The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/08/14 at 08:47 PM ET
When Mickey Redmond described what was eventually a 4-2 Red Wings win over the Buffalo Sabres as "not the prettiest of games," I thought, "You know what, I bet he's great at letting people down easy."
The Red Wings rallied from a 1-0 deficit--though it took 32-and-a-half minutes for them to do so--killed off 1:51 of a 5-on-3 almost immediately after Brendan Smith tied the game, did absolutely nothing on their own power plays, the Wings pushed themselves ahead by one goal early in the 3rd, by 2 later in the game, and the team predictably gave up a 3-2 goal with 2:11 left, having to eke out a 4-2 decision via an empty-netter...
And if there was ever a "greasy" game for Mike Babcock to earn his 313th win as a Red Wings coach, passing Jack Adams for first all time, it was this lipstick-wearing pig.
Points count, however, and with the Blue Jackets defeating Phoenix, the Wings remain only 2 points ahead of their nearest competitor going into tomorrow's "NBC Rivalry Night Game" against a possible 1st round opponent in the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Wings played a solid-enough first period, all things considered, shaking off some of the lackadaisical play they displayed in Montreal, but the team reacted to the dead crowd and the less-than-aggressive Sabres by retreating into something of a shell, so the power play awarded to the team all of 1:34 into the game seemed to harm more than it helped, and when the Wings whiffed on a late-period power play and headed into the 1st intermission even, in theory, anyway, they were sitting pretty.
Zemgus Girgensons felt otherwise, however, and thanks to a nothing play in which Kyle Quincey and Danny DeKeyser were caught completely flat-footed, Girgensons tipped a Cody Hodgson pass past Jimmy Howard 1:31 into the 2nd:
Howard was strong in net as the Wings whiffed on another power play--Franzen sure tried hard to score but missed the net 5 times, and the Wings' "cute" play yielded a staggering 30 attempts blocked or sent wide--and it took this slick play by Brendan Smith to tie things up at 12:28, via the aforementioned Franzen and Daniel Alfredsson:
Howard and his teammates then got to work on that 5-on-3...
And after the Wings whiffed on a power play that spanned the end of the 2nd period and beginning of the 3rd--as well as a power play awarded 1:11 into the period--Darren Helm got to work on giving the Wings the lead thanks to a slick Kyle Quincey pass(!) and the kind of urgency that his higher-line teammates weren't displaying, scoring 3:33 into the period:
The Wings sagged a bit after that, but they were strong enough to stick with it to the point that David Legwand was given something of a gift by an otherwise superb Matt Hackett, with Drew Miller registering career point 100 on Legwand's 51st point on the year, with 4:14 left in the 3rd:
Team Runs With Scissors remains one willing to self-inflict wounds, so when the Wings' forwards got caught at center ice--Helm, MIller and Tomas Jurco--Cody Hodgson gave the puck to Zemgus Girgensons again, he walked around Niklas Kronwall, Brendan Smith did little more than wave at Girgensons, and he jammed the puck past someone who should have had this one in the otherwise superb Howard with 2:11 left:
Thankfully, the Wings bore down after that, and Pavel Datsyuk, who was frustrated with his inability to do all the stuff he's used to doing when he's fully healthy, put things away with an unassisted empty-net goal 5 seconds before a scary final minute of the 3rd period ended:
Sometimes ugly is necessary, and going into tomorrow night's message-sender, the Wings needed these points any way they could get 'em. They got 'em ugly, and they got 'em while scaring the shit out of their fans, but that's the way this year's team seems to operate.
Shots: 37-27 Detroit. Detroit out-shot Buffalo 12-9 in the 1st, 13-9 in the 2nd and 12-9 in the 3rd.
Special teams: Detroit went 0-for-5 in 10:00 of PP time; Buffalo went 0-for-3 in 4:09 of PP time, including 1:51 of 5 on 3 time.
Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 27 for Detroit; Matt Hackett stopped 33 of 36 and the Wings' last goal was scored into an empty net.
The person who picked the 3 stars went unnamed: whoever he or she was picked Darren Helm, Brendan Smith and Zemgus Girgensons.
The Red Wings' goals: Smith (5) from Franzen (25) and Alfredsson (30);
Helm (12) from Quincey (9);
Legwand (14) from Miller (8);
Datsyuk (17), unassisted, empty net.
Faceoffs 38-17 Detroit (Detroit won 69%);
Blocked shots 16-10 Buffalo;
Missed shots 14-5 Detroit (Detroit had 67 shot attempts to Buffalo's 42; Detroit fired 37 shots on Hackett or the Sabres' net and 30 wide/blocked);
Hits 18-7 Buffalo;
Giveaways 7-3 Buffalo;
Takeaways 3-1 Buffalo.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 14-and-6 (70%); Glendening went 7-and-7 (50%); Helm went 10-and-0 (100%); Sheahan went 5-and-4 (56%); Alfredsson and Tatar won their only faceoffs.
Shots: Datsyuk led the Wings with 5 shots; Legwand and Helm had 4 shots; Nyquist,Sheahan, Tatar and Jurco had 3 shots; Smith, Abdelkader, Quincey and Franzen had 2 shots; Kindl, Alfredsson, Miller and Kronwall had 1 shot.
Blocked attempts: Datsyuk, Quincey, Kronwall and Franzen had 2 attempts blocked; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Nyquist, Legwand, Jurco, Helm and DeKeyser had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Franzen missed the net 5 times; Helm and Kronwall missed the net 2 times; Smith, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Miller and DeKeyser missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Glendening had 3 hits; Kronwall had 2 hits; Sheahan and Miller had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Jurco, Glendening and Franzen had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Glendening was credited with the team's only takeaway.
Blocked opponent shots: Quincey blocked 3 shots; Abdelkader and Lashoff blocked 2 shots; Nyquist, Sheahan and DeKeyser missed 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Abdelkader, Helm and DeKeyser took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at +10. Jurco finished at -1; Alfredsson, Miller and Franzen finished at +1; Smith, Datsyuk, Glendening and Kronwall finished at +2.
Points: Smith, Datsyuk, Legwand and Helm had goals; Alfredsson, Miller, Quincey and Franzen had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 22:56 played; Quincey played 20:45; Datsyuk played 20:18;
Franzen played 19:29; DeKeyser played 19:12; Nyquist played 18:59;
Smith played 18:41; Legwand played 15:18; Abdelkader played 14:51;
Glendening played 14:26; Helm played 14:24; Kindl played 14:18;
Miller played 14:03; Sheahan played 13:39; Tatar played 13:30;
Lashoff played 13:30; Jurco played 12:57; Alfredsson played 12:49.
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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.