The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/18/12 at 02:44 AM ET
Update: The Free Press’s Helene St. James and MLive’s Ansar Khan report that Helm will have an MRI on what is either a left knee injury or a Charley horse on Monday: The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks may have been best summarized by the game’s final play: Off a dump-in by Niklas Kronwall which neither Justin Abdelkader nor Danny Cleary could retrieve, Dominic Moore charged up the middle of the ice, gave-and-went with Douglas Murray and skated into the Wings’ zone.
When Moore—who knocked Darren Helm (“lower-body injury,” will be reassessed on Monday) out of the game with an inadvertent knee-in-knee checkstopped with 3 Wings surrounding him about ten feet in front of the hash marks, instead of closing in on Moore, Kronwall and Ian White just stood and sort of watched Moore kick the puck to his stick, and passed the puck to Martin Havlat, who fired a hard shot from the right wing side on Jimmy Howard.
Howard stopped the initial shot, but the rebound came loose, and as Kronwall and White chased back after Moore, Havlat skated from the right side to the left side of the ice, found the rebound, and—depending on your point of view, either as Justin Abdelkader ran Jason Demers into Howard, or Demers chose to use Abdelkader’s presence as the only forward backchecking (Danny Cleary, where were you?) to jump on Howard as he lay on his back, Havlat was able to take the rebound and easily chip it through White and into the back of the net, giving the Wings an 0-2-an-1 record on their final road trip of the season.
The Wings rallied from a 2-0 deficit and received 33 saves from Howard, but on that final play, they either could not or would not stop staring at the Sharks as San Jose dictated the pace of play and possessed and controlled the puck for the vast majority of the game, and despite a goal scored by Pavel Datsyuk in his return to the lineup, defensive miscues and a power play that went 0-for-3—and is now 0-for-31 over the Wings’ past 9 games…
The Wings limp home not knowing whether Darren Helm (“lower-body injury,” Babcock says it’s not a Charley horse) will play on Monday, whether Johan Franzen (back spasms) will play on Monday, whether Joey MacDonald (back spasms, needs MRI) has herniated a disc in his back, whether Nicklas Lidstrom will be able to put his foot in his skate and experience a manageable amount of pain when he pushes off, or whether the Wings can salvage the remainder of their season and home-ice advantage over the Predators, who sit 2 points behind Detroit thanks to the Wings’ “loser point” and the Kings defeating said Predators 4-2 on Saturday night.
The Blues? They’re officially out of reach after a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay. The Blues sit eight points ahead of Detroit and have 2 more wins and five more regulaton-or-overtime wins, so unless the Blues their last 9 games and the Wings win their last 10 games, Detroit will be playing Nashville in the 1st round.
Given the way the Wings played in LA and Anaheim, they certainly looked like a more confident, more poised and more determined team (and hell, they killed off 3 San Jose power plays on a night when the Sharks got away with murder),but the way things played out over the first period doomed Detroit.
On the first shift, Pavel Datsyuk lost the opening draw to Joe Thornton. Thornton won the puck back to Dan Boyle. Boyle skated up the left side and fired a pass up to Joe Pavelski, who dumped the puck around the back boards to set up the Sharks’ trademark cycle. Brad Stuart tried to stop Logan couture from reversing the puck but he could not, Pavelski won a puck battle against Datsyuk to get the puck back to Joe Thornton, his shot was blocked but as Todd Bertuzzi tried to clear the puck on the left wing half boards, Boyle held it in, gave it to Joe Thornton substituting for Boyle, and Thornton passed the puck to Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who chipped the puck wide of the net. Boyle pinched in to retrieve the rebound, sent it to Joe Thornton down low, and he slid the puck to Pavelski, all of five feet in front of the net, who fired the puck off Niklas Kronwall’s skate, retrieved the rebound, deked and fired the puck top shelf over Jimmy Howard, who had no chance whatsoever on the shot. 48 seconds in, the Sharks were up 1-0.
The Wings and Sharks traded power play chances and spirited physical games throughout the first, but the Sharks continued to dictate play, and they hammered home a goal which would be more than enough for the Sharks to earn at least one point all of 18:23 into the 1st period. Very simply, Valtteri Filppula attempted to carry the into the Sharks’ zone on the right wing side, lost the puck, as Ian White tried to support Filppula he lost the puck to Patrick Marleau as he backed into his own zone, and Marleau passed the puck to Martin Havlat, who had darted into the zone and into the high slot. Havlat used Brad Stuart as a screen and fired the puck through his legs and over Howard’s glove. Again, no chance for Howard, Sharks up 2-0.
Just as quickly, the Wings ensured that they wouldn’t go into the intermission down 2-0. Pavel Datsyuk won the faceoff on the “bump-up shift,” Niklas Kronwall sent it to Datsyuk, Datsyuk skated up the left side, and as Todd Bertuzzi slid toward the net, Antti Niemi strangely leaned off the goalpost and tried to skitter out to cover Bertuzzi should he receive a pass from Datsyuk, and instead, Datsyuk rifled a high, hard shot over Niemi’s head and into the net from nearly parallel to the goal line, hitting the net at the top glove side corner at the 18:46 mark of the 1st. With 14 seconds left, the Wings had made it 2-1.
Regrettably, the Wings did little with the puck in the second, despite firing more shots on Niemi and playing a little more like, well, themselves, and the Sharks continued to sustain possession and control of the puck in the offensive zone. The Wings were unable to do much of anything on a Torrey Mitchell holding penalty, and the Sharks couldn’t dent Howard when Valtteri Filppula took a penalty for tugging on Martin Havlat with 1:50 left in the 2nd. In the interim the Sharks mucked, ground, cycled and out-worked and out-hustled a Wings team that at least seemed to know where it put its mojo, and if I may offer some “sour grapes,” so much clutching, grabbing and groping was let go in those “scrums,” for both sides, that it was silly.
The Wings did make something out of a penalty-killing situation in the 3rd. Justin Abdelkader made a very obvious attempt to stick Mitchell’s stick under his armpit at 5:09 of the 3rd but fell over, and the ref made an easy call. The Wings killed the ensuing penalty, and as the Wings changed players, Brendan Smith tried to chip the puck up to Jiri Hudler, Vlasic tried to milk an icing call, but didn’t get his way, Valtteri Filppula took the puck from Vlasic and deked around him, gave it to Zetterberg, Zetterberg tried to give back to Smith, Smith took a long shot that was stopped, and Zetterberg was very, very blatantly hooked by Dominic Moore on the rebound, so he was unable to deposit the puck in an open net, but as the Sharks cleared the puck to center ice, Doug Janik swiped the puck, gave it to Filppula, and just as Zetterberg tagged up as he was being held up on his way back to center ice, Filppula roared in over the blueline, skated toward the net just to the left of the “up the gut” middle and backed both Vlasic and Douglas Murray in, offering a little deke to force Murray to cover the slot and firing a gorgeous wrister over Niemi’s blocker.
The Wings had tied things up 2-2 at 8:12 of the 3rd, and from there on, while they were out-shot, they were not out-hustled, at least until Moore inadvertently stuck out his knee and tagged Helm trying to avoid a collision, left knee on left knee, and after Helm went to the bench, he waited until the TV timeout and had to skate that long route from the bench to the locker room with about 7:20 left in the 3rd.
He never returned, and with the HEMI line broken up (Emmerton substituted for Helm as Abdelkader shifted to center), the Sharks retook possession and control of the puck, made Howard earn his teammates a point, and in OT…
The person I talked to who’d seen the goal repeatedly suggested that Demers more or less tackled Howard. You decide:
Here’s a slate of game highlights narrated by Ken Daniels and Larry Murphy, if you’re interested:
Shots 35-28 Sharks overall. The Wings out-shot San Jose 9-8 in the 1st, were out-shot 12-11 in the 2nd, out-shot 10-7 in the 3rd and out-shot 5-1 in OT.
The Wings went 0-for-2 in 4:00 of PP time; the Sharks went 0-for-3 in 6:00 of PP time.
Jimmy Howard stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced; Antti Niemi stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced.
The 3 stars, per the Sharks’ Dan Rusanowsky, were Niklas Kronwall, Joe Pavelski and Martin Havlat.
The Wings’ goals: Datsyuk (17) from Kronwall (19);
Filppula (23) from Janik (1).
Faceoffs 25-25 (50% won by both teams);
Blocked shots 19-18 San Jose;
Missed shots 17-12 San Jose (total attempts 70-59 San Jose—and if you’re keeping score at home, the Wings fired 28 shots on the net and another 30 wide or into Sharks players);
Hits 23-20 Detroit;
Giveaways 16-8 San Jose;
Takeaways 12-8 San Jose.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 12-and-7 (63%); Helm went 4-and-8 (33%); Zetterberg went 6-and-5 (55%); Emmerton went 1-and-3 (25%); Filppula went 1-and-1 (50%); Abdelkader won his only faceoff; Cleary lost his only faceoff.
Shots: Zetterberg led the team with 5 shots; Hudler and White had 4; Filppula had 3; Helm and Bertuzzi had 2; Smith, Cleary, Datsyuk, Miller, Quincey, Mursak, Emmerton and Holmstrom had 1.
Blocked attempts: White, Stuart and Zetterberg had 3 attempts blocked by Sharks players; Smith and Hudler had 2 attempts blocked; Cleary, Miller, Quincey, Janik, Helm and Bertuzzi had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Datsyuk and Mursak missed the net 2 times; Smith, Cleary, White, Stuart, Hudler, Quincey, Zetterberg and Kronwall missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Abdelkader led the team with 4 hits; Datsyuk, Helm and Bertuzzi had 3; Smith and Cleary had 2; Miller, Stuart, Janik, Filppula, Kronwall and Holmstrom had 1.
Giveaways: Datsyuk and Mursak had 2 giveaways; Stuart, Janik, Zetterberg and Bertuzzi had 1.
Takeaways: Smith, Datsyuk, Miller, Janik, Mursak, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Filppula had 1 takeaway.
Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 5 shots; Miller and Stuart blocked 3; Quincey blocked 2; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, White, Bertuzzi and Emmerton blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Abdelkader, Filppula and Holmstrom took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective -4. White finished at -2; Abdelkader, Cleary, Stuart and Kronwall finished at -1; Smith and Janik finished at +1.
Points: Datsyuk and Filppula had goals; Kronwall and Janik had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 27:37 played; Stuart played 26:48; White played 23:04;
Quincey played 21:33; Zetterberg played 20:48; Filppula played 20:05;
Datsyuk played 19:10; Bertuzzi played 17:11; Cleary played 17:09;
Hudler played 16:56; Miller played 14:37; Smith played 14:09;
Janik layed 13:35; Abdelkader played 13:18; Helm played 12:28;
Holmstrom played 10:40; Emmerton played 10:08; Mursak played 7:56.
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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.