Wings 5, Kings 2

K

Snap impression: much better, but still got work to do. More below.

King Nicklas: Lidstrom notched his 999th and 1,000th career points last night and became the first European defenseman to hit that number. When he got his 999th on Holmstrom’s goal, you knew 1,000 was coming. Great outing by the captain and one of the game’s true greats.

The Boy Kings: Referencing the Kings’ relative immaturity as evidenced by their repeated trips to the box. They’re a team that could go places, but only if they take care of that tendency to take badly-timed and dumb penalties. I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that they make the playoffs if they can stay out of the box.

Except that part…: The first period, that is. More specifically: their start. It was weak. Zetterberg made up for it later, but that blown faceoff just prior to the Kings’ first goal was bad. As was the coverage on Brown, who won the faceoff and went directly to the net, untouched. The Wings needed a better start than that, and the fact that they ended up pulling the win out doesn’t change anything.

Osgood: Strong game from him. He was helpless on the Kings’ two goals, both of which came either as a direct result of a deflection (#2) or indirectly as a result of one (#1). He was very sharp all night.

One disturbing trend with him: the Kings took every chance they could get to go to the net and bump him (an understatement in many cases). The Wings need to do a better job of protecting him because they really, really, really cannot afford for him to go down. If teams are going to start that crap, the Wings need to be able to discourage them. To that end, I’ll say that May’s presence in the lineup should be more the usual than not.

Two Finns and a Forehead (he’s got a big one, get it? Okay…nevermind): Williams, Fil and Leino were probably the Wings’ best line through two. I thought they fell off in the third and weren’t nearly as noticeable, but for the first 40, they were putting on a good show. You know Fil and Leino are good when they make Williams look like a hockey player.

Bertuzzi: I didn’t notice him a ton, except for his hilarious awkward fumbling of the puck on a nice chance with space just before Maltby swooped in and showed him how to put the puck in the net. Oh, and he was in on a 2-on-1 earlier in the game, but it ended up with him, as Triple Deke put it so well, apparently “trying to snipe a five year old in the stands with a wayward shot.” I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a shot from that close in go as high into the netting as that one did.

Hank: Bad faceoff just prior to the Kings’ first goal aside, I think he stepped his game up in a fairly big way. He notched the game-winner and overall looked better. There were a few spots where he seemed to be skating in quicksand, but the end result was positive. They’ll need more of that from him  (can I say that? don’t want to hurt his feelings, calling him out and all).

Lebda: Brett was +1 on the night. Just sayin’.

The penalty kill: … was killer. Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement, but it was much improved. The Kings did a good job generating pressure on most of their power plays, but the Wings did a great job killing them off. Here’s hoping that was the start of something.

Think you’re dedicated? See this:

@Lexa1523: Lucky ))) I’m going to work… It’s 6.15 A.M. in Moscow! ))) @onthewings Okay, shutting down for the night.

That part after the “onthewings” link is me saying I’m done livetweeting for the night, soon after the final horn. Aleksey Kovaleich is Lexa1423 and he was watching the game live online up to that point. I’m a huge, huge fan, but I don’t know if I could do that. Awesome show of fanship, Alexsey. If you can read Cyrillic, check out his blog here.

Next up: The Avs are in town on Saturday. They got screwed by the refs last night, but still managed to pull off a win, so they’re not to be overlooked. Our old whiny friend Kyle Quincey is now with Colorado, as I’m sure you know (I still haven’t forgiven him for his attitude problems after he was returned to Grand Rapids for the 07-08 season after playing 13 playoff games the year before, hence “whiny.”). Should be an interesting game.

Filed under: 2009-2010, Game Reports

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Comments

  1. Eric L. says:

    It's nice to see Lidstrom finally get his 1000th career point and I'm really excited to see the PK play as well as it did, especially at the end when LA pulled they're goalie. It was great to see thing Wings hold off the 6 on 4.

  2. Hey Matt!

    I didn't expect those promotion! Thanks )))

    To tell the truth, it's my very stupid idea to try to watch all Red Wings games live living in Moscow. ))) My wife gets very angry with me when I get up at night (games usually begins at 3 a.m.) and go to PC and TV ))) But I can do nothing – for example last season i watched about 70 regular season games live + all Play Off games! ))

     

    And about game vs Kings – adding to your report – I like our "Energy line" with Helm-Abs-Eaves – a lot of hits,  a lot of shoots, they bring real energy. Good work.

     

    And the last thing – thanks for your blog & twitter updates – it's very informative and interesting!

    GO WINGS!!!

     

    Alex.

  3. Andre says:

    "Referencing the Kings’ relative immaturity as evidenced by their repeated trips to the box."

    So what are we going to chalk the Wings repeated trips to the box up to? Seems silly to single out LA for taking 6 penalties on a night where the Wings took 5, 2 of which committed by the veteran Maltby.

    "Maltby swooped in and showed him how to put the puck in the net."

    Lets not talk about Maltby schooling Bertuzzi just yet, he decided on a slapshot from like 4ft away, aiming right for the goalie. That it happened to careen into the net was pretty lucky. I haven't looked at a replay, but at the time, I would have said the Tuzz created that chance by driving the net.

     

    Having said all that, I'm still not sure whether or not this win came down to improved effort on the Wings part, or just that LA was playing game 6 of a road trip.

  4. Eric L. says:

    Andre,

    I completely agree with what you're saying. I'd like to think that they're getting back to their winning ways. But, you're right, we can't say that after just one game.

    Honestly, I think that the Wings were playing a lot more solid last night. They're PK was better, they were completing more passes, and doing this without the help of Datsyuk or Franzen. It just shows that we can still win games without our best players.

  5. Andre says:

    Eric,

    The penalty kill was definitely a move in the right direction, I wont take anything away there.

     

    The issue I had was that it wasn't until later in the game that they seemed to play like the "Red Wings" that I'm used to, and I'm not sure how much of that might have been LA being worn out. Still too many turnovers by guys that shouldn't be losing the puck (Rafalski comes to mind). Maybe this will just gradually continue to be a different team, playstyle-wise…or maybe I've just (over)reacted too early.

     

    I mentioned to my roommate last night that it might be a case of the youngsters not having enough pride/respect playing for this team (I'm thinking of Abdelkader's incident last season), coupled with too many of those who do have the pride being on the decline (Draper, Malts, Holmer — although he's making me look silly right now).

  6. Matt Saler says:

    Eric,

    Yeah, the 6-on-4 at the end was a good moment. Again, I just hope it sticks and becomes a habit.

    Alex,

    Well, with that level of dedication, you gotta do what you gotta do.

    I agree with you on the energy line. They were strong last night, overall. They seem to work pretty well together.

    You're welcome on the updates!

    Andre,

    Good point about the Wings' penalty totals versus the Kings'. I guess the difference for me was that during the game, I felt like the Kings' penalties came at bad times for them. One example was the Green hooking in the final five minutes. The other thing was the nature of the penalties. Rather than penalties forced by a coverage failure (i.e. players grabbing a guy that got by them), a couple were retaliatory or just dumb.

    Obviously I'm not thrilled that the Wings took five. They need to be better than that.

    As for Maltby's goal, I'm not so sure a slapshot wasn't his best option there. He's not a guy who can pick a spot with a wrister and surprising Quick from in close like that wasn't automatically a bad call.

    For Bertuzzi's part in that play, I think driving to the net is a little strong. He got the puck going in that direction and then found he couldn't control it very well. He technically had it taken away by a Kings player, which is how it got to Maltby (bad clear by the Kings guy). Sure, it wouldn't have happened had Todd not seen an opportunity and gone for it, but he never really had a handle on it.

    I thought the Kings were strong enough last night to fall on the "improved play" side for the Wings. I'm sure fatigue played a factor, but if the Wings'd played as they did in Buffalo, it wouldn't have mattered. They didn't reach Caps game heights, but their effort was light years better.

    I'm with you on the delayed onset of effort issue. That's something that's been an ongoing thing into the second straight season now. I think their eventual movement to the "on" position was both a matter of actually finding their legs and the Kings losing some steam.

    The turnovers do worry me, but I don't think we're going to see another style here. The main reason: we don't have the kind of guys who can play something more grind-heavy. That's one style where the team's lack of size would really kill them. They have to play the puck possession style because they can't duke it out in the corners all game. They have to sink or swim with their current style (tightened down defensively, of course). They still have the skill to swim.

    I'm not sure a lack of respect or pride is an issue with the younger guys. I'm sure they get it drilled into their heads before they even see the ice in a red-and-white jersey. What Abdelkader incident?

  7. Andre says:

    Matt,

     

    I'll try to find a link to the story, but last year (during the playoffs I think), Abdelkader was benched after disregarding some game instructions. I remembered thinking whatever he did wrong must have been significant because he'd been playing pretty well for them at the time of the benching.

  8. Eric L. says:

    Andre,

    That's a good point about the pride. You do have to respect all of the other people in your organization. That's definitely something that Babcock looks for in his players too. I think that's why he sat Abdelkader.

  1. [...] second of four games the Wings will play against the Kings this season. They won the first meeting 5-2 on October [...]

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