The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/20/11 at 06:04 PM ET
Updated at 4:48 with a full recap, injury news and overnight updates: The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in a shootout thanks to a stellar goaltending performance from Jimmy Howard, who matched Niklas Backstrom save for save, and a superb shootout goal from Todd Bertuzzi, who registered the unofficial game-winner while playing in his 1,000th game. Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien provides a solid and sound quickie recap which worked superbly as neither the Detroit or Minnesota papers actually posted their recaps until Monday morning:
The mere fact that it was Todd Bertuzzi’s 1,000th game made this afternoon’s contest against the Minnesota Wild special enough. Yet Bertuzzi was able to script a great ending to his milestone, as the surging power forward scored a nice backhand goal to cap a 2-1 shootout win for the Detroit Red Wings.
The divisive power forward received boos when he touched the puck (unless it was actually one of those “Boo-urns”-style chants that sounded like boos?), but he made some nice plays in a well-played if offensively limited contest.
I was saying Boourns…
Bertuzzi might be the headliner for this game, but Niklas Backstrom was probably the best player on the ice. The Finnish goalie stopped 38 shots in regulation, only allowing a Nicklas Lidstrom goal early in the third period. Martin Havlat scored Minnesota’s only goal on a breakaway a little under five minutes into the final frame.
I’m biased, obviously, but I disagree. Howard didn’t make the same highlight-reel style saves but he didn’t have to because his positioning was fantastic, he was conservative in his movements and allowed the puck to simply hit and stick instead of booting rebounds back out, and his fantastically quick toes stifled the Wild’s offensive outbursts on a repeated basis.
Pavel Datsyuk scored an absolute beauty to open up the scoring in the shootout while Bertuzzi clinched the Red Wings’ win. Jimmy Howard turned aside both Wild shooters and made 25 out of 26 saves during the actual game to win his 30th game of the season.
The Red Wings now have 80 points on the season, leaving them five points behind the Vancouver Canucks for the top spot in the West. Minnesota would have loved to win this game, but they’ll take the charity point. That moves them to 68 points so far this season, placing them in a five-team tie for sixth in the West. At this moment, wins and games played tiebreakers technically place them in eighth.
Even I will admit that this game was played as if both the Wings and referees had a plane to catch—and in the Wings’ case, they did get out of St. Paul during a blizzard, so while one Wild blogger believes that the Wings got away with interference galore, I’d argue that both teams were allowed to clutch and grab with impunity, and that kind of game tends to benefit the Wild more than it does the Wings.
The NHL’s relaxed its referees’ obstruction penalty quota in general over the past month, and while the Wings are committing picks and grabs from time to time, they and their opponents are playing in an environment where the only calls referees seem to call anymore involve either horizontal stick penalties (i.e. hooking, high-sticking) or the classic, “If there’s a one-on-one battle for the puck and someone falls over, it’s a call” stuff. I’m very dissatisfied with the refereeing in general as it’s applied to everybody, the Wings included, over the past two months because it makes a speedy, skilled team’s job that much harder when their opponents are allowed to pick them off and literally wrestle players off the puck. It doesn’t benefit anybody and it slows the game down. Who knows, maybe there’s a “parity clause” in effect so that the games remain close and the playoff pack remains tightly spaced.
Anyway, from the Wild’s perspective, earning a point sans Mikko Koivu, who the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo believes is out for at least three weeks with a broken finger, was pretty decent, as they told Russo:
The Wild was “sour” on not getting the second point, but veteran center Matt Cullen called it a “character point” as the Wild hopped from 10th place to seventh in the Western Conference bottleneck of a playoff race. The Wild sits atop four teams with 68 points.
“We’re right there with everybody else. Any point for us is very important,” said Martin Havlat, who made good on his third-period breakaway for yet another clutch tying goal. Havlat’s goal counted for his 500th career point and 50th of the season. He has scored five tying goals (four in the third period) this season that have directly led to the Wild getting at least a point in the standings.
“Third period a lot of times, the games are tight,” Havlat said. “You need to get a goal to get up or tie the game. I really like those situations at the end of games.”
The Wild felt that Niklas Backstrom’s 38-save effort earned them their point, but Backstrom was disappointed that Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi managed to beat him in the shootout:
“I don’t know how it went in,” said Backstrom, disappointed he couldn’t secure that precious second point despite his marvelous effort. He’s 5-2-1 in his past eight, allowing two goals or fewer seven times. “We’re a hungry team. Maybe at some point the one point can feel good, but the next couple hours, it won’t.”
Nonetheless, the Wild tried to look on the bright side of life…
The Wild competed hard in its first game without Koivu. It would have liked that second point, but “we sure battled hard and fought for that point,” Cullen said. “We played some pretty decent hockey at times and gave ourselves every opportunity to win, especially with Nik playing as well as he did in net.”
And coach Todd Richards raved about Backstrom’s play to ESPN 1500’s Jess Richards:
“I guess it’s something you come to expect now, making certain saves look easy and making some saves that you aren’t expecting him to make,” said Wild coach Todd Richards. “Again, there was lots of battling out in front of him today and you have to give the players in front of him credit because Detroit, one thing they do extremely well, is they go to the net hard and they’ll throw pucks there. Nik obviously had to scramble on a couple, but as a group of five we did a really good job of competing in that small area.”
The Wild also praised Kyle Brodziak’s play in substituting for Koivu, but both the Pioneer Press’s Bruce Brothers and Russo’s take on Brodziak’s play earn “further reading” status, minus this quip from Russo:
Shootout goals don’t count in goals against, so the Wild allowed one goal against Detroit for the first time in 26 games since a 1-1 tie Nov. 25, 2003. It marked the second time in 39 all-time meetings that the Wild allowed one goal or fewer against the Red Wings.
Fox Sports North’s Jamie MacDonald both noted Richards’ take on the Wild’s character point...
“Detroit’s always impressive,” said Todd Richards. “We earned a tough point today. It certainly wasn’t easy. But the way the games are going right now—so, so tight—it’s a huge point for us.”
MacDonald noted that, on the game-tying goal, Pavel Datsyuk actually made a boo boo, and it ended up springing Martin Havlat on a breakaway as he split Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart, skated in alone and put the puck between Jimmy Howard’s legs. Howard should have had the shot but he attempted to go for a poke check and lifted his stick blade off the ice, and before he could extend the stick, Havlat flicked the puck betwixt the pines:
Matt Cullen played with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Havlat on Sunday, and it was Havlat, who also led the team with six shots, playing the goal-scoring hero. After Detroit’s goal, Havlat struck on a nice individual effort to cap a play made possible by team defense.
Danny Cleary, who along with Jiri Hudler and Datsyuk were dangerous on many shifts, gained the Wild zone only a minute into the third. But when he was met by traffic, he curled back to buy time. When he tried to move the puck to Datsyuk as the Wild closed, that pass was picked off by Brent Burns and immediately sent up-ice to Havlat. Havlat kept defenders behind him on the breakaway he finished to knot the game at 1-1.
As for Backstrom, to say that he didn’t blink is an understatement:
In addition to the shoulder save, the blocker redirects, the left and right pad saves on shots requiring post-to-post moves, the best of the night was on Cleary’s chance with a few minutes to play in overtime. Clearly had the puck alone in front and started looking for room to the far post on his backhand. Backstrom tracked it while on his stomach and kept closing the options as Clearly looked for a spot to shoot. When he finally did, it was into Backstrom’s glove.
Generally speaking, the Wild spoke positively of their play during the shootout loss, as the Pioneer Press’s Bruce Brothers noted:
The 68 points moved Minnesota into a tie with Dallas, Los Angeles and Anaheim for seventh in the West.
“We did what we had to do; we got a point,” center John Madden said. “We played against a really good team, without probably our best player (injured center Mikko Koivu). We’ll keep our heads up and keep going from here.”
Cullen called that one point “a character point.”
“We fought back against a very good team and gave ourselves plenty of opportunity to win,” he said. “Nikky played unbelievable in the nets again for us and kept us alive. Obviously, you want that other point, but at the same time we just have to keep things in perspective and take the point and keep going.”
Brothers summarized the Wild’s point-earning shootout loss as follows...
RECAP: Shootout goals by Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi gave the Detroit Red Wings a win over the Wild in front of 18,912 Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Niklas Backstrom made 38 saves for the Wild.
Nicklas Lidstrom scored Detroit’s lone regulation goal early in the third period to break a 0-0 tie, but less than four minutes later Brent Burns sprung Martin Havlat on a breakaway to tie it up.
MEANING: The one point was enough to vault the Wild from 10th place in the Western Conference into the top half. They were sixth after the afternoon games.
While Russo had tossed out three stars:
STAR TRIBUNE’S THREE STARS
1. Niklas Backstrom, Wild: Made 38 saves and is 5-2-1 in his past eight starts with a 1.36 goals-against average and .953 save percentage.
2. Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings: Scored a goal in the shootout, created chances and foiled many chances defensively.
3. Martin Havlat, Wild: Had six shots and third-period tying breakaway goal was 500th career point and team-leading 50th this year.
BY THE NUMBERS
262 Players who have played 1,000 games (Detroit’s Todd Bertuzzi became the latest Sunday).
Cleary and the Wings weren’t the only players getting frustrated with stellar goaltending in the opposing net. Wild players had several golden chances, but only Havlat was able to find the net, converting on a third-period breakaway. It was Havlat’s 500th point (205-295=500) in 602 NHL games. Havlat will obviously be counted on in a big way for as long as Koivu was out, and he looked up to the challenge, especially with his hard-working effort throughout the third period.
This genuinely made me snicker:
I’ll bury this at the bottom, but today’s game was the 1,000th in the career of Todd Bertuzzi.
It’s interesting, because during the celebration of [Andrew] Brunette’s milestone earlier this month, Richards pointed out that 1,000 games speak to a player’s character. You don’t hang around long if you don’t have great character. When I heard that, it made so much sense as I thought of some of the guys that have hit the mark. Bruno and Keith Carney are the only two Wild players to do it, and both are outstanding leaders and characters.
Bertuzzi? Well, I can’t really say too much without knowing the guy (although I did have a run-in with him some years ago and didn’t exactly walk away impressed). But we know his history, and I haven’t heard of a lot of guys talk about his glowing personality. Whatever. Congrats, I guess.
He’s a shy slightly standoffish man socially speaking, but he’s apparently very nice to the people who manage to crack his scowl. I’d argue that he didn’t really “grow up” and shed the chip on his shoulder until he signed with the Wings for the second time, so I’m not surprised that Andresen ran into Todd Bertuzzi 1.0 and didn’t like him. TB2.0’s a decent fellow…
And the Associated Press’s recap allows us to shift focus to the Wings’ take on the game, Bertuzzi was thrilled to score the game-winning shootout goal with his wife and two children in attendance thanks to Mike and Marian Ilitch:
“There’s no better place to get the two points and also score,” said Bertuzzi, who became a villain in Minnesota during the 2003 playoffs with Vancouver. “It’s a great atmosphere. Every time we come here it’s always a real good game for the fans.”
Bertuzzi became the 263rd player in NHL history, 33 of them still active, to reach the 1,000-game milestone. Family members were here to mark the occasion.
“It’s pretty special. Pretty cool,” Bertuzzi said.
After Pavel Datsyuk pushed a wrister past Backstrom in the first round, Howard denied the Wild’s Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Matt Cullen to set up Bertuzzi’s winner. Backstrom said he thought he had it. Howard has yielded one shootout goal in 14 tries this season.
“It’s just being patient and letting them make the first move and just moving with them,” said Howard, who raised his record to 30-10-3. “It’s been successful this year.”
I need to squeeze this one in because I’ll be the first one to admit that Nicklas Lidstrom has continued to do everything on the Wings’ blueline but post points of late, so it’s great to see him shaking off a mid-season scoring schneid:
Lidstrom’s goal, the 12th of the season for the 40-year-old captain, was his first in the last 22 games.
Wings coach Mike Babcock was very satisfied with his team’s performance, as he told MLive’s Ansar Khan:
“We did a lot of good things,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought both goaltenders were good. We had lots of opportunity. We hung in there. It was a tight-checking game. It was a good game for us to find a way to win. Obviously, it was great for Bert to score the goal at the end.”
The game was scoreless after 40 minutes. Nicklas Lidstrom (1:10) and Martin Havlat (4:50) traded goals in the third period, setting up overtime, which Minnesota survived despite some terrific chances by Detroit. In the shootout, Pavel Datsyuk scored on the Red Wings’ first attempt, before Howard made glove saves against Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Matt Cullen, whose deke attempts failed. That set up Bertuzzi’s moment in the spotlight. He slowly skated in on Backstrom and beat him with a backhand shot.
“I’ve been pretty confident in shootouts (2-for-5 this season), so I knew what I was going to do,” Bertuzzi said. “It was obviously nice to see a couple (shooters go) ahead of me so I could see how he was reacting. It was a pretty great feeling when it went in. I’m fortunate (the Red Wings) allowed my family (wife Julie, daughter Jaden, son Tag) to come and be a part of this.”
Bertuzzi says he’ll take the game puck and put it on the mantle back home in Kitchener, ON:
“It’s something I’ll take back home, put in my new house when it’s finished,” Bertuzzi said.
As Khan duly notes, Howard’s definitely regained his rookie season’s level of fit and finish, and Babcock gave Howard praise for a superb performance:
“In the shootout, he was sharp. He really held his ground, which is important,” Babcock said. “I always said to our goalies, if they deke you and it ends up in the back of the net, great, but just hold your ground, make them beat you, don’t just back in.”
While Bertuzzi also credited Howard for the win, as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan noted…
“It’s pretty special for sure,” said Bertuzzi, who played 18 minutes and was credited with two shots on goal. “I saw it might come down to the third shooter after Howie had made those saves and give me a chance for the win. It was a great feeling when it went in.”
The Wings admitted that the 11:30 AM start time was at least a little bit weird. Kulfan says it messed up their weekend plans a bit:
They left Fort Lauderdale after Friday’s game, the end of the father-sons trip, and arrived in Detroit at 3 a.m. before returning to board a plane to Minnesota at 5 p.m. Saturday and then waking early for Sunday’s 11:30 a.m. (Central time) faceoff.
“It’s definitely different,” Draper said. “Most of us woke up at 8 a.m., grabbed breakfast, and just came down to the rink to play.”
“We did a lot of good things,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Both goalies were good and we had a lot of opportunities. It was good for us to find a way to win. We didn’t give up much. When we did, our goaltending was there.”
Nicklas Lidstrom also spoke to Kulfan about the early start...
“That’s the earliest one (start) I’ve had, I think, since I’ve been in the league,” Nicklas Lidstrom said. “When you have a 1 p.m. game you have breakfast and some time to rest, but now, you just do everything earlier. You just have breakfast and come down here and play the game. Most players woke around 8 a.m., grabbed breakfast at the hotel (which is connected to the arena in St. Paul, an added bonus) and started getting ready.
“Pretty tough,” said Todd Bertuzzi of the early start. “But you’ve got to give this team (the Wings) credit. We showed up and played hard.”
Babcock, who gets to the rink by 7 AM and runs on a Chris Chelios-like four or five hours of sleep a night, had no problem with rising early:
“We’re able to get home and sets up our week better,” Babcock said. “It should be like baseball, with the getaway days. I like them.”
Said Lidstrom: “That’s the benefit of playing early, you’re able to spend the night at home.”
The Wings did get home just before 6 PM EST, so they missed most of the blizzard/sleet fest that made Metro Detroit quite the Monday Morning mess. I’m not sure that the Wings were supposed to practice in any case as they have a busy schedule ahead and will leave Metro Airport on Friday for a five game road trip that starts in Buffalo before winding back to LA, Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix, leaving on the 25th of February and returning on the 6th of March. I hope they get the day off as they’ve earned it, but you never know with Babcock.
The Wings spoke to Khan about the early start as well:
It was the Red Wings’ third road game in four days—64 hours, to be precise—and they went 3-0. After wins in Tampa Bay and Florida on Thursday and Friday, the team flew home to drop off their dads/brothers/others following their annual fathers trip. Then they flew to Minnesota late Saturday afternoon.
”Pretty tough,” Todd Bertuzzi said. “It’s from flying in from Florida, getting in at 3 in the morning, traveling back here at 5 and then having to go through it again. It’s a lot of back and forth. But give us some credit, we showed up and played hard.”
Their typical pregame meal of pasta and chicken was replaced by eggs and oatmeal.
“I think most of us woke up at 8 o’clock, grabbed breakfast and came over to the rink to play,” Kris Draper said. “I thought we had some pretty good energy. We rolled four lines the majority of the game. The guys were getting into it, playing hard, creating chances. ... This was getting gritty and finding a way to win a game.”
And while Kris Draper reflected upon Bertuzzi’s 1,000th game when speaking to the Free Press’s Helene St. James...
“What a way to cap it off, with Bert playing his 1,000th game and then going out and ending it like that,” Kris Draper said. “We’ve got a good thing going. We’re playing well, we’re winning hockey games. It’s a nice win, and a good two points for us.
The Wings mostly spoke about the latter half of Draper’s statement, i.e. the fact that very solid team play has resulted in a 5-game winning streak:
“I thought we did a lot of really good things,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought both goaltenders were good. We had lots of opportunity. They hung in there, and it was a tight-checking game and it was a good game for us to find a way to win. Obviously, it was great for Bert to score the goal at the end in his 1,000th game.”
“We’re paying more attention to details, and I think we’re working harder and smarter, too,” Lidstrom said. “We have the forwards coming back, back-checking, and the ‘D’ trying to stand up and not giving up a whole lot of room. If we get caught in our own zone, I think we’re doing a better job of sorting it out, not giving them clear-cut chances in the slot. We’re being more aggressive in our own zone and taking care of the puck when we get it.”
The Wings’ next test comes Tuesday at home against the Sharks, who have surged all the way to fourth place in the West after being out of the playoff picture.
Sunday’s test involved playing a Wild team that hasn’t really strayed from Jacques Lemaire’s regimented and defensively-oriented (cough trapping cough) style of play…
“They’re very structured,” Bertuzzi said. “They take care of stuff in the neutral zone very well, are organized defensively, so it’s tough to get the job done. It’s one of those games where you’ve just got to stay patient and just step by step try to get in there.”
The Wild also have some offensive panache, as Jimmy Howard told St. James...
Howard on playing the Wild’s style: “Minnesota is always looking to come down, pull up, pass across, but the guys did a great job coming back and being in lanes and having sticks and everything.” ... Kris Draper on how the Wings played: “We did a lot of things well. Went with four lines the majority of the game, and guys were getting into it and creating good chances. Howie was really good for us.”
The Wings are, as Lidstrom suggested, getting back to playing sound positional defense instead of chasing the puck carrier around, they’re disrupting opposition cycles, are giving up fewer odd-man rushes against and they’re basically doing all the little things well, winning one-on-one battles, finding ways to get the puck out of the defensive zone quickly because forwards are coming back to present their defensemen with easy outs, and the Wings are doing what they do when they dominate in their own zone, getting their bodies on the inside of their opponents while using their sticks and bodies to astutely break up passes and block shots.
When I watch a team like the Oilers flop and flail in front of shots, I wonder why they don’t play more like the Wings, because the Wings simply don’t waste any energy when they’re committed to working hard defensively. It’s as if the less they move around and the less they chase puck carriers, the better they are.
That defensive posture leads to the kinds of one-touch passes and rushes through the neutral zone that allow the Wings to slow down the pace of play, take the puck off their opponents’ sticks and then crank up their high-tempo offensive game, as Lidstrom told St. James…
Lidstrom on attacking more late in the game: “I thought we started taking more shots in the second half of the game. But they were playing a very patient style and not giving us a whole lot.”
And while Bertuzzi and Datsyuk scored decisive shootout goals, Howard did his best to steal the spotlight, and St. James took note of his especially calm demeanor during the shootout, when he made his saves against Bouchard and Cullen look easy:
It was just being patient, letting them make the first move and just moving with them,” Howard said. “It’s been successful that way this year.”
Howard has allowed only six goals on the 117 shots he has faced in his last four starts.
“I’ve felt a lot better,” he said, “but I think a lot of it has to do with how well the guys have been playing in front of me.”
Nicklas Lidstrom said of Howard, “I think he’s been playing with a ton of confidence here of late, and that’s something we needed him to do. He looks comfortable in the net.”
“I thought he was good,” coach Mike Babcock said of Howard. “I thought in the shoot-out, with both Bouchard and Cullen, he really held his ground, which to me is important. If they deke you and it ends up in the back of the net, great, but just hold your ground, make them beat you, don’t just back in. I thought he was good, he made some key saves.”
Just as the Wings’ defensive play improves when they skate a little less and cover ice positionally instead of running around, Howard’s at his best when he’s out on the top of his crease, when his movements are conservative, when he’s kicking out the fastest toes I’ve seen since one Dominik Hasek played the game, and when he’s carrying his glove and blocker Hasek high, up and out in front of him.
Howard actually has a very strange stance when he’s playing his best, looking like a cross between Hasek and Felix Potvin, with his hands held high and the tops of his pads overlapping. He’s finally looking like himself again, and for that we have to thank Jim Bedard, Chris Osgood, a little sit-down conversation with Mike Babcock and Howard himself for sticking with it and staying positive when he was struggling and his teammates weren’t supporting him defensively.
The Wings are finally on an honest-to-goodness roll, and the Wings can hopefully keep the good times rolling on Tuesday against San Jose and Thursday against Dallas.
Highlights: Here’s NHL.com’s full highlight clip, narrated by Pat Foley and Darren Pang, who spent the vast majority of the game having a conversation instead of actually calling the on-ice action:
The Wings’ website posted the entire shootout…
As well as Datsyuk’s goal…
And Bertuzzi’s gamer:
Post-game: NBC Sports posted a 44-second post-game interview with Bertuzzi…
The Wild’s website’s post-game offerings include an audio clip including all of the following interviews:
Wild coach Todd Richards’ post-game presser…
Goalie Niklas Backstrom’s post-game media scrum…
Matt Cullen’s post-game media scrum…
And Greg Zanon’s post-game media scrum:
Photos: The Detroit Free Press posted a 10-image gallery;
The Pioneer Press posted a seven-image Flash gallery in its capsule recap;
NHL.com posted an 18-image gallery;
Stats: Shots 39-26 Detroit overall, breaking down as 13-8 Detroit in the 1st period, 8-5 Detroit in the 2nd period, 14-11 Detroit in the 3rd and 4-2 Detroit in OT.
The Wild went 0-for-3 in on 6 minutes of PP time; the Wings went 0-for-2 in 4:00 of PP time.
Our goal: Lidstrom (12) from Hudler (21) and Stuart (10).
The 3 stars, per “Let’s Play Hockey’s” Doug Johnson: Datsyuk, Howard and Backstrom.
Faceoffs 34-29 Detroit (54%);
Blocked shots 14-7 Wild;
Missed shots 18-10 Detroit (total attempted shots 72 for Detroit, 43 for Minnesota);
Hits 19-17 Wild;
Giveaways 16-5 Wild;
Takeaways 7-4 Wild.
Our goal: Lidstrom (12) from Hudler (21) and Stuart (10).
The 3 stars, per “Let’s Play Hockey’s” Doug Johnson:
Datsyuk, Howard and Backstrom.
Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 10-and-11 (48%); Abdelkader went 6-and-3 (67%); Helm went 3-and-6 (33%); Hudler went 4-and-4 (50%); Datsyuk went 5-and-2 (71%); Draper went 3-and-3 (50%); Franzen went 2-and-0 (100%); Eaves won his only faceoff.
Shots taken: Franzen led the team with 6 shots; Cleary had 5; Lidstrom and Zetterberg had 3; Datsyuk, Eaves, Hudler, Rafalski, Draper and Bertuzzi had 2; Miller, Stuart, Salei, Ericsson and Kronwall had single shots. Only Holmstrom didn’t shoot the puck.
Blocked attempts: Eaves had 4 shot attempts blocked; Hudler had 3 blocked; Kronwall and Franzen had 2 blocked; Datsyuk, Draper and Bertuzzi had 1 shot attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Eaves, Stuart and Helm missed the net 2 times; Lidstrom, Cleary, Eaves, Salei, Bertuzzi, Ericsson, Kronwall and Franzen missed the net once.
Hits: Eaves led the team with 4 hits; Franzen had 3; Datsyuk and Miller had 2; Cleary, Salei, Hudler, Helm, Ericsson and Kronwall had 1.
Giveaways: Datsyuk had 2 giveaways; Ericsson, Kronwall and Holmstrom had single giveaways.
Takeaways: Eaves, Ztterberg, Helm and Franzen had takeaways.
Blocked shots: Lidstrom and Draper blocked 2 shots; Miller, Salei and Holmstrom blocked single shots.
Penalties taken: Franzen took 2 penalties; Kronwall took one minor.
Plus-minus: the Datsyuk line and Lidstrom-Stuart pairing were on the ice for the goal for and goal against so the entire team finished even.
Points: Lidstrom had a goal; Stuart and Hudler had assists.
Ice time: Stuart led the team with 23:48 in ice time; Lidstrom played 23:43; Kronwall played 21:28;
Zetterberg played 20:50; Ericsson played 20:36; Salei played 20:23;
Both Rafalski and Franzen played 20:13; Datsyuk played 18:58;
Bertuzzi played 18:00; Cleary played 17:15; Hudler played 17:09;
Helm played 17:07; Eaves played 14:49; Draper played 12:46;
Miller played 9:00; Holmstrom played 8:55; Abdelkader played 8:46.
Also of Red Wings-related note:
• Per Kulfan, here’s an injury update...
Chris Osgood (sports hernia), Valtteri Filppula (sprained left knee) and Mike Modano (lacerated right wrist) will be returning soon. Filppula could be back Tuesday and Modano is scheduled to play Saturday in Buffalo.
Babcock said he expects to put Filppula and Modano on a line with Tomas Holmstrom .
“We’re going to have real good depth,” Babcock said.
I like that line—Filppula needs an injection of confidence, and playing on the wing with Modano as his center should help—but it obviously means that two Wings will sit, most likely Kris Draper and Drew Miller.
St. James confirms but pushes Filppula’s return date back to Thursday…
Babcock said it’s likely Valtteri Filppula (sprained left knee) won’t be ready before Thursday’s game against Dallas. Mike Modano, out since Nov. 26 with a lacerated right wrist, is due back Saturday at Buffalo.
As does Ansar Khan:
The Red Wings expect to have 14 healthy forwards by the end of the week, as Valtteri Filppula (sprained left MCL) and Mike Modano (lacerated right wrist) are due to return. Babcock said he doesn’t believe Filppula, who’s missed six games, will play Tuesday at home against San Jose, but said there is a chance for Thursday against Dallas at Joe Louis Arena.
He also confirmed what Modano said last week, that he will return Saturday in Buffalo.
Babcock indicated that, initially, he will keep intact his top two lines, which have been flourishing (Johan Franzen-Henrik Zetterberg-Bertuzzi, Jiri Hudler-Pavel Datsyuk-Danny Cleary). He’ll mix up the third and fourth lines.
“When we get Fil and Mo, that’s another line,” Babcock said. “Fil and Mo and Tommy (Holmstrom) are going to play together, so that’ll be another real good line, two guys who can fly and shoot the puck and make plays. I think we’re going to have a real good, deep team.”
• Spiffy: Yahoo Sports’ Matt Barr notes that the Wings lead the Western Conference in terms of winning percentage when they’re leading after 1 period, are tied after one period and even when they’re trailing after the first period
• In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins earned two points for the first time in three games, defeating the Peoria Rivermen 4-2 win over the Peoria Rivermen, with Jordan Pearce stopping 36 shots in his third straight appearance (is Thomas McCollum ever going to start again this season?).
The Griffins’ website provides a recap, Flickr photo gallery and YouTube interviews with the players, and the Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema posted a superb recap, noting that Jamie Tardif scored two goals and that the Griffins hung in there against a Peoria team that likes to rough their opponents up;
• In the ECHL, Sebastien Piche scored a goal and added an assist, and Willie Coetzee posted an assist as the Toledo Walleye lost a 5-2 decision to the Kalamazoo K-Wings. The Walleye’s website and Toledo Blade provide recaps;
• Per the Owen Sound Sun-Times’ Bill Walker, the Owen Sound Attack raised a banner recognizing Kirk Maltby’s contributions to the franchise to the rafters. There’s a video of the ceremony embedded in the story;
• Typical; IIHF.com’s Risto Pakarinen spoke to Griffins forward Ilari Filppula about the Finnish SM-Liiga’s inability to financially compete with bigger European and North American hockey leagues:
Finnish hockey fans best not blink, because the stars on the ice will be gone tomorrow. Either to the NHL or other leagues in Europe – or to retirement. A career Finnish leaguer is almost a thing of the past. Anybody who’s anybody – or close to it – will, at some point, make a run at other European leagues.
“It’s a bit of a concern for the Finnish league that they’re losing the top players,” Ilari Filppula told IIHF.com at the AHL All-Star game recently.
And not only to the NHL and the AHL. There are 33 Finnish players in the Swedish Elitserien this season. There are seven Finns in Switzerland. And 17 in the Russian KHL. That’s close to three full teams playing in those European leagues.
“It’s something to think about,” says Filppula.
It is something Finnish hockey people have been thinking about. The level of play has been a source of frustration to many, especially reporters, for years. But there’s not much they can do about it. Money makes the world go around, and of the major European hockey nations, Finland is the smallest. Not the poorest, just smallest.
• And, per NHL.com’s John Kreiser, fantasy hockey players, take note:
Henrik Zetterberg – Detroit is on a roll, and Zetterberg is a big reason why. He had back-to-back two-assist games during the Wings’ sweep of Tampa Bay and Florida, and has 1 goal and 8 assists in his last five games.
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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.