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Wings Lose In Shootout, Finish 5th In Western Conference

Paul here for George.

You know by now the Wings will travel to Nashville to open up the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Pavel Datsyuk salvaged a point for the Wings late in the 3rd period to send the game to OT and allowed the Wings to gain a point which assured them of the 5th seed.

I look at it this way, the point just saved the Wings at least 8 hours of travel time during the first round, so that should help a veteran team

Now, the Wings need to find their game or else the only flight they will be taking in the playoffs will be to Nashville.

Watch the Datsyuk goal plus the Wings’ first goal by Johan Franzen below…

 

Game Highlights

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

MsRedWinger's avatar

Maybe I’m just trying to be an optimist here, but I think not having to travel out west for the first round is huge.  Plus, there is an extra day of rest this year.  Last two years, the Wings played on Sunday then had to travel to Phoenix to play on Wednesday.

Pav’s game-tying goal was only possible because of Homer’s digging in front of the net.  I think the Wings would score a lot more goals if they would park more bodies in front of the net on a regular basis.  Also need to work on clearing Jimmah’s rebounds.

But I totally believe the Wings can beat the Preds.  We split the regular season series with them.  And all the Wings have to do is win one of the first two games to negate the Preds’ home ice advantage.

LET’S GO RED WINGS !!!!!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/07/12 at 06:10 PM ET

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I look at it this way, the point just saved the Wings at least 8 hours of travel time during the first round, so that should help a veteran team

I beg to differ. RW are not a veteran team anymore. In fact their problem is that they don’t have enough veterans in the dressing room (only veterans being Lidstrom and Holmstrom).

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 06:17 PM ET

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But on a second thought, I really like the 5th spot now more than 4th or 6th.
This will put us, the RW fans, out of our misery faster.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 06:32 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

It is a new season and nothing from Reg Season matters.  I disagree on Veterans! Add. Pav, Z, Kronner, Bert, Stuart.  Huds and Fil are having career years.  Nyquist, Miller, Helm, and I hope Smith will add energy. Howie getting better every year! Abby, Franzen, have to pick up their games!  No Misery yet!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 04/07/12 at 06:57 PM ET

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I worry that the Wings didn’t realize just how important that second point was. First Zetterberg chose to make a safe play and softly shoot the puck down the ice (it still went for icing anyway) instead of shooting it at the empty net. Then Datsyuk went to the opposite extreme and made a risky (albeit cool) move in the shootout, resulting in him not getting a shot on net. Not only did they lose a shot at home ice, they also made Nashville’s game tonight meaningless.

Posted by apid on 04/07/12 at 07:08 PM ET

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First Zetterberg chose to make a safe play and softly shoot the puck down the ice (it still went for icing anyway) instead of shooting it at the empty net

RW don’t score empty-netters. It’s sooooo below them. Plus they are really nice guys and are in the business of making other teams happy.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 07:26 PM ET

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First Zetterberg chose to make a safe play and softly shoot the puck down the ice

Did he choose anything?  It’s not like he had a lot of time to make any choices at all.

Posted by Garth on 04/07/12 at 07:34 PM ET

calquake's avatar

First Zetterberg chose to make a safe play and softly shoot the puck down the ice

Actually I thought he was trying to bank it off the boards into the net and missed.  He was not at a good angle to shoot directly at the net.

Posted by calquake on 04/07/12 at 07:41 PM ET

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Did he choose anything?  It’s not like he had a lot of time to make any choices at all.

It looked to me like he initially looked at the net, then turned his body and shot it down the boards. Regardless, I would hope that once the Wings realized the net was empty that they would understand how imperative it was to take a shot at it if they had a chance. It shouldn’t really have been a matter of making a decision at that point.

Actually I thought he was trying to bank it off the boards into the net and missed.  He was not at a good angle to shoot directly at the net.

He may have been trying to angle it down on net, but he shot it pretty softly if that was his intention. Anyway, I’m glad they turned in a solid performance. Looking forward to the playoffs!

Posted by apid on 04/07/12 at 07:47 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Nashville is a tough opponent, but they all are at this point, and Nashville has a grand total of one series win in franchise history.  Finishing 6th, like some wanted, isn’t really all that better.  It’s a lot worse travel-wise obviously, and would SJ on the road be any better?  Truth is the opponent never really mattered, it’s how the Wings play.  Rinne is a great goalie, but our guy isn’t too shabby either.  Win one of the 1st 2 on the road and it’s game on. 

Is everyone really that scared of Nashville?

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/07/12 at 07:58 PM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

Yes, I’m scared of Nashville.

Rinne is a viable Vezina candidate, they improved their team heavily at the trade deadline, pulled the Radulov rabbit out of their hat, and have a tough, loud building to play in.

Would’ve preferred the extra travel in order to play a Phoenix team that we knock out of the playoffs on an annual basis. However, if things change and SJ becomes the 3 seed tonight, I’m indifferent.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 04/07/12 at 08:22 PM ET

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It shouldn’t really have been a matter of making a decision at that point.

I think that, as calquake said, he didn’t have a good shot right down to the net (ie. there were a lot of bodies between him and a clear shot) so all he could do to even have a shot at a goal was to try and bank it.

Is everyone really that scared of Nashville?

I don’t know, depends on how you define scared.

First off, if the Red Wings play like they did against the Blues and Hawks then I’m not particularly scared of anyone.

Having said that, Nashville is one of the last teams I wanted Detroit to end up playing.

Posted by Garth on 04/07/12 at 08:22 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

First off, if the Red Wings play like they did against the Blues and Hawks then I’m not particularly scared of anyone.

Posted by Garth on 04/07/12 at 06:22 PM ET

That’s my point, it’s all about how the Wings play.  The Wings seem to be playing quite a bit better defensively, and they always seem to ramp it up in the playoffs.  If they don’t continue that play, it doesn’t matter who they get.  The 4th seed and home ice would have been the best outcome, but beyond that, any of the 8 teams can beat any of the other 8. so starting close to home seems alright to me, especially since I have a feeling SJ is going to somehow sneak into that 3rd slot, and long travel against a team that thinks they own you was worst case scenario to me.

There’s 4 West Coast teams in, and 4 Eastern/Central teams in, and getting 2 or maybe even 3 close-to-Detroit series is probably the best way for the Wings to get out of the West, and starting with 1 of those is a good thing to me.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/07/12 at 08:37 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

With news of Helm coming back, we have a huge change in our game dynamic as well. With him grinding in on dumps and chasing down the puck and ACTUALLY WINNING most of the puck retrievals he goes after. This gives us more possession time and chances in the opponents end. A big BIG thing to have in the playoffs. Now you also get a solidified, sustained forecheck with him as well as the speed to beat people to the puck. It’s just one aspect that we have that very few have at all. While I don’t like starting a series in someone else’s building, it’s just a few bus rides away from the next round. We all can live with that, and the Wings certainly can as well.

    The supporting cast has indeed improved here in the last 3 games or so. You have to look at the positives. The defense has indeed clamped down, including doing so on the PK. No team has ran away with anything in scoring. As penalties are often few in the playoffs(depending on how the refs “feel” that day hehe), and improved PK is huge. We won’t mention the PP just because we know where it sits and will not likely change unless we have some magic cards hidden up the asst. coaches bum. We simply are the best 5 on 5 when it comes to goal scoring as well. Now you will say that we haven’t scored more than 2 goals in any game since we beat Columbus with 7 goals. This is very true, however you know how these things work. We WILL bust out and get some scoring simply because what comes around, goes around. The biggest thing we need on Rinne is misdirection. Misdirection is what netted us goals against Rinne in previous matchups. Go check the highlights and you’ll see his weakness is his side to side game. You HAVE to have someone in his lane or he will make every save. Bert, Mule, and of course Homer will all have to pay the price at the net, but the rewards are there. We establish net presence and this “mythical dominance” of the Predators goes away.

    Go Wings! Game On!

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 04/07/12 at 09:04 PM ET

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Kane’s shootout goal was ridiculous. Go get ‘em in Hicktown boys!!

Posted by Jesters Dead on 04/07/12 at 09:08 PM ET

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Nashville has a grand total of one series win in franchise history.

But, but, but in 2010 they were one stupid Erat’s play away (with a PP and less than a minute left) away from defeating Chicago that went on to win the Stanley Cup, weren’t they? And they improved a ton since then.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 09:32 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

But, but, but in 2010 they were one stupid Erat’s play away (with a PP and less than a minute left) away from defeating Chicago that went on to win the Stanley Cup, weren’t they? And they improved a ton since then.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 07:32 PM ET

Yeah, but they also lost the game after that to lose the series.  Nashville has a good team, but they certainly aren’t as unbeatable as some make it sound.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/07/12 at 09:42 PM ET

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This was unbelievably dumb on the part of the Wings. This also could have long term repercussions if Nashville wins and then uses that to keep Suter or have him take a discount to stay there.

To the 1st poster: Nashville has improved their team a lot since the Wings beat them in mid February. 

The name Alexander Radulov mean anything to you? Even if he’s only in KHL shape, he’s a sniper on the power play. Then you add Andrei Kostitsyn another scorer. Then add Hal Gill for depth on defense. And finally you go out and get a faceoff specialist Paul Gaustad (who provides that John Madden boost the Hawks got during their cup run).

Pekka Rinne’s been rested down the stretch.

It’s at best like playing SJ where you know it’s going to be a long series and whichever team that wins will be worn down for round 2.

I was actually pissed when the Wings tied it up late.

Posted by dca from in MI (back from Alexandria) on 04/07/12 at 09:48 PM ET

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Nashville has a good team, but they certainly aren’t as unbeatable as some make it sound.

Of course they are beatable. No doubt about that. But this is not the point. The point is that in order to beat them the RW have got to better find their A-GAME right about now. And that is a huge proposition. And even if they DO find their game, which I doubt, defeating a current Nashville team will cost them a couple of players and a chance to go deeper into the playoffs.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 09:55 PM ET

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Posted by dca from in MI (back from Alexandria) on 04/07/12 at 07:48 PM ET

Concur on every point. I guess RW players were not aware of what they were doing. Again, it’s on the coaching staff. And Chi only had to loosen the slot coverage a bit and, voila, a tied game.

And SJ will not finish 3rd. Phoenix will.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 10:03 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Of course they are beatable. No doubt about that. But this is not the point. The point is that in order to beat them the RW have got to better find their A-GAME right about now. And that is a huge proposition. And even if they DO find their game, which I doubt, defeating a current Nashville team will cost them a couple of players and a chance to go deeper into the playoffs.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 07:55 PM ET

Well, I guess I look at it as the Wings have to have their A game no matter who they play.  I think a lot of people think Phoenix was going to be a cake walk, but they are a much better offensive team this year, and Smith can’t be any worse than Bryz was last year. 

Either way, the Wings best chance at getting out of the West is the leat travel as possible, and staring with Nasville starts that trend.  Look at the last 2 times we got out of the West in 08 and 09.  We played Nashville/Colorado/Dallas and then Columbus/Anaheim/Chicago.  Only 1 round in the Pacific time zone, and that 1 round against Anaheim was the reason we lost in the Finals.  The last 2 years we had to travel to the Pacific time zone in both rounds and lost.  I just don’t get wanting to have to travel way out west again when it worked sooooo well the last 2 years.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/07/12 at 10:26 PM ET

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That’s my point, it’s all about how the Wings play. 

Thing is, they’re pretty evenly matched teams, but if Detroit falters at all Nashville will jump all over them.  In fact, with Nashville’s goaltending and defense, they don’t necessarily need Detroit to falter.

and getting 2 or maybe even 3 close-to-Detroit series

Thing is though, when Detroit took 7 games to beat Phoenix and then lost to San Jose, “we’re tired from travel” wasn’t the reason they lost, it was the excuse.  Sure, it was a factor, but the reason they lost is because Phoenix played them hard and made them earn each win.

And when Detroit beat Phoenix in 4 then got beaten by San Jose, “we’re tired from travel” wasn’t the reason either.  They had a lot less travel than the previous year, yet it didn’t seem to help them when they lost to San Jose again.

If Detroit beats Nashville and it takes seven games, is there going to be any relief when they have to turn around and beat Vancouver or St. Louis?  Or will everyone potentially look back and say that it would’ve been nice to play LA in the first round?

Posted by Garth on 04/07/12 at 10:30 PM ET

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Of course, I’m not at all suggesting I wanted them to tank it.  I’m more comfortable knowing that they played hard and played well today, coming back from 2-0 to tie it and force overtime than I would be if I knew that they mailed it in on the last day of the season.

Posted by Garth on 04/07/12 at 10:32 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Don’t be surprised if Phoenix plays and beats Chicago in the first round.  I think there’s a real possibility of upsets in the first round with all the parity in the league.

Posted by calquake on 04/07/12 at 11:07 PM ET

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Well, I guess I look at it as the Wings have to have their A game no matter who they play.  I think a lot of people think Phoenix was going to be a cake walk, but they are a much better offensive team this year, and Smith can’t be any worse than Bryz was last year.

I totally agree. In fact, the only team I was comfortable with was Dallas sitting in the 3rd at the time. And they proved me right by losing 4 in a row after that and missing the playoffs altogether. Out of the 7 teams that made it into the playoffs in the west I honestly cannot pick an easy opponent. There is none. And that says a lot about the way things have gone for RW since February 19.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 11:10 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Thing is, they’re pretty evenly matched teams, but if Detroit falters at all Nashville will jump all over them.  In fact, with Nashville’s goaltending and defense, they don’t necessarily need Detroit to falter

Of course, I’m not at all suggesting I wanted them to tank it.  I’m more comfortable knowing that they played hard and played well today, coming back from 2-0 to tie it and force overtime than I would be if I knew that they mailed it in on the last day of the season

Posted by Garth on 04/07/12 at 08:32 PM ET

You make a lot of valid points, and the last 1 is my core point.  The people acting like the Wings were careless by trying and succeeding to tie that game up piss me off.  You never, ever try to lose a game and you also never try to pick your opponent.  You play as hard as you can until the season is over and play who you play.  Say we beat Nashville and have to play Chicago in a future round, then it won’t look so dumb that we came back and edged out Chicago by a point in the standings.

Also, yes, Nashville and Detroit are pretty evenly matched, but I also don’t think Detroit has to play perfect to win.  Nashville is solid, but they aren’t all that great to me.  They’re what, 1 more loss to this point of being in 6th themselves?  It’ll be a damn tough series, but I see a lot of people making them out to be a powerhouse, when in realty their just 1 of the 8 teams to make the playoffs in a very even Western Conference.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/07/12 at 11:15 PM ET

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On a different note,
Have you noticed who were the officials that blew Clowe’s interference play from the bench on Thursday?

#24 Stephen Walkom (yeah, the guy who formerly served as vice president and director of officiating for the NHL and was involved in the exchange of emails with Campbell Sr. to single out certain players)
#16 Brian Pochmara

Just when one think that officiating could not possibly get any worse than it is, it does.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 11:39 PM ET

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Can we borrow that Stamkos guy from The Captain’s team for a playoff run, please? You know, to counterbalance that Radulov thing.

Come on, NHL, make it happen for the love of humanity.

Posted by Alex on 04/08/12 at 12:01 AM ET

John W.'s avatar

Can we borrow that Stamkos guy from The Captain’s team for a playoff run, please? You know, to counterbalance that Radulov thing.

Come on, NHL, make it happen for the love of humanity.

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 10:01 PM ET

I’ll second that.  It’s only fair…

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/08/12 at 12:07 AM ET

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I just finished watching Phoenix game. No, you don’t want to play that team either. They fight for each other and they have that look and feel that they are going farther than Round 1.
Good luck, Chicago

Posted by Alex on 04/08/12 at 12:31 AM ET

John W.'s avatar

I just finished watching Phoenix game. No, you don’t want to play that team either. They fight for each other and they have that look and feel that they are going farther than Round 1.
Good luck, Chicago

Posted by Alex on 04/07/12 at 10:31 PM ET

IMO the 2 teams I consider the weakest in the West are LA and St. Louis.  LA just doesn’t have the offense to compete in a 7 game series, and the D/goaltending seems to wilt when it really counts (see last year against SJ and Thursday night against SJ).  As for St. Louis, I have a feeling they still don’t know which goalie to use, and I just see them flaming out in the 1st round in spectacular fashion.  Every other team seems pretty even to me.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/08/12 at 12:37 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

I don’t get the buzz about Bubba at all, they are 4th seed, one point ahead. They have the 8th best goal differential in the league, Wings (4th). 5on5 they’re 12th (1st), PK 10th, PP is their best asset. they simply aren’t the team to beat, wings will prevail.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 04/08/12 at 12:49 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I get the arguments on both sides about less travel versus palying a tougher opponent. My issue right now is with the game tonight itself, specifically the shootout. Of all the times for Pavel to try a “cute” shot, this wasn’t it.

I swear it looked like they tanked the shootout so they wouldn’t have to travel. I sure hope they know what the hell they’re doing because I really can’t see them beating the Preds in a seven-game series with the inbred cousins having home-ice advantage.

But on a positive note, how many of you were literally on the edges of your seats when Babs put Nyquist on a line with Pavel and Hank. That was electrifying stuff. With Abby and Miller, Gustav is a non-entity. But on a top-two line, he’s a game changer. And that gives me great hope for the future.

Heck, even Sheahan looks like he’ll be a solid player once he gets past the deer-in-the-headlights phase. Then there’s Tatar, Andersson, Pulkkinen, Jurko, Janrkrok, Mrazek and others. This spring may be another early exit for the Wings, but I think their “bottom-of-the-round” picks may be getting close to making a difference. And that’s what I’m going to take comfort in when the Preds send the Wings to the golf course after five games.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 04/08/12 at 01:55 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

Blah blah blah.  I dont EVER want to hear of this team intentionally tanking a game.

Nashville and any other team does not concern me, home ice or not. None of it matters. Only the Wings play matters. Play hard, we win. Play lazy, we lose. Simple.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/08/12 at 02:18 AM ET

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I swear it looked like they tanked the shootout so they wouldn’t have to travel.

Posted by OlderThanChelios on 04/07/12 at 11:55 PM ET

“That’s great, and we don’t have to travel across the country, which to me is the biggest thing,’’ Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

So, I think it went this way. Babcock told the guys that they needed a point to avoid the West coast travel. When they got this point they thought that mission had been accomplished and that the second point was meaningless, and had fun with the SO. That second point indeed turned out to be pointless after Bubba destroyed the Dives later tonight.
So no harm was done by Pasha’s trying to please the audience in the SO. We would still get Bubba with no home-ice advantage.

Posted by Alex on 04/08/12 at 02:21 AM ET

John W.'s avatar

I sure hope they know what the hell they’re doing because I really can’t see them beating the Preds in a seven-game series with the inbred cousins having home-ice advantage.

Posted by OlderThanChelios on 04/07/12 at 11:55 PM ET

*shakes head* 

Really can’t believe I lived to see the day where Wings fans are scared of the Preds.  I am by no means saying we should beat them easily, but a lot of you seem to think it’s a foregone conclusion we have no chance to win a series against a 4 seed who finished 2 points ahead of us this year.  Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night…

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/08/12 at 02:43 AM ET

Alzy's avatar

We were THE number one team at 5-on-5 play during the season. That alone makes me think we can beat the Preds, since we all know the referees are gonna swallow their whistles like the most well known porn stars on the planet.

As I said during the LB, fuch Bubba Jr. Wings in 5. I for one don’t think Rinne is the impenetrable force some of you make him out to be, and the guys in Red and White will exploit him fully.

LGRW

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 04/08/12 at 04:34 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.