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Red Wings-Stars quick take: whew-hoo, playoff bound!

When I was sick as sick could be, early, often and repeatedly on Friday, I cannot deny that there was more than one period of time that I thought, "If the Red Wings lose on Saturday, then I'll really feel like I got kicked in the gut." And that was saying something given what my gut was doing to me.

But the Detroit managed to make the playoffs for the 22nd straight season thanks to an incredibly determined effort by the Wings' best players during a week in which the team needed to win 4 of 4 games--and did just that, defeating Dallas 3-0 to punctuate a fantastic final week of the regular season and set up a first-round match-up with the Anaheim Ducks.

After an incredibly frustrating, disappointing and innervating season for Wings fans, their team is just starting to find itself and its identity, and on Saturday night, from the moment Henrik Zetterberg put the puck off Brenden Dillon's skate and past Richard Bachman, there was very little doubt that the Wings would be playoff bound.

The 1st period involved playing intense, focused hockey for the team playing in front of a home crowd and intense, focused football for the team playing on home ice, and the Wings gave up a significant chunk of scoring chances--and over half of the 17 shots they would surrender during the game--but Jimmy Howard was up to the task, and with 1:43 left in the 1st, Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader were grinding the puck out down low, Zetterberg took the puck out of a scrum and behind the net, circled and attempted to pass the puck to Abdelkader...And it went of Brenden Dillon's skate and past Richard Bachman instead.


The second period was tighter in terms of shots and tighter because the referees discovered that they had whistles and perhaps a quota's worth of penalties to call, and both teams killed the pair of PK's they were assessed--including a double-minor to Ryan Garbutt for high-sticking Gustav Nyquist (who's okay) under his visor--but Brendan Smith had something of a brain fart after Vernon Fiddler either accidentally or didn't accidentally hit Kyle Quincey in the head (Quincey ducked down while battling another player), and Smith took 2 roughing minors to Fiddler's 1, putting the Wings on the penalty-kill to start the 3rd.

Instead of surrendering a goal, the Wings scored one when Pavel Datsyuk stole the puck from a cheating-forward Stars defense and sent Henrik Zetterberg past Ray Whitney, in alone on a breakaway, and Zetterberg found no trouble in ensuring that the Wings would win by a multi-goal margin:

A few minutes later, the Zetterberg line was up to its cycling-down-low tricks again, and when Jonathan Ericsson made what can be a terrifying decision in pinching, it paid off in the right direction:

The Wings only really looked human when Garbutt went to the box for slashing Jordin Tootoo (who didn't play another shift) and they too-cutesyed the puck far too often, resulting in a shorthanded breakaway which Howard expertly steered away:

 

 

 

And when the Stars tried to goon it up late, they were undone by a simple numbers game, taking a too-many men penalty, so the Wings were able to finish the game with a power play. It was the power play that was the only part of the Wings' game that looked like early-season Wings hockey, and it went 0-for-4 in 7:39 of ice time, but the Wings just didn't need to rely on it.

Howard finished the game with a 17-save shutout, Zetterberg had a goal and 2 assists, Datsyuk had 2 assists and the gents ended the season with 49 points for the man who said, "One player really inspire Red Wings last month, it our fans" and 48 for the first-year captain.

Now the team will fly home for the evening, likely head to Anaheim on Sunday evening, and if all rumors hold true, the Wings will start their series against the Ducks on Tuesday night.

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, the NHL produced a "Because it's the Cup" video for the Wings...

Who won't be joined by the Blue Jackets as Minnesota defeated Colorado, eliminating Columbus. I'm stunned that the Blue Jackets didn't make it.

Statistics:

Shots 37-17 Detroit overall. The Wings out-shot Dallas 18-9 in the 1st, 8-4 in the 2nd and 11-4 in the 3rd.

The Wings went 0-for-4 in 7:39 of PP time; Dallas went 0-for-3 in 4:00 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 17 of the 17 shots he faced; Richard Bachman stopped 34 of 37.

The 3 stars were picked by the AP's John Tranchina, and he picked Jimmy Howard (3), Pavel Datsyuk (2) and Henrik Zetterberg (1).

The Wings' goals: Zetterberg (10) from Abdelkader (3) and Datsyuk (32);

Zetterberg (11) from Datsyuk (33), short-handed;

Ericsson (3) from Datsyuk (34) and Zetterberg (37).

Faceoffs 27-26 Detroit (Detroit won 51%);

Blocked shots 18-15 Detroit;

Missed shots 22-11 Detroit (total attempts 74-46 Detroit, with Detroit firing 37 shots on Bachman and another 37 wide or into Stars players);

Hits 30-14 Dallas;

Giveaways 13-6 Dallas;

Takeaways 6-2 Dallas.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs:
Datsyuk went 8-and-8 (50%); Filppula went 7-and-6 (54%); Emmerton went 8-and-4 (67%); Andersson went 2-and-6 (25%); Franzen went 1-and-2 (33%); Zetterberg went 1-and-0 (100%).

Shots: Zetterberg led the team with 7 shots; Eaves and Franzen had 4; Abdelkader, Nyquist, Emmerton and DeKeyser had 3; Cleary and Brunner had 2; Smith, Kindl, Ericsson and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked attempts: Quincey hit Stars players 4 times; Smith, Kindl and Franzen had 2 attempts blocked; Datsyuk, Nyquist, Brunner, Zetterberg and Filppula had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Abdelkader missed the net 4 times; Brunner missed the net 3 times; Tootoo, Zetterberg, Filppula, Ericsson and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Nyquist, Emmerton, Quincey and Kronwall missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Ericsson led the team with 3 hits; Tootoo, Quincey and DeKeyser had 2; Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Eaves and Andersson had 1.

Giveaways: Zetterberg had 2 giveaways; Kidl, Quincey, Ericsson and Andersson had 1.

Takeaways: Brunner and Andersson had takeaways.

Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 4 shots; Quincey, Filppula and Ericsson blocked 2; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Eaves, Brunner and Emmerton blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Smith took 3 minors; Kronwall took 1 minor penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +14. Quincey and DeKeyser finished at +1; Abdelkader, Ericsson and Kronwall finished at +2; Datsyuk and Zetterberg finished at +3.

Points: Datsyuk had 3 assists; Zetterberg had 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points; Ericsson had a goal; Abdelkader had an assist.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 23:25 played; Kindl played 21:53; Quincey played 20:09;

Franzen played 19:53; Filppula played 19:40; Ericsson played 19:24;

DeKeyser played 19:15; Datsyuk played 19:07; Zetterberg played 17:29;

Cleary played 16:52; Smith played 15:41; Andersson played 13:48;

Abdelkader played 13:30; Eaves played 12:02; Brunner played 11:43;

Nyquist played 11:41; Emmerton played 10:56; Tootoo played 7:32.

Update again: Here's a slate of game highlights:

Update #3: Via RedWingsFeed, the NHL Network posited a preview of the Wings-Ducks series...

And Jimmy Howard spoke to the NHL Network after the game, too:

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Comments

Bugsy's avatar

Was that Dave Strader on the call? I like(d) him from the past. Time to do what Anaheim, Edmonton, and all those underdog teams did to the Wings when they were the high seed. Pull off a few upsets.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/27/13 at 10:17 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Now, wait a minute. The same Gary Bettman, who tried to kill off the octopus tradition in the playoffs, is allowing the NHL to feature Al and the octopus for 5 out of 30 seconds of a commercial?!? Okay, boys, goal is to be throwing them in June.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/27/13 at 10:24 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Since nobody’s here yet, one other thing. Notice who the 3 Stars of the game with the playoff spot still wasn’t locked up? Captain, co-captain, and Goalie. Man, they were flying from the start for once. They may not win it all, but if they can come charging out of the gate in the playoffs like tonight….

Posted by Bugsy on 04/27/13 at 10:40 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

Gutsy season for the Wings! Great leaders, Great management from the top down, hot goalie, Flying higher than a Duck?  Who knows but a pretty proud (OLD) Wings Fan.

I enjoy Duck Hunting with my Labrador Retrievers and I hope the Wings do also.  Ducks are a deep team, being an under dog is not bad actually.  New Season Tuesday!!!

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/27/13 at 10:52 PM ET

Avatar

LGRW! I’m going to love listening to the NHL network and those DB’s on HTM (aka: Hatin The Motown)  talk about the wings 22nd trip. That’s right I’m talkin to you. I heard you Say Lets go Preds when they were playing the Wings! Haters keep hating, Suck It!

Posted by SlimChance on 04/27/13 at 11:06 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

Crap I just remembered NHL Center Ice does not broadcast Playoff Games! And here in Canada all I will see are the Leafs, Nucks, Sens, Habs…Fing Shoot me!!

Hope NBC picks up some Wings games, Really desperate wanting NBC Hockey!!!

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/27/13 at 11:34 PM ET

Avatar

The bad thing about the late game is many times last year they were joined in progress!  So whoever is playing before the Wings, if it’s a late game, we don’t want any overtime games.

Posted by bobinchico from Chico, CA on 04/28/13 at 12:06 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Crap I just remembered NHL Center Ice does not broadcast Playoff Games! And here in Canada all I will see are the Leafs, Nucks, Sens, Habs…Fing Shoot me!!

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/27/13 at 11:34 PM ET

On the bright side, 2 or 3 of those should be gone after Round 1.

Posted by Primis on 04/28/13 at 12:13 AM ET

awould's avatar

I lot of people out here in AZ, myself included along with my wife and 7-month old son, fell victim to a stomach bug like this. it sucked. Basically one day of puking and then 5 or 6 of nausea and no eating. No fun. Glad you’re back and feeling better.

Posted by awould on 04/28/13 at 12:30 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Howard finished the game with a 17-save shutout, Zetterberg had 2 goals and 1 assist, Datsyuk had 3 assists and the gents ended the season with 49 points

fixt

Posted by Hootinani on 04/28/13 at 12:33 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

unreal effort.  I’m stunned we made it.  Thought for sure those guys were scheduling T-times booking vacations.  Maybe they do want to wing The Cup??  We’ll find out against Anaheim, I know they’re shitting the bed right now finding out they’re playing The Red Wings in the first.  Git’r'done.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/28/13 at 12:46 AM ET

Sweet Jesus's avatar

I was completely unsure about the streak—until there were 4 games left.  Before each of the last 4 games, I was sure we would win.  This team—there’s something about this team.  And maybe Hank & Pavs & DeKeyser.

Posted by Sweet Jesus on 04/28/13 at 12:58 AM ET

Zqto's avatar

Crap I just remembered NHL Center Ice does not broadcast Playoff Games! And here in Canada all I will see are the Leafs, Nucks, Sens, Habs…Fing Shoot me!!

Hope NBC picks up some Wings games, Really desperate wanting NBC Hockey!!!

Posted by OnlyWings

OnlyWings, I use gamecenter from nhl.com, and I get all the regular season games and playoffs..  Not sure if it works on Canada, but I cant imagine why it wouldnt
Just be aware, you have to pay appart for the playoffs! It’s another 40 bucks or something like that, I think.

Posted by Zqto on 04/28/13 at 01:39 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

I’m assuming the series preview might have stuff like this:
Detroit’s defense has improved, with a 1.54 GAA in 13 April games since the Chicago 7-1 shellacking. They’ve had only 3 regulation time losses in April (Phoenix was only game they lost by more than 1 goal), 7-3-3 overall in April. They beat Anaheim twice on the road in late March, while losing in Detroit in mid-February. Jimmy Howard is tied for the lead league in shutouts with 5, and there is no shootout in the playoffs to worry about related to his shootout percentage. They have brought their below-average special teams up to average now, 13th in penalty killing, 15th on the power play.  They have the luxury of figuring out where Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson fit in against Anaheim.

Anaheim, even though they won the last 3 road games (the last one against Vancouver), have been 8-9-2 starting with the 2 Detroit wins in Anaheim. One of the keys may be stopping their #4 power play, although they rank next to last in opportunities, while the Wings 28th are in penalty minutes. What will also be interesting is if the Ducks play Viktor Fasth or Jonas Hiller, since they’ve bascially split the games in net, with Fasth having the better stats but gave up 4 goals at home to close the season against Phoenix.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/28/13 at 02:32 AM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

Just be aware, you have to pay appart for the playoffs! It’s another 40 bucks or something like that, I think.

Posted by Zqto on 04/28/13 at 01:39 AM ET

Are the nationally televised ones blacked out like they are in the regular season? It was happening so much that it’s almost not even worth paying for.

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 04/28/13 at 04:55 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

I second what Overhaul was thinkin’ ... no way we were going to make the playoffs ... but it looks like we now have a defence that ‘gets it’.

Sorry if it sounds like i’m over simplifying the situation but ... I think it all comes down to the addition of DeKeyser and him feeling comfortable and confident so quickly.

Now that our forwards don’t have to come back into their own zone as far or as often, they can fore-check more, etc. etc.

Its the domino effect .... DeKeyser plugs a hole on defence .... plays solid D plus moves the puck well ... that gives the rest of the Dmen confidence to play well (see smith and kindl) so now we have a D that has gelled. That give the forwards the freedom to do what they do best and not force them to play back to help the D ... so now it looks like all of a sudden there is this offencive explosion ... when in reality they just added 1 really good defenceman.

We made the Ducks look bad before our D looked good so there shouldn’t be anything keeping the Red Wings from taking the series ... except for the really really bad ice in Anaheim.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 04/28/13 at 05:21 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Bruce Boudreau is hard to hate like the old sucks coach Carlyle. The jovial Boudreau also makes great commercials.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNcRvkJ76ws
The team still has perry and getzlaf though who have no redeeming qualities so booing them will feel great.

I bet Bruce flip flops Hiller and Fasth in these playoffs like he has all season long, to our teams advantage.

 

 

 

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 04/28/13 at 07:59 AM ET

Zqto's avatar

Are the nationally televised ones blacked out like they are in the regular season? It was happening so much that it’s almost not even worth paying for.

Posted by stayouttamalibu

Since I dont live in north america, I dont get any blackout…  I believe from at least the last Wings cup (2008), I watched EVERY Red wing game, with no problem (also, including playoffs)

But then again, I live in Brazil, so I not so sure how they blackout in the USA and Canada, unfortunetly

 

Posted by Zqto on 04/28/13 at 10:43 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

I never ever ever ever do this, but I’m watching that frigging game again.  glad I recorded it grin

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/28/13 at 12:46 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

you know, I remember another Wings captain who used to work that hard, against guys much bigger, and score enormous goals like that.

that is the second time I have ever compared Zetterberg to Yzerman.  these comparisons are not handed out lightly.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/28/13 at 01:31 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

I know most of us snickered (myself included) at the concept of DeKeyser being a deadline pickup, but its hard to argue with the change this team has under gone since his arrival.  I’m glad to be proven wrong.

And how about Captain Zetterberg?  ...talk about shades of Yzerman these past few games.  I’ve doubted him this season, but I have to say Hank earned his stripes this week.  Only one achievement lies between him and the ranks of Howe, Yzerman, and Lidstrom.  I have faith that he’ll make it.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/28/13 at 03:04 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

CenterIce used to show the first two rounds, then NBC started pulling the “National Exclusive” stunt on more games than they had time to air, which means the local broadcasts were unavailable on CenterIce and if you weren’t in the region of your team, you were S.O.L.  Since Gary doesn’t have to balls to turn down that Network money for the betterment of the fans,  I think the NHL just sorta gave up on trying to get the Play-offs on CenterIce after that.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 04/29/13 at 06:18 PM 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.