The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/09/14 at 02:55 PM ET
The Red Wings played their fourth game in five-and-a-half days...As you might expect, displaying a fragile sense of confidence, a mediocre attack, poor team play on defense and an inability to generate or sustain any sort of forecheck against a New York Rangers team that was quite happy to grind out a 2-0 win over the Wings on Sunday--despite some stellar goaltending from Jimmy Howard (until the 3rd goal, which was terrible) and an infomercial for "Subtle Interference" by Eddie Olczyk.
On predictably bad ice and with the narration of an NBC crew that seemed intent upon convincing the world that the Red Wings are a dirty bunch of deceptive, interference-happy scumbags, the refereeing was shitty in terms of calling legitimate penalties on both teams, the Red Wings either couldn't or wouldn't stop drop passing (to a ridiculous extent in terms of the "Kid Line"[please, please, stop drop passing, Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco, go to the damn net] and Daniel Alfredsson, who both had particularly rough outings), and they kept both sending 1 puck-carrier into 3 or 4 Rangers through the neutral zone or just over the blueline, and yet they managed to give up so many 3-on-2's against that it was silly.
The poor team effort, an inability or unwillingness to concentrate on detail work and just what appeared to be an extremely mentally as well as physically exhausted Wings team yielded yet another NBC-or-NBCSN-or-Start Time Before 7:30 Local Time loss, and now the Wings go into Columbus rather desperately needing to wrap up this 5-games-in-8-nights stretch with a win...before a two-day break precedes a game-every-other-night schedule for the remainder of the month.
The Wings have gone 1-2-and-1 over the first 4 of their 5-in-8-nights stretch, and that isn't good enough, regardless of who you're scapegoating today (and Nyquist was pretty shitty, honestly, to those of you who are going to blame Kronwall, Ericsson, Howard--who's been very good as Jonas Gustavsson has surprisingly gone downhill a bit of late--or whoever else for what have been team losses over the past week).
The Rangers' first goal, from Bryan Boyle, resulted from a dumb 3-on-2 where Daniel Alfredsson (lost since he lost his teeth), Joakim Andersson and Drew Miller got caught on a 3-on-2, Brian Lashoff and Brendan Smith made some doofy mistakes and Smith tipped the shot past Howard 5:14 into the 1st...
And despite some adventurous refereeing and some poor play, the Wings held on until the first shift of the first period, when Jonathan Ericsson was to blame for a poor clearing attempt, the Rangers shoveled the puck to the net and it went off BOTH of Niklas Kronwall's skate and Chris Kreider's stick, yielding a "no chance for the goalie" goal at 14 seconds of the third...
But the salt-away goal was another poor performance from the 1st line combined with bad management by Kronwall on the 2-on-1 and a Jimmy Howard who lost his angle, yielding a shitty, shitty goal against with 7:49 left in the 3rd.
The Wings' continued inability to string wins together = this team can barely afford to lose a single game going forward, and in all honesty, we're going to be watching this team either make the playoffs or miss them depending on what they do during their final game against St. Louis on April 13th.
In the interim, it's up to the goaltender(s), players and coaches to try to sustain a forecheck, sustain attention to detail, sustain momentum and just stop playing scared as they head to Colubus on Tuesday.
The Wings can't do a thing to change the fact that Howard struggled early, that Gustavsson struggled lately, that Alfredsson's been hot and cold, that the Kid Line looked like it was stunned by the bright lights of the big stage in New York today, and they can't change any of their past mistakes...
But they've gotta be a whole lot better going forward to make the playoffs, and they're climing uphill mostly due to self-inflicted wounds.
That's got to change in a hurry, regardless of which player or coach you choose to single out for blame in what really have been "team losses" of late.
Shots 31-30 New York overall. The Rangers out-shot Detroit 12-11 in the 1st, out-shot Detroit 9-7 in the 2nd and were out-shot 12-10 in the 3rd.
Special teams: both the Red Wings and Rangers went 0-for-3 in 5:24 of PP time.
Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 28 of 31 shots for Detroit; Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 of 30 shots for New York.
The 3 stars were picked by the "attending media," and they picked Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider and Henrik Lundqvist.
The Red Wings' goals: the Wings were shut out.
Faceoffs 29-21 Detroit (Detroit won 58%);
Blocked shots 17-9 Detroit;
Missed shots 9-4 New York (attempts 57-41 New York, with the Wings firing 30 shots on Lundqvist and 13 wide/blocked);
Hits 21-17 New York;
Giveaways 8-7 New York;
Takeaways 8-3 New York.
Faceoffs: Sheahan went 9-and-2 (82%); Legwand went 6-and-7 (46%); Glendening went 6-and-4 (60%); Andersson went 4-and-3 (57%); Franzen went 3-and-2 (60%); Abdelkader went 0-and-3 (0%); Nyquist won his only faceoff.
Shots: Nyquist and Sheahan co-led the Wings with 4 shots; Tatar, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 3; Abdelkader, Abdelkader, Andersson and DeKeyser had 2; Smith, Miller, Lashoff, Jurco, Quincey, Ericsson and Franzen had 1.
Blocked attempts: Quincey and Franzen had 2 attempts blocked; Smith, Nyquist, Andersson, Tatar and DeKeyser had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Smith, Andersson, Lashoff and DeKeyser missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Abdelkader and Glendening had 3 hits; Miller, Tatar, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 2; Smith, Sheahan and Legwand had 1.
Giveaways: Kronwall had 3 giveaways; Sheahan, Legwand, Lashoff and Jurco had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Smith, Ericsson and DeKeyser had takeaways.
Blocked opponent shots: DeKeyser blocked 4 shots; Kronwall blocked 3; Alfredsson blocked 2; Abdelkader, Sheahan, Legwand, Andersson, Miller, Lashoff, Glendening and Franzen blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Howard, Quincey and Franzen took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: Nyquist, Ericsson, Kronwall and Franzen finished at -2; Smith, Alfredsson, Legwand, Andersson, Miller, Lashoff and Bertuzzi finished at -1.
Points: No one registered a point.
Ice time: DeKeyser led the Wings with 22:55 played; Kronwall played 22:00; Ericsson played 21:26;
Quincey played 21:09; Franzen played 17:32; Legwand played 17:31;
Nyquist played 16:53; Glendening played 15:40; Jurco played 15:20;
Abdelkader played 14:36; Smith played 14:35; Sheahan played 14:35;
Miller played 14:18; Alfredsson played 14:08; Tatar played 13:51;
Lashoff played 12:54; Bertuzzi played 12:51; Andersson played 11:40.
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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.