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Red Wings-Canucks quick take: karmic balance?

Maybe the Vancouver Canucks’ fans can at least argue that they got some karmic retribution despite dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.

The Wings out-shot the Canucks by an insane margin through the first two periods (30-11) and out-shot Vancouver 43-25 overall, but the Wings went 0-for-4 in 8:00 of PP time and surrendered 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads to a Canucks team that certainly felt that its one power play should have a zero next to it.

It’s not that the Wings were dirty—the Canucks and Wings played a game that was equal parts high-flying offense, grit and grime in a generally clean manner (perhaps the low-bridge attempt by Keith Ballard which drew Todd Bertuzzi’s ire excluded from a Wings fan’s standpoint), but even I can’t deny that the Wings got away with a few hacks, whacks and high sticks that should have resulted in penalties.

That being said, from a partisan Wings fan’s standpoint, this game never should have gone to OT, never mind a shootout, and had the Wings given Roberto Luongo the kind of traffic Luongo and Canucks coach Alain Vigneault insisted Detroit generates on a nightly basis, never mind had the Wings scored a power play goal, and they wouldn’t have had to go to OT or a shootout for what FSD’s Ken Daniels reported was the 5th time over the last 15 games.

The Wings absolutely roared out to a high-flying start, displaying equal parts sterling defensive play and high-flying offense from the drop of the puck on out, “getting started on time” and then some as they peppered Luongo and the Canucks early and often. Five-and-a-half minutes in, Darren Helm dropped the puck to Danny Cleary after the Wings had gained the zone, off the give-and-go, Cleary took a lateral pass at the side boards down low, Helm slithered toward the net and Cleary deked behind him, jamming the puck over Roberto Luongo’s shoulder.

The Wings continued to press, but as the shot clock hit 10 and continued toward its 15-8 Detroit advantage in the 1st, the Wings started to let up ever, ever so slightly, and after Kevin Bieksa dumped the puck into the Wings’ zone, David Booth out-skated both Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall to steal the puck from down below the goal line, and when he walked it out front and fired a shot on Howard, Brad Stuart, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen were within a big blanket’s space from Jimmy Howard, but Ryan Kesler managed to walk through them all and jam the rebound over Jimmy Howard’s shoulder.

Worse, after Kesler broke his stick hacking Niklas Kronwall on the arm with 41 seconds left in the 1st, the Wings got little done during the first half of their power play and less during the second half, resulting in a bit of a bump-up in terms of energy for the Canucks.

The Wings continued to just fly past and through Canucks players through the neutral zone and from the Wings’ goal line to the Nucks’ goal line, but again, as the shots came fast and furious, Luongo more or less saw every shot he faced and was able to stop the puck and get a handle on the rebound. It took almost 14 minutes before the Zetterberg line played a very grinding shift, and as Jiri Hudler stepped off the bench to swap out Danny Cleary, Brad Stuart sent a diagonal pass from right to left to Valtteri Filppula at the Canucks’ line, Filppula skated in and slid a side-to-side pass to Jiri Hudler, who ripped a one-timer over Luongo from just below the right faceoff dot.

Immediately after the goal, Justin Abdelkader and Maxim Lapierre doffed gloves, with the “win” going to Abdelkader in a wrestling match, and both teams played superbly through the last six minutes of the second period, but when Janik Hansen went to the box for tripping with just over 3 minutes left in the period, the Wings did jack and you know what on the power play, and the Wings went into the 2nd intermission up by a solitary goal after 3 power play attempts and a 15-3 shot advantage in the 2nd, which yielded a 30-11 advantage over the game’s first forty minutes.

In the third, as one would expect, the Canucks changed up their lines played supercharged hockey, and the Wings were bafflingly a little too content to play what was essentially penalty-killing with 10 skaters on the ice, standing around—though they did a fine job of blocking rebound attempts and open-net passes—as the Canucks put the kind of rubber on Jimmy Howard that the Wings had on Luongo.

Just over ten minutes into the third period, after Todd Bertuzzi dropped ‘em with Keith Ballard after Ballard tried to take out the birthday boy’s knees, Drew Miller made an awful turnover as he and Jakub Kindl exited the zone, Jonathan Ericsson was equally willing to give the puck back to Maxim Lapierre, and his pass found Alex Burrows, who roofed a nearly unstoppable shot over Jimmy Howard’s glove.

The Wings had been out-shot, out-chanced and out-worked, with perhaps the exception of Johan Franzen, who didn’t score but skated like he was engaged and was fantastic in all three zones all night long…

Miller all but redeemed himself and his team 2 minutes later. Off another diagonal pass through the neutral zone by Stuart, Miller and Cleary mucked their way to the net, Miller retrieved the rebound of a shot as he and Cleary crashed the net, overpowered Dan Hamhuis and Aaron Rome, and after Miller put his rebound off Hamhuis’ skate, Cleary jammed the puck over Luongo’s blocker.

The Wings continued to happily rope-a-dope their way through the third, however, and three-and-a-half minutes later, Henrik Sedin won an offensive zone faceoff to Sami Salo, and his point shot was tipped by Mason Raymond, through Brad Stuart’s legs and over Jimmy Howard’s shoulder.

The Wings held themselves in it, but were out-shot 13-8 in the 3rd. In overtime, the Wings managed to return to their first and second-period ways, perhaps mitigating the Canucks’ physicality all night long because they skated so very, very well and so very, very hard, but 5 shots could not find the back of the net, and instead, one felt that Jimmy Howard, who’d also stopped some scary chances at the end of the 1st and the 2nd, was about to wear goat horns that he didn’t deserve…

And the Canucks earned a point amidst some admittedly missed calls and an occasion in OT where a linesman separated Alex Burrows from walking in alone on Howard with under a minute left.

In the shootout, however, things righted themselves from a Wings fan’s perspective. Alex Edler deked and dangled and stopped and started and Howard simply stood tall, stopping him with his left pad.

Pavel Datsyuk then responded by skating in hard on Luongo before deking and getting Luongo to bite on a shot which slithered through Luongo’s blocker and found the back of the net.

After Mason Raymond skated in on Howard’s blocker side, faked the puck and lost it off his stick, Jiri Hudler had the chance to win it, and he did just that, skating in on Luongo, who seemed to be looking for a deke or another Forsberg/Zetterberg/Nilsson dangle, and instead, Hudler fired a hard wrist shot through Luongo’s legs.

Should it have been over far before then?


But the Wings pulled out a road win despite a continued stinky performance from the power play and middling offensive production from the top two lines, and thanks to the Predators’ loss and Sam Gagner’s Oilers’ shellacking of the Blackhawks, the Wings sit first in the Western Conference with 71 points, 4 ahead of Vancouver, and they’re 5 ahead of the Predators and 6 ahead of the Blackhawks and Blues in the Central Division.

If the Wings can take care of business in Edmonton on Saturday, they might be able to increase their lead on everybody that’s chasing them.

Via Paul, here are some early highlights, minus the Datsyuk shootout marker:

Update: You will see the Datsyuk goal in this clip of the shootout, narrated by FSD:


Update #2: Here are highlights from the Red Wings’ website, narrated by Ken Daniels and Larry Murphy:



Shots 43-25 Detroit overall. The Wings out-shot Vancouver 15-8 in the 1st period and 15-3 in the 2nd period, but were out-shot 13-8 in the 3rd period. The Wings out-shot Vancouver 5-1 in OT.

Wings went 0-for-4 in 8:00 of PP time; Nucks went 0-for-1 in 2:00 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard continued to prove that he can do the job of being a Red Wings goaltender by stopping almost no and then tons of rubber, stopping 22 of the 25 shots he faced; Roberto Luongo had gotten into a rhythm, so he may have had an easier time stopping 40 of 43 shots.

The 3 stars, per Sportsnet Pacific, were Roberto Luongo, David Booth and Danny Cleary.

The Wings’ goals: Cleary (11) from Helm (11);

Hudler (17) from Filppula (26) and Stuart (6);

Miller (9) from Cleary (14) and Stuart (7).

Faceoffs 28-27 Detroit;

Blocked shots 16-10 Vancouver;

Missed shots 16-9 Detroit (total attempts 75-44 Detroit);

Hits 24-21 Vancouver;

Giveaways 9-7 Detroit;

Takeaways 10-8 Vancouver.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 11-and-8 (58%); Zetterberg went 8-and-10 (44%); Helm went 5-and-5 (50%); Abdelkader went 1-and-2 (33%); Filppula went 2-and-0 (100%); Hudler and Emmerton lost their only faceoffs; Cleary won his only faceoff.

Shots: Cleary led the Wings with 6 shots; White and Franzen had 4 shots; Kindl, Datsyuk, Stuart, Zetterberg, Filppula and Kronwall had 3 shots; Miller, Hudler and Emmerton had 2 shots; Lidstrom, Abdelkader, Helm, Bertuzzi and Ericsson had 1 shot.

Blocked attempts: The Canucks blocked 3 Lidstrom attempts; Kronwall, Franzen and Holmstrom had 2 attempts blocked; Cleary, Datsyuk, White, Miller, Hudler, Bertuzzi and Ericsson had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: White missed the net 4 times; Zetterberg and Franzen missed the net 3 times; Stuart missed the net 2 times; Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Filppula and Holmstrom missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Stuart had 7 hits; Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Hudler and Holmstrom had 2; Lidstrom, Bertuzzi, Emmerton and Ericsson had 1 hit.

Giveaways: White and Zetterberg had 2 giveaways; Stuart, Helm, Bertuzzi, Franzen and Howard had 1.

Takeaways: Zetterberg and Filppula had 2 takeaways; Cleary, Datsyuk, Helm and Holmstrom had 1.

Blocked shots: Kronwall blocked 2 Canucks shots; Lidstrom, Cleary, White, Miller, Stuart, Hudler, Helm and Franzen blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Bertuzzi and Abdelkader took fighting majors; Zetterberg took a minor penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at an even 0 as a team. Datsyuk, Sutart, Bertuzzi, Kronwall and Franzen were -1; White, Hudler, Zetterberg, Filppula and Ericsson were +1; everybody else was even.

Points: Cleary had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Stuart had 2 assists; Miller and Hudler had goals; Helm and Filppula had assists.

Ice time: Lidstrom led the team with 26:17 played, and Niklas Kronwall played 26:17 as well; White played 25:57;

Zetterberg played 23:50; Stuart played 23:44; Datsyuk played 23:21;

Filppula played 22:05; Franzen played 21:48; Hudler played 19:00;

Cleary played 16:33; Bertuzzi played 14:59; Ericsson played 14:12;

Miller played 12:20; Helm played 12:14; Holmstrom played 11:08;

Kindl played 11:06; Abdelkader played 8:09; Emmerton played 5:16.

For the record: Wings coach Mike Babcock told Fox Sports Detroit’s John Keating that the Wings will take Friday off after they fly to Edmonton around 1:40 AM EST and get into Edmonton an hour later, so while I’m going to be up till 7 or 8 writing the recap, you can better believe you’re not gonna see much of me on Friday, because I’ve gotten about, well…I think about thirteen hours of sleep since the Wings beat the Flames on Monday.

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tuxedoTshirt's avatar

It wouldn’t have been a stretch to give the Nucks 3 or 4 PPs in the third.  But they’ve whined their way into a straight-jacket.  Anyway, they got dominated, calls or not.  Lou rescued them a few times.
Pretty good Wings road game against a hot tender.  Hard not to believe Holland would like another top 6.  If Hudler wasn’t playing so well…...I don’t know.  Fun game to watch, but my Nucks did start punking a little (sigh).

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 02/03/12 at 04:52 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Damn fine recap, George.  Like I mentioned in the LB, I only caught the OT and the SO and while it’s apparent that five minutes doesn’t indicate much of anything, I just thought Mule was pretty damn frustrating to watch…again.

But it’s a win albeit a shootout win and it’s two points.  On to EDM.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/03/12 at 04:58 AM ET


I’ll tentatively call this a good win, even though they definitely were not as good as they should have been for much of the third period and did make a few too many mistakes in their own zone, rarely got to rebounds, and still couldn’t do much on the power play. But they started well and kept up the pressure for much of the game, and when the Canucks scored, they responded. And with how they’ve played on the road much of the season, that was a good win. If it were a home game…

I started to type “what was with Kesler tonight”, but then I realized how stupid of a question that was. I thought it was pretty funny that Kronwall was not-at-all bothered when Kesler broke his stick on him. But even excluding Franzen’s trip, Kesler was falling down all over the ice for no apparent reason. Was he trying to draw calls, even when the referees clearly weren’t buying it?

2 or 3 times Canucks players yanked helmets of Red Wings players heads and there were a few egregious cases of Canucks players with hands and sticks wrapped around Red Wings players that would have been called any other night, so pointing out that the Red Wings got away with a lot without including the caveat that the Canucks got away with a lot more was very charitable. (And Zetterberg’s holding penalty was strange since that happens about a dozen times most games without a call. Make up your minds, refs!)

I liked that the one time a Canucks player really got too close to Howard, it was a Sedin and he was on his face in 1 second flat, and Lidstrom was the last guy off him.

I’m pretty sure Edler was going to shoot after faking a shot but the puck started to get away from him when he tried to fake and he found himself in too close to get a good shot. But Howard stayed with Raymond all the way, so ironically, he might have had to be better on the miss than the shot.

Posted by bleep bloop on 02/03/12 at 05:13 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’ll pull a Babcock: “Franzen was fine.” He skated miles and was very active in terms of knocking down pucks and ensuring that the Wings cleared their own zone, got the puck through center ice and sent the puck in deep and kept it in the Canucks’ zone. Nobody seemed to want to go to the front of the net and stay there tonight, but Franzen out-skated everybody not named Filppula or helm up front.

And yes, I loved the fact that Lidstrom whacked Sedin with malice aforethought when Henrik, I believe, tried to crash Howard. One captain took out the other in the way you’d expect to…

And Kesler flailed and flopped and otherwise threw a temper tantrum on ice, as he usually does, but the Wings didn’t flinch when he, Bieksa, Lapierre or anyone else acted as thin-skinned as the Canucks’ players are.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/03/12 at 05:30 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...they’ve whined their way into a straight-jacket.

The Canucks are rapidly becoming the team equivalent of Cindy Crosby – crying, whining and complaining every time things don’t go their way. They got called for four penalties, and they could have been called for four more if the refs had any idea what “obstruction” meant in the post-lockout era.

So, in the end, all of their whining (and the Wings’ totally inept power play) got them a point. So hold that close to your bleeding hearts, Canucks fans, because it’s the best feeling you’ll have before your season ends in April.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/03/12 at 05:37 AM ET


George, I haven’t had much more sleep than you this week, so I understand. If you’re looking to cut corners, I’d cut the basic stats out from the games (we can find the boxscore if we want) and focus on the stats that stand out to you (not that I mind you doing all of those stats).

My simple take (nothing original): the Wings could have played better, could have saved themselves OT, but if you’d asked me if I’d take 2 points in Vancouver, I wouldn’t flinch. The Wings at their best initiate the offensive stranglehold and make the other team dizzy when they fly, and respond enough physically to hold off any team playing the physical route. Look at it this way: they won in Vancouver and still haven’t peaked. If their best 60 minute efforts come in the Cup Finals, I’ll be a happy guy. Thanks again, George.

Posted by Bugsy on 02/03/12 at 05:51 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

I’m a wings fan, but I hate when the officiating changes the outcome of the game. It seemed the refs were willfully blind to some of the stuff the wings got away with.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/03/12 at 09:59 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

George, fantastic recap!  And I agree with you about the Mule.  He was all over the place and had a couple of wonderful shots that Lu stopped.  Lu played a pretty damned good game, also stopping Pav, Bert and Z.  I thought Z was terrific too - skating really well.  Seemed like he had some real jump.

I’ll take this win too.  Without the “but they should have won in regulation” stuff.  Two wins in a row on this road trip, wins in nine out of the last ten games.  If we can keep Cleary and Homer’s knees going and nobody else gets hurt, I really think this team can go all the way.

12 in 12!

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 02/03/12 at 11:32 AM ET


I’ll take this win too.  Without the “but they should have won in regulation” stuff.  Two wins in a row on this road trip, wins in nine out of the last ten games.
Posted by MsRedWinger from Michigan, but now in Florida on 02/03/12 at 08:32 AM ET

I’m with you. Sure shows you how spoiled we can be as fans!

Posted by RyanVM on 02/03/12 at 12:47 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

I understand the frustration we all have with the Wings PP and it’s lack of production.

But they’re winning the freaking games!!!  Without PP help to boot. And yes I know there are three of those dotted line thingy’s at the beginning of this sentence.  Remember the first games of the season when they were winning without PP? 

Just wait until the PP starts to click again…if ...if it starts to click again.

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 02/03/12 at 02:13 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Really wish I could put my finger on why Z is not scoring.  All other aspects of his game are fine but at 6 mil a year you have to put the puck in the net.  I’m confident he will work his way out of this funk but it just seems “something” is missing from his game.  When he does regain his scoring touch, barring injuries, the Wings are legitimate Cup contenders and with a few tweaks will have 12 in 12.

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 02/03/12 at 02:29 PM ET

SolidTG7's avatar

I think its due to him just not shooting like the Z of old plus he’s been ineffective on the power play with only 6 points on it all season.  Both those things are very un-Z like.

Posted by SolidTG7 on 02/03/12 at 02:41 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

I think its due to him just not shooting like the Z of old

His SOG are down about a full shot per game this year. Not sure if he’s simply not taking the shots or having more of them blocked/miss. My though is he’s actually shooting less, but could be the latter and still adjusting to the new stick George has pointed out.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 02/03/12 at 02:53 PM ET

SYF's avatar

My though is he’s actually shooting less, but could be the latter and still adjusting to the new stick George has pointed out.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 02/03/12 at 11:53 AM ET

Maybe someone from Warrior ought to sit down with Zata and have a long conversation with him.  Jeebus, we need that bully-mad, hotshot Conn Smyther in the playoffs and if his stick’s giving him fits, well, that’s not gonna go over very well.  Get it fixed now.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/03/12 at 04:22 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.


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