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Red Wings-Oilers quick take: brain cramps don’t impede Wings, who will be without Cleary for a bit

Updated with lots of evening reading at 11:13 PM: The Detroit Red Wings’ 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers was anything but pretty, at least in terms of the mistakes made by both teams.

Perhaps it was a case of heavy road legs and slightly distracted brains given tomorrow’s “important announcements” at Comerica Park and Michigan Stadium, but the Wings managed to take seven penalties, blow a 2-0 lead, lose Danny Cleary to a lower-body injury (Mike Babcock said Cleary will have his cortisone shot tomorrow to alleviate the issues in his left knee, and Jan Mursak will play on Friday: edit/update MLive’s Ansar Khan is confirming this as well) on a hit by Ben Eager which so preoccupied the Wings that the Oilers were able to score on the resulting play…

But at home, anyway, when the Wings stagger, they dust themselves off, get right back up and slowly but steadily right their ship, and they earned their 18th straight home win because, as the gentleman in a commercial most of you are too young to remember used to say, “They earned it.”

In a first period which involved more, “How the hell did player X get away with that? Or player Y get away with that?” instances of obstruction infractions and “picks” away from play which simply aren’t called anymore,

Justin Abdelkader got the Wings going with a toss-off with Ryan Jones six minutes into the period—but because Abdelkader also received a cross-checking penalty during the play, he ended up in the box and the Wings had to kill the first of seven power plays against (the Wings earned 4).

Slowly but surely, after making too-cute and too-fancy passes, the Wings earned a power play 12:10 in as Eric Belanger got called for holding a Wing stick, and after quite a bit of fancy-pantsing, Pavel Datsyuk retrieved the rebound of a Johan Franzen shot and sent it back to Ian White—after a very long set of cycling the puck around the perimeter via Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Ian White and Nicklas Lidstrom—who chipped a shot-pass through the slot, and a layered screen in Henrik Zetterberg at the hash marks and Johan Franzen at the top of the crease, and Franzen slid his stick out on the backhand and tipped the puck over Nikolai Khabibulin’s blocker.

The Wings rode out the first by killing consecutive penalties to Cory Emmerton and then Brad Stuart, which meant 1:14 of 5-on-3 PK time, but the Oilers received nary a sniff at the net and the Wings looked to be heading into the first intermission in charge and then some.

Detroit came out very, very strongly in the second period, out-shooting the Oilers by what would end up being a 15-5 margin, and 2:45 into the 2nd, Danny Cleary stole the puck from Cam Barker along the right wing half boards, Justin Abdelkader took the puck and walked to the net from the right side goal line and stuffed the puck at Khabibulin, and the rebound came right to Cory Emmerton, who’d snuck in past Lennart Petrell and roofed the puck over Khabibulin’s blocker.

Nine minutes later, however Wings committed a massive brain fart during a line change.

After Ben Eager dumped Danny Cleary into a semi-open Wings bench door (the hit resulted in Cleary leaving the game due to that left knee injury which will be addressed tomorrow). the Wings continued to change after they flicked the puck in deep, and Nikolai Khabiublin played the puck to Jeff Petry, and as Jonathan Ericsson tried to fight Eager, Darren Helm was the lone Wing on the ice, watching Petry send Sam Gagner in alone on Joey MacDonald. Gagner wouldn’t miss on his shot, dekeing and firing the puck past Joey MacDonald, leaving the Wings quite literally stunned and sore.

The Wings missed a few empty-net passes—Jiri Hudler and Pavel Datsyuk had gigantic chances to score—in the interim, which gave the Oilers some serious sighs of relief and senses that they could rally.

Worse, Tomas Holmstrom was given a downright silly reputation penalty as Cam Barker ran him into Khabibulin 15-and-a-half minutes in, the Wings had to kill their fourth Oilers power play, and after they were caught on a very, very liberal too-many men call (the Wing who came onto the ice didn’t play the puck and the Wing who played the puck was all but hopping onto the bench) with just over 90 seconds left in the 2nd, the Wings headed into the locker room a bit weary.

It showed in the third as the Wings came out very flat, were out-shot early and, after Justin Abdelkader was called for tripping, gave up a game-tying goal to Gagner. 8:23 in, After the Wings penalty-killers made a poor, poor change, Niklas Kronwall was jumped upon by Magnus Paajarvi, who stole the puck from Kronwall, took it out of the corner, walked around both Ryan Smyth and the man who was holding Smyth in the crease in Henrik Zetterberg, and fired a shot on MacDonald whose rebound slithered out to Gagner. Gagner fired the puck through MacDonald before Stuart could get to him, and it was tied.

Just like that, the 2-0 lead had vanished and the Wings were in trouble…

But they decided to dust themselves off and stick with their plan instead. With Abdelkader taking Danny Cleary’s spot on the Drew Miller-Darren Helm line, the Oilers were making a cutesy play of their own trying to exit their zone with just over 9 minutes left in the 3rd, and after Abdeklader stole the puck from Cam Barker, he went right back to the front of the net agian, stuffed a shot on Khabibulin which the goaltender was unable to corral, and as the puck lay just behind Khabibulin’s skates, Drew Miller managed to get disentangled from Eric Belanger as he charged toward the net from the left side, and Miller narrowly defeated a net-charging

Cory Emmerton

[edit/update: Whoops! Darren Helm!] to the puck, jabbing it past Khabibulin to restore the Wings’ lead.

Three-and-a-half minutes later, a line change finally worked well for Detroit. As Miller and his linemates left the ice, he slid the puck cross-ice to Valtteri Filppula at center ice, Filppula took the puck and fired a diagonal pass to Jiri Hudler, coming off the bench, at the Oilers’ blueline, and Filppula followed Hudler, snagged the puck, tried to drop it to Henrik Zetterberg, but as Barker broke his stick trying to hack Zetterberg, the puck trickled back to the point, where Brad Stuart was turned around but managed to touch-pass it to Niklas Kronwall. Kronwall ripped a hard shot on Khabibulin, who stopped the shot with Hudler having moved into his sightlines, but the rebound popped out and Zetterberg stole it and walked around an Oilers defenseman, going to his backhand and back to his forehand before roofing a shot over Khabibibulin’s blocker. For a belated 10th goal and a 4-2 lead.

The Wings subsequently took their seventh penalty in the form of an Ian White tripping call, and the Oilers pushed very, very hard on their PP, but MacDonald and the Wings battened down the hatches and withstood the barrage, and even when the Oilers pulled Khabibulin, the Wings stood their ground and refused to give up any easy chances. They didn’t manage to get any real chances to score an empty-netter, but they finished the game strong, solid and smartly while helping MacDonald earn a 15-save decision and the team’s 18th straight home win.

Sometimes these are the kinds of games that you have to survive and grind out, and that’s exactly what the Wings did.

Statistics: Shots 30-17 Detroit. The Wings out-shot Edmonton 5-4 in the 1st, out-shot Edmonton 15-5 in the 2nd and out-shot Edmonton 10-8 in the 3rd.

The Wings’ PP went 1-for-4 in 6:20 of PP time; the Oilers went 1-for-7 in an astonishing 10:50 of PP time, including 1:14 of 5 on 3 time..

Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 26 of 30 shots; Joey MacDonald stopped 15 of 17

The 3 stars, per TSN’s Gord Miller, were Abdelkader, Gagner and Datsyuk.

The Wings’ goals: Franzen (21) from White (20) and Datsyuk (41), PPG;

Emmerton (6) from Abdelkader (9) and Cleary (16);

Miller (11) from Abdelkader (10);

Zetterberg (10) from Stuart (8) and Kronwall (12).

Faceoffs 31-26 Detroit (Wings won 54%);

Blocked shots 8-7 Edmonton;

Missed shots 13-9 Detroit (total attempts 51-33 Detroit);

Hits 22-19 Edmonton;

Giveaways 5-4 Detroit;

Takeaways 12-5 Detroit.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Franzen went 8-and-5 (62%); Helm went 4-and-8 (33%); Zetterberg went 4-and-5 (84%); Datsyuk went 6-and-4 (60%); Filppula went 5-and-2 (71%); Abdelkader went 2-and-0; Emmerton went 1-and-1; Miller won his only faceoff; Bertuzzi lost his only faceoff.

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

Blocked attempts: White and Ericsson fired 2 attempts into Oilers players; Kindl, Datsyuk, Filppula and Kronwall had 1 shot attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Datsyuk missed the net 3 times; Zetterberg and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Kindl, White, Hudler, Bertuzzi, Emmerton and Filppula missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Ericsson led the team with 4 hits; Kronwall had 3; White, Miller and Emmerton had 2; Kindl, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Holmstrom had 1.

Giveaways: Cleary had 2 giveaways, as did Franzen; Lidstrom had 1.

Takeaways: Datsyuk, Miller, Stuart and Zetterberg had 2 takeaways; Lidstrom, White, Filppula and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Kindl and Kronwall blocked 2 shots; Miller, Zetterberg and Franzen blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Abdelkader took a major penalty for fighting and 2 minors; White, Stuart, Emmerton and Holmstrom took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +10. Holmstrom, Ericsson and White finished at -1; Hudler, Zetterberg, Emmerton and Filppula finished at +1; Abdelkader finished at +2; Stuart and Kronwall finished at +3 (yay for Kronwall, who’s had a hard time getting on the right side of 0).

Points: Abdelkader had 2 assists; Miller, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Franzen had goals; Cleary, Datsyuk, White, Stuart and Kronwall registered assists.

ice time: Lidstrom led the Wings in ice time with 23:46 played; Kronwall played 23:30; Datsyuk played 22:11;

White played 22:03; Stuart played 21:29; Zetterberg played 20:31;

Filppula played 19:25; Franzen played 17:59; Ericsson played 16:17;

Bertuzzi played 16:09; Hudler played 14:45; Helm played 13:43;

Miller played 12:48; Kindl played 11:53; Abdelkader played 9:11;

Cleary played 8:09; Holmstrom played 7:36; Emmerton played 5:43.

Update: Bonus reading time as I’m exhausted and will talk about these after a necessary nap:

• Why trade rumors drive me nuts: Sportsnet “Fan Fuel” blogger Jay Parr-Pearson suggests that Ales Hemsky is worth Brendan Smith or Petr Mrazek and a 1st round draft pick;

• Not crazy at all: Copper and Blue’s Derek Zona wrote a lovely article about the Red Wings’ draft model;

• The Edmonton Journal’s Joanne Ireland also spoke to Brad Stuart and Ty Conklin about the Wings’ organizational dominance;

• WDIV’s Roger Weber spoke to Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry about his memories of his famous former Tiger dad;

• And Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika spoke to Ryan Smyth about the possibility of being traded;

• In Winter Classic talk, the Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk and the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle talked about the 24/7 treatment as it applies to the Leafs’ personalities, the Canadian Press confirmed the event and the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby confirms that the Maple Leafs plan on giving tickets to their “season ticket-holders and waiting list” members, per Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie, who predicts a “sea of blue” at Michigan Stadium.

Hornby also talks to Chuck Gaidica about Michigan weather on New Year’s day;

• From the Wings’ perspective, Red Berenson offered his take on the event to AnnArbor.com’s Pete Cunningham, the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff spoke to several Wings and Larry Murphy about the events, in the out-of-town vein, the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey hopes that the Wings and Leafs’ Alums take care of their peers;

• In charitable news, from the Grand Rapids Griffins, they will hold a “Purple Game to raise funds for cancer survivors on January 16th, and the Griffins also posted their weekly press release;

• The Muskegon Chronicle’s Mark Opfermann also provides the details of this weekend’s Red Wings Alumni versus Muskegon Lumberjacks game;

• Very seriously, via the Birmingham Patch’s Laura Houser, there’s a charitable Danny Cleary sushi roll;

• The Wings will also be hoping to raise over $10,000 for their charitable foundation via Red Wings donuts sold at Tim Horton’s between February 10th and 14th;

• And the Detroit News’s Jon Katzenstein reports that the Red Wings helped the Salvation Army of Southeastern Michigan exceed their Kettle drive goals, raising $8.21 million;

• The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s notebook includes stories about Tomas Holmstrom hitting the 1,000 game mark, Jimmy Howard’s recovery from his broken finger, the Winter Classic announcement and Pavel Datsyuk’s wrist issues;

• Henrik Zetterberg spoke to NHL.com’s Brian Hedger about his goal-scoring woes;

• And MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms that Cleary will be out for a bit:

Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary will be out for a few games, coach Mike Babcock said, after he received an injection in his sore left knee.

Cleary left Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Edmonton after the second period, after his knee, which has been bothering him for a few weeks, flared up.

Cleary said earlier this week that he would eventually need to have the knee drained, following a build-up of fluid caused by a Baker’s cyst that burst. He said he would then need a cortisone injection that would likely idle him for a week. That’s how long Tomas Holmstrom was out after having Synvisc injected into both knees just before the All-Star break on Jan. 26.

Cleary, who assisted on Cory Emmerton’s goal in the second period, has six points in the past six games (goal, five assists). His line, with Drew Miller and Darren Helm, has been providing points as well as energy.

Babcock said Cleary’s absence will allow Jan Mursak to play. Mursak has appeared in only three games since returning last month from a fractured ankle.

I will do my best to cover tomorrow’s pressers, but the antibiotic funk and a looming court date have me pretty tired and stressed.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


SYF's avatar

I will do my best to cover tomorrow’s pressers, but the antibiotic funk and a looming court date have me pretty tired and stressed.

Go on and get your rest, George.  We’ll still be here.

And THANKS! for the post-game blog.  I don’t know what the Montreal Gazette is thinking when they said that they hope the Wings and the Leafs take care of their alumni unlike what the Flyers and Rangers did in the most recent WC.  Apparently, he’s never had one single encounter with Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/09/12 at 01:25 AM ET


I noticed that there were a few changes on the PK and, at least if this game is any indication, they seemed to work well. They also made some changes on the PP, but they still spent way too much time moving the puck around the perimeter without forcing the killers to adjust much, passing back to the point, and finally taking a slap shot with a low percentage of getting through.

MacDonald’s rebound control was not great, but it didn’t cost as much as it could have. Hopefully, that will improve and the Wings defense will adjust, and when Howard is back, they’ll be less likely to cheat to offense before gaining possession after a shot.

Too many turnovers in the defensive zone and way too many cutesey plays in the neutral zone that resulted in the same. But at least this time around they didn’t let Oilers players easily skate around them in the defensive zone. (Though part of that may be that the Oilers are two completely different teams at home and on the road.)

Drew Miller managed to get disentangled from Eric Belanger as he charged toward the net from the left side, and Miller narrowly defeated a net-charging Cory Emmerton Darren Helm to the puck


Posted by bleep bloop on 02/09/12 at 01:29 AM ET


Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary will be out for a few games, coach Mike Babcock said, after he received an injection in his sore left knee… Cleary said earlier this week that he would eventually need to have the knee drained, following a build-up of fluid caused by a Baker’s cyst that burst.

So did he have his knee drained? That wasn’t stated.

Posted by bleep bloop on 02/09/12 at 01:31 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

It will be drained. Time to get the knee worked on all at the same time.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/09/12 at 01:40 AM ET

Chet's avatar

unrelated: the movie bridesmaids SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKKKED!

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 02/09/12 at 04:14 AM ET

tkfergy's avatar

unrelated: the movie bridesmaids SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKKKED!

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 02/09/12 at 02:14 AM ET

My girlfriend has been trying to get me to watch that movie with her for a couple of months now, and all I have to say to her is “Why would I want to watch a bastardized female version of the hangover?”

Posted by tkfergy on 02/09/12 at 06:34 AM 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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