots on goal during seven minutes of power play time against the Red Wings, who were victimized for the most part, Johnson said, by a new manpower mentality.

“We’re doing a lot of the same stuff we did last year, but we do have a few different plays here and there,’’ Johnson said. “And right now we’re getting the results. I mean, it’s only one game, so you can’t really hang your hat on it. You just have to keep building to get better and keep working but it’s a good start for us for sure.’’

And TampaBayLightning.com's Bryan Burns noted that the praise for the Bolts' power play success surrounded Jonathan Drouin's performance:

Jonathan Drouin was one of the Lightning's best players in the 2016 postseason, scoring five goals, including four in the Eastern Conference Final, and adding nine assists.

The 21-year-old appears to have picked up where he left off to start the 2016-17 season.

With the Lightning trailing 2-0, Drouin gave the Bolts a much-needed lift, sniping a shot from the right dot that whistled over the glove of Mrazek and kissed the crossbar before resting in the back of the net.

"He's very offensively gifted," Johnson said. "He can make some plays. That shot he had was unbelievable."

Later in the game, with the Lightning looking to close the door on a victory, Drouin engineered the Bolts' third power-play goal, holding the puck along the right wing before spotting Alex Killorn streaking toward the back post and hitting him with a perfectly-placed pass for Killorn to tap into the net.

"That power play unit kind of goes through him," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "He and Kuch can interchange both sides and work it. His vision, you know, the game's slowed down for Jo now. You just look at that pass. He was on the opposite side when he made that pass to Killorn at the end. The kid's got wonderful vision on the ice, and he competed hard. I thought he had a heck of a game tonight. When you got two units you can roll out there and they're both dangerous, it's pretty potent. Sometimes a team just has one big unit and they go to a second unit. I feel, regardless of who we throw out there, it's a pretty dangerous group."

We'll begin our pivot from the Lightning's perspectives to those of the Red Wings via the AP's recap...

"You'd like to not give up four goals but all you can ask for is a win," [Tyler] Johnson said. "We have a lot of confidence in this team. We've been through a lot together."

The Lightning beat Detroit in the first round of the playoffs each of the last two years en route to the Stanley Cup final in 2015 and the Eastern Conference final last season. Tampa Bay also got goals from Jonathan Drouin, Cedric Paquette, Brian Boyle, Alex Killorn and Valtteri Filppula.

Johnson was positioned at the right circle and redirected Stamkos' feed past Petr Mrazek at 8:34 to put the Lightning up 4-3, just 5 seconds after Detroit was called for too many men on the ice.

"As that game went on, we got stronger," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.

Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman kept a talented nucleus intact in the offseason, beginning with re-signing Stamkos to an eight-year, $68 million contract.

Defenseman Victor Hedman received an eight-year, $63 million deal. Forward Nikita Kucherov on Tuesday signed a three-year contract worth an annual average of $4.766 million.

Thomas Vanek scored two goals for the Red Wings. Frans Nielsen, signed to a $31.5 million, six-year free agent deal by Detroit, had a goal and an assist.

"This is a game we could have won, should have won," Vanek said.

And we'll conclude that transition via NHL.com's Corey Long's recap:

Goal of the game: Killorn's power-play goal to give the Lightning a 5-3 lead was a showcase of Drouin's playmaking abilities. He skated to his comfort spot at the top of the right circle and put a pass right on Killorn's stick. All Killorn had to do was tip it in the open part of the net.

Save of the game: Mrazek robbed Stamkos at 10:53 of the second period with a full sprawling save. Stamkos was trying to finish a 2-on-1 with Drouin providing a perfect setup pass. "He knows that he's a good goalie," Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "He knows he played well."

Unsung moment of the game: Paquette's work in the defensive zone leading to Boyle's goal was an example of the type of player he says he wants to be this season. He battled and won the puck down low off the boards and made the pass to Boyle that started the play the other way. Brown joined in to make it a 2-on-1, but Boyle opted for the shot and tied it 3-3.

Highlight of the game: Johnson's power-play goal gave the Lightning their first lead. Stamkos got the puck at the point in a position where he might normally shoot, but he instead passed to Johnson for a redirection. "That one was right off my stick," Johnson said. "[Stamkos] made sure I didn't have to do much there."

They said it: "I'm definitely more of a passer than a shooter. I can see the ice at that spot, and it's a quick pass that I can make right away." -- Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin on his assist on Alex Killorn's game-winning goal

"He had that goal there from a sharp angle; it was a great shot. But all game he was out there contributing, doing things, hitting …. just kind of being a pest out there and that's his game." -- Lightning forward Tyler Johnson on Cedric Paquette

"The first period was good, and then after that too many mistakes and too many penalties. [The Lightning] are the best team in the East, in my opinion, and you give them power-play opportunities, and they were able to slowly shift things their way." -- Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek

The Red Wings expressed their frustration to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

“Too many self-inflicted wounds,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “When you have that many self-inflicted wounds, it’s hard to win a hockey game, especially against a real good team. We have to be better than that.”

Too many penalties, too many easy chances, allowing odd-man rushes. It all added up, against a Tampa team that many consider the Stanley Cup favorite this season.

“The whole first period was good, after that, too many mistakes,” said forward Thomas Vanek, who had a successful Red Wings debut with two first period goals. “This is the best team in the East, in my opinion, and give them those power play opportunities, the momentum slowly shifted their way. You give this team power play after power play, it’s tough to play catch up.”

Along with Vanek’s two goals, fellow newcomer Frans Nielsen had a goal, and Danny DeKeyser scored a fluky late goal off the boards that somehow tucked inside Lighting goalie Ben Bishop and cut Tampa’s lead to 5-4 at 17 minutes 55 seconds.

But Valtteri Filppula’s empty net goal sealed the win for Tampa.

Jonathan Drouin (power play), Cedric Paquette, Brian Boyle, Tyler Johnson (power play), Alex Killorn (power play) and Filppula (empty net) scored for the Lightning. Petr Mrazek stopped 30 of 35 shots, but allowed a soft one to Paquette midway in the second period, cutting the Red Wings lead to 3-2.

“I didn’t think I had any hole there,” said Mrazek of Paquette’s goal. “It went off my glove and went in.”

The Free Press's Helene St. James...

“Too many penalties, too many easy chances,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We just had too many self-inflicted wounds, whether it be easy chances against, the breakaways, the outnumbered rushes. The penalties, those are preventable. The two too many men penalties are extremely preventable. When you have that many self-inflicted wounds, it’s hard to win a hockey game, especially against a really good team.”

The Atlantic Division rivals let little go unsaid, with tempers flaring in the second period and the Lightning surging in the third. Danny DeKeyser scored off a fluky bounce with 2:05 to play to slice it to 5-4, but Valtteri Filppula punctuated the rally with an empty-net goal.

“It stings,” Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “I thought we had a good first period, had a lot of speed. They had the second period, they dug themselves in, and then we put ourselves in some bad spots with some penalties and they took advantage. When we played well, we had some good speed, all four lines did a good job, Petr (Mrazek) was good. We got a power-play goal right away. But we have stuff that needs to be better.“

...

“I thought we had a great system, we came out good, then maybe sat back a little at the end of the first period with the 2-0 lead, but we regrouped pretty well,” Vanek said. “But you give this team power play after power play, it’s tough to play catchup.”

...

Blashill talked several times during the exhibition season about how the Wings needed more third-period scoring, more cushion-goals, and had to be more difficult to play against.

“We were 3-1 with a few minutes left in the second,” Blashill said. “We have to be better than that defensively. To me, that wasn't on our offense. I thought we kept generating chances. We have to be better defensively than we were tonight. This is a team that’s going to test you for sure, so it’s a tough first test, but if we want to be an elite team in the league, we have to be better than that defensively.”

And DetroitRedWings.com's Dana WakijI:

3. Too many men: Although it is the first game of the regular season, having two too many men on the ice penalties is not what the Wings need, especially against a talented offensive team like the Lightning. Both happened in the third period and the Lightning scored on both, power-play goals by Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn.

Quotable: "They were two totally separate incidents of how it happened. One we just changed for the wrong guy. Ultimately, that responsibility starts with me. It's inexcusable for me, it's inexcusable for our players. We got to know who we're changing for. We did know who were changing for, we just missed the assignment there. The second one, our guy's coming off, he gets hit, he's just got to keep coming to the bench, because they were anticipating a change. Any way or shape, it's not good enough." - Blashill

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff found the team frustrated with and contrite about its infractions:

“We had some breakdowns, a couple of too many men penalties,” Detroit left-winger Justin Abdelkader said. “We’ve got to have better communication on the bench because those are freebies for the other team. We’ve got to make sure we don’t have too many men. We’ll have to clean that up.”

The Wings took two third-period infractions for having more than six players on the ice and Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg didn’t pull any punches in his team’s assessment of their bench management.

“We should know that rule and not be six guys on the ice,” Zetterberg said. “But it happens. It’s something we’ve got to fix for Saturday (against Florida).”

Detroit coach Jeff Blashill was also harsh in his assessment of himself and his team.

“Too many penalties, too many easy chances,” Blashill said. “We just had too many self-inflicted wounds, whether it be easy chances against, the breakaways, the outnumbered rushes. Obviously, the penalties were preventable, certainly the two too many men penalties are extremely preventable.

“When you have that many self-inflicted wounds it’s hard to win a hockey game, especially against a really good team, so we’ve got to be better than that.”

Multimedia:

Highlights: Here are the individual goals:

Detroit led 1-0 on the goal from Vanek via Zetterberg and Nielsen @ 3:12 of the 1st.

Detroit led 2-0 on the Vanek goal from Nyquist at 8:26 of the 1st period.

Detroit led 2-1 after Jonathan Drouin's goal.

Nielsen scored from Green and Larkin at 8:18 of the 2nd, making it 3-1.

Paquette scored to make it 3-2 at 13:05 of the 2nd.

Boyle tied the game 3-3 off the bad Marchenko pinch @ 3:17.

Johnson scored @ 8:34 to make it 4-3.

Killorn made it 5-3 @ 16:50.

DeKeyser made it 5-4 from Green and Helm @ 17:55, making it 5-4.

Filppula made it 6-4 at 18:39.

Via RedWingsFeed, HockeyFights posted the Ericsson-Palat bout and the Smith-Sustr scrap:

 

 

Post-game: Fox Sports Detroit posted post-game interviews with Henrik Zetterberg...

Thomas Vanek...

And coach Jeff Blashill...

Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond weighed in as well:

MLive's Ansar Khan posted a clip of Jeff Blashill discussing the Wings' penalties...

And a clip of Petr Mrazek's comments...

And the Free Press's Helene St. James posted a clip of Vanek and Blashill's remarks:

Photos: The Free Press posted an 23-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted a 27-image gallery;

MLive posted a 24-image gallery;

The Windsor Star posted a 3-image gallery;

The Tampa Bay Times posted a 14-image gallery;

ESPN posted a 30-image gallery;

The Red Wings' website posted a 49-image gallery, and NHL.com posted a 64-image gallery.

Statistics:

Game summary:

Event summary:

 

Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: Thomas Vanek's performance was a bright spot for the Wings, as noted by the Free Press's Helene St. James...

“Vanek coming in and scoring two goals, it was great to see,” teammate Justin Abdelkader said.

The Wings signed the Austrian winger July 1 in hopes of boosting scoring after struggling to put the puck in the net last season. Vanek’s reputation was sullied by a buyout last season in Minnesota, but he has hit 20 goals in 10 of his 11 NHL seasons, and it was a low-risk deal at one year and $2.6 million.

Vanek joined the Wings late because of the World Cup of Hockey, but he had two assists in the exhibition finale, and two goals in the season opener.

“He’s been very good so far,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We talked about making sure he works hard, backchecks, makes sure he works hard to win battles and be good defensively. He's been all those things. And if he does those things, you can see he is a really, really talented player. If he does those things, he is going to score, because he’ll be on the ice.”

And the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:

“Vanek looks like somebody who is what we thought he was,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s got real elite offensive ability. He was the fifth overall pick, you don’t become the fifth overall pick if you don’t have elite, offensive ability and a real skill set.

“We don’t have lots of guys who were picked that high because we haven’t drafted that high. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have things he’s got to get better at. He does, of course, but we also focus on the positives and there’s been lots of them so far.

“And Nielsen has done a good job. I think him and Z (Zetterberg) are both cerebral players, they’re both thinkers. I think that will help them as they move through the season as a pair together.”

Vanek wasn’t about to pat himself on the back following a loss.

“This is a game I thought we could have won, we should have won, and we gave it away,” Vanek said.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

No doubt discipline would help but these are ugly numbers:

Net Corsi (5 on 5 only)
Marchenko: -25
DeKeyser: -24
Glendening:  -16
Miller:  -15
Ott:  -14

I think this is a tale of two separate issues.

1)  is the top defensive pairing.  DeKeyser is not that bad a possession player, which makes me think Marchenko is just not ready for top pairing duty. I wouldn’t necessarily panic, though—it’s one game, against a good time, in October.  The DeKeyser/Marchenko experiment needs a bit more time before we give up on it and anyway Kronwall will be available soon to pick up some of the hard minutes these guys played against the Johnsons and Stamkoses of the world.

2)  is the OMG line.  Those are godawful numbers for the OMG guys who only averaged about 8 minutes of five-on-five time.  However, that comes in the context of brutal usage—only 14% of shifts started in the offensive zone.  Rather than bash the players I’d suggest that if your fourth line is getting blasted like that in their own zone, you shouldn’t use them like that.

Now, it’s also one game in October for the OMG guys, but while I have some faith in DeKeyser and Marchenko I’m very skeptical that the OMG line will ever be anything.  I would prefer to see AA in the lineup over any of those three guys.  But if the plan is to start this line in the defensive or neutral zone literally 80% of the time then we can’t use AA on that line—he’d get slaughtered back there too and we wouldn’t see any benefit from his offense.

So either we need to change the gameplan to accommodate the talent we have, which means matching more based on line-to-line and less based on zone starts, or, if we intend to have a line that plays so much in its own defensive zone, we need to staff that line with players who can succeed in the role—succeed meaning gaining and holding control of the puck and reversing ice. 

That probably means Darren Helm on the fourth line in place of Miller or Ott, with Helm’s 3rd line C gig going to either AA or Sheahan.  In a game where the ice was tilted against us in terms of starts Darren Helm, of all people, got a ton of offensive zone starts—because he was centering Vanek and Nyquist.  I like the idea of those wingers getting a bunch of offensive zone starts (and they did cash in a bit) but we’re not getting the most out of Helm’s defensive gifts.

Posted by captaineclectic on 10/14/16 at 06:13 AM ET

Avatar

That probably means Darren Helm on the fourth line in place of Miller or Ott, with Helm’s 3rd line C gig going to either AA or Sheahan.  In a game where the ice was tilted against us in terms of starts Darren Helm, of all people, got a ton of offensive zone starts—because he was centering Vanek and Nyquist.  I like the idea of those wingers getting a bunch of offensive zone starts (and they did cash in a bit) but we’re not getting the most out of Helm’s defensive gifts.

This sounds incredible thought out and logical.  It’s truly a shame that Holland and co. will never do that.  Ericsson will never sit, AA and Mantha will be sent down, brought up, and sent down again, we’ll never make a trade, and no one will get fired.  It’s status quo for the Wings, but hey, ‘we have the best GM in the game, right?!’ LOL

Posted by wingsrul91 on 10/14/16 at 07:41 AM ET

Avatar

aa nielson tatar
Mantha Larkin Nyquist
Zetterberg Sheahan Vanek
Abdelkader Helm Glendening

Make those your lines.  Roll them out there one after the other.  Win games.

Posted by jb61973 on 10/14/16 at 08:35 AM ET

Avatar

That probably means Darren Helm on the fourth line in place of Miller or Ott, with Helm’s 3rd line C gig going to either AA or Sheahan.

I could not agree more with this

Posted by EthrDemon on 10/14/16 at 12:01 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

If Mrazek’s play was iffy, aside from the squeaker off the glove the there is more trouble with the Wings than is being blogged.

Too many men Coach
Tatar Disappeared
Majority of the defense D and Fwds) is bad bad bad Cut and paste
Ott trying to beat up Drouin Embarrassing
Larkin got new linemates too late Coach
Sorry Z you were GREAT for a long time but now   Father Time


Goose, Nielsen, MRAZEK, and a few others were very good

Had to laugh on Twitter , all the comments were like “bring on the Cup” then crash and burn

Overall could be a below .500 year but 81 games to go.

Sh!t happens and it will too many times this year.

I have seen NOTHING that shows me Blashill is ready or ever will be an NHL Coach, GM KH Cut and Paste

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 10/14/16 at 12:07 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

iffy goaltending by Petr Mrazek

This has really p!ssed me off, still.  No one is 100% right or wrong but GM you are nudging 100% wrong.
I usually wouldn’t say anything but this looks like a phantom blogger wrote this. One gaffe, many Holy Crap saves (ask Stamkos alone) saved double digits.  Bishop the clown helped the Wing’s offence.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 10/14/16 at 12:14 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

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.