If I spend any more time on this island they keep putting me on, J.J. Abrams is going to make a television series about me.
Not much to say here except that the Red Wings had a bad night. Positioning was off, skating was slow, and they paid for it. The Stars enjoyed their home opener with a 4-1 win over Mike Modano's new team in his homecoming, exploiting several lapses.
Despite giving up four goals on fifteen shots, Osgood played solidly; he was left out to dry all night and, believe it or not, the game could have been worse. None of the four goals were bad goals and he made one particularly big save on a Dallas power play early where three skaters were caught out of position, leading to a cross-ice pass and a backdoor opportunity. The shot may not have been the highest quality, but Osgood's positioning was perfect. His rating on the night was +1
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump:The Goals
1st Period 00:41 - Dallas Goal (PP): Brad Richards (slap shot) from Matt Niskanen and Mike Ribeiro
With Brad Stuart in the penalty box for boarding, Darren Helm loses the faceoff cleanly. After Richards throws it low off Osgood, Salei has an opportunity to shovel the puck out, which he misses. Ribeiro takes the puck at the blue line and crosses the ice, where he gets it to Niskanen, who dishes back to Richards. Richards unleashes a slap shot from the point that finds its way past Osgood as he's dealing with a double-screen by the Stars' Brenden Morrow and the Wings' Ruslan Salei. Ordinarily, nobody gets a minus for a power play goal against, but I feel Salei's two mistakes combined were grievous enough for a half-minus on the play. Also, Stuart gets a minus for taking the penalty. I originally thought the call was weak, as Skrastins turned at the last second, but Stuart finishes the check into the numbers when there's no need. The penalty was a good call and Stuart collects his minus.
2nd Period 00:44 - Dallas Goal: Loui Eriksson (wrist shot) from Brad Richards and James Neal
This play starts in the Dallas end with a pinch by Stuart and a turnover where Detroit is in bad position to defend the rush up-ice. Loui Eriksson carries up ice and dishes off to James Neal at the half-boards. Neal finds Richards behind the net who dishes out in front to Eriksson, who has used this time to get from the blue line to the slot. Eriksson puts it past Osgood for the Stars' 2nd goal of the night. Nobody on this line made the right play, so everybody keeps their minuses. Individually, Holmstrom fails to stop the Eriksson-to-Richards pass, Stuart doesn't get on Neal, Lidstrom loses the angle, Zetterberg incorrectly plays the wraparound with Datsyuk coming low and Datsyuk is not backchecking at full speed. Dallas' speed through the neutral zone created this goal.
2nd Period 7:03 - Dallas Goal: Brenden Morrow from Mike Ribeiro
On a breakout play in their own end, Henrik Zetterberg gets cute handling the puck. Stuart comes too far up the ice to help with the breakout and leaves Zetterberg without a safety-valve behind him. Holmstrom has already moved up ice, as has Datsyuk. When Zetterberg is separated from the puck, it goes to center ice, where Datsyuk takes a slow line to it and gets deked by Ribeiro. Ribeiro brings it into the zone and finds Morrow streaking behind Zetterberg, who reacts slowly. Morrow tries a cross-crease pass, but it ends up deflecting off Stuart's skates and into the net. Lidstrom was hooked earlier on the play, preventing him from making a good outlet pass and was in good position covering his man when the goal was scored; #5 does not get a minus on this play. An extra half-minus goes to Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Stuart. The first one for his failure to make the simple play, the second for his lackadaisical skating in the neutral zone to prevent Ribeiro from making the play, and the third one for bad positioning on the breakout which robbed Zetterberg of a third option.
2nd Period 16:26 - Dallas Goal: James Neal (backhand) from Brad Richards and Trevor Daley
Sustained pressure in the Detroit zone after a turnover leads the puck to Neil's stick from Richards. Neil shoots wide and the puck comes off the boards high in the zone to Daley. Daley dumps it low to Richards, who Datsyuk once again plays poorly. Richards attempts to throw it in front and it deflects off Stuart's skate to sit in the low slot. Stuart without any momentum fails to keep Neal off the puck; Neal moves it to his backhand and beats Osgood from point-blank range. Both Holmstrom and Kronwall keep perfect positioning throughout this entire sequence, so neither will receive a minus.
3rd Period 11:25 - Detroit Goal (PP): Niklas Kronwall (wrist shot) from Todd Bertuzzi and Jiri Hudler
The Wings were on this powerplay thanks to an incredibly weak slashing penalty on Brad Richards. I hate these chintzy stick-slash penalties that get called and if it had involved a Red Wings player in the box, I'd be incensed. Modano did have decent jump, but the penalty call was bullshit, He will not get a plus for drawing this one. For the play leading up to the goal, the 2nd power play unit does an excellent job cycling completely around the zone, constantly changing the angles. Hudler gets it at the half-boards and dumps it low to Bertuzzi, who mishandles, but gets it to FIlppula, who moves it to Kronwall. Kronwall passes to Modano, who immediately passes off to Hudler. Meanwhile, Filppula moves to the middle of the Star's diamond to draw the back-door defenseman up slightly. Hudler gets it to Bertuzzi behind the net, who uses the space that FIlppula creates by immediately passing to Kronwall, who had snuck in on the back door. Kronwall puts it home for the Wings only goal. Aside from the regular scoring, Filppula and Modano will each get a half-assist for their work in making this goal possible.
+0.5 to Jakub Kindl: The rookie played more than 19 minutes of even-rated hockey, which is no small feat for such a lopsided game. Simply not screwing up isn't enough to warrant any bonus rating points however. Kindl consistently made smart decisions with and without the puck. His positioning was sound and his passes were crisp.
-1 to Pavel Datsyuk: In his 21 minutes of ice time, he had one shot on goal. For reference, that's half as many as Patrick Eaves, who played half as many minutes. Furthermore, I was not impressed with his skating for most of the night. He made some decent plays, but moving at 3/4th speed is not going to get it done, especially after Franzen left the game in the first. Datsyuk wears an A, and he made too many mistakes and skated far too passively in this game. This extra minus makes him a grand total of a minus-4.5 in the adjusted stats.
+0.5 to Niklas Kronwall: For how badly Kronwall looked in the Colordo game, he looked poised and positioned against the Stars. He prevented several Dallas scoring opportunities and was good in the offensive zone as well.
There's no reason to panic yet, as the ice surface in Dallas is never in good shape, so I put quite a bit of the blame on Babcock and the rest of the coaching staff for trying to play an East-West game instead of the simpler, chippier style for which road games in Dallas usually call. In some ways, the defensive switch-ups have thrown off timing. Still, the team has more speed than they've exhibited in the last two games and will need to showcase that to back off the heavy forechecking teams. Phoenix on Saturday will be a test of whether they are willing to muck and skate as much as they're willing to try to always make the perfect beautiful play.