Posts tagged “Bruins”

Wings 3, Bruins 2 (SO)

Playoff Feel: This game had it. It was far from the Wings’ best game of the year, but it may have been the most exciting. Between the tempo later on, the intensity of the overtime period and the arena atmosphere, this was a fun one to watch, and beat your average regular season game in the entertainment department.

Puck Security: The stat sheet says the Wings had the puck taken from them 12 times and that they gave it up 6. The Bruins had 10 giveaways and lost the puck to the Wings 16 times, according to the sheet. So why do I feel like the Wings were coughing up the puck left and right while the Bruins were holding on to it?

By way of comparison, the Wings coughed it up one way or another 11 times against the Ducks and 13 against the Flames, according to the statisticians. Obviously, this may not be the most reliable stat, but it’s still clear the Wings were too free with the puck yesterday. That’s something they need to fix.

Jimmy: Another strong outing. Maybe this game being on a national stage will help him get some more recognition.

He did look stupid on the Bruins’ first goal, though. His weak pass across to Ericsson was incredibly interceptable, so it was no surprise that it was intercepted and translated to a goal. That was one play involving Jonny that was somebody else’s fault.

The Bruins: Owned the game early, as the Wings played to their usual afternoon game script. They had the Wings in shell mode in their own end, and while they couldn’t crack Jimmy and the D, it was frustrating to watch them pin the Wings so much. Especially when so much of the pinning came out of turnovers.

They’re a rough team, which put the Wings off their game. That in itself is a sign of how far the Wings are still from where they’d like to be: it used to be that a physical opponent brought the best out of them. The Wings did pick it up as the game went on and things got a lot more even, but early on, it was looking like the Bruins’ game.

Sudden Strikes: But the beauty of the Wings is their ability to strike without warning. The Filppula goal was a perfect example of that. It was just their second shot and developed out of nowhere, with a great pass from Zetterberg finding Fil up the gut for an easy tap in.

Then, after the Bruins tied it, Datsyuk did this. Beautiful, eh?

Ice Quality: Not sure if the ice was bad or what, but both teams overskated he puck a lot. Could have contributed to the crappy passing, too.

Datsyuk vs. Zetterberg: Pavel’s on a sharp upswing, but Zetterberg’s on a much shallower one, if he’s on it at all. Not sure what’s going on with him. I’d like to think that if he were injured to the point that it’s effecting his game this much that he’d be out, but I also don’t like the thought that it’s a mental thing.

The Shootout: I generally don’t get riled up about the shootout, but this was one case where I would have preferred a longer overtime instead of the anticlimactic finish of a shootout. Oh well.

Next: The Wings get the Predators tonight. They’ve lost three in a row, which sort of sets up a trap for the Wings. Here’s hoping they can dig out some of the energy they expended yesterday.

Game Day Open Thread: vs. Boston

It’s the second of a home-and-home, so there’s not a lot new note-wise. George has the full-length setup here.

As for me, I’m still looking for the Wings to pick up where they left off in spite of all that’s weighing against them: a Boston team that had its pride hurt Friday, a nationally broadcast game, and one starting in the afternoon.

How they handle this game will tell us something about what Friday meant, if anything. Was it another isolated game or was it the start of something?

They could lose today and they could still be on the right path: it’s all in how they lose. If they skate with a Boston team that will no doubt be on top of their game and still come up short, I’ll be a lot less disappointed than if they just tank and get spanked.

But I’ll be disappointed either way. I want a repeat effort, if not a repeat offensive outburst. Make that all-time record against Boston 262-254-95, okay?

Wings 6, Bruins 1

Much Better: That was obvious by the time Bertuzzi opened the scoring and was reinforced by Cleary’s goal a couple minutes later. But the real sign, in my mind, that this was going to be a different game, was when Eaves negated that icing.

That kind of hunger for the puck is not something we’ve seen lately, and as great as the goals were−well, they’ve been scoring and not playing well overall. So the hustle by a guy (who admittedly hustles 9 times out of 10—but still) was great to see.

Jimmy: I thought he maybe looked a little shaky-ish early on, but he sealed that up as the game went on and demonstrated that whatever else is going on with him, he can still look great if his team, you know, plays around him.

That was the kind of night we need out of him: where he’s complementing the skaters’ effort, not being put in a position where the team succeeds or fails based on how he does. A team with this much ability should rarely be leaning on Jimmy in such a way that he needs to steal the game.

Other teams may organize their game around their goalie to varying degrees, but in Detroit, in theory, the goalie should be just another piece in a working machine. The past month or so, and to a lesser degree for much of the season, the team has operated as if Jimmy’s there to bail them out if they don’t feel like showing up. It’s worked, and it hasn’t, depending on the night Jimmy’s been able to pull together.

Which is unfair to Jimmy Howard. More nights like last night, please.

Also: I give him a pass for being out of position on the Krejci goal because Chara’s stick broke on the initial shot, a shot that happened to be his primary reaction reference. Recovering in that situation would have been a miracle.

Rask: Some of this night was Rask either looking like crap or not having pucks hit him that otherwise might have. The two Bertuzzi goals, for example (on the crap side), and the Cleary goal on the pucks hitting him side.

But he was victimized by Zetterberg’s wicked point-blank shot for the PPG, and by Zetterberg’s wicked backhand pass on Hudler’s Mirror Hull impression. All five goals are what good teams do.

Hudler: Maybe my mockery of the Detroit media’s collective “omg Hudler’s back” crap from the other day is coming back to bite me a little, but Jiri had one of his better games of the season. If he could string more of those nights together, he would validate himself finally, because when he plays like that, he can be a very dangerous player.

And sometimes being dangerous can be as easy as exploiting a simple coverage mistake, as seen on his assist on Homer’s goal. After all the years Homer’s been in the NHL, doing what he does, how does anyone leave him completely untouched in that spot? Holy crap. Anybody could have made that pass and fed Homer the puck for him to do the rest int hat situation.

I’m glad it was Hudler, because anything to feed his confidence is a god thing.

Lidstrom: Nick’s move around that Bruin at the blueline leading up to Hudler’s goal is the kind of thing that I may save for when I need a pick-me-up on a crappy day. Simple, but awesome.

Helm: Another sign that this was going to be a different game for the Wings: when Helm and Company victimized Norris candidate Zdeno Chara’s pairing in the first period, creating a strong scoring opportunity out of nothing.

Passing: I noticed this specifically with their work at center, but the passing was much, much better last night. And at times bordering the good side of the cocky coin. You sometimes see them go for cocky movement and it doesn’t work (it’s the other side of the coin, you see), but that’s because it’s forced.

Last night, we were treated to a team that was loaded up on earned confidence and was entirely safe making dizzying plays that the Bruins were unable to follow. I like that.

Second and third: The Wings have had strong starts before and they’ve nearly invariably led to weakish second periods and/or thirds. Not last night. They carried it through the second and stuck with it into the third. That was a definite plus.

Moving on: None of this will matter for very much if it occurs in isolation. They need to build on this and carry it forward down the stretch, or at the very least make it more the rule than the exception. They reminded us again how dangerous they can be and how good they can be when they want to. I would love it if we wouldn’t need that kind of reminder going forward.

Next: The stage is set for something of a pendulum swing back against the Wings tomorrow afternoon as the Bruins come to town. In some ways, I’d be less worried about the team picking up where they left off if they didn’t have the team they beat up coming in for a chance at immediate retribution.

So the Wings need to be on top of that and be aware that the Bruins, led by Tim Thomas in full-on stater mode, will be gunning for them. Stay focused and rinse, wash, repeat.

Game Day Notes: @ Boston

… Tonight’s the 610th meeting between the Wings and the Bruins. The historical series stands at 260-254-95 Detroit, per DetroitHockey.net.

… The Wings shut out the Bruins 2-0 the last time they met, on November 4th last season.

… Boston is 3-1-0 in February, with their only loss this month coming at home against San Jose on Saturday (2-0).

… They’re coming off a wild 8-6 win over Montreal Wednesday night. The game featured six fights, including a weak goalie scrap, and 92 penalty minutes. Paul’s got video evidence of the fisticuffs.

The Boston media loved it. They’ll be disappointed tonight, though,  unless Ericsson or Abdelkader decide they’re up for it. I doubt Datsyuk will look to add to his major penalty total in just his third game since returning from a hand injury.

… Claude Julien says his team is built on size and strength, though their average weight of 202.5 lbs isn’t that much  greater than the Wings’ reported 200.3. They do have one more guy 220 lbs or bigger than the Wings and they have Chara, but they aren’t huge.

… Patrice Bergeron is listed by their official site as hot, with 9 points (4G, 5A) in his last 7, so I guess watch out for him tonight. Also watch out for #11. Just kidding.

… Tyler Seguin is a healthy scratch tonight, as is Mark Stuart. The Bruins are free of injury, except for Marc Savard, who is out for the season with continued symptoms from having Matt Cooke’s elbow nonchalantly drilled into the side of his head.

… The Globe projects the Bruins’ lineup to be:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler-Zach Hamill-Michael Ryder
Jordan Caron-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Steven Kampfer
Dennis Seidenberg-Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

The skate was optional this morning for the Bruins.

… They also suggest Tuukka Rask will be the starter, setting up a start in his homestate for Flint Native Tim Thomas.

… The Wings fell to 1-3-0 in February with an “unacceptable” performance in a 4-1 loss to the Predators Wednesday night. The loss led to many platitudes about the need to get it going again, and tonight’s their first chance to put pen to paper, or fingers to home keys, and write that story.

… The injury situation remains the same: Fil’s out, Stuart’s out, Osgood’s out, Modano’s out.

… They skated with these lines and pairings yesterday, says Khan:

Franzen-Zetterberg-Bertuzzi
Hudler-Datsyuk-Cleary
Draper-Helm-Eaves
Miller-Abdelkader-Holmstrom

Lidstrom-Kronwall
Ericsson-Rafalski
Kindl-Salei

… Jimmy Howard will start again. What I’d like to see more than anything else tonight, apart from a win, is him getting more support around the net.

Nick Lidstrom says the Wings’ have been having trust issues and that it’s contributed to the slide. If they’d just trust each other, things’d turn around. Agreed. But first guys need to be able to trust the guy next to them to do their job. If guys start to do their jobs, trust will follow. Everybody just needs to take care of his defined job.

… Babcock threw down the gauntlet at the feet of the players a bit again with this:

“I don’t know who they’re going to brawl on our team. To me, you’re only intimidated if you let the other team intimidate you. Our plan is to have the puck and if they want to take penalties, our plan is to get our power play going.” (my emphasis)

The Wings’ power play was 2-for-30 going into the game against the third-least-penalized team in the league in Nashville and finished 2-for-33. Maybe they’ll have more luck against the fourth most penalized team.

… Make this the game in which you turned things around, Wings.

Wings 2, Bruins 0

So, the Wings came to play in a nationally-televised game. That doesn’t seem to happen very often.

Two in a row: That’s their longest winning streak since they beat Chicago and Washington last month. It’s a little depressing how good that feels. 3+, please.

50 SO: Osgood’s 50th career shutout. 29 saves. Another reminder that he’s still got it. He’s been tested more in other games, but the Bruins are no slouches, even in their slumping form. Shutting them out means something. Maybe not a lot. But something. Especially when you consider the team’s relatively…

Weak defensive effort: The absence of Rafalski (and yes, even ’09-’10 Ericsson) is a likely partial cause, but I didn’t think this was one of the Wings’ better defensive efforts. 29 shots isn’t an astronomical number, but it is a bit higher than you’d like this team to allow. The first period especially was a little loose with 13 allowed shots.

They tightened down for the second and third, but I came away feeling like they didn’t have the puck often enough. 8 shots per period is more like it, but the Bruins still had the puck too much. A skilled team, to be sure, but it’s something the Wings can improve upon.

Leino: What a let down. He got rocked early, which might have messed him up for the rest of the night, but I expected more from him a game after being benched. Helm stepped it up. Leino should have too. He was good enough to get promoted off the fourth line to the third line, but he was largely unnoticeable. Not cool.

Janik: I barely noticed him, which is exactly what you want from a guy with his job description. When I did see him, his #37 threw me off briefly, but he seemed to be doing the right things. A successful call-up, I say.

Holmstrom: The guy is amazing. When you consider the abuse his body has taken over the years, it’s incredible he’s still able to produce like this.

Penalty fest: After letting everything go the whole game, the refs got a little whistle happy at the end. Consistency is still a major problem with the officiating in this league. Embarrassing.

Versus: I really dislike Versus’ habit of showing a series of pointless replays immediately following an on-ice event that begs for a replay. They show saves, hits, players skating–anything but the penalty or whatever just happened. If they do show it, it’s a single high-angle 10-second clip that doesn’t help at all. How are new fans supposed to learn the penalty side of the game if they never get to see penalties? Similarly annoying: cutting to commercials the second a whistle is blown.

Also, the visual feed cut out at one point for a short span. Would have been fine had the morons in the box been calling the game like they were supposed to, but because they were chatting it up like a couple of fans meeting at a bar, I have no idea what happened during that time. Obviously, it wasn’t much, but the point is Versus announcers spend far too much time chatting and not enough time actually calling the game.

Next up: San Jose on Thursday. The Sharks have been strong so far this season and will be a good test of how serious the Wings are about their budding turnaround.

Game Day Notes: vs. Boston

Update (6:40 PM): Livetweeting the game tonight at OtW_InGame. – Matt

The Wings’ second third (thanks, Brad) game against an Eastern Conference team and second on Versus. Here’s hoping it goes better than last time.

… Boston has started the season a disappointing 6-6-1. They’re currently 10th in the East, rather than much closer to the top as they were expected to be this year. The loss of Marc Savard and Milan Lucic to injury and Phil Kessel to the Maple Leafs play a role in that, obviously.

… They’ve managed to alternate wins and losses each game this season. If the trend holds, they’re scheduled to win tonight after being shut out in New York on Sunday.

Marco Sturm was moved to the top line yesterday as Claude Julien tries to mix things up in an effort to find more goals. The team’s ’08-’09 second line of Wheeler, Krejci and Ryder has been reunited. The Bruins have a strong set of forwards, so this’ll be a good test of the Wings’ team defense.

… Tim Thomas will get the start in net tonight. Holmstrom will want to be careful around that guy. You never know what he might do if he gets angry.

… Ryder missed the skate today, but apparently has done that several times this year and is still likely to play.

… The Wings will look to follow up a solid win in Calgary with another strong performance in their first home game since October 17th. They need to put on a better performance tonight than they did then, when they lost to Colorado 4-3 in overtime.

… The flu bug has hit the Wings’ lockerroom as three defensemen sat out the skate yesterday. One of them, Kronwall, returned to the ice today, but Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson remain out. Ericsson missed Saturday’s game with the same illness, so you know it must be bad.

… To fill in for Rafalski tonight, Doug Janik has been called up from the Griffins. Janik’s a solid defensive defenseman who should do well. Interesting commentary on where Jakub Kindl’s career stands that he wasn’t the guy given the call.

… Derek Meech will fill in for Ericsson as he did in Calgary.

… Ville Leino will return to the lineup tonight after being scratched against the Flames. He should have plenty of motivation to play hard tonight. Brad May is out with an eye injury, but probably wouldn’t have played anyway.

… Osgood will start in net for the Wings, who need him to be at his best. Boston’s sure to come out guns blazing.

… The Wings have had weakish starts in three straight games, so a better one tonight will be important. They need to be tighter on defense and to focus on playing a complete game. The Bruins haven’t been as good this year, but they’re still dangerous and could make the Wings’ return home an unpleasant experience. Don’t let it happen, guys.

4/16 Links

Update (3:57 PM): “Is the President’s Daughter Dating a Ranger?” asks Eric McErlain. – Matt

Update (3:49 PM): Tom Benjamin has more thoughts on the firing of Dave Nonis. Meanwhile, Nonis defends his actions as Vancouver’s GM. – Matt

Update (12:13 PM): According to the Washington Post’s Tarik El-Bashir, former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov will play between Alexander Ovechkin and Viktor Kozlov tomorrow night in Philadelphia.

Rookie Niklas Backstrom has been moved down to the second line. – Matt

Update (8:31 AM): George Malik has the latest on the Brunnstrom saga. – Matt

… The Sidney Crosby Beard Watch: Day 8.

… The Sharks avoided going down 3-1 in their series with Calgary last night with a 3-2 comeback win.

… And San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov continued his excellent post-season by … allowing two goals on ten shots. Maybe playing him in 77 games was a mistake, Ron Wilson.

… The Avalanche took apart the Wild 5-1 last night. It was the first time in the series that the game did not go to overtime. It’s now tied up 2-2.

… Anaheim staved off a Dallas sweep last night with a 4-2 win on the road. Ah well.

… The Caps are having trouble carrying through on their impressive regular season finish. They dropped another game to Philadelphia last night, falling behind 2-1 in their series. They must now win on the road and display some defensive ability in the process.

… Montreal did what we hope the Wings will do tonight: go up 3-1 in their series.