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The Malik Report

Red Wings-Sharks quick take: undermanned Wings get too cute, and pay for it

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...

And this hurt:

I bet that this guy, who was in attendance scouting for Team Canada, was bored:

Statistics:

Shots 27-24 Sharks overall.
Detroit was out-shot 7-4 in the 1st and 12-7 in the 2nd, but out-shot San Jose 12-6 in the 3rd. They were out-shot 2-1 in OT.

Detroit went 0-for-2 in 4:00 of PP time; San Jose went 0-for-3 in 6:00.

Jimmy Howard stopped 27 of 27 shots; Antti Niemi stopped 24 of 24.

The 3 stars were picked by ESPN's Craig Custance, and he picked Logan Couture, Jimmy Howard and Antti Niemi.

Faceoffs an ugly 36-28 San Jose (Detroit won 44%);

Blocked shots 14-11 Detroit;

Missed shots an ugly 15-4 Detroit (total attempts 50-45 Detroit, with Detroit firing 24 on net and 25 wide/blocked);

Hits 28-13 Detroit;

Giveaways 10-6 Detroit;

Takeaways 9-1 Detroit.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Franzen went 14-and-10 (58%); Datsyuk went 8-and-11 (42%); Weiss went 4-and-9 (31%); Andersson went 2-and-4 (33%); Bertuzzi and Cleary lost their only faceoffs.

Shots: Alfredsson and DeKeyser co-led the Wings wit h4 shots; Bertuzzi had 3; Tatar, Tootoo and Zetterberg had 2; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Ouellet, Cleary and Weiss had 1.

Blocked attempts: Alfredsson hit Sharks players 2 times; Smith, Kindl, Andersson, Tootoo, Lashoff, Bertuzzi, Ouellet, DeKeyser and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Missed shots: Abdelkader missed the net 3 times; Smith, Kindl and Quincey missed the net 2 times; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Tatar, Cleary and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 4 hits; Alfredsson, Tootoo and Zetterberg had 3; smith, Tatar, DeKeyser and Franzen had 2; Kindl, Datsyuk, Lashoff, Quincey, Bertuzzi, Ouellet and Cleary had 1.

Giveaways: Smith, Kindl and Bertuzzi had 2 giveaways; Quincey, Zetterberg, Weiss and Franzen had 1.

Takeaways: Tatar, Weiss and Franzen had 2 takeaways; Kindl, Datsyuk and Andersson had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Quincey blocked 5 shots; DeKeyser blocked 3; Smith, Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Andersson and Lashoff blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Datsyuk, Quincey and Bertuzzi took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: Nobody scored. Wings were even.

Points: Nobody scored. No points.

Ice time: Kindl led the team with 26:04 played; Smith played 21:57;Quincey played 21:20;

DeKeyser played 21:02; Alfredsson played 20:29; Lashoff played 20:24;

Zetterberg played 20:23; Datsyuk played 20:19; Franzen played 19:09;

Ouellet played 17:15; Abdelkader played 17:08; Cleary played 15:24;

Bertuzzi played 15:01; Weiss played 14:31; Tatar played 12:07;

Miller played 11:57; Andersson played 11:52; Tootoo played 7:38.

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, boom says Ouellet:


And the Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted a video of Mike Babcock's post-game presser:

 

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Comments

TreKronor's avatar

Few (any???) expected the Wings to win that game, and they stastically played about as good a game as you can play and still get a loss.  I’ll take it. 

Ouellet…he looks very promising.

Tatar…he looks like he belongs there.  Glad he didn’t look rusty.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/21/13 at 09:37 PM ET

Avatar

Why is our offense so anemic? I don’t get it. Other than Pav and Z, as usual, the rest of the team looked like they had zero chemistry whatsoever. Weiss is invisible. Bert is “heavy” on the puck but incredibly slow. Same goes for Cleary. Tatar played with inspiration and just like his spot was on the line, which it is on a daily basis. He, I think, deserves to say in. But again, our offense. It was downright horrible tonight. And I thought DD should have taken about 5 more shots rather than dishing out passes, like George noted.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/21/13 at 09:38 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The Wings played like a team in the defensive zone but they were too individualistic in the offensive zone—and too cute. That’s the game for me.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/21/13 at 09:48 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Well, that was an NHL game.

Posted by Primis on 10/21/13 at 10:10 PM ET

voline's avatar

I dunno, George. I wouldn’t be too hard on the Wings’ offense. It seemed to me that there was just not a lot of room out there. Both teams were suffocating in their own zone. I saw very few really good chances. Either a defender was there to deflect the shot, or the goalie was in good position and saw it well.

I do think the Wings’ power play was too cute, as you say. Also, Alfredsson has not been very good at keeping the puck from crossing the blue line when he’s on the point.

On the plus side, the Wings young defense looked good in a serious test. Xavier Ouellet looked amazingly composed for a 20 year old in his first NHL game. Him nailing Thornton was the highlight of the game for me.

Also, it looks like the Wings are addressing their puck possession problems. Five-on-five the Sharks outshot the Wings 22 to 20, which is basically a draw. The Wings actually out-shot-attempted (Corsi) the Sharks 43 to 28! That says to me that the Wings had possession of the puck in the Sharks’ zone way more than the Sharks did in the Wings’. Even if you take out attempted shots that were blocked (Fenwick) the Wings bested the Sharks, 35 unblocked shot-attempts to 23.

I feel better about the way the Wings played in this tie game (I refuse to acknowledge what they do after overtime) than I did the Avalanche game where Detroit won, but got outshot 28 to 40.

Posted by voline on 10/22/13 at 12:57 AM ET

perfection's avatar

i gotta hand it to Tootoo. he has to know his name is flying around as a surefire trade target and came out played really well. you definitely noticed him every time he was on the ice. he also played smart against a team that wasn’t looking to start any real trouble. Tootoo as a liability is what got him benched in the playoffs. As long as he’s not hurting us, he really is pretty effective out there. It’s kind of a shame actually. If only Sammy wasn’t “hurt” at buyout time. Tootoo definitely seems like he could help the team much more than Sammy over the long haul. But Sammy’s NTC and lack of waiver value make him basically unmovable. Not that we need Tootoo. And Sammy will be gone after this year regardless. And we DO certainly need Gus. That’s for damn sure. Weiss/Gus/Tatar third line. That’s what I want to see. Stat. Sorry Toots. You are a casualty to one bad contract (Sammy) and one surprise addition (Alfie).

Ouellet looks pretty incredible. He’s already incredibly composed out there (seemingly more so than Smith or Lashoff) and only is going to get better and better. Excited to see how he pans out.

I feel like Quincey has quietly picked up his game of late. He has made some great plays defending odd man rushes and has been great on the PK. 

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 10/22/13 at 02:14 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

I thought it was a beautifully matched game of two teams playing defense first. Yes, the Wings need to shoot instead of passing. They’ve been in that trap for the last few seasons - nothing new there. Brendan Smith is brutal to watch. He holds the puck too long and generates turnovers. I’m not sure what’s worse, holding the puck too long or passing to no one. Either way, the Sharks played great D, and so did the Wings.

All things considered, I though the Sharks looked like the better team. Most of that was because they were taking low percentage wrist shots right at Jimmy instead of connecting six passes in the zone before throwing the same shot in the same place. That was the difference (for me) in the game.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 10/22/13 at 09:36 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.