Stinker game, trap game, lost game. Atlanta outworked Detroit everywhere on the ice. Babcock is sending all of the Wings Christmas presents back to Santa until they get their crap together.
Charting five Atlanta goals is painful enough without talking about what the special teams did. Let's just say that Detroit put the "special" in special teams while Atlanta chose to emphasize the "teams" portion.
I disagree with Graham on the recap here (for once). I do not think Howard had a very good game. I counted a couple of big saves, but I also gave him a half bad goal on the Bryan Little marker and though his rebound control left a bit to be desired. I'm going to give him an even rating on the night, knowing full well that even equals bad game. As for Joey MacDonald? I'll give him a line on the tracking chart when he starts a game. If you really must know, the Byfuglien goal wasn't weak, but he also didn't make any big saves.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump.The Goals
1st Period 2:39 - Atlanta Goal: Chris Thorburn (snap shot) from Eric Boulton and Jim Slater
Play starts coming out of the Detroit end where Rafalski passes to Helm, who is not ready to receive the puck and turns it over. Atlanta dumps the puck in and fights to retrieve it. Boulton takes a pass from Jim Slater behind the net and finds Chris Thorburn alone in the slot out front for the first goal. Darren Helm will receive an extra minus on this play as not only did he turn the puck over in the neutral zone, but he also should have been covering Thorburn. Drew Miller is the only Wings player who will not get a minus as he as in position to cover the point when the pass gets to Thorburn. Ericsson, Rafalski, and Eaves all keep their minuses for collectively getting beaten to the puck and outmaneuvered in their own zone.
1st Period 11:59 - Atlanta Goal (SH): Andrew Ladd (wrist shot) from Rich Peverley
Detroit is on a power play here thanks to Patrick Eaves moving his feet in the Atlanta zone early. Unfortunately, the Detroit power play gives up a shorty here. Coming out of their own zone (again) in the standard Red Wings' power play zone entrance backfires here as Lidstrom drops the puck to Datsyuk, who then turns the puck over to Rich Peverley. Since Datsyuk is the last man back, this turnover creates a 2-on-1 where Peverley feeds Ladd across the ice for a tip-in past Howard. The initial clear that forces Detroit to regroup is off the initial faceoff after the penalty that Datsyuk lost. I think this mitigates the minuses taken by Rafalski, Holmstrom, and Franzen. Those three will not receive minuses. Lidstrom makes the drop pass to Datsyuk that Detroit does very often, but he chooses to do this just after entering the neutral zone instead of forcing Atlanta's defense back farther. This mistake will earn Lidstrom an extra half-minus. Datsyuk will get an extra full minus for the lost faceoff and the turnover to Peverly leading to the 2-on-1 and eventual goal.
1st Period 12:18 - Detroit Goal (PP): Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Mike Modano and Niklas Kronwall
19 seconds later, Detroit gets on the board on the power play. Zetterberg tries dumping the puck into the Atlanta zone, but has the puck blocked high. Bertuzzi following the play crashes the defender and steals the puck back to feed it to Kronwall at the point. Kronwall moves the puck to Modano at the opposite point and Mikey takes a few steps toward the net before going back across the grain to find Bertuzzi at the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Bert collects the pass and rips it past Pavelec before he can get over. Bert makes this play happen from the start and will earn a half plus for the work in freeing the puck to eventually create his own goal. Eaves also gets a plus for drawing the penalty that put Detroit on this power play with some hard work in the offensive zone.
2nd Period - Atlanta Goal (PP): Anthony Stewart (wrist shot) from Bryan Little and Johnny Oduya
Atlanta scores this goal early in the 2nd period thanks to being on a carry-over power play from a horrible decision by Tomas Holmstrom to trip a guy. The Wings try to pressure the puck at the boards to force a clear late in the Atlanta power play, but a heads up move by Johnny Oduya grabs it at the line and finds Bryan Little low. Little holds while Brad Stuart decides whether he wants to challenge the puck carrier. This gives Anthony Stewart time to skate behind Brad Stuart. Despite Stu's best attempts to block it, Little gets the puck across the crease to Stewart, who puts it home behind Howard. Aside from Holmstrom's boneheaded play earning him a minus for taking the penalty that led to this goal in the first place, there are no scoring adjustments.
2nd Period 17:25 - Atlanta Goal: Bryan Little (snap shot) from Evander Kane
Ondrej Pavelec would likely get an assist from me if I were doing scoring adjustments for the Thrashers here. The Atlanta goalie throws a high, hard clear around the glass that Ruslan Salei pinches on, but can't stop. Modano gets a stick on the puck and tries to pass back to Salei, but again Salei can't handle the puck. Kane punches it to Bryan Little as he streaks up the ice in a 2-on-1 with Anthony Stewart as the decoy against Kronwall. Kronner blocks off the passing zone, but Little beats Jimmy Howard high to the glove side. I'd like to see Howard make this stop, but Bryan little being a right-handed shot helps him out a bit here. Still, Howard gets a half bad goal for this. I think Kronwall, Cleary, and Bertuzzi were all doing their jobs here, so none of those three will get minuses. Modano will not get cleared of his minus, but will not receive anything extra. Salei will get an extra minus for failing to control the puck both times.
3rd Period 14:19 - Atlanta Goal (PP): Dustin Byfuglien (slap shot) from Tobias Enstrom and Andrew Ladd
Both teams are already skating four a side when Datsyuk takes a penalty for interference off the offensive zone faceoff to put Atlanta on a 4-on-3 man advantage. Utilizing the extra ice, Byfuglien and Enstrom do the Rafalski-Lidstrom side switch at the points that we've come to know and love, except this one is done by a couple assholes wearing light blue, so screw them. Enstrom feeds Byfuglien for a one-timer from about 45 feet which Byfuglien puts past Joey MacDonald. Except for Datsyuk picking up the minus for taking the penalty to give Atlanta the power play, there is no scoring adjustment.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk and Brian Rafalski: despite that neither of these guys had good games, they each had a play that absolutely saved a surefire Atlanta goal. Rafalski's came in the first as a puck moved slowly across the crease with Evander Kane bearing down and Datsyuk's was in the third when he kept a puck off a streaking Kane's stick for a sure goal. Poor Evander Kane, I guess.
-1 to Brad Stuart: Stu made no fewer than four errant passes either across or up the middle in the Wings' zone. That's not going to earn brownie points unless the passes are perfect, which they weren't.
Honorable Mentions: I wanted to give a minus to everybody here because the entire team sucked on the night. Ball this one up and throw it away, boys, we've got Columbus on the horizon and they're petulant enough to want a share of first place in the Central.