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Red Wings-Blackhawks quick take: bipolar win

The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks was…choppy, and by letting the Hawks off the mat, the Wings remain one point behind Chicago in the Western Conference standings.

To some extent, the Wings played the same damn frustrating game they’ve been playing since the middle of December—if they don’t give up a 2-goal lead in a “depressive” start, they come out with an equally “manic” first-period flourish which never seems to result in the number of goals necessary to do anything less than find themselves scrambling in the 3rd period after all but giving the game away.

That was certainly the case on Saturday, as the Wings out-shot Chicago 21-4 in the 1st period, but were out-shot 23-22 the rest of the way—a 9-to-zero overtime shot advantage included.

Don’t get me wrong, the Wings started out fantastically well, peppering Corey Crawford and scoring a power play goal on the cycle, with a Nicklas Lidstrom pinch forcing the Hawks to allow Ian White and Pavel Datsyuk to continue cycling the puck; White then ripped a shot on net and Tomas Holmstrom did what he did best, tipping the puck in past Crawford.

A little under four minutes later, as the Wings’ barrage on Crawford continued, Todd Bertuzzi (who provided the necessary grit necessary to battle a Hawks team that did play choppy hockey and did, I guess we’ll say “was rewarded” for it—don’t get me wrong, so were the Wings—as both teams were rewarded for hooks, holds, hacks, whacks, blatant picks, too-many men calls [both ways, Eddie Olczyk], etc. thanks to the fact that the crackdown’s gone lax) scored a quick change to spell Tomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk swiped a Hawks centering pass and up roared Bertuzzi, ripping a backhand shot high over Crawford.


By the end of the 1st period, however, you could kind of get the feeling that the Hawks were going to come on in the 2nd, and that the Wings would have to be ready for them, especially as Jimmy Howard had to make some pretty remarkable saves in between Wings goals.


Perhaps not surprisingly given this season, the Hawks slowly but surely started to take the Wings’ lightning-fast transition game away from Detroit, gobbling up time, space and loose pucks while starting to generate scoring chances off one-on-one battles lost by Detroit, turnovers and the start of a forecheck which seemed to back the Wings off.

The Wings out-shot Chicago 8-7 in the 2nd period, but the rink slowly tilted toward the Hawks, and the Andrew SHaw goal? Well, first the boards giveth, and then they taketh away, so Howard was able to atone for a first-period goof but couldn’t stop the second period puck-handling adventure—because Niklas Kronwall stood there and watched Stuart and Howard find themselves flat-footed as Nick Leddy stole the puck and chipped it to an uncovered Shaw. Howard can move the puck pretty well, but when he goes behind his net, man, he looks like he’s wearing #39, not #35.

And those Hawks just dominated play in the 3rd period. It wasn’t just their 16-5 shot advantage, their four-minute power play due to a Drew Miller high stick (admirably killed off by Detroit to the point that the PK may have steadied the Wings’ ship) or their numerous close calls in which the Wings would simply stand and stare as the Hawks wound and wrangled the puck through the Wings’ zone as if the Andrew Brunettes of the world had channeled Pavel Datsyuk. Howard’s fantastic saves and some help by Justin Abdelkader, among others, allowed the Wings to survive for most of the period…

But an earned bounce gave the Hawks a frustrating point. After calling a timeout, the Hawks pulled their goalie, and after Jonathan Toews beat Pavel Datsyuk cleanly on a faceoff, Duncan Keith passed the puck into Marian Hossa near the hash marks, and his shot went off Nicklas Lidstrom’s skates and in over Howard.

Just like that, the Wings’ first-period flourish and second third-period’s worth of sleepwalking meant that the Wings would not be able to tie the Hawks in points, and that it was entirely possible that Detroit would find itself scrambling for a lost point if the Hawks kept roaring in on Howard as they did in the 2nd and 3rd periods.

The Wings seemed to settle themselves down in OT, however, dominating play as they finally got back to dominant puck possession hockey, out-shooting the Hawks 9-0, and by the time Nicklas Lidstrom passed the puck to Pavel Datsyuk to continue a fine cycling play and Todd Bertuzzi slithered into the slot, there was no doubt that 49 seconds would not separate the Wings from a shootout—Bertuzzi was going to and did bury his shot, overpowering Corey Crawford and giving the Wings a much-needed two points.


One could very well argue that the fact that the Wings only climbed within a point instead of two against Chicago, and the fact that they blew a 2-0 lead, should both be overlooked given the mental and physical grind the team finds themselves in playing on an every-other-day basis since December 30th. Today’s game marked the Wings’ fifth in eight nights, and they’ve got four in six to come starting on Monday, so does it really matter if the Wings had to scramble to get points that seemed to be banked away?

Well yes, yes it does matter.

On both Thursday and today, the Wings absolutely tore the top off the pepper mill and fired a cavalcade of shots on their opposing goaltender, but the Wings’ willingness to actually go to the net to screen said goaltender in layers, retrieve rebounds or pass passing up shots for the sake of artistic panache and just plain old rip the damn shot on the net, go after it and score a gritty rebound goal has yielded two points given away over the past three nights and many more points given away over the course of a season in which the Wings seem to have the firepower to score at will but not the will to utilize their firepower to the greatest extent of its potential.

Moreover, the Wings’ wild inconsistencies on a period-by-period basis have yielded too-deep-to-dig-out-of holes and the kinds of third period and OT scrambles that the Wings simply can’t afford to continue to entertain going down the stretch. They’re wasting inordinate amounts of time, energy and mental and physical efforts—the kinds of efforts which produce wear and tear down the line (thank goodness Howard seems to have near-limitless energy reserves)—and the Wings are only around the mid-point of a nasty pre-All-Star Break schedule which will help determine how heavily they have to fight the dogfight against Chicago and St. Louis down the stretch.

Today’s effort was good enough to win, but if the Wings keep letting their opponents up off the ground like this, they’ll continue to bleed away much-needed points or simply have to work too damn hard to salvage games that the physical and mental stresses will eventually appear down the line.

Good enough, but there’s no point in letting an angry, venomous snake out from under one’s boot.

Here’s NHL.com’s full slate of highlights;


I guess we’ll find out whether the puppy-kicking Wings or righteous Hawks injured each other like the dastardly and/or sainted teams they are over the course of this evening…

For now, however, the Wings earning a win—and two out of three against Chicago over the past two-and-change weeks—overrides the temporary joy of, say, watching Johan Franzen slug someone right back in the face when they slug him three or four times in the back of the head.


Shots 43-27 Detroit. The Wings out-shot Chicago 21-4 in the 1st period, out-shot Chicago 8-7 in the 2nd period, were out-shot 16-5 in the 3rd period and out-shot Chicago 9-0 in OT.

The Wings went 1 for 1 in 52 seconds of PP time; the Hawks went 0 for 3 in 6 minutes of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 27; Corey Crawford stopped 40 of 43.

The 3 stars, per Michigan Hockey’s Michael Caples, were Marian Hossa, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.

The Wings’ goals: Holmstrom (7) from White (17) and Datsyuk (32), PPG;

Bertuzzi (7) from Datsyuk (33) and White (18);

Bertuzzi (8) from Filppula (22) and Lidstrom (16), OT.

Faceoffs 31-28 Detroit (Detroit won 53%);

Blocked shots 14-7 Detroit;

Missed shots 11-9 Chicago (so the Hawks were only out-chanced by seven attempts, with Detroit firing 59 attempts at or near Crawford and the Hawks firing 52 at or near Howard);

Hits 30-15 Detroit;

Giveaways 9-8 Detroit;

Takeaways 4-4.

Individual Stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 9-and-10 (47%); Zetterberg went 8-and-5 (62%); Helm went 7-and-2 (78%); Abdelkader went 4-and-4 (50%); Filppula went 1-and-3 (25%); Franzen went 0-and-3; Cleary went 1-and-1 (50%); Emmerton won his only faceoff.

Shots: Miller and Bertuzzi co-led the team with 6 shots apiece; Cleary, Zetterberg, Ericsson, Kronwall and Franzen had 3; Kindl, Datsyuk, White, Stuart, Filppula and Holmstrom had 2; Abdelkader, Hudler, Helm and Emmerton had 1. Only Nicklas Lidstrom wasn’t credited with a shot, and he had 2 attempts (2 blocked, 1 wide).

Blocked attempts: Again, Lidstrom had 2 attempts blocked; Kindl, Datsyuk, Miller, Zetterberg and Filppula had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Kindl, Lidstrom, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Stuart, Zetterberg, Helm, Bertuzzi and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Stuart led the team with 5 hits; Helm and Kronwall had 4; Ericsson had 3; Abdelkader, Datsyuk and Bertuzzi had 2; Kindl, Lidstrom, Cleary, White, Miller, Hudler, Filppula and Franzen had 1.

Giveaways: Datsyuk had 3 giveaways; White, Helm, Bertuzzi, Ericsson, Holmstrom and Howard had 1.

Takeaways: Datsyuk had 2 takeaways; Cleary and Bertuzzi had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Ericsson blocked 3 shots; Cleary, White and Kronwall blocked 2; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Miller, Emmerton and Franzen blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Miller took a double minor for high-sticking; Ericsson was tagged for a minor penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings actually finished at a collective -1. Zetterberg finished the game at -2; Hudler and Kronwall were -1; Lidstrom was +1; Bertuzzi was +2.

Points: Bertuzzi had 2 goals; Datsyuk and White had 2 assists; Holmstrom had a goal; Lidstrom and Filppula had assists.

Ice time: White led the team with 25:55 played; Lidstrom played 24:31; Stuart played 23:19;

Kronwall played 23:06; Zetterberg played 20:13; Filppula played 20:05;

Datsyuk played 20:04;  Franzen played 19:17; Ericsson played 17:09;

Cleary played 16;24; Bertuzzi played 16:21; Hudler played 15:26;

Kindl played 14:49; Helm played 14:35; Miller played 13:14;

Abdelkader played 9:44; Holmstrom played 9:03; Emmerton played 7:49.

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mrfluffy's avatar

Yup. Same team that forced San Jose to the brink, but not enough hunger to just plain beat them. Chicago doesn’t scare me, Todd McLellan does.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 01/14/12 at 06:54 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

George, I guess I saw it a little differently than you did.  I thought the Wings owned the first period and I expected the Squawks to come out hard in the second, which they did.  To me, the second was pretty close and the Hawks only goal was that boo-boo gift of an open net.  Hawks took over in the third, for sure, at least for he first ten minutes.  But the Wings kept battling.  I mean really, both the Hawks goals were fluky, whereas I felt the Wings earned their goals.  And in OT it was all Wings.

I just kept thinking about how Bert was iffy to play today…

Since Homer is my favorite, I want to share something that Ken Kal shared on the radio.  He said that 119 of Homer’s 239 career goals have been on the power play, which is right around 50%.  Pretty amazing, eh?

Sorry we let the Squawks get a point, but these are two very good and determined teams, and I was happy we got the two.

We’ve won two out of three from them this season, though our two wins were both in OT so we’ve split the points.  But I’m pretty OK with that at this point.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 01/14/12 at 06:59 PM ET

Chris #19's avatar

I’d say I just witnessed a frustrating win !

The Wings again got tied in the last minute. I really have the feeling that in the last 3 or 4 seasons the Wings has been the team with the “most tying-goals again in the last minute”. Of course I watch the Wings much more than the other teams so my feeling is maybe biased but still…Well, given you guys in North America like statitics there’s surely one about it nah ?

Oh and please Jimmy, you’re an outstanding goalie. May I request you just stay in your net ? grin

Posted by Chris #19 from Lausanne, Switzerland on 01/14/12 at 08:06 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

a frustrating win

This phrase approaches oxymoron for me.  A win is a win is a win.  Two points and at the end of the season, nobody is going to care how the Wings got it done.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 01/14/12 at 08:09 PM ET


This phrase approaches oxymoron for me.  A win is a win is a win.  Two points and at the end of the season, nobody is going to care how the Wings got it done

except it wasnt just a 2 point game.  it was three.  a win in regulation would have moved the wings ahead of the hawks in the central standings.  And they have given chicago 2 extra points in the last week because they can only play 30 minutes of hockey.

Its looking like every point, and the tie breaker scenarios are going to be important in the central.  At least they won it before the shoot out and add to their advantage over chicago in ROW.

Posted by jwad on 01/14/12 at 08:30 PM ET


First time poster here! Just want to mention the the(failed) spin-o-rama by Kane had me rolling, Nick said “This isn’t my first rodeo kid”. Haha!

Posted by WingerinMissouri from United States on 01/14/12 at 08:36 PM ET


And they have given chicago 2 extra points in the last week because they can only play 30 minutes of hockey.

Distasteful as I find it to say so, Chicago is a formidable team so give them a little credit for “earning” the points as much as the Wings “giving” it to them.

Posted by mc keeper on 01/14/12 at 09:22 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

This phrase approaches oxymoron for me.  A win is a win is a win.  Two points and at the end of the season, nobody is going to care how the Wings got it done.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Michigan, but now in Florida on 01/14/12 at 05:09 PM ET

Yes the Wings got 2 points, but being Chicago is one of the teams the Wings are in direct competition with for a top 3 seed, giving the Hawks a point could prove costly come April.  Not too mention how awful the Wings looked for the entire 3rd period.  They were extremely lucky not to give up multiple goals in the 3rd, and that’s not how you win playoff games.  This team really needs to learn how to play for 60 minutes, and in a hurry.  There are too many teams that Detroit may have to get thru to play in June that just wait for lapses like the Wings have to pounce like the Hawks, Sharks, and Nucks.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 01/14/12 at 09:23 PM ET

babymachine's avatar

I kind of had a feeling the Hawks would come back. The Post by Zata, the breakaway by Miller, the flub by White when he walked in the slot.

But who cares? The Wings showed they are the better team today.

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 01/14/12 at 10:38 PM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

This idea that a team has to play for a full 60 minutes otherwise they are somehow inferior is a soundbit worthy of retirement. Today’s parity means that most games will have a back and forth momentum - that is simply the way it is. The best teams are the ones that survive the waves, dig deep and find a way to pull out a win.  The RedWings have done that far better this season than last. This was a gritty, GD good win.

Posted by joedaiceman on 01/14/12 at 11:00 PM ET


I just knew the Hawks would win it in the third period. Then the fans started booing partway through the double-minor and the Wings woke up and were pretty even the rest of the period, I thought. The difference was a couple goalposts and an unsuccessful breakaway for the Wings against a lucky bounce for the Hawks.

The Yahoo recap claims Wings fans boo Hossa whenever he touches the puck. I only heard Hossa being booed after he scored (I’ll credit Toews with that goal after Lidstrom).

Posted by bleep bloop on 01/14/12 at 11:14 PM ET


The 3rd period was painful to watch, but to me, the goal is to be focused and outplaying other teams when the playoffs start. I realize we want to see the Wings get as high of a seed as possible (i.e., win the division at least), but it isn’t like the #1 seed has won the Cup every year. Hopefully, the Wings will continue to improve, hang in there points wise for now, and then hopefully forge ahead in the standings once February 7 passes by (when the favorable end of the schedule starts kicking in).

Posted by Bugsy on 01/14/12 at 11:34 PM ET


A win is a win is a win.
The 3rd period was painful to watch, but to me, the goal is to be focused and outplaying other teams when the playoffs start.


If this was a playoff game it could be worrisome, but it’s a game in the middle of a ton of games in a very short period of time, in January.

They’re not going to win every one.  I’m just happy for the win, because it could’ve easily been a 4-0 shutout win or a 3-2 loss.

Posted by Garth on 01/14/12 at 11:59 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The only POS that I will forever boo on the ice is Fraud LePuke.

Hossa’s awesome and I’m disappointed that a deal couldn’t be made considering the cap hit he would’ve commanded.  Whatever, he got his cup.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 01/15/12 at 12:03 AM ET

Chet's avatar

i hope that 2-1 goal caused everyone in management and local govt to say at the sane time, “damn, we need a new building.”

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 01/15/12 at 12:05 AM ET


A few points:

1) Two fluke goals does not make for a close game. Without that bizarre first goal we’re having a completely different conversation.

2) Except for a few minutes in the third period the Wings completely dominated - against a very good team.

3) Analysis on this site would be improved if folks recognized that good teams have in-game lulls and good teams have runs. This is what happened in the third period. The notion that the Wings could have maintained the energy they had in the first - or that the Hawks would play so poorly the entire game - is fantastical. Give the Hawks credit for making a run; give the D and Howard equal credit for keeping them off the board until another fluky goal at the end.

4) Corey Crawford is a stud; kept them in the game (same as what Mike Smith did in the last game)

5) That penalty kill in the third might be my personal highlight for the season. What a gutsy performance by the PK at a moment in the game when the Hawks were buzzing. Anyway who questions the Wings toughness needs to reckon with that performance.

6) Another personal highlight - the dominating performance the Wings put on in overtime.

7) In last five meetings between the Wings and Hawks/Blues we’ve won four of them. I think at this point we know who the best team in the Central is.

Posted by Michael from Brooklyn on 01/15/12 at 12:12 AM ET


Great stuff mike in brookln. I watched in disbelief as the wings killed off the double minor. What a pleasant surprise for an average pk.  It was bad ass that Bert finished this game off in ot today. 

The sharks took a hit in their forward depth this offseason with their two trades with Minnesota.  Coupled with filpulla taking the next two steps in his development; I feel better about a wings/sharks matchup in the playoffs.  A little, though.  Still could use a little more toughness.

Posted by 11B3PF7 in MN on 01/15/12 at 12:54 AM ET


I feel better about a wings/sharks matchup in the playoffs.

But with the Wings having home ice advantage. I think they can win 1/2 of the second part if they go into SJ up 2-0.

CAPTCHA is broken. I got the same exact one earlier today. (Hopefully it’s not just cached…)

Posted by bleep bloop on 01/15/12 at 01:39 AM ET


You may have already posted this, George, but Tim Wharnsby (Hockey Night in Canada) put Detroit in the 2nd set of 5 teams because of the hunger question (kind of the debate we’re having here?). What I don’t agree with is who he put ahead of the Wings (in order: Bruins, Canucks, Rangers, Sharks and Blues in the first 5):


Posted by Bugsy on 01/15/12 at 03:00 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

3) Analysis on this site would be improved if folks recognized that good teams have in-game lulls and good teams have runs. This is what happened in the third period. The notion that the Wings could have maintained the energy they had in the first - or that the Hawks would play so poorly the entire game - is fantastical. Give the Hawks credit for making a run; give the D and Howard equal credit for keeping them off the board until another fluky goal at the end.

No one in the comments section has a responsibility to do anything other than state their opinion in a manner which does not involve name-calling. There’s no “better” or “worse” or “more right” or “more wrong” or “more correct” or “less correct” opinion here. We’re all allowed to be subjective.

Unless Paul tells me differently, I’m not beholden to write certain things or avoid certain topics or lines of thought, either, and I’m the only one on the payroll here (unless you guys know something I don’t! :X ).

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/15/12 at 05:21 AM ET


I only heard Hossa being booed after he scored

I take that back. I just watched an extended highlights clip and Hossa was being booed all third period and OT. I didn’t remember that when I watched it live.

Posted by bleep bloop on 01/15/12 at 06:27 AM ET


Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/15/12 at 02:21 AM ET

Michael has a really good point though.  Detroit came out of the gate running and Chicago was caught flat-footed in the first period.  To expect Detroit to keep that up for 60 minutes and for Chicago to just roll over and be dominated for 60 minutes and to be pissed that Detroit didn’t dominate a good team for the entire game is a bit ridiculous.

Posted by Garth on 01/15/12 at 02:30 PM ET

babymachine's avatar

I agree with a lot of the comments regarding celebrating the wings win over the hawks, rather than nitpicking their inconsistencies.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear what you think, George. Keep up the insanely-detailed, great work!

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 01/15/12 at 07:43 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.