Sorry about the delay in getting this post up folks, but when your team spends two and a half hours putting you to sleep, it's better to let that happen. The Wings played a fairly typical second of back-to-back road game on the night with good jump early that faded into skating for a tie in the third. All in all, I'm glad to have the loser point, considering I would say the Wings were outplayed despite the 29-25 shot advantage.
Special teams again did not play a factor. Or, if you want to look at it another way, the Kings' inability to score on their two power play chances and the Wings' similar woes were what forced the game into OT. I thought the Wings power play looked dangerous, but they could not solve both the four-man unit and Jonathan Quick and become the team to end the Kings home penalty kill streak, which now sits for 43 of 43 on the season.
Chris Osgood returned from his groin injury and played a fairly solid game. It's unfortunate to see that the old standards of a sub-.900 save percentage and 3 goals allowed trend continued, because he played better than that. The two regulation goals were tipped by him and the overtime game-winner was a cross-ice one-timer by one of the Western Conference's most dangerous shooters. I'm not faulting him on any of the three goals. I can fault him for taking the Wings' first penalty for playing the puck in the restricted zone, but as the NHL rulebook doesn't properly define the status of the puck when it's on the line (as replay showed it was), I still don't know whether this was a good call. Still, he should know better. All in all, I counted three big saves on the night for Ozzie, but I'm going to adjust his rating down to +2 for the penalty he took.
Scoring and plus/minus adjustments after the jumpThe Goals
1st Period 15:29 - Detroit Goal: Jonathan Ericsson (slap shot) from Pavel Datsyuk
As the Kings come out of their own zone, Drew Doughty throws a cross-ice pass to Kopitar which is too hot for him to handle. While Kopitar is trying to settle the puck down, Pavel Datsyuk stands firm and lets the bouncing puck hit him for the steal. After carrying in, he allows the play to develop with Holmstrom and Zetterberg driving the net. Once traffic has gotten to its spots, he fires a low wrister to the far side that Quick kicks into the center for Jonathan Ericsson joining the rush late to slap home before Quick can adjust. There is no scoring adjustment on this play: Datsyuk's takeaway was good neutral zone defense, which you don't necessarily want to take for granted, but standing still and letting a puck hit you is not exactly Datsyukian.
2nd Period 00:24 - Los Angeles Goal: Justin Williams (tip in) from Rob Scuderi and Anze Kopitar
The Wings win the faceoff to start the period, but not cleanly enough to maintain possession, so Lidstrom dumps it into the Kings' zone to reset the defense. As they carry back up ice, Doughty fires a hard dump-around behind Osgood. Stuart is the first player on it with Dustin Brown covering him. He tries to chip it past Brown to Holmstrom coming low, but Kopitar out-muscles him for position and pushes a pass back to Rob Scuderi at the blue line. Scuderi lets traffic get set and fires a slap shot that's tipped by Justin Williams past Osgood. Everybody keeps their minus on this play, but Stuart and Holmstrom will each collect an extra half-minus. The tip by Stuart past Brown was a rash decision with Holmstrom covered as well as he was; in the same vein, Holmstrom got outworked by Kopitar in his own end to allow this play to develop.
2nd Period 1:12 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen
Less than a minute later, Detroit's back in the lead on a Todd Bertuzzi goal. The Wings' second line showcases a very good three-man forecheck high in the Kings' zone as FIlppula and Franzen tie off an outlet at one blue line, forcing the Kings to cycle back and look for a way out of the zone the other way. The pass to Jack Johnson is in his skates and takes a quick second to make an adjustment. This is all the time Bertuzzi needs to barrel into the zone and force Johnson to hurriedly dump the puck into center ice where Rafalski grabs it and gets it back to Bertuzzi at the line. Bert gets hooked off the puck, but Franzen is there to collect it inside the blue line and feed across to Rafalski, who passes back to Bertuzzi in front of the net. With Quick blocking it off, Bert takes shelter behind the goal, waiting for the play to develop. Eventually, he comes out and fires a spinning backhand on Quick, which is pushed to Matt Greene in the corner. Jonathan Ericsson, joining the play down low again cuts off Greene's route up-ice and he throws a blind backhand the other way for Johan Franzen to intercept. Mule takes the puck out front and puts a puck on Quick that he stops, but kicks the rebound out front. While all the Kings' horses and three of the Kings' men try in vain to keep it away from Ericsson again, Bertuzzi swoops back into the play from covering the point (for Ericsson's foray deep) and puts the puck in to give the Wings the lead once more. There is a lot of good on this play by Bertuzzi and he will get an extra plus for his work all over the ice making this happen. Jonathan Ericsson will also get a half-assist for helping force Green turn the puck over to Franzen.
2nd Period 7:18 - Los Angeles Goal: Alec Martinez (wrist shot) from Peter Harrold and Justin Williams
The Kings are able to establish a forecheck here as Drew Miller is stood up at his own blue line and Williams fires it back into the zone where Kopitar picks it up on the far side. The Wings defense does a good job of keeping the Kings to the outside here as an attempted centering pass is blocked back to the corner where Williams picks it up. Seeing no easy route, he passes back to Harrold at the point, who immediately feeds Martinez across ice. Martinez changes the angle on the on-rushing Miller and releases a wrist shot from the point (NHL.com still has this listed as a slap shot, but they are wrong). Unfortunately, in an attempt to prevent Dustin Brown from tipping the puck in or collecting a rebound, Darren Helm manages to redirect the shot past Osgood. Most of the Wings are playing good defense on this play, as Miller, Draper, and Ericsson will have their minuses erased on the play for being in position. This play developed from low-to-high very quickly and for either Draper or Miller to be in good position to prevent it from happening like this would have meant being in bad position to prevent an easier scoring chance elsewhere. Brian Rafalski will keep his minus for playing too tentatively on Williams as he controlled the puck down low. I feel a more aggressive angle on him could have forced either a weaker pass or a turnover. Darren Helm will pick up an extra minus here for going against the old saying "if you can't block it, don't screen your goaltender and, for shit's sake, definitely don't deflect the puck into your own net you jerk." At least I'm pretty sure that's how that goes.
Overtime 4:04 - Los Angeles Goal: Anze Kopitar (wrist shot) from Dustin Brown and Alec Martinez
The Wings have one of their more dangerous rushes up ice to start this play, as Franzen finds Lidstrom sneaking in the back door. Unfortunately, as was a story for most of the game, the Los Angeles ice surface makes the pass bounce over Lidstrom's stick. He re-collects the puck and tries to feed it back across the ice to Franzen, But Alec Martinez gets a stick on the puck and deflects it onto Brown's stick to head the other way on a 3-on-2. As Brown carries in on Stuart and Martinez forces Lidstrom back, Kopitar takes up the high-man spot on the rush where Brown finds him with a pass for a one-time wrister that gets through Osgood as he moves across the crease to square to the shooter. Casey gives Lidstrom a bit of a pass here as the Martinez play to break up the pass was a good one, but I'm giving him less of a break. Franzen has a chance for the game-winner if that pass connects, but it's also on the ice surface where it's easier to intercept. Lidstrom has an excellent saucer pass that I would prefer he use here. He will get a half-minus for this mistake. There's some talk about the forwards coming back into the play too slow, but Anze Kopitar has a five foot and half-second head start, not to mention that he's a faster skater than both Datsyuk and Franzen, even when momentum isn't a factor. The Wings took a chance here and got burned for it. I am going to absolve Datsyuk and Stuart on this play though. Datsyuk was supposed to be playing net-front and he was doing his job. Stuart was in position to keep Brown from driving the puck to the net himself, but he can't pick up both angles. Franzen keeps his minus because he's the one who should have been coming back to take Lidstrom's spot immediately after passing across ice to him. It was a big risk to stay there looking for pay-dirt by keeping the Wings in a diamond formation instead of shifting them back to a much more defensively sound box.
+1 to Brad Stuart: despite the half-minus he earned earlier, Stuart was very good defensively on the night and his official minus-2 rating could have been much worse. Also, three of his six hits were of the bone-crushing variety.
-0.5 to Jiri Hudler: He had several good plays throughout the game that could have turned into points (specifically one feed to Franzen in the slot on a Wings PP that the Mule didn't bury), but he also had several key mistakes. I think his mistakes outweighed his good plays in this game. One particular one that stuck out came with 1:52 remaining in the first period, as a puck lay still on the boards with Hudler as the closest player. Instead of going to get the puck like he should have, he looks for the defender up ice and coasts at it. Meanwhile, Kyle Clifford jumps in and grabs the puck, leading to 20 more seconds of zone time and a pretty decent hit that Rafalski had to absorb.
+0.5 to Pavel Datsyuk: Pavs continued to do the little things out there that make the difference between an opponent scoring chance and a rush the other way.
Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Ericsson did have another good game, but the goal scoring adjustments pretty well cover what his plus/minus on the game should have been. Ruslan Salei's interference minor 7:47 into the 2nd period does not earn him a minus because it wasn't interference. The puck got around him at the blue line and he stood his ground to keep the Kings' forward from having the quickest route to it. Considering the picks away from the puck by both sides that they had let slide to that point, this penalty confused me.
Next game Monday at home against the Sharks, who lost 3-1 in Montreal on Saturday afternoon.