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Red Wings-Panthers quick take: rope-a-dope wins still count

The Detroit Red Wings weren't exactly at their best against the Florida Panthers, but a combination of strong special teams play (the Wings scored on their first 2 power plays), solid-enough penalty-killing (was there a quota on stick fouls or something?) and strong goaltending--by Jonas Gustavsson and some of his defensemen--yielded a wild, crazy, scary-at-times but eventually at least 2-point-worthy 4-3 win.

The Wings did blow yet another 2-goal lead to the Panthers, and they did give the Panthers some absolute gifts in the form of a bizarre set of 2-2 and 4-3 goals where the Wings essentially gave the Panthers the puck and stood around and watched them put the puck into the net, but in the end, effort trumped a middling level of attention to detail and/or fit and finish, and the Wings did indeed earn a gutsy win--perhaps despite themselves.

Everything went perfectly early. Daniel Alfredsson scored a slick goal off of a nice pass from Niklas Kronwall and via a slick Todd Bertuzzi screen 3:47 in, on the power play...

And nearly 11 minutes later, at 14:29, Henrik Zetterberg scored an elegant top-shelf goal on the power play, via a wonderful Pavel Datsyuk pass:

The Panthers' comeback seemed impossible until the Wings set up their turnover bakery between the bluelines in the second period, and when the Wings had to kill a Brendan Smith penalty 12 minutes in, the team essentially backed in and watched Brian Campbell pass the puck to Sean Bergenheim, who easily tucked the puck past Jonas Gustavsson:

Two minutes later, at 14:59, Nick Bjugstad was given a pair of gifts by Tomas Jurco (giveaway) and Danny DeKeyser and Kyle Quincey (who chose to simply let Bjugstad walk in), and Bjugstad tied the game as a result:

Things looked grim heading into the 3rd, especially given the Wings' status as having blown 2 2-goal leads en route to 2 losses against Florida, but the Wings came out for the 3rd ready to go.

Off the opening faceoff, the Wings gained possession and control in the Panthers' zone and Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith combined for something good for once--a goal, 42 seconds in...

And Gustav Nyquist scored a lovely off-the-faceoff goal at 1:20, some 38 seconds after Smith scored:

The Wings wouldn't be the Wings if they didn't make things close, so it wasn't surprising that a dumb Kyle Quincey turnover yielded a Sean Bergenheim goal through traffic 4:29 in-and this was not Jonas Gustavsson's greatest moment...

But some remarkable saves by Jonas Gustavsson, Brendan Smith and a couple other friends allowed the Wings to all but steal a win from both the Panthers and themselves, and while it wasn't pretty...

Sometimes you take what you can get. This one was absolutely terrifying for Wings fans to watch, but two points are two points.



Shots 33-31 Florida overall. Detroit was out-shot 12-7 in the 1st, they out-shot Florida 11-10 in the 2nd and out-shot Florida 13-11 in the 3rd.

Special teams: The Wings went 2-for-5 in 7:12 of PP time; the Panthers went 1-for-6 in 9:52 of PP time.

Goaltending: Jonas Gustavsson stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced for Detroit; Scott Clemensen stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced for Florida.

The 3 stars were picked by the "South Florida Media," and they picked Nick Bjugstad, Henrik Zetterberg and Sean Bergenheim.

The Red Wings' goals: Alfredsson (10) from Kronwall (22) and Datsyuk (16), PPG;

Zetterberg (12) from Datsyuk (7), PPG;

Smith (1) from Quincey (5);

Nyquist (5) from Kindl (10) and Tatar (8).

Faceoffs 34-32 Florida (Detroit won 48%);

Blocked shots 22-12 Detroit;

Missed shots 15-2 Florida (total attempts 70-45 Florida?);

Hits 37-18 Detroit;

Giveaways 6-1 Florida;

Takeaways 6-5 Florida.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 6-and-12 (33%); Zetterberg went 11-and-6 (65%); Andersson went 6-and-7 (46%); Glendening went 8-and-4 (67%); Tatar went 0-and-4 (0%); Abdelkader went 1-and-1 (50%).

Shots: Nyquist led the Wings with 5; Jurco had 4; Kindl, Tatar, Quincey and Zetterberg had 3; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Miller and Kronwall had 2; Smith and Lashoff had 1.

Blocked attempts: Zetterberg hit Panthers players 4 times; Quincey and Bertuzzi had 2 attempts blocked; Alfredsson, Nyquist, Andersson and Kronwall had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: If we believe the Panthers, only Kindl and Nyquist missed the net.

Hits: Bertuzzi led the Wings with 4 hits; Abdelkader had 3; Smith, Kindl and Lashoff had 2; Datsyuk, Jurco, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Cleary had 1.

Giveaways: If we believe the Panthers, only Gustavsson had a giveaway.

Takeaways: Datsyuk had 3 takeaways; Nyquist had 2.

Blocked opponent shots: Both Lashoff and DeKeyser blocked 4 shots; Smith and Kronwall blocked 3; Kindl blocked 2; Alfredsson, Andersson, Miller, Quincey, Bertuzzi and Cleary blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Quincey took 2 minors; Smith, Lashoff, Zetterberg and Bertuzzi took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective zero. Jurco and DeKeyser finished at -2; Datsyuk, Quincey and Bertuzzi finished at -1; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Tatar, Lashoff and Zetterberg finished at +1.

Points: Datsyuk had 2 assists; Smith, Alfredsson, Nyquist and Zetterberg had goals; Kindl, Tatar, Quincey and Kronwall had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the Wings with 24:58 played; DeKeyser played 23:02; Quincey played 21:46;

Zetterberg played 21:43; Smith played 20:28; Datsyuk played 18:53;

Alfredsson played 18:00; Abdelkader played 15:44; Kindl played 15:15;

Bertuzzi played 15:11; Andersson played 14:08; Miller played 13:17;

Glendening played 12:23; Tatar played 12:08; Cleary played 10:54;

Nyquist played 01:40; Lashoff played 10:39; Jurco played 10:32.

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Alan's avatar

We could have successfully played off a solid win if we had saved the rope-a-dope theatrics for the five minute mark of the third period, instead of the beginning of the second. Giving a team like the Panthers 1:30 of time in our zone with six skaters is never a good thing. There were about a half dozen times in those 90 second span that could have made this an entirely different conversation.

We had some better effort tonight. It looked a bit like Z being back in sparked a bit of give-a-fuch with some of the players.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/28/13 at 11:01 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

IMO It all starts on Defence. Wings have to move 1 or 2 D Men whenever they can. Going to be tough to win with the D as it is and even when Big E comes back.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 12/28/13 at 11:04 PM ET

Alan's avatar

...to clarify a little, the above isn’t to say I’m not happy with the win. two points is two points, and there’s a logjam behind us in the standings that we can ill afford to fall behind.

...that, and I’m not used to such indigestion while watching Wings games over dinner. Ye Gods…

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/28/13 at 11:11 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

They never really played as a team all game, had trouble getting out of their zone consistently, continued to use the tried and true “hold it in the zone for as long as I can and then ice it” play, continued to make dumb lateral passes when there was no reason to and plenty of reason not to (with Jurco’s giveaway being the most obvious example), and never really had sustained offense. All in all, a terrible game with few brights spots—definitely not the performance they wanted after the Isles game—that would have been a loss against just about any other opponent.

It would be nice if this is the start of them turning deserved losses into undeserved wins.

Posted by bleep bloop on 12/28/13 at 11:29 PM ET

Chet's avatar

shaky at best.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/28/13 at 11:34 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Just win, baby.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 12/29/13 at 01:01 AM ET


Messy, sloppy game with most guys playing different roles for what seems like the 2 millionth straight game.  Gustavsson and the blue line was mediocre defensively, but it was great to see some actual offensive production from back there.  For those who wonder why Smith constantly gets opportunities, that goal was why.  He’s (sadly) the guy with the best pure goal-scoring skills on Detroit’s whole blue line.

Maybe Detroit will go two whole weeks straight without losing players to injuries and we’ll start to see what this roster actually looks like.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/29/13 at 09:55 AM 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.


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