The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/21/13 at 10:28 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings' 1-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks includes a shutout for Jimmy Howard, a shutout for Antti "Freeze The Puck For A Faceoff Every Time" Niemi, who stoned Todd Bertuzzi in the shootout, and an unbeaten status for San Jose thanks to Logan Couture's shootout goal...
And little to no aesthetic value. Minus Brent Burns and Dan Boyle, the Sharks played an ugly road game, and minus Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, a Wings team struggling to find offense beyond the first game played...an ugly road game.
The Wings were out-shot badly in the 1st and second periods--7-4 and then 12-7--but Jimmy Howard was stellar in in the Wings' crease, and the Wings' young defense, which included Brendan Smith playing alongside Xavier Ouellet sans Ericsson and Kronwall.
They were pretty good, actually, and in what was a clutch-and-grab-happy game full of missed calls on both sides, the Wings slowly but surely clawed their way back into the game, shaking off first heavy road legs and then a furious 2nd period Sharks assault, out-shooting San Jose 12-6 in the 3rd and being out-shot 2-1 in OT...
Mostly because the Wings got too cute too regularly. On their 3rd period power play, awarded with 4:57 left in the 3rd, the Wings tried to pass the puck into submission, and they did the same in OT.
It came down to a shootout, and Pavel Datsyuk missed, Daniel Alfredsson shoveled the puck into Niemi and Niemi made a fantastic leg save on Bertuzzi, while Jimmy Howard had to thank the post for stopping Patrick Marleau and gave up a relatively easy blocker side goal to Logan Couture, who backed him in.
That was all the Sharks needed to remain unbeaten against a team that can't seem to find any secondary scoring, and against a team whose efforts were summarized by both over-passing and Johan Franzen trying to skate up the ice all alone, like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg can, with the puck inevitably plucked off his stick blade by a tenacious Sharks defender.
The Sharks were excellent in their zone, the Wings were fantastic in theirs, and the road team was very happy to play to a shootout, while the Tootoo-and-Tatar-playing Wings worked hard but foiled their own efforts by playing fancy-pants hockey when they needed to be "heavier," as Babcock says, and harder in front of Niemi. You can't finesse the puck in against San Jose, and while the Wings' defense played admirably, their offense wasn't willing to display a killer instinct or score "dirty" goals, and it cost them a point.
It wasn't really fair to Howard, who was sensational when necessary. No run support. Sound familiar?
Detroit's now 6-3-and-1, and they face an incredibly motivated Senators team and a cavalcade of Canadian media types on Wednesday and the struggling Rangers on Saturday.
The Wings have now earned 1 of 4 possible points over the last 2 games, and they need to find their swagger again.
My stat of note: Detroit had 24 shots on Niemi. They fired more attempts 25 either wide or into Sharks players.
Via RedWingsFeed, this is the only goal that counted...
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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.