The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/06/14 at 11:21 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings' 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers started out as a wash and finished as a heart-attack-inducing thriller, but as the Wings try to solidify at least some sort of playoff footing heading into the Olympic break, I'll take the atrial fibrillation ahead of a day set aside to promote women's heart health.
This time the Red Wings at least flipped the script against a team that's become a nemesis of sorts--and a team that the Wings hopefully won't play again until next season--by out-shooting the Panthers by a wide, wide margin but getting scored on first instead of surrendering a lead, with Scottie Upshall's breakaway goal 19:34 into the 1st (Howard leans to the right, Upshall scores through the left pad) ruining a dominant 11-to-2 shot disparity and incredibly strong first period effort by the Wings.
A slightly tentatative Pavel Datsyuk and company didn't waiver, however, and Daniel Alfredsson scored a helluva top-shelf goal off a fine exchange with Henrik Zetterberg, who didn't get an assist, and a set of passes and rebound retrievals, respectively, by Niklas Kronwall and Justin Abdelkader 6:30 into the 2nd:
Alfredsson tied Nicklas Lidstrom for second in Swedish-born NHL scoring on the goal.
The Red Wings' momentum kept going despite a middling effort by Jonathan Ericsson--who seemed to be channeling his inner Kyle Quincey--and some adventurous power play moments by the Datsyuk-Sheahan-Jurco-with-DeKeyser-and-Tatar-on-the-point unit, and Gustav Nyquist did a fantastic job of converting a fine pair of Jimmy Howard saves into goal #14 for #14, scored with 6:46 left in the 2nd.
Regrettably, the wind seemed to get blown out of the Wings' sails after Tomas Kopecky took a pair of minors for high-sticking Luke Glendening and chipping a puck at the ref, respectively, at 14:01--forty-seven seconds after Nyquist's goal--and a predictable Wings, "Let's try to pass it into the net!" power play sapped Detroits' momentum.
The Wings emerged from the second period out-shooting Florida 12-6 in the 2nd and 23-8 overall, but that wasn't going to last.
In the third period, the Wings were...Kinda crappy, kinda predictably against Florida. The Panthers got a pair of even-up penalties as Daniel Alfredsson was called for more or less shoving a Panther at 5:02 and Brian Lashoff got a late call for cross-checking with 2:26 left in regulation, but in between the two and after Lashoff headed to the box, the WIngs let the Panthers pepper Jimmy Howard with SIXTEEN shots, and Howard fumbled and bumbled on occasion, but he was rock-solid, and when Brian Lashoff came out of the penalty box, Darren Helm lent him a hand in scoring his first in 81 games:
Pavel Datsyuk was tentative, Jonathan Ericsson was awful, putting Joakim Andersson on the Glendening-Miller line has sapped it of its "pop" and the ending was scary as *#$%@&, but the Wings won, and they'll be heading into Tampa Bay for a game against a Lightning team that lost Ben Bishop and Valtteri Filppula's services en route to a negative result on Thursday:
Given that the Wings blew leads and gave away points to the Panthers and Divin' Tim Thomas on so many occasions, I'll take this one and suggest that the Wings run and do not walk to the team plane to get the *#$%@& out of dodge.
Now Detroit needs to end on a strong note and attempt to push to within three points of the Bolts on Saturday.
This guy was pretty good, too:
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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.