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Red Wings-Sharks quick take: yet again, scoring problems doom the Wings

They just can't score. I don't know how else to put it. The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the San Jose Sharks, and with four straight road games coming up, starting with tomorrow night's tilt against Chicago (8:30 PM EDT, FSD Plus), the Wings...

Either couldn't or wouldn't score. Despite a sterling performance by Howard, shootout excluded, and the Wings rallying from a 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead 2:29 into the 3rd period, the Wings couldn't hold onto their lead, and really, aside from a 14-to-8-shot leading second period, they continue to struggle so incredibly mightily to score goals that it's infuriating, never mind frustrating.

I don't know what to say. I really don't. This could be truly devastating. It's not that the coach isn't doing enough (see: line and defensive changes), it's not that the goalie isn't doing enough...It's that the horses aren't getting the job done, and going 2-4-and-1 over the last seven is simply unacceptable.

Statistics:

Shots 30-29 SJ overall. San Jose out-shot Detroit 5-1 in the 1st, were out-shot 14-8 in the 2nd, out-shot Detroit 10-8 in the 3rd and shots were tied 1-1 in OT.

San Jose 1-for-4 in 7:06 of PP time; Wings 1-for-4 in 6:25.

Howard stopped 28 of 30; Niemi stopped 27 of 29.

The 3 stars were picked by Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji, and they were Logan Couture, Jimmy Howard and Patrick Marleau.

The Wings' goals: Abdelkader (8) from Franzen (16) and Smith (6);

Kindl (4) fro Zetterberg (28) and Datsyuk (26), PPG.

Faceoffs 38-28 Sharks (42% won by Detroit);

Blocked shots 17-10 San Jose;

Missed shots 15-13 San Jose (total attempts 59-55 Detroit, with Detroit firing 29 on net and 30 wide/blocked);

Hits 31-25 Detroit;

Giveaways a staggering 12-6 Detroit;

Takeaways 7-4 Detroit.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 10-and-10 (50%); Zetterberg went 5-and-10 (33%); Filppula went 7-and-7 (50%); Emmerton went 3-and-5 (38%); Andersson went 2-and-2 (50%); Franzen went 0-and-3; miller went 1-and-1.

Shots: Kindl led the team with 4 shots; Abdelkader, Brunner and Filppula had 3; Datsyuk, Emmerton Quincey, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 2; Cleary, Miller, Zetterberg, Ericsson, Andersson and Franzen had 1.

Blocked attempts: Filppula, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 2 attempts blocked; Smith, Kindl,Cleary, Datsyuk, Eaves, Emmerton, Quincey and Zetterberg had single attempts blocked.

Missed shots: Kindl, Datsyuk, Eaves and Filppula missed the net 2 times; Smith, Brunner, Emmerton, Zetterberg and Franzen had single attempts blocked.

Hits: Abdelkader was credited with 8 hits; Cleary had 4; Eaves had 3; Kindl, Datsyuk, Miller, Quincey and Zetterberg had 2; Emmerton, Ericsson, Kronwall, Andersson, DeKeyser and Franzen had 1.

Giveaways: Datsyuk had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Eaves, Miller, Brunner, Zetterberg, Filppula, Kronwall, Andersson and Franzen had 1 giveaway.

Takeaways: Nyquist had 2 takeaways; Smith, Cleary, Eaves, Brunner and Emmerton had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Smith blocked 4 shots; Ericsson and Kronwall blocked 2; Miller and Emmerton blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Smith, Cleary, Eaves and Ericsson took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished even. Brunner, Zetterberg and Kronwall finished at -1; Smith, Abdelkader and Quincey were +1.

Points: Abdelkader and Kindl scored goals; Smith, Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 27:27 played; Zetterberg played 23:41; Ericsson played 23:27;

Quincey played 22:21; Datsyuk played 20:18; Smith played 18:47;

Franzen played 18:44; Filppula played 18:40; Kindl played 18:00;

Cleary played 17:06; Cleary played 16:49; Miller played 16:14;

Abdelkader played 14:38; Nyquist played 14:14; Emmerton played 13:02;

Andersson played 10:53; Eaves played 10:36; Brunner played 8:52.

Update: Here's a slate of game highlights:

And here's the shootout:

 

For the record: Fox Sports Detroit's Ken Daniels said that Calle Jarnkrok and Tomas Jurco took in the game.  The Wings couldn't play Jarnkrok if they'd wanted to as the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation forbade him from playing in NHL games.

Update #2: The Wings' website posted clips of Henrik Zetterberg...

And Mike Babcock speaking to the media:

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Comments

Hootinani's avatar

Jimmy’s 5hole doomed the Wings, their lack of scoring just put him a position to give the game away.

Posted by Hootinani on 04/11/13 at 10:37 PM ET

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Well, I don’t have to feel quite so defeated tonight since they got a point. A win tomorrow and we can feel fairly good about the team.

Especially since beating the Blackhawks tomorrow would likely mean something went really, really well.

I don’t know how much the Wings can change when it comes to how they play with the roster so messed up at the moment, but I still say all problems come back to the inability to play puck possession hockey. Over passing and long range wristers from players coming down the wing aren’t going to get them anywhere. Players like Filppula need to get to the middle of the ice.

And I don’t know if changing the lines was really necessary. Babcock just went right back to what we had before he put Franzen at center, and it didn’t change anything. At least let me feel good about having D and Z together…

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 04/11/13 at 10:37 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Lots and lots and lots of long-distance shots whose rebounds aren’t pursued and whose pucks end up ground out in the Wings’ end. Lack of puck possession is definitely the problem..

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/11/13 at 10:44 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

It comes down to talent & experience…or lack thereof.

IMHO

zipper

Posted by w2j2 on 04/11/13 at 10:50 PM ET

Avatar

A lot of the time, I actually think they are trying to play puck possession…but they just get so afraid of the idea of not having the puck that they don’t accomplish anything. One way you can see it clearly is on the PP, when no one feels like doing anything creative and time gets wasted waiting for the perfect pass.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 04/11/13 at 11:07 PM ET

gt500x's avatar

I think they just suck. End of story.  I ain’t mad about it though—rebuilding year.

Posted by gt500x on 04/11/13 at 11:17 PM ET

Chet's avatar

plus, they’re still in 8th, the sky is not falling. yet.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/11/13 at 11:21 PM ET

calquake's avatar

I blame Homer.  His big a** is sorely missed in front of the net.  No current Wing plays his role as well… not Franzen, not Cleary and not Abdelkater.  No one is willing to pay the price of making the front of the net their “office”.  Until that role is filled or the Wings change their style of play don’t be surprised if the goal drought continues.

Posted by calquake on 04/12/13 at 12:34 AM ET

d ca's avatar

Big Bert was given the Homer role. He’s missed too…esp in these shootout games.

The Wings lost this one because of sloppy play on their PP that lead to a shorty and untimely penalties that allowed the Sharks to tie it. Newsflash, they’re going to triple team Dats every time they can.

Anyone else notice Z and how he’s controlling the puck in the offensive zone the past few games in the 3rd (and OT’s). He’s taken up the Bertuzzi one stick technique with some success.

I’m not going to whine about a shootout loss to a playoff team. It’s better to get this drought over with now than a few weeks (yeah I think they’re getting in—though you’ve got the NHL owned ‘yotes that might get a few calls down the stretch and somehow make a run of it too).

Posted by d ca on 04/12/13 at 01:58 AM ET

Avatar

Zetterberg has scored in only 1 of the past 19 games.
Franzen has scored 3 goals in the past 17 games.
Filppula has scored one goal in the past 12 games.
Datsyuk has 5 goals the past 24 games.
Brunner has one goal in the past 17 games.

This is not a coaching problem.  This is not a GM problem.  This is a players not playing well problem.

It should be obvious to anyone who can use a microwave that Zetterberg is in a steady decline.  Even with that he should still be scoring more often than in one game per 19, facing off at 33%, and being a minus most nights.

Yes, Franzen is streaky.  He should still be scoring more often than a goal every 9 games.

No, Fil is not a legit top 6 offensive player, but 1 goal in the past 12 is awful.

Brunner’s fallen down a well, it seems.

Datsyuk looks like a prince compared to those other dopes and even he’s only been scoring at a 18-19 goal season long clip for the past month-plus, and that’s garbage.

The players on this team are not getting it done.  They are good enough, even in a variety of reduced states, to get it done.  That is on them.  Not Babcock, not Holland… it’s on them.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/12/13 at 07:22 AM ET

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It should be obvious to anyone who can use a microwave that Zetterberg is in a steady decline.

Yes.

To anyone.

Especially considering that since 07/08, the one year he was pretty significantly above a point per game, he’s been pretty consistently a point per game player.  Of course last year he dropped to .84 points per game and now this year he’s back up to .95 points per game.

But yeah, he’s obviously declining steadily, not producing consistently in four of the past five years.

it’s on them.

You’re right, it’s on the star talent for surrounding themselves with absolutely not offensive minded players, thus making it much, much, much, much, much easier for opponents to defend against them.

Why did the skilled players decide not to surround themselves with better talent?  That seems like a stupid thing for the players to do.

Posted by Garth on 04/12/13 at 08:56 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

This is not a coaching problem.  This is not a GM problem.  This is a players not playing well problem.

Right… players playing well is solely due to the players, no external forces acting here.  Absolutely brilliant!

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 04/12/13 at 09:01 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Why did the skilled players decide not to surround themselves with better talent?  That seems like a stupid thing for the players to do

Can’t argue with this… but the games where nobody shows up to play is on both the players and the coaching staff. When we take the ice again CBJ, Calgary etc and just absolutely stink up the place… that’s on all of them.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/12/13 at 09:44 AM ET

Avatar

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/12/13 at 09:44 AM ET

Oh absolutely.  The players aren’t fault-free, but they don’t play in a vaccuum.  There are players defending them.  Zetterberg’s 3.5 shots per game aren’t breakaways on open nets.

And when the GM doesn’t improve the team and the coach puts fourth and third liners on the second line, turning that line into essentially a grind line, it’s much easier to concentrate your best defenders on the first line.  You can’t blame Zetterberg entirely for the fact that Babcock has made it easier on the other team’s defense and you can’t blame Zetterberg for Abdelkader’s inability—one game aside—to convert Datsyuk’s beautiful setups.  It’s not Nyquist’s fault that it took forever for Babcock to take Cleary out of the top six and put him there, and you can’t blame Tatar for the organization’s decision to send him down even though he was producing as a third liner.

Posted by Garth on 04/12/13 at 10:33 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

I blame Homer.  His big a** is sorely missed in front of the net.  No current Wing plays his role as well… not Franzen, not Cleary and not Abdelkater.  No one is willing to pay the price of making the front of the net their “office”.  Until that role is filled or the Wings change their style of play don’t be surprised if the goal drought continues.

While Cleary’s shortcomings have been heavily documented, at least he is willing to go to the front of the net. He and Abby are the only guys willing to stand there while slappers are coming right at them. They’re just too small to make much of a screen.  Franzen, the one guy WITH the size to be a Homer-esque shield, goes to the front but as soon as he sees a wind up, he scooches over to the side of the crease, abandoning the screen, because he’s too scared to get hit by the puck in all those pads.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 04/12/13 at 11:06 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.