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The Malik Report

The overnight report: Red Wings-Flames wrap-up and an interview with Dr. Murray Howe

The Detroit Red Wings' 6-3 loss to the Calgary Flames was a lot closer than the score makes it out to be, and Detroit will have the opportunity to avenge it when the Flames come to Little Caesars Arena next Wednesday, November 15th...

And Thursday's loss occurred due to a combination of mediocre goaltending versus elite in the Petr Mrazek-vs-Mike Smith battle, very poor defensive decisions by the Red Wings, including a predictable bumbler in Jonathan Ericsson, and an inabiilty to close the score to within one goal after Calgary took a 3-0 lead.

For the Flames, coming out on top of a slightly wilder win than they'd anticipated was just plain fun, as were Jaromir Jagr's first goal and first assist as a Calgary Flame, as the Canadian Press's recap noted:

Jagr's rebound bounced in off [Mark] Jankowski's leg to open the scoring 9:15 into the first period. In the second with Calgary ahead 4-2, the future hall-of-famer showed the type of finish that has got him 766 career goals, third on the league's all-time goals list behind Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky.

Breaking up ice on a two-on-one with Johnny Gaudreau, Jagr got himself open, took a cross-ice feed from Gaudreau and after patiently waiting for Petr Mrazek to go down, snapped a shot past the Red Wings goaltender.

"Of course any first goal for any team is special, especially in Canada," said Jagr. "I can see how much the fans appreciate it, how much they love hockey. Since the first day I've signed here they have been so good to me."

Jagr's first two-point game since signing as a free agent on Oct. 4 gives him four points in seven games. He was playing his second game after missing six with a groin injury.

"Scoring your first NHL goal is something you've dreamed about your whole life ever since you were a little kid and wanted to play in the NHL, and just to have (Jagr) get the assist on it, it just makes it that much more (special)," said Jankowski, Calgary's first round pick in 2012.

Also assisting on Jankowski's goal wasSam Bennett, ending his 15-game pointless skid to open the season.

With his team desperate for secondary scoring, Flames coach Glen Gulutzan hopes Jagr playing alongside Jankowski and Bennett can start contributing offensively.

"Jags gives us some energy and he puts it in the building too," said Gulutzan. "Guys were liking Jags' big time shifts. There's some energy there. We need that moving forward. This league gets hard, it's close every night and you need your guys to feel confident and have a little fun and we're better when we're like that. So the points, I think, really help."

Jagr agreed with his coach, as Reuters' recap noted...

“For our team to go somewhere and be an elite team in the league, the third and fourth lines have to start scoring,” Jagr said. “We don’t have many opportunities, and we don’t get much power play time, so we just have to make sure we play good 5-on-5 and make sure we are a plus in the game — and that’s what we did (Thursday).”

And Reuters' recap noted that Johnny Gaudreau put on a clinic as well:

Although he couldn’t connect on a breakaway after Sean Monahan hit him with a head-man pass in the neutral zone, Gaudreau was relentless on the puck — especially on a one-on-one battle to strip Nick Jensen behind the Wings net.

“I talked to him many times,” Jagr said of Gaudreau. “I told him he’s got such a great talent, but it’s up to him how he’s going to take it. With his talent, he can win the scoring (race) every year. It’s just up to him. It’s tough to shut him down one-on-one.”

From a defensive perspective, there wasn’t much to like about the Flames’ game except for goalie Smith remaining sharp in facing 42 Wings shots.

Luckily, their offensive game was on-point.

“I ran into (Wings head coach) Jeff (Blashill) in the hallway, and we said it was an open game,” said Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan. “Us coaches don’t like it that open — there were a lot of chances. But some nights, it’s like that. I think (the Red Wings are) really fast and skilled. The game opened up a little bit with some of the goals, but it was good we had our offensive flair.”

Jagr had no problem soaking up the positive vibes, as NHL.com's Aaron Vickers noted...

"Of course, any first goal for any team is special, especially in Canada," Jagr said. "I can see how much the fans appreciate it, hockey, how much they love hockey. Since the first day I've signed here they have been so good to me, so I try to play my best."

Jagr, 45, is the second-leading point scorer in NHL history with 1,918, behind Wayne Gretzky (2,857). He is the League's third-leading all-time goal-scorer (766), behind Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801).

He has 540 multipoint games in his NHL career, second to Gretzky (824). Jagr also has four of 11 NHL multipoint games by players age 45 or older. Howe has six, and Chris Chelios one.

"I'm not 18 anymore so I don't really think about [scoring]," he said. "For me, it's more important just to feel good, go on the ice and be a factor for our team."

Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and an assist, and Mark Jankowski, Micheal Ferland and Matthew Tkachuk scored for the Flames (9-7-0). Mike Smith had 39 saves.

"It's one of the things I try to pride myself on, is helping this team win and trying to find the net," Gaudreau said. "Everyone did that tonight. It was great. A lot of help from a lot of different players. [Smith] played great back in net. It was a great team win."

The Calgary Sun's Kristen Odland offered a thoughtful Flames-view take on the game:

From a defensive perspective, there wasn’t much to like about the Flames’ game except for goalie Smith remaining sharp in facing 42 Wings shots. Luckily, their offensive game was on-point.

“I ran into (Wings head coach) Jeff (Blashill) in the hallway, and we said it was an open game,” said Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan. “Us coaches don’t like it that open — there were a lot of chances. But some nights, it’s like that. I think (the Red Wings are) really fast and skilled. The game opened up a little bit with some of the goals, but it was good we had our offensive flair.”

They also had some continued production and support from their first two lines.

Micheal Ferland gave the Flames a 3-0 lead in the second period while Tkachuk scored to put the Flames up 4-1 following Martin Frk’s power-play marker for the Wings on an excellent set-up by Anthony Mantha.

Tkachuk’s goal was challenged for goalie interference when he planted himself in front of Mrazek and tipped Brett Kulak’s point-shot.

Still, even after the goal was allowed, the Red Wings continued to test the Flames defence in the second period. Frans Nielsen, with 4:11 remaining, and Mantha, with 3.3 seconds left, had the other Wings markers.

A perfect win? No. Entertaining? Yes.And the biggest takeaway?

The Flames third line finally found the back of the net. (Sam Bennett, though, is still without a goal this season.)

The Red Wings understood why they lost, as they told the Free Press's Helene St. James...

“We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit too much a few times against good players,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said after Thursday’s game at the Saddledome. “That was really costly here.”

The Wings fell behind, 2-0, in the first period, when Mark Jankowski connected on Jaromir Jagr’s rebound (a save Petr Mrazek should have made) and then when Johnny Gaudreau showed off his skills with a shot through traffic. It was stinging result considering the Wings had good jump to start the game.

“I thought the first period, we came out and played a pretty decent start,” Zetterberg said. “That first goal is a tough one.”

...

“We came out and we were very, very aggressive early,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought we had the better of the play early. They scored and we got on our heels a little bit too much. We came out in the second and played much better, played really good in the third, but we just gave up easy goals. You can’t give up easy goals in this league and win."

Niklas Kronwall said, “there were a few times when we had the puck on our stick in our own zone and next thing you know, they have the puck and the puck is in our net. On the road, you can’t let five goals in and expect to win. I still think we did a lot of good things. We had a lot of good looks. We had the opportunity to come back but didn’t quite get it done. But we made some big mistakes that cost us big time. “

By the end of the game, Anthony Mantha had a goal and two assists, Nielsen a goal and assist, and Dylan Larkin and Mike Green kept one another apace with their team-leading 13 assists.

And Hockeybuzz's Bob Duff:

Detroit is now 1-7 this season when giving up the first goal of the game, and the Wings too often Thursday resembled the team of last season that couldn’t maintain puck control within their own zone of the rink, leading to those easy goals that Blashill referenced.

“I’d say so,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall agreed. “I think there were a few times when we had the puck on our stick in our own zone, and the next thing you know they have the puck and the puck’s in our net. There were a few of those tonight and on the road you can’t let five (six with the empty netter) go in and expect to win.

“In saying that, I still think we did a lot of good things. I thought we had a lot of good looks. We had the opportunity to come back. We didn’t get quite get it done, obviously. We made some big mistakes that cost us big time. But again, I think we did a fairly good job of creating some chances. We had some really good looks in the third. But in the end, if you let five go in, it’s going to be a tough night.”

Another issue from a year ago also crept back into Detroit’s game, players cheating on the offensive side of the puck looking for turnover chances that weren’t there.

“Yeah, that’s why we weren’t on the right side a few times,” Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Cheating maybe a little bit, or turned the puck over in bad spots. It’s tough to do that against this team. They’re fast and they’re skilled. When they got chances, they really took advantage of it.”

DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji took note of Mantha's performance...

1. Anthony Mantha : The big forward helped the Wings get on the board, finding Martin Frk for a backdoor goal on the power play at 8:43 of the second period, Frk's sixth of the season. That goal cut the Flames' lead to 3-1. Then at 15:49 of the second, Mantha passed from the right circle to Frans Nielsen in the left and Nielsen buried it for his sixth goal. After the Flames scored again, Mantha came in and scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season with 3.3 seconds left in the period, cutting Calgary's lead to 5-3. Mantha played 25 shifts for 22:10, more than any Detroit forward and second only to Mike Green's 23:52.

Quotable: "I just kept pushing. We wanted that win. We wanted to come back. It's hard when you give up that many goals to win a game. Like I said, they got us." - Mantha

Quotable II: "Mo's the complete package. When he's going, it's tough to stop him. A big body who still sees the ice really well. He's got great hands. He uses his body to his advantage. He played great tonight. He has been playing really well of late." - Niklas Kronwall

And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa will wrap things up with a "Spirit of the Thing" analysis of the Wings' road trip, with part of his analysis looking forward to the Wings' home stretch:

The Wings still search for consistency. But, for reasons that were obvious on the road, they are capable of better performance than last season.

If they can sustain back at home some of the things they did well on the road, they can take advantage of a potentially important part of their season.

After grinding through 12 of the first 17 games of the season on the road, the Red Wings play 13 of the next 15 in their new home, Little Caesars Arena, through Dec. 15.

By then, they should have a clear idea of whether the playoffs are, in fact, a possibility this season.

The simple road game they used to defeat the Oilers and Canucks, and to play well before falling to the stifling defense of the Senators, suddenly eluded them about 10 minutes through the first period in Calgary.

If they can emphasize that sort of play at home, getting pucks deep behind the opponents’ defensemen with a hard forecheck in the offensive zone and mostly “north-south” skating, rather than some of the “east-west” play that is too often diversion rather than skill, the Red Wings will be much more difficult to defeat.

Krupa continues, and his takes are worth your time.

Multimedia:

Highlights: NHL.com posted a 4:12 highlight clip...

And an 8:56 "Condensed Game":

Post-game: Sportsnet posted a clip of Mark Giordano, Mark Jankowski and Jaromir Jagr's post-game comments;

NHL.com conducted an "arena cam" interview with Matthew Tkachuk;

The Flames posted a clip of "sights and sounds" from the game, as well as interviews with Jankowski, Jagr, Johnny Gaudreau and coach Glen Gulutzan;

Fox Sports Detroit posted clips of Henrik Zetterberg...

Niklas Kronwall...

Anthony Mantha...

And coach Jeff Blashill's post-game comments:

The Red Wings' website posted a clip of Zetterberg, Mantha, Kronwall and coach Blashill's remarks:

[edit/update: The Free Press's Helene St. James also posted a post-game clip:

/end edit]

Photos: The Free Press posted a 22-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted an 11-image gallery;

ESPN posted a 14-image gallery;

And NHL.com and the Red Wings' website posted 53-image galleries.

Statistics:

Here's the Game Summary...

And the Event Summary

 

Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-reated note: The Traverse City Record-Eagle's Brett A. Somers and James Cook spoke with Dr. Murray Howe about his book, Nine Lessons I Learned From My Father:

In the prospect department, Jordan Sambrook finished at -1 with 1 shot in the Ontario Hockey League's 5-3 loss to Russia in the Canada-Russia challenge;

And, via RWHockeyJohn on Twitter, Gustav Lindstrom took a penalty in Sweden's 6-4 win over Finland at the Under-20 Four Nations Cup.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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About The Malik Report

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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