The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/05/11 at 12:51 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 4-2 decision to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night,, surrendering a 1-0 lead and a 2-2 tie’s worth of momentum mostly via self-inflicted wounds (Ryan Jones’ slew-foot on Valtteri Filppula, who left with a “lower-body” injury which Wings coach Mike Babcock informed Trevor Thompson involved a skate cut above his right ankle).
The Wings’ power play was at times ineffectual, and was at worst, a total mess, giving up a short-handed game-winner to T.J. Galiardi, and while Ty Conklin was sensational at times, stopping 17 of a 19-shot second period onslaught, he looked incredibly vulnerable on the goals he gave up. He didn’t receive much help, however, by a Wings team that was all too happy to cough up the puck when pressed physically in all three zones by the tenacious Avs, both committing too many turnovers and making too many unforced mistakes because the Wings’ players got bunched up, messed up, or caught standing around when a little more skating and a little more attention to detail would have allowed their puck carriers to at least have someone to pass to, if not some support when inevitable turnovers occurred.
Long story short, after an incredibly strong start against an Avs team on a roll, the Wings made it far too easy for their opponent, from their one-and-done scoring opportunities on Semyon Varlamov to their willingness to immediately trade odd-man rushes and/or commit unforced errors in their zone, chasing the Avs’ puck carriers and never covering shooting or passing lanes well enough to give Conklin any assistance or reduce the Avs’ ability to eventually grind the Wings down to what you might expect from a team that’s won seven straight and is starting to grind out a hard road slate—a little boredom thanks to inattentiveness to detail and inconsistent effort over the game’s final 40 minutes.
Yes, Filppula’s absence led to a scrambling of lines, and yes, the Wings not only hit the goalpost or crossbar three times, but Chris Conner was unable to score on a shorthanded breakaway of his own, but the Wings had every opportunity, even during the second period, to retake the puck, regain territory and return the physical favors the Avs were utilizing to grind down the Wings.
It’s one loss, but in the crowded Western Conference, and especially given that it’s the Avs—regardless of the state of the rivalry, it always stings when the Wings give one up to Colorado—it’s both somewhat understandable that the Wings coughed this hairball of a loss up, and it’s a bit baffling at the same time given how efficiently and smartly they were playing prior to getting caught with their pants down and the puck bouncing around in their own end twice in the first 2:11 of the second period.
Winning streaks are bound to end, but the Wings have to turn around and come out strong against a St. Louis Blues team that likely assumes that Ken Hitchcock’s game plan can yield a similar result against Detroit on Tuesday, and again…Losing always stings.
Here’s hoping that it doesn’t sting any more due to Filppula’s injury, and that he can come back soon with nothing more than a few stitches on his right leg as opposed to anything worse. Both Filppula and the Wings got nicked up a bit, and given their lack of any margin for collective error, the boys will have to stitch up the wound pretty damn quickly.
Shots 35-29 Colorado; the Wings out-shot the Avs 11-7 in the 1st, were out-shot 19-4 in the 2nd and out-shot the Avs 14-9 in the 3rd period.
The Wings went 1-for-5 in 9:39 of PP time and gave up a shorthanded goal; the Avs went 1-for-3 in 5:28 of PP time.
Conklin stopped 31 of 34 and the Avs scored into an empty net; Varlamov stopped 27 of 29.
The 3 stars were picked by the AP’s Mike Kelly, and they were Gabriel Landeskog, T.J. Galiardi and Ryan O’Reilly.
The Wings’ goals: Franzen (12) from Datsyuk (16) and Lidstrom (13);
Cleary (5) from Zetterberg (10) and Bertuzzi (6).
Faceoffs 29-23 Detroit (56% won by Detroit);
Blocked shots 17-8 Colorado;
Missed shots 14-14 (total shot attempts 60-57 Detroit, and the Wings fired 29 on Varlamov and sent another 31 wide or into Avs players);
Hits listed pretty subjectively as 31-9;
Giveaways 5-4 Detroit;
Takeaways 16-3 Colorado (really?).
Let’s just say that the Avs’ stat crew are about as subjective as the timekeeper, who ensured that the clock ticked down an extra second or two whenever the Avs were ahead…
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 10-and-7 (59%); Zetterberg went 7-and-12 (37%); Helm went 10-and-4 (71%); Abdelkader won 2 faceoffs.
Shots: Zetterberg and Franzen co-led the team with 4 shots apiece; Datsyuk and White had 3; Miller, Stuart, Conner and Kronwall had 2; Lidstrom, Abdelkader, Cleary, Helm, Bertuzzi, Ericsson and Holmstrom had 1.
Blocked attempts: White had 3 shot attempts blocked by Avs players; Zetterberg had 3 attempts blocked; Lidstrom and Kronwall had 2 attempts blocked; Kindl, Datsyuk, Stuart, Conner, Ericsson and Holmstrom had single attempts blocked by Avs players.
Missed shots: Lidstrom missed the net 3 times; Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Franzen missed the net twice; Cleary, Datsyuk, Helm, Filppula and Kronwall missed the net once. So that’s a total of six shot attempts for Lidstrom, seven for White and nine for Zetterberg.
Hits: Ericsson had 3 hits; Lidstrom, Miller, Stuart, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Holmstrom had 1.
Giveaways: Zetterberg had 2 giveaways; Abdelkader, Datsyuk and Franzen had 1.
Takeaways: Datsyuk, Conner and Franzen were credited with takeaways.
Blocked shots: Lidstrom blocked 3 shots; Abdelkader, Stuart, Conner, Ericsson and Kronwall blocked single shots.
Penalties taken: Filppula, Ericsson and Kronwall were tagged with minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective -11: Datsyuk, Kronwall and Franzen finished at -2; Lidstrom, Abdelkader, Miller, Stuart, Helm and Holmstrom finished at -1; Cleary was the Wings’ only plus player at +1.
Points: Cleary and Franzen scored goals; Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Bertuzzi had assists.
Ice time: Lidstrom led the team with 24:36 played; White played 22:56; Kronwall played 22:38;
Zetterberg played 21:37; Datsyuk played 20:55; Stuart played 20:10;
Franzen also played 20:10; Ericsson played 17:42; Hudler played 16:42;
Bertuzzi played 16:41; Cleary played 16:29; Helm played 14:35;
Holmstrom played 13:42; Conner played 10:51; Kindl played 10:44;
Abdelkader played 10:35; Miller played 9:40; Filppula played 4:51.
And I’m probably going to get yelled at for this, but the fact that Dave Strader and Larry Murphy kept talking about the Red Wings and Avalanche as opposed to the Red Wings and Avalanche players actually playing the game didn’t help. Strader’s unfamiliarity with the team was understandable, but he and Murphy both tried to play color commentator at times, and their chemistry was inevitably about as good as the Wings’ chemistry as they fumbled pucks and flittered away scoring opportunities. The effort was there, but in terms of attention to detail, or attentiveness to what was going on, well…Ken Daniels leaves an incredibly high benchmark in terms of his play-by-play abilities and his ability to signal Murph or Mickey Redmond to “zip it” when the on-ice narrative requires more immediate focus.
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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.