Red Wings-Flames quick take: trapped!

The Detroit Red Wings wrapped up their 4-game season-opening home stand by hosting the winless Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

This was a bit of a trap game going in–Detroit up 2-0-and-1, confident after playing three emotional games, battling an 0-1-and-1 Flames team that loves to check, check and check some more, and Calgary allowed the Red Wings to fall into their trap, winning 3-0 against a listless Detroit team.

Now the Red Wings will head into Montreal to face the pressure-packed 0-and-5 Habs, and the Wings need to learn from a game in which they were shut down completely instead of simply trying to flush a poor game on team and individual levels (with perhaps the exceptions of Gustav Lindstrom and Alex Nedeljkovic).

Ultimately, the Wings were sunk by their own defensive mistakes and their own indecisive play here, and they afforded Calgary the opportunity to play a low-energy checking game for the vast majority of the night. Detroit can’t afford to play who-gives-a-damn hockey opposite Montreal on Saturday, nor Chicago on Sunday.

The Red Wings and Flames iced the following lines:

Tonight’s lineup.#CGYvsDET | #LGRWā€” Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 21, 2021

The Flames’ website went with the following “projected lineup“:

Johnny GaudreauElias LindholmMatthew Tkachuk

Blake ColemanMikael BacklundTyler Pitlick

Milan LucicSean MonahanTrevor Lewis

Andrew MangiapaneDillon DubeBrett Ritchie

Oliver KylingtonChristopher Tanev

Noah HanifinRasmus Andersson

Juuso ValimakiErik Gudbranson

Jacob Markstrom

The starting lineups consisted of the following:

In the 1st period…The Rasmussen line faced off opposite Blake Coleman and company, and Calgary tied up the draw, chipped and attempted to chase, and regrouped in their own zone, turning over the puck to Michael Rasmussen, who chipped a backhand in on Markstrom for the game’s first shot some 15 seconds in.

Detroit was able to parry the Flames’ first rush, and steal the puck for a second shot attempt that was blocked by Noah Hanafin.

Bertuzzi got a second Wings shot on net from distance after a faceoff win, and the Wings buzzed down low, but Calgary rushed up ice, Gaudreau, Tkachuk and company tried to set up, and they were denied by Zadina and his linemates.

Calgary chipped and chased again, Detroit afforded Calgary a chance, but blocked the puck, rushed up the other way, and Detroit cycled around the perimeter, mucking and grinding along the wall to afford Pius Suter an easy backhand slide to Filip Zadina, who jabbed the puck into Markstrom from about 5 feet out.

BIZARRELY, Milan Lucic and Givani Smith got into a scrap off a faceoff with 2:34 gone, and both gentlemen sat for fighting after a quiet bout of mostly missing punches. Smith was felled first, but Lucic did not wallop Smith out of respect.

Givani Smith dropping the gloves early, you love to see it! #LGRWā€” Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) October 21, 2021

Ok, Smitty šŸ‘Šā€” Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 21, 2021

Then Calgary got to work in the offensive zone, with Monahan and the 4th line working opposite the Larkin line, and a composite of Gagner, Rasmussen and Bertuzzi worked the puck out of trouble;

By the time Rasmussen’s usual linemates joined him some 4 minutes into the 1st period, they were stifled by the Flames, and Calgary rushed into the Detroit zone but fumbled their buttonhook pass back to the point.

Calgary continued to pressure the Wings intermittently, but they also kept pushing the puck back to the point for shots, and Detroit was able to block shots as a result.

By the time Lindholm fired a shot off Nedeljkovic’s blocker, and Kylington sent another puck in on Nedeljkovic from the right faceoff circle, Detroit was leading in shots 5-2 some 5:30 into the 1st.

Detroit also probed the Flames’ zone as it was able, but Calgary collapsed in their own slot, blocking Detroit’s rushes, and instead, Nedeljkovic had to make a wraparound stop against Blake Coleman.

Concerningly, Matthew Tkachuk two-hand-slashed Lucas Raymond in the ankle; it was Raymond who went to the bench in pain, slashing Tkachuk right back after almost scoring on a to-the-front-of-the-net play…

Lucas Raymond is everywhere #LGRWā€” Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) October 21, 2021

Matthew Tkachuk gets away with a pretty hefty slash on Lucas Raymond as an official stares right at themā€” Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) October 21, 2021

And Calgary began to dominate puck possession some 8:01 into the 1st, with Detroit leading in shots 6-3 at the first TV timeout.

When play resumed, Calgary had quite a bit of jump, but Lindstrom and Staal would not have the Flames cycling out from behind the net, so the Wings’ defense forced Calgary to pump pucks back to their own point for long shots in on Nedeljkovic.

Fabbri took a stinger off a point shot from Calgary’s defense, working with Zadina and Suter to force Calgary to the perimeter, and some 10 minutes into the 1st…

Regrettably, Johnny Gaudreau smelled Elias Lindholm sneaking behind the Red Wings’ coverage, and Gaudreau threaded the needle to Lindholm, who made it 1-0 in a hurry vs. a helpless Nedeljkovic.

.@johngaudreau03 sends a slick feed to @lindholmelias for a 1-0 lead!ā€” NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) October 21, 2021

Lindholm scored from Gaudreau at 10:06.

Calgary was pulling itself back into the game in a big way, and Robby Fabbri was in the room due to a shot block off the skate by Gudbranson, and that contributed to the Flames’ goal.

That had to hurt #LGRWā€” Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) October 22, 2021

As the Wings attempted to reclaim control of the game…

Calgary was doing a wonderful job of disrupting Detroit’s puck possession, and the Wings seemed a little distracted by Calgary, so the Wings’ game was sloppy all over the ice.

Detroit did at least “stick with it” as Calgary continued to attempt to bombard Nedeljkovic as they surged forth momentum-wise, and the Wings at least made sure that Nedeljkovic saw the Flames’ attempts on goal.

Johnny Gaudreau and company were particularly effective against the Wings, and some of those bombs from the point were finding Nedeljkovic, but he was stopping Calgary’s shots.

Lindstrom made a beautiful pass block to stifle a Flames attempt to score by sneaking behind Detroit’s coverage…

The Larkin line, working with DeKeyser and Hronek, tried to respond, but Filip hronek tried to find the body, lost his coverage, and Andrew Mangiapane jabbed the rebound of a point shot behind Nedeljkovic, making it 2-0.

Andrew Mangiapane scored the 2-0 goal at 14:33, from Gudbranson and Dube.

Detroit tried to push back toward the second TV timeout, but all Pius Suter could do on a 2-on-1 with Zadina was fired a puck into the breadbasket of Markstrom.

Calgary continued to attack Detroit with efficiency, and Detroit skated on its back foot (and then some) as the Flames shut down their defensive zone.

The Dylan Larkin line was honestly the only Wings line that looked like it was in control of the puck, and sometimes it took skating back into their own zone and defending to take control of the puck.

Lucas Raymond got a good chance off via a pass from Larkin, a slot chance, but that was the Wings’ only real scoring chance over the second half of the first period.

Moritz Seider also laid out Milan Lucic with a subtle, smart hit, drawing a rare cheer from the crowd in a bad period for the Wings.

Statistically, Calgary was out-shot 12-11 in the 1st but out-attempted Detroit 21-18; Calgary out-hit Detroit 9-4; giveaways were an ugly 7-0 Detroit; takeaways were 3-0 Detroit; blocked shots 7-3 Detroit; faceoffs 9-7 Calgary (44%).

The @DetroitRedWings get 12 shots in the opening frame, but trail by a pair after 20 minutes. #LGRWā€” Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) October 22, 2021

After 20.#CGYvsDET | #LGRWā€” Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 22, 2021

In the 2nd period…Detroit started the Suter line (Suter was -2 in the 1st period) with Lindstrom and Staal, and the Flames established possession in the Wings’ end quite quickly, repelled the Wings from center ice, and chipped and changed.

The Red Wings made an awful turnover as well at the defensive blueline, affording Noah Hanafin a great chance on Nedeljkovic, and while Detroit skated the other way and got their first shot of the period on Markstrom rsome 1:03 in, Rasmussen’s attempt wasn’t dangerous.

Larkin, Bertuzzi and Raymond came out and tried to score with Sean Monahan absent a stick, and Raymond fed Leddy for a fine chance that Markstrom robbed (and Leddy fanned upon).

Larkin, Raymond and Seider then worked the puck around the perimeter to generate a really good scoring chance by Seider.

Markstrom didn’t afford Detroit any rebounds, however, and Calgary kept pushing play back out of their zone and into center ice.

Calgary’s Brett Ritchie slashed the stick out of Givani Smith’s hands at 2:24, and the Wings headed to the power play.

On the power play, Detroit took its sweet-ass time setting up, and when they were able to get into the offensive zone, Calgary made easy blocks because Detroit’s passers were not firing pucks to skating targets, yielding one messy power play.

Detroit just couldn’t get any momentum going on the power lay, even when Nick Leddy tried to break in alone, and the Wings’ first PP unit spent too much time looking to pass the puck and not shoot it.

The power play expired with Raymond firing a puck into Gudbranson, and then into Markstrom.

When 5 on 5 play resumed, Calgary worked its way into Detroit’s zone, Stephens iced the puck, but the Wings were at least able to clear the zone before Calgary rushed right back in deep and cycled the puck down low.

Calgary worked the puck around the perimeter and tried to work it into the slot, but they fired pucks wide of Nedeljkovic, and Detroit was able to escape the Flames’ pressure unscathed for the most part.

Perhaps symbolizing the night in a nutshell, Robby Fabbri had a beautiful chance to put a puck in Markstrom from in tight, but instead, Fabbri flubbed a backhand pass directed in Filip Zadina’s general direction instead.

Detroit had 6 shots on the Flames to 0 Flames shots some 7:28 into the 2nd, but Detroit had 0 scoring chances.

Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider were among the Wings’ best players in the game–which is either good or bad, depending on your point of view.

Dillon Dube got called for interference at 8:14, affording Detroit a power play…

And on the power play, Raymond, Fabbri, Bertuzzi, Larkin, Leddy, they all cycled the puck well, Raymond fired a puck wide of Markstrom, Calgary cleared…

Detroit struggled with its zone entry, Larkin and Bertuzzi cycled to Raymond, Bertuzzi flubbed the puck, but Leddy held it in, Raymond worked it down low, lost control, and Calgary cleared again.

An impatient crowd at Little Caesars Arena watched Calgary clear the puck easily against the 2nd unit, not once but twice, and the power play expired.

Filip Zadina did feed Michael Rasmussen for a chance at the side of the net, but Dube and Gaudreau were unable to connect on the 2-on1 due to some good backchecking by Hronek.

Zadina also knocked down a Flame in the offensive zone and jabbed the puck on net, fed Erne, and jabbed another puck toward Markstrom, but Calgary was alert.

On bad ice–admittedly so–Detroit was fumbling the puck at crucial moments, and Calgary was dominating possession and control, even when the Wings battled back, so, at 11:15 of the 2nd period, Detroit was leading in shots 9-1 in the 2nd and 21-12 on the night (attempts were 31-27 Detroit), but Calgary was deservedly up 2-0.

There weren’t many highlights for either team…

And that was advantage Calgary.

Bertuzzi, Larkin and Raymond found themselves tangled up at center ice for the most part, with Larkin trying to feed Raymond cross ice, and nothing happened on their shift;

Rasmussen, Erne and Namestnikov were stifled for the most part, with Erne chipping a puck off Markstrom, and Calgary trying to spring Tkachuk on a 3-on-2;

With 5:55 remaining in the 2nd, Suter, Zadina and Fabbri worked the puck into the zone, watched Mangiapane and his teammates chip the puck wide, and Dube feed the point, where Nedeljkovic had to move Brett Ritchie to avoid being bumped out of position.

Suter, Fabbri and Zadina were able to generate a scoring chance on the ensuing rush, but it was a mild one.

By the 15-minute mark of the 2nd period, Detroit was out-shooting Calgary 12-2 in the period, but Nedeljkovic was having the harder night.

He grabbed a Tanev shot with 4:40 remaining in the 2nd, with some traffic in front of him.

Smith, Stephens and Gagner got a rare shift some 16 minutes into the 2nd…

And Givani Smith got tagged for slashing with 4:11 remaining.

On the penalty-kill…Tkachuk flipped the puck through his legs and tried to score, but he put the puck on top of the net instead of in it…

Staal and Rasmussen chipped and changed instead of trying to generate a scoring chance some 30 seconds into the PK;

Rasmussen and Namestnikov then played keep-away for 20 seconds, affording Detroit some more PK time…

Stephens and Gagner did a fine job of taking the puck off Flames sticks via hard work and checking…

Gagner blocked a Backlund pass and forced the Flames into an offside with 20 left in the PP…

And the penalty was killed.

With under 2 minutes remaining in the 2nd, Pius Suter almost took the puck from Markstrom at one end of the ice, and Seider stood up Blake Coleman at the other end of the ice, expertly blocking off a deke and dangle play…

Fabbri, Larkin and Raymond worked well on a shift together very, very late in the period, and Suter and Bertuzzi and Zadina were unable to generate any offense…

So the 2nd period expired with Detroit out-shooting Calgary 26-14 but trailing 2-0.

Need a big 3rd! #LGRWā€” Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) October 22, 2021

To the 3rd. #LGRWā€” Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 22, 2021

In the 3rd period…The Red Wings began the 3rd period with the Suter line out, and Fabbri, Zadina and Suter worked the puck back to Gustav Lindstrom at the blueline, and Lindstrom flubbed the pass, but did a good job of preventing Calgary’s Backlund from scoring.

Luckily, Mikael Backlund got caught tripping Pius Suter at 49 seconds…

And on the power play, Larkin, Bertuzzi, Fabbri, Leddy and Raymond lost the initial faceoff, pushed the puck up ice and worked the perimeter fairly competently, but Fabbri shanked a centering pass, and Detroit’s power play broke down after that.

Dillon Dube was STONED on a breakaway, and Dylan Larkin got caught hooking Mangiapane at 54 seconds of the PP…

Resulting in 4 on 4 time in which Filip Zadina and Pius Suter did a good job of cycling with DeKeyser and Hronek, but did not generate any shots.

On the PK, Gagner, Staal, Seider and Stephens did a nice job of disrupting Calgary’s offense;

Calgary nearly scored off an intentional shot wide of Nedeljkovic by Tkachuk;

And the power play expired with some 4 minutes gone in the 3rd.

Larkin rejoined the play and was unable to generate a scoring chance, so he helped the Wings backcheck against Lucic and company, and Calgary set up in Detroit’s zone, battling Calgary into an offensive zone change.

Bertuzzi did feed Fabbri for a fine chance that Markstrom poke-checked away;

Detroit got quite lucky with a too-many-men “almost call,” and Stephens, Erne and Smith twisted and turned through center ice, Tkachuk and Gaudreau nearly converted on another intentionally wide shot…

In the Flames’ zone, Detroit worked the puck to Lindstrom and Leddy, but Detroit was unable to generate any offensive flow…

With the lines in a blender, some 7:30 into the 3rd, Raymond raced in, buttonhooked to DeKeyser, who sent a great chance in on Markstrom…

And Monahan broke in alone going the other way on a line change, but Nedeljkovic made a huge glove stop to keep it at 2-0.

Detroit was out-chancing Calgary, but they were down 6-1 in shots with 12:16 left in regulation.

By the time Larkin, Raymond and Bertuzzi were being denied through center ice with 11:40 remaining in regulation, Calgary was checking the snot out of the Red Wings in their own zone, and Detroit was really struggling to generate any sort of offense.

Calgary had clamped down, hard.

Ultimately, Calgary “killed” over 10 minutes of play before Detroit had as much as a sniff at the Flames’ net.

It was frustrating to watch the Wings seemingly resign themselves to their fate.

Nedeljkovic made a big stop on Lucic with 9:10 remaining;

Gagner, Smith and Stephens had a good shift in the offensive zone;

Kylington was stopped by Nedeljkovic with 8:50 remaining;

And Calgary went offside with 8:29 remaining, yielding a TV timeout.

Detroit was being out-shot 8-1 in the 3rd, and the shot gap had closed to 27-23 Detroit.

As the 3rd period waned, the crowd was far more interested in the “Woo’s!” and “Take me home, country roads” than they were in Tkachuk running Nedeljkovic (no call);

Nedeljkovic made big stops on Gaudreau and Hanafin…

By the time Dylan Larkin grabbed Mikael Backlund from behind to headlock him, and Tkachuk got away with another hack on Raymond, there were only 7:38 left in the game.

Erne, Rasmussen, Namestnikov and DeKeyser nearly converted on a scoring opportunity that was blocked by the Flames’ defense;

With 6:45 remaining, Fabbri tipped the puck deep, but was stifled, and Staal tried to wipe out a Flame, who smelled the hit coming;

Zadina, Lindstrom and Suter were stifled by Tanev, Fabbri found Lindstrom, and Lindstrom got the Wings’ first scoring chance of the 3rd with 6:18 remaining.

The Larkin line lost its offensive zone faceoff, worked the puck back to no one, and found themselves bumped and bruised by the Flames’ checkers with 5:45 remaining;

Tkachuk hacked Larkin, uncalled, at center ice, and Calgary looked to be shutting the game down for good with 5:20 left.

Mitchell Stephens got half a scoring chance with about 5 minutes remaining, but there was no screen and no rebound;

Lindstrom got the 2nd scoring chance of the 3rd with 4:30 remaining;

Honestly, the best part of the 3rd period was watching Gustav Lindstrom play so very well.

But the night’s play was emblematic in Filip Hronek chipping and not chasing…

So the Wings pulled Nedeljkovic with 2:40 left, Seider, Raymond, Fabbri, et. al cycled the puck…

And Matthew Tkachuk scored the game-salter-away-er with 2:18 remaining.

Tkachuk made it 3-0 @ 17:42, from Gaudreau.

Calgary ultimately won the game 3-0.

Detroit must learn from this one.


Montreal on Saturday. #LGRWā€” Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 22, 2021

Tonight’s numbers.ā€” Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 22, 2021

Statistics: Here are the Game Summary and Event Summary:

Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.