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The Malik Report

Wings Have Issues Protecting A Lead

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Rangers have defeated the Red Wings twice. They won 3-2 on Derick Brassard’s overtime goal on Oct. 26 at Joe Louis Arena and 1-0 on Jan. 16 at Madison Square Garden, when Henrik Lundqvist 38 saves and Mats Zuccarello scored with 5:58 remaining in the third period.

The first meeting between these clubs is one of nine games the Red Wings have lost when leading after two periods (three in regulation, six in overtime or a shootout)....

Said forward Justin Abdelkader: “You got to stick with your structure, can’t have mental mistakes late in the game. Unfortunately, pucks are finding a way to go in. so we just got to play within our system, don’t do anyone else’s job. We don’t need to sit back, we need to keep pushing forward.”

Coach Mike Babcock said one of the reasons for the blown leads is his team can’t score enough – the past five games notwithstanding (20 goals).

“If you don’t score enough then games are closer than they need to be so teams are always in the game,” Babcock said. “We don’t put you away. … That’s been the theme all year.”

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Comments

bleep bloop's avatar

Coach Mike Babcock said one of the reasons for the blown leads is his team can’t score enough

Lies. Extending a lead is all about scoring. Protecting a lead is all about defending, something this team often forgets to do.

Posted by bleep bloop on 03/09/14 at 09:43 AM ET

Alzy's avatar

Lies. Extending a lead is all about scoring. Protecting a lead is all about defending, something this team often forgets to do.

Posted by bleep bloop on 03/09/14 at 10:43 AM ET

The best way to protect a one goal lead is to make it a three goal lead.

“We don’t put you away. … That’s been the theme all year.”

Babcock is exactly right. The team we all pine for, the one we want to see come back, they did exactly that. The 08 team would take a 2-1 lead into the third and continue to play their up-tempo, possession style. Sometimes they made it 4-1, but even when they didn’t score, they would still keep playing their style. They would make it nearly impossible for the opponent to come back, because the opponent would never have the puck. That’s what I miss most from that team. Now, all they do when they have a 2-1 lead going into the third is start to just collapse back to their net and try to chip it out. It’s like they think they can no longer risk time in the offensive zone because they might allow a breakaway. And every team does it. I don’t get it, it’s the hockey equivalent of the football “prevent” defence. And how many times does that defence actually prevent scores?

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 03/09/14 at 09:55 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

The Wings’ confidence remains a single-sheet-of-paper tiger this season. They do indeed stop playing puck possession hockey when scored upon in the 3rd period, and when you abandon your “structure,” you continue to make mistakes. The Wings have always played their best defense grinding the puck out down low 200 feet from their net, and when they lose a lead, the team’s fragility yields…

Not only an inability to protect the lead, but an inability to out-score their mistakes.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/09/14 at 10:19 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Defense is the thing that’s supposed to stop offense, but offense is something that only belongs to one team at a time anyway.

I hate playing defense. I’d rather do the thing that makes the other team’s offense disappear rather than trying to limit how dangerous that offense is at any given time.

My favorite defensive plays are shots on the other team’s net. That’s what the Wings should be doing late in games when they’re leading.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/09/14 at 10:25 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.