Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

The overnight report: Red Wings-Hurricanes wrap-up—mistake-prone Wings pounced upon by Hurricanes

The Detroit Red Wings lost an incredibly frustrating 3-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night, kicking off a 4-games-in-6-nights stretch with a flat, uninspired effort against a Canes team coming off its Bye Week.

The Wings' penalty-kill continued to struggle, giving up 2 power play goals to Elias Linholm, but the fact that Jimmy Howard wasn't impenetrable on Saturday night couldn't be tagged on the goaltender nor his penalty-killers alone. The fact of the matter is that the Wings got out-skated, out-worked, especially in terms of detailed, and were out-classed in terms of energy and intensity. The Hurricanes played like they wanted to win the game...And the Red Wings played like a team that had a contractual obligation to fulfill.

As I said in the "Quick Take," regardless of where you want the Wings to finish this season, a flat, disinterested effort isn't setting a good example for the team's younger players, and whatever the hell the Red Wings delivered on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena was unacceptable from a "process" standpoint as much as anything else.

The Hurricanes were quite happy with earning a rope-a-dope win in Detroit, as they told CarolinaHurricanes.com's Mike Smith:

Much was uncertain about how the Hurricanes would respond coming off the five-day bye week against a team that had been in action (though had not played since Tuesday). How would the legs hold up in 60 minutes of action? How would the body handle bump and physicality that it had missed for a week? How sharp and crisp would the hands be?

"I thought we started on time," head coach Bill Peters said. "I thought we really got off to a good start."

Any fears were assuaged early on, as the Hurricanes looked sharp and rested, and it resulted in an early lead for the visiting squad.

"The second period was close to the vest both ways, and I thought we really had a good push in the third," Peters said. "I thought we had some good looks. Timing is going to get better as we get back into the rhythm of playing. I was really proud of the effort."

...

Lindholm gave the Hurricanes the early lead on their first power play of the game. It was an easy tap-in goal after Jordan Staal fed him the puck off a rebound from a Justin Faulk shot.

Lindholm again cashed in on the power play in the third period, which proved to be the difference in the 3-1 win. Off a Teuvo Teravainen one-timer, Lindholm located the rebound and had a couple whacks at it, eventually banking the puck in off the back of Jimmy Howard.  Lindholm figures to see an elevated role with Sebastian Aho sidelined, and he took advantage of it tonight. His two-goal performance was the fifth of his career and first since Jan. 8, 2016.

"With injury comes opportunity, and that's what we have right now," Peters said.

The Hurricanes' power play was 2-for-3 on the night, the third time in the last five games that the team has scored two goals on the man advantage.

Lindholm weighed in on the Canes' win while speaking with the Associated Press...

"This was huge," Lindholm said. "I was happy to contribute and Cam (Ward) made some big saves. This was a big performance by everybody.

Ward stopped 23 shots for the Hurricanes, including a kick save to prevent Gustav Nyquist from pulling Detroit within one on a power play late in the game with Howard pulled for an extra skater.

Tomas Tatar scored and Howard made 27 saves for the Red Wings, who have lost four of five.

"I don't think about whether things are slipping away," coach Jeff Blashill insisted. "I think about what you have to do to make sure we're in the playoff hunt and what we have to do is win games and certainly there's an urgency to win now. There's no question about that."

Carolina, coming off its bye, started strong and avoided a sluggish performance that has plagued many NHL teams after their break.

"The hardest part is keeping up with the pace because teams are playing fast at this time of year, and you have to get your legs back," Williams said.

And Williams delivered an ironic comment to NHL.com's Dave Hogg, whose recap will serve as our pivot point between the Hurricanes and Red Wings' perspectives:

The Hurricanes (21-17-8), who were 2-5-1 in their previous eight games, won their first game after their League-mandated five-day break. Justin Williams also scored, and Cam Ward made 23 saves.

"Every win is huge when you are fighting for the playoffs, but these are two really good points," Williams said. "When you are coming off the bye, you have to get your pace back and your legs back, and we did that tonight."

Tomas Tatar scored for Detroit (18-20-7), which has lost four of its past five (1-4-0) after a four-game winning streak. Jimmy Howard made 27 saves.

"I don't think about whether things are slipping away or not," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I do know there is an urgency to win now. There's no question about that."

Detroit nearly got off to a fast start, but Dylan Larkin missed the net on a breakaway eight seconds into the game.

"We had talked before the game about being competitive all game, and then I'm facing a breakaway off the opening face-off," Ward said. "Luckily he missed, and I think that got us going a little."

As the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted, the Red Wings' power play has slipped considerably without Luke Glendening, Justin Abdelkader or Darren Helm in the lineup...

The Red Wings allowed two Carolina power-play goals, after giving up two to Dallas in a loss Tuesday. They’ve allowed two power-play goals in three of the last four games — all defeats.

“We’ve got new guys and we’re trying different things,” said forward Dylan Larkin, one of the few healthy regulars on the PK unit. “It’s just a little bit of confusion but it’s hockey and you have to play.”

Said defenseman Niklas Kronwall: “We’ve had real success on it and for whatever reason, the puck has been finding its way in.”

Blashill feels it’s important for the new players on the unit to get repititions and get acclimated.

“We have to keep grinding and find a way to be better,” Blashill said. “We had a couple mistakes made by guys who haven’t had a lot of reps. They need reps and we continue to work through it.”

And Kulfan noted that the Wings are aware of the fact that they're fumbling away whatever remote chances they have at a playoff spot due to their self-inflicted wounds:

The Red Wings (18-20-7) have lost four of five games, including three straight at Little Caesars Arena. Not exactly the way to begin a second half run toward the playoffs.

“You can’t look over the big picture,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said of the tall task ahead of making the second half of the season relevant. “It’s a matter of grinding and I know it’s a cliché, but taking it one game at a time. We have a few more games before the (All Star) break, and we need to get a few (wins).”

...

The Red Wings didn’t register their first shot until almost 8 minutes into the game, fell behind early 1-0, and were forced to kill a pair of penalties.

“The start wasn’t good enough,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Once we got scored on, it wasn’t good enough. We killed the penalties and it took us a long time to get ourselves back going to a high level.”

Lindholm bounced a puck off goaltender Jimmy Howard’s back and into the net at 6:54 of the third period, his 14th goal, breaking a 1-1 tie. After taking the lead, the Hurricanes stayed to a suffocating brand of defense which yielded few shots and kept the Red Wings on the outside most of the night.

“We made it way too hard on ourselves,” Kronwall said. “We had pucks on our sticks and more often than not ended up giving it back to them. It’s hard to play that way.”

Were there positives in the game? Sort of. DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji noted that Tomas Tatar has come to life of late; Anthony Mantha also had his best game in about a dozen on Saturday, playing with energy and enthusiasm, and Henrik Zetterberg led the Wings with 5 shots...

Tomas Tatar: Heading into Saturday's game versus the Hurricanes, Tatar would be the first to admit his numbers are not where they should be this season with 11 goals, eight assists and minus-10 in 44 games. Always know as a streaky scorer, Tatar notched Detroit's only goal of the game late in the first period on the power play to tie the game 1-1. It was his 12th goal of the year, his first in six games and his third in his last 15 contests. The power-play goal was his seventh of the season, which leads the Wings. Anthony Mantha is second with six power-play tallies. Tatar and Mantha have scored 13 of Detroit's 27 power play goals this season. They also have scored more power play goals than any Wings player did during the 2016-17 season. Tatar, Dylan Larkin, Abdelkader and Thomas Vanek were tied with five power-play goals last season.

Detroit's power play has hit the skids lately. Tatar's power play goal was the Wings second power-play goal in their last 15 opportunities with the man-advantage. It also broke an 0-for-10 slide. They are now 3-for-35 with the extra man in their last 11 games. Perhaps Tatar and the Wings' power play have begun to break out of their collective droughts, which could not come at a better time for a team needing all the offense it can muster for a run at a playoff berth.

Quotable: "The one thing we did on that was win a second-effort battle and we scored a goal. Scoring helps your confidence. But we didn't have enough timeline to really say for sure. I thought we had some looks on the 6-on-4 (at the end of game) but that's a little bit different animal. So, am I encouraged? I'm encouraged we scored, but certainly not enough to make any judgment one way or the other." -- Blashill

The Wings are at least very good at acknowledging what needs to be fixed, even if they don't do a very good job of fixing it. As they told the Free Press's Helene St. James, when you're passing up shots and playing passively, you're not going to win against a team that lives by pouncing on their opponent's mistakes:

The Detroit Red Wings are hurting from a lack of shots and a lack of key penalty kill personnel. They weren’t good enough in either area on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena, leaving them to explain a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Wings started poorly, allowed two power plays goals on three opportunities, and were outshot, 30-24. Shot attempts were 57-52 to the Hurricanes.

“It’s hard to get shots through, but we make it even harder when we have good chances and we’re passing up shots,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “We have to take our opportunities and get pucks on net. You kind of get lured into a little safety and you think you have that extra play to make instead of putting the puck on net and shooting. Because most of the time we have at least one of our guys inside, too, so there’s a good chance we will be there for second chances, but there will never be a second chance if we don’t shoot the first time.”

Niklas Kronwall said the Wings “shot ourselves in the foot there a little bit. We made it way too hard on ourselves. They have a very good forecheck, no doubt, but we also made it a lot harder on ourselves than it had to be.

“We had the puck on our stick more often than none, and we ended up just giving it back to them. It’s hard to play that way.”

For the second straight game the Wings got into early penalty trouble, and took entirely too long to respond. They were outshout, 6-0, after 5 minutes and 9-2 after 10 minutes in the first period.

“We have to find ways to be getting consistently out of our zone for a full 60 minutes,” Dylan Larkin said.

Now if the Wings could only execute on their PK, "Reps or not enough reps" included, and if they could play more aggressively and assertively...

We probably wouldn't be talking about a team that needs so very badly to find things "to build upon" during another lost season to begin with, would we?

 

Multimedia:

Highlights: NHL.com posted a 3:29 highlight clip...

And an 8:31 "condensed game":

Post-game: Fox Sports Carolinas posted clips of Elias Lindholm, Cam Ward and Canes TV announcers John Forslund and Tripp Tracy's remarks;

The Hurricanes' PR website posted a clip of coach Bill Peters' post-game comments:

Fox Sports Detroit posted clips of Henrik Zetterberg...

And coach Jeff Blashill's post-game presser:

MLive's Ansar Khan posted a clip of coach Blashill's remarks...

And a clip of Zetterberg's remarks:

The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a clip of Niklas Kronwall, Dylan Larkin and coach Blashill's comments:

The Red Wings posted a clip which includes comments from Zetterberg, Larkin, Kronwall and coach Blashill...

The same is true for Fox 2's 14-minute-long clip:

Photos: The Free Press posted an 18-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted a 15-image gallery;

ESPN posted an 11-image gallery;

And NHL.com and the Red Wings' website posted 23-image galleries.

Statistics:

Here's the Game Summary...

And the Event Summary

Final shot attempts were 57-52 Carolina.

 

Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji took note of Trevor Daley's status:

Already missing forwards Luke Glendening (wrist), Justin Abdelkader (lower body) and Darren Helm (lower body), the team lost defenseman Trevor Daley to a lower-body injury Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Daley's last shift came around 12:50 of the second period. At the TV timeout, Daley left the ice and headed to the dressing room. Shortly thereafter, the Wings announced that Daley had suffered a lower-body injury and would not return to the game.

After the game, Wings coach Jeff Blashill did not have too much of an update.

"I don't have anything concrete except to say I think he's very questionable for the next game," Blashill said.

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan provided an update on Luke Glendening's status:

Glendening (wrist) has been skating regularly but isn’t going to return before the All-Star break (Jan. 26-28).

“I want him to be skating as much as he can, be a part of the team as much as he can, so when he comes out of the All-Star break he’s as ready as possible,” Blashill said.

That Glendening has been able to maintain his conditioning should make for an easy return to the lineup.

“My legs are still there, I’ve been able to skate,” Glendening said. “It’s just getting back into the pace of things.”

Hockeybuzz's Bob Duff also noted that the Wings are not fans of looking at the standings at present:

If you look at that list of teams, it seems insurmountable. If you do the math, it’s hard to make it add up to a positive outcome. Which is exactly why the Wings feel it is wise to do neither.

“I figured it out a few years ago,” left-winger Tomas Tatar explained to Detroitredwings.com. “We won I think four in a row and we didn’t move anywhere, so that’s when it gets to you that it’s almost pointless to look at it. You have to pick up your points and make sure you know what points will get you in the playoffs.”

That being said, the Wings understand that wins over the teams ahead of them, such as the Hurricanes, are vital.

“I’ve said this lots, at some point very, very quickly here, we need to go on a run,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “But that only starts game by game and our focus is really to just win a hockey game here tonight.”

Blashill said that after Saturday night's game, too.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Slumpy's avatar

Carolina’s defenseman are much more talented that ours and their goalie has a SC ring.
Larkin won only 4 of 16 faceoffs 25%= vomit.

Kronwall gave the puck away three times. AA had only 1 SOG all game!

Mantha and Frk has a total of 6 hits to Witkowski’s 1.

This team sucks.

Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 01/21/18 at 01:25 AM ET

Avatar

Tick tock

Posted by Iamhaljordan on 01/21/18 at 09:04 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

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.