The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/26/13 at 09:52 PM ET
Frustrating. Frustrating as hell. The Red Wings have lost four straight games now, having dropped consecutive games to Phoenix, San Jose, Ottawa and now a 3-2 overtime decision to the New York Rangers that was anything but fair to Jimmy Howard, who was absolutely sensational in the loss for the now 6-4-and-2 Wings.
Something is bugging the Wings, just as something was bugging Todd Bertuzzi enough that he had to be sat for the third period, and the Wings either can't or won't hold on to a lead.
Detroit got off to a good enough start, trading chances with the Rangers but getting the first goal in what was more of a penalty-free "feeling-up" than feeling-out process in the 1st period, with Drew Miller chipping in a slick goal on a 2-on-1 with 2:48 left in the 1st...
But the Wings continue to surrender an absolutely ridiculous amount of shots, and combined with the bizarre standard of officiating--or the lack thereof--the Wings struggled like nobody's business in the 2nd, being out-shot 16-8 and giving up a goal to Benoit Pouliot on with 2:40 left in the 2nd, tying the game at 1--thanks to Brian Lashoff running a Ranger into his own goalie...
The Wings rebounded in a big way, with Daniel Alfredsson scoring a gorgeous 2-1 goal with 11 seconds left in the 2nd...
But the Wings played for the vast majority of the 3rd period sans Todd Bertuzzi and sans any sort of energy in the 3rd, with Mats Zuccarello being allowed to rip a hard shot past Howard, who was narrowed out of his ability to stop the puck by standing-around defensemen 2:18 into the 3rd...
And while the Wings rallied late, eventually out-shooting the Rangers 10-8, the Wings' power play sputtered when it had a chance to do damage 7:12 in, and as the refs allowed the Rags to grab and grope the Wings for the last 10 minutes...
The Wings seemed mentally and physically exhausted as they limped toward OT.
With Nicklas Lidstrom in the house--and the Wings are 0-and-3 with Lidstrom watching now--the Wings' OT effort was meagre at best, with the team taking the same long shots and being grabbed and held as they were toward the end of regulation, and the Rangers eventually broke through thanks to a terrible pinch by Kyle Quincey, a worse over-defending play by Danny DeKeyser and a slick pass from Pouliot to Brassard, who caught Howard squeezing his legs--12.9 left in OT.
Update: Howard was on FSD and he said that he tried to stop the puck but it rolled up off his blocker and over his body. He was PISSED OFF.
So the Wings end up with 2 out of a possible 6 points at home, they haven't won in over a week, their offense is stuck in neutral and their defense has been poor as the team continues to surrender 35+ shots per game.
It wasn't right to watch Howard get hung out to dry yet again by his teammates, and it's not fair to the fans paying or watching at home for the team to show such an incredible lack of identity, work ethic or attention to detail.
Howard stopped 37 of 40 shots, and that should have been enough against a team with two--and now three--wins.
For the record, Ken Daniels stated that the Wings will be selling "5: A Tribute to Nicklas Lidstrom" when his number is retired on March 6th. Bill Roose penned the book. I hope that he won't be allowed to watch that game.
Update: And now the Wings get three days off--one off-day tomorrow and two to work on things--before playing 4 games in 6 nights, in Vancouver on Wednesday the 30th, in Calgary on Friday November 1st, in Edmonton on Saturday the 2nd and in Winnipeg on Monday November 4th. The Wings have to get their shit together in a hurry.
Babcock on WXYT says that the Wings aren't doing a good job of wearing out the other team, that they're giving up far too many shots, that they're facing adversity and that while the 4-game road trip is good the team has to get way better in their own zone and way better taking care of the puck. He feels that the Wings are turning over far too many pucks and that they're not showing any sort of commitment to detail, that the turnovers are absolutely killing them, and that until they decide the right way to play mentally, they have no chance.
Babcock says the team started fine, their 2nd disappointed him, but when it gets to be a theme, and this is a theme, even the night they won in Colorado they had to steal the game back in the 3rd, you can't give the game away in the 2nd, you have to outplay the other team in your own barn and they haven't done that.
They're getting out-skated, if you're not playing in their zone, if you're turning over pucks and playing in their own zone they're losing, and turning over as much pucks as they are they're putting lots of hard miles on their defense.
He says that Howard was great and gave them a chance, and he excused himself, somewhat angry at having to answer the same questions as to how the Wings are to remedy their mistakes. He simply stated that he doesn't care how they get it done, that they have to improve.
Statistics: Shots 40-34 Rangers overall. Detroit was out-shot the Rangers 16-13 in the 1st, were out-shot 16-8 in the 2nd, out-shot the Rangers 10-8 in the 3rd and were out-shot 3-0 in OT.
The Wings went 1-for-4 in 7:05 of PP time; the Rangers went 1-for-3 in 4:15 of PP time.
Jimmy Howard stopped 37 of 40 shots; Cam Talbot stopped 32 of 34.
Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji picked the 3 stars, and she picked Pavel Datsyuk, Jimmy Howard and Derick Brassard.
The Wings' goals: Miller (1) from Andersson (2) and DeKeyser (2);
Alfredsson (2) from Datsyuk (7), PPG.
Faceoffs 34-32 Detroit (Detroit won 52%);
Blocked shots 7-5 New York;
Missed shots 12-9 Detroit (total attempts 54-53 Rangers; the Wings fired 34 shots on Talbot and sent 23 wide/blocked);
Hits 23-22 Detroit;
Giveaways 10-1 Detroit;
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 9-and-10 (47%); Weiss went 7-and-8 (47%); Datsyuk went 7-and-7 (50%); Franzen went 5-and-3 (63%); Andersson went 4-and-3 (57%); Miller went 1-and-1 (50%); Bertuzzi went 1-and-0 (100%).
Shots: Franzen led the Wings with 7 shots; Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Quincey, Zetterberg and Cleary had 3; Datsyuk and DeKeyser had 2; Smith, Miller, Tatar, Tootoo, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 1.
Blocked attempts: Alfredsson had 2 attempts blocked by Rangers players; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Quincey and DeKeyser had 1 attempt blocked;
Missed shots: Kindl, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Quincey and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Datsyuk and Zetterberg missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 5 hits; Smith and Miller had 3; Tootoo, Lashoff and Quincey had 2; Tatar, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Kronwall, Cleary and Weiss had 1.
Giveaways: Smith and Datsyuk had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Datsyuk, Quincey, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Franzen had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Alfredsson had 2 takeaways; Datsyuk, Tatar, Lashoff, Zetterberg and Weiss had 1.
Blocked opponent shots: Quincey and Kronwall blocked 2 shots; Lashoff blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Quincey took 2 minor penalties; Smith took 1 minor penalty.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -4. Kindl, Lashoff, Bertuzzi and Weiss finished at -1.
Points: Alfredsson and Miller scored goals; Datsyuk, Andersson and DeKeyser had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 27:52 played; Datsyuk played 22:14; Zetterberg played 21:42;
Franzen played 20:34; Quincey played 20:18; DeKeyser played 20:18;
Alfredsson played 20:03; Smith played 19:25; Kindl played 19:19;
Weiss played 17:46; Cleary played 17:30; Lashoff played 17:18;
Tatar played 15:11; Miller played 14:05; Abdelkader played 13:49;
Andersson played 10:31; Bertuzzi played 10:15; Tootoo played 6:34.
Update #2: NHL.com has already posted a slate of highlights:
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