The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/24/12 at 11:58 PM ET
Update: According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Wings have sent Brendan Smith to Grand Rapids as an olive branch as he’s not going to play while Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl get their feet wet again, and the Griffins rather desperately need to win out to make the playoffs. Having Janik and Smith in the lineup will help them considerably, and if they don’t “win out,” Smith will probably vie for a job come playoff time.
My goodness. I’m not even going to try to give you a narrative recap of the insanity that was the Detroit Red Wings’ wild, Jason Woolley 5-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Red Wings may have received a much-needed kick in the pants in the leadership department by Nicklas Lidstrom, who returned and registered an assist, 4 shots, 2 missed shots and 2 blocked shots in 20:26 of ice time…
But they also had to overcome the horrendous habits they’d accumulated during a 6-game winless streak. The Wings managed to surrender goals on the first shifts of the 1st and 2nd periods, surrendered 2 power play goals on 2 Hurricanes attempts and trailed 4-1 with 4 minutes and 5 seconds left in the second period.
Then the Wings somehow found their poise, despite some grevious defensive errors made by none less than Lidstrom himself, Kyle Quincey (who co-led the team with 7 shots, matching Henrik Zetterberg’s output), some shaky goaltending at times by Ty Conklin and some just plain old stupid play and stupid calls (see: Tomas Holmstrom is checked into Cam Ward by Tim Gleason, popped in the head as he tries to get away from Ward and stand back up, and once de-helmeted, Holmstrom pushed Gleason twice and is popped in the face again. Penalties? Gleason for roughing, Holmstrom for goaltender interference, and Gleason and Bryan Allen literally tried to beat on, beat up and injure Wings all night long) to simply keep the pedal down to the metal and do nothing less than fire 50 shots and register 5 goals as the Wings overcame themselves as well as their opponents.
Did the Wings turn the corner here, or do you think they need to take the Blue Jackets out on the back-to-back series starting on Monday—which will hopefully include Jonathan Ericsson (bet you never thought you’d miss him or Jakub Kindl as much as the Wings have) and maybe Jimmy Howard—before you’re willing to stop worrying and learn to love the trainwreck that is a Red Wings team still searching for its identity as it stumbles toward the regular season’s finish line and an all-but-inevitable match-up against the Predators?
I’m not sold yet, but I’m willing to take this game as it was, and my goodness, do I ever believe that the Wings defeated an incredibly difficult opponent that the Hurricanes could not provide them with: themselves. The Red Wings beat their own bad habits, struggles, stumbles and scatterbrained play while attempting to find some leadership without the captain.
I think there’s something to be said for the hope Lidstrom brought to the team, and there’s also something to be said for the fact that this team needs better goaltending, but that’s just my theory. I’m not going to complain after watching my team win for the first time in two weeks, regardless of how messily the win was accomplished.
I will say this, however: somebody sat down Kyle Quincey before the game and told him that given how Brendan Smith’s been playing and given the need to get Ericsson and Kindl’s feet wet, he’d be scratched if he didn’t pick things up, and he responded in a big way.
Onto the highlights…
Zetterberg’s 4-2 goal gave the Wings life…
And his first goal (2-1) was gorgeous…
Todd Bertuzzi gave the Joe some serious life with a slick play of his own (4-3)...
The magical Czech elf tied the game…
And then this happened:
Shots 50-24 Detroit. Detroit out-shot Carolina 16-10 in the 1st period, 15-11 in the 2nd period and 19-3 in the 3rd period.
Ugly stat: Detroit went 0 for 3 in 3:55 of PP time, while the Canes went 2 for 2 in 2:16 of PP time.
Ty Conklin stopped 20 of 24 shots; Ward stopped 45 of 50.
The 3 stars, per the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness, were Jiri Tlusty, Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg.
The Wings’ goals: Zetterberg (20) from Filppula (37) and Hudler (23);
Zetterberg (21) from Filppula (38) and Hudler (24);
Bertuzzi (14) from Nyquist (6) and Lidstrom (22);
Hudler (22) from Stuart (15) and Filppula (39);
Miller (14) from Cleary (21).
Faceoffs 34-32 Carolina (Detroit won 48%);
Blocked shots 13-8 Detroit;
Missed shots a stunning 21 to 7 Detroit (total attempts 79-44 Detroit);
Hits 25-21 Carolina;
Giveaways 6-4 Detroit;
Takeaways 14-6 Detroit.
Update: Here’s a full slate of highlights:
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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.