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The Malik Report

Red Wings-Sabres quick take: too customarily and expectedly close for comfort

WHEW!

One could expect the Red Wings to have a bit of a let-down after beating the Bruins, one could expect the Wings to predictably play down to the level of their opponent to some extent, and one could expect the Wings to have more trouble than they thought was necessary when battling the Sabres...

But the Red Wings did exactly what Mike Babcock warned they would with Pavel Datsyuk returning--they watched--and as such, the Wings SQUEAKED out of their affair with Buffalo, which they led 3-0 for 32-and-a-half minutes, with 2 points and a 3-2 win, thanks in no small part to Johan Franzen's ass blocking a last-second Rasmus Ristolainen shot.

The Wings were lent hands on the scoreboard--Chicago defeated Columbus 4-3 with 3.7 seconds left in regulation (Wings have 88 points to 85 for Columbus, 5 games remaining for both teams), New Jersey eliminated the Capitals from the Wild Card race with a 2-1 win, and if the Montreal Canadiens believe in a thing called complacency, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Ottawa 7-4 might have the Habs going into tomorrow's game a little loosey goosey against a Wings team that has no choice but to take EVERYONE seriously.

The first period was great! Off a Danny DeKeyser point shot, Drew Miller and Luke Glendening mucked the puck back and diagonally across the front of the net to Darren Helm, who easily deposited the puck past Matt Hackett 5:47 into the 1st period...

A little under ten minutes later, Tomas Jurco scored on the power play, tipping Danny DeKeyser's walk-and-shoot shot past Hackett, at 14:12...

And just over a minute later, Daniel Alfredsson, whose drop pass set up the power play goal, scored via a superb depositing of a Jakub Kindl rebound past Hackett, at 15:28:

Regrettably, the Wings, who out-shot Buffao 12-7 in the 1st period, did a shitty job of matching their effort, intensity, attention to detail and determination throughout the second and third periods, and as such, Wings fans needed to clench their rears as the Wings, in no small part aided by Don VanMassenhoven's "let 'em play" policy in his final game, sat on their butts far too regularly over the final 40 minutes.

The Sabres kept clawing and clawing at the Wings as they drop-passed and shot so very many pucks into Sabres players or wide of the net trying to make pretty plays (Detroit had 29 shots ON the net and 33 wide/blocked), to the point that David Legwand lost his Gustav Nyquist line privileges, to the point that there was a whole lot of "learning" (read: mistake-making) done by Riley and the Slovaks and the Defensive Disaster Area that is Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff, and eventually...

The Sabres got a power play off of the second of two DOOFY Brendan Smith penalties, and right of the faceoff, Jamie McBain got WAY deep as a defenseman and managed to rifle a whiffleball past Jimmy Howard at 12:28--and Howard should've had it regardless of the fact that a defenseman fired a shot from the faceoff dot via a tricky diagonal pass, it was soft, plain and simple...

And the Wings kept playing down to the level of their opponents, standing, watching, just letting themselves be out-worked, out-hustled and ground into and interfered into complacency.

In the third period, the Wings got caught off of a faceoff in a much more direct manner: Nicholas Desauriers chipped a no-see-um past Howard because Riley Sheahan lost the draw and both Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl chose not to take Deslauriers at 6:40...

And between all the dipsy-doodles, dekes, drop passes and cutesy stuff, the lax defensive play, the closing down of what was a highway through the neutral zone for the first and second periods, just plain old crap play on the 3 power plays the Wings got (the Kid Line with DeKeyser and Alfredsson works well, but Kronwall as a defenseman with Legwand, Datsyuk, Franzen and Nyquist as "rovers" is a hot mess) yielded Jimmy Howard having to assuage for his mistakes with nary a whiff of support at some points...

And the game really coming down to the Wings having to win a late faceoff (which they did not) thanks to a doofy Pavel Datsyuk icing play late, and Franzen's ass saved the Wings' butts as they squeaked out two desperately-needed points.

Now the team goes to Montreal...

And here's hoping that the Wings:

1. Take the Canadiens, who won in footloose and fancy-free style against Ottawa, and MANHANDLED Detroit a week ago Thursday, very seriously;

2. And that they skate into Buffalo next Tuesday a little smarter and a little more ready to play against a dangerous opponent thanks to this little learning experience.

My Twitter musical joke is that the Queens of the Stone Age song, "Tangled Up in Plaid" has to be the Wings' theme song as it contains the lyrics, "Oh yes, it hurts. Oh yes, it must"...And I hate to say it, but things seem to play themselves out that way more often than not.

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, Fox Sports Detroit posted Daniel Alfredsson's post-game comments...

And Tomas Jurco's comments:

Statistics:

Shots 31-23 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Buffalo 12-7 in the 1st, 9-7 in the 2nd and 10-9 in the 3rd.

Special teams: Detroit went 1-for-3 in 4:03 of PP time; Buffalo went 1-for-3 in 3:01 of PP time.

Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 21 of 23 shots for Detroit; Matt Hackett stopped 28 of 31 shots for Buffalo.

The 3 stars were picked by Michigan Radio's Rich Kinkaide, and he picked Luke Adam, Danny DeKeyser and Darren Helm.

The Red Wings' goals: Helm (11) from Glendening (6) and DeKeyser (18);

Jurco (7) from DeKeyser (19) and Alfredsson (29), PPG;

Alfredsson (18) from Kindl (16) and Abdelkader (17).

Faceoffs 32-23 Detroit (Detroit won 58%);

Blocked shots 22-16 Buffalo;

Missed shots 11-4 Detroit (attempts 52-42 Detroit; Detroit had 29 shots on the net and 33 wide/blocked);

Hits 25-18 Buffalo;

Giveaways 4-1 Detroit;

Takeaways 7-3 Detroit.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Glendening went 11-and-6 (65%); Datsyuk went 10-and-2 (83%); Sheahan went 5-and-7 (42%); Legwand went 4-and-5 (44%); Helm went 1-and-2 (33%); Abdelkader won his only faceoff; Franzen lost his only faceoff.

Shots: Jurco, Helm and Franzen led the team with 4 shots; Smith, Alfredsson, Nyquist, Quincey and DeKeyser had 2 shots; Kindl, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Sheahan, Legwand, Miller and Tatar had 1 shot.

Blocked attempts: Glendening fired 4 shots into Sabres players; Alfredsson had 3 attempts blocked; Datsyuk, Tatar, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 2 attempts blocked; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Nyquist, Jurco, Quincey and Helm had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Datsyuk, Nyquist and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Abdelkader, Legwand, Miller and Kronwall missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Quincey and Kronwall led the team with 3 hits; Kindl, Abdelkader, Tatar and Glendening had 2 hits; Smith, Legwand, Jurco and DeKeyser had 1 hit.

Giveaways: Sheahan, Lashoff and DeKeyser had giveaways.

Takeaways: Nyquist had 4 takeaways; Alfredsson, Datsyuk and Sheahan had 1 takeaway.

Blocked opponent shots: DeKeyser blocked 4 shots; Lashoff and Kronwall blocked 3 shots; Abdelkader blocked 2 shots; Smith, Alfredsson, Legwand and Franzen blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Smith took 2 minors; Legwand took 1 minor penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at +5. Sheahan, Tatar, and Jurco finished at -1; Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Miller, Quincey, Glendening, Helm and DeKeyser finished at +1.

Points: Alfredsson had a goal and an assist for 2 points; DeKeyser had 2 assists; Jurco and Helm had goals; Kindl, Abdelkader and Glendening had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 20:45 played; DeKeyser played 19:30; Quincey played 17:59;

Smith played 17:38; Franzen played 17:16; Kindl played 16:08;

Nyquist played 15:58; Datsyuk played 15:12; Legwand played 14:23;

Lashoff played 13:42; Abdelkader played 13:20; Jurco played 13:18;

Sheahan played 12:50; Tatar played 12:33; Glendening played 12:33;

Miller played 12:01; Helm played 12:00; Alfredsson played 11:58.

Via RedWingsFeed again, the Wings posted post-game comments from Gustav Nyquist...

Alfredsson...

And coach Mike Babcock:

 

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

The Capitals can still get 91 points. They aren’t eliminated from the race yet.

Posted by Diggler from Marquette, MI on 04/04/14 at 09:40 PM ET

Avatar

Babs scratched Andersson and Bert tonight. Did he start reading fan forums?

Posted by VPalmer on 04/04/14 at 10:40 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Literally, LOL no. He doesn’t give a poop about fan reaction.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/04/14 at 10:50 PM ET

Avatar

He doesn’t give a poop about fan reaction.

I know that, lol. But this is the coach who was benching Tatar for Samuelsson and Cleary. So there was a real evolution in Babs’ thinking throughout the season. Jurco would have never played in front of Bert 2 months ago.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/04/14 at 11:01 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Frankly, it’s a lovely surprise. I’m glad that he’s allowed the kids to continue to hold the jobs they’ve “stolen.”

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/04/14 at 11:24 PM ET

DocF's avatar

I know the playoff race is still very close, but I was very pleased to see the results tonight.  Chicago managed to come through at the very end to kelp. 
for a long time, like going back to around 1997, the Red Wings seem to lose interest in games against really lousy teams.  And make no mistake, the Buffalo Sabres are a lousy team.  I don’t understand this lack of killer instinct.  Perhaps the lack of a guy like Joe Kocur just makes it too easy to let up.

Anyway, the result was about as good as it could be.  The only thing that might have been better would have been if both Washington and New Jersey could have lost, but considering they were playing each other…..............

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 04/04/14 at 11:32 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

A) Was I the only one hoping that Datsyuk didn’t skate within 5’ of the boards…just in case some moron from Buffalo decided to make a name for himself and plaster him?

B) I think this was a game that those of us that Love/Hate Franzen looks at and says:  Franzen had 4 shots.  The Mule would have had 3 goals.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 04/05/14 at 12:54 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.