Ok, back from vacation and in need of doing the CSSI backlog on the Wings last five games - a tough stretch in which they took three to overtime, lost another man to injury, and earned five points while giving the Central Division six points of their own. Jimmy Howard took a puck off the knee in the first game and had to be spelled by Joey MacDonald. Valtteri Filppula stepped up and played well only to be felled by a flu. Finally, Drew Miller was likely one of the most valuable Red Wings players on the ice for the stretch.
I'm not going to try to do each game individually as I get caught up; instead what I'll do is create one long post to cover each game. However, I'm not going to do the traditional goal breakdown explaining how the play develops, choosing instead to just explain who gets the points, pluses, and minuses, and a minor explanation why. I'll go back to the more traditional post style on Wednesday, when the Red Wings face off against the suddenly hot New Jersey Devils.
Join me after the jump and we'll get started.Game 1 (January 14): Detroit 2 - Columbus 3 (SO)
Goalie Ratings: Jimmy Howard played only the first half of the first period, but earned an Even rating by giving up one soft goal to the one big save he made. Joey MacDonald entered the game in relief and earned a loss by shutting out the Blue Jackets and giving up one shootout goal. He played excellent in stopping all 21 shots and got a +4 rating.
1st Period 4:05 - Columbus Goal: Jakub Voracek (wrist shot) from Rick Nash and Derick Brassard
Freak bounce off the end-boards after a Nash shot is deflected off Lidstrom. Ericsson extra half-minus for failing to pick up Voracek. Hudler, Bertuzzi, Filppula cleared of minuses.
1st Period 11:51 - Columbus Goal (PP): Grant Clitsome (slap shot) from Fedor Tyutin and Kristian Huselius
Rare 5-on-3 soft goal for Howard. Clitsome was pretty far out and the shot was unscreened. The puck went in off Howard's wrist.
2nd Period 5:14 - Detroit Goal (SH): Drew Miller (wrist shot) from Justin Abdelkader
Miller Walks Russell and freezes Mason. Both Miller & Abdelkader get extra half-pluses for the PK work.
2nd Period 8:05 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (wrist shot) from Valtteri Filppula
Weak rebound to the top of the slot picked up by Filppula for a slap-pass onto Hudler's stick for the put-home at the side of the net. Hudler gets and assist and a half-plus. He works very hard in the neutral & offensive zone to make this play happen. Bertuzzi half-assist for running the play to force the puck onto Mason off Brassard's stick.
Minuses: Jiri Hudler (tripping - 1st): pretty clear-cut knocking Nash's skates out from under him. Jonathan Ericsson (hi-stick - 1st): it's more a slash than a high stick, but it's stupid regardless. Ruslan Salei (holding - 2nd): Pretty obvious hold here. Henrik Zetterberg (roughing - 2nd): I almost want to clear him of this for defending himself, but it's not a charge coming from Umberger and I can't condone throwing elbows (unless it's Mike Commodore). Jonathan Ericsson (slashing - 3rd) I hate stick-slash penalties, but Ericsson really two-hands it here and he's behind Vermette in the zone trying to keep from getting caught up ice and leading to an odd-man rush. He'll get a minus for this.
Pluses: Tomas Holmstrom (Hejda tripping - 1st): Homer forces Hejda to stick his foot out to prevent a possible scoring chance. Darren Helm (Clitsome holding - 2nd): Eaves & Kronwall also get half-pluses for helping spring Helm on a near-break shorthanded that forces Clitsome to grab him.
Not Counted: Pahlsson (interference - 1st): he gets called for setting a pick on Helm in the O-Zone. Dumb unforced penalty by Pahlsson.
+1 to Helm, Miller, and Eaves: They were the Wings' best forwards in this game
+0.5 to Kindl and Lidstrom: One is expected to be the best defenseman on the ice and was; the other is looking good in both zones.
-1 to Johan Franzen: Did he play in this game? Box score says he has 4 minutes on the power play, but I don't remember anything from him.
Game 2 (January 15): Detroit 6 - Columbus 5 (OT)
Goalie Ratings: Joey MacDonald earned his first win since he was an Islander by having his worst game by save percentage of the season. None of the five he gave up were soft, but I'm giving him a +2 rating for winning while being average.
1st Period 00:33 - Columbus Goal: Derick Brassard (wrist shot) from Rick Nash
D-zone faceoff loss early leads to a scramble in front after a Nash goalpost hit and an eventual goal by Brassard. Helm extra minus for losing the faceoff. Rafalski and Draper extra half-minus for being slow to react. Eaves cleared of minus. Ericsson's minus erased for clearing his man's stick (this created what would have been a penalty call, but it also would have been what I would have called a "good penalty" if it had been given the opportunity to be called).
1st Period 4:12 - Columbus Goal: Grant Clitsome (wrist shot) from Jakub Voracek and Rick Nash
Another D-zone faceoff loss and Clitsome banks in a wrister from the blue line off Abdelkader's knee. Abby extra minus for the faceoff loss and the own-tip-in. Eaves cleared of his minus. Kindl's minus halved for good positioning.
1st Period 17:34 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (snap shot) from Todd Bertuzzi and Jiri Hudler
Hudler step-up on a Jackets' rush creates a turnover and a 2-on-1 for Bert & Flip. Bert's cross-ice pass is converted on the one-time snap shot from 30 feet. Hudler gets an extra half-plus for the defensive play.
1st Period 19:20 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (wrist shot) from Darren Helm and Kris Draper
Helm fights off two guys in the corner to get it to Miller, who tries to throw it out front to Salei sneaking in, but it deflects off Method and off Mason to go in. Helm gets an extra half-plus for the fight on the boards. Miller gets his goal halved. It's a great play, but an intended pass that double-deflects in.
2nd Period 2:57 - Columbus Goal: Matt Calvert (wrist shot) from Jakub Voracek and Jan Hejda
Rebound off a Kronwall shot is cleared up ice where Calvert gets behind the defense for a breakaway goal. Zetterberg gets an extra minus for losing his man. Mursak gets an extra half-minus for a bad pinch leading to the chance. Tatar cleared of his minus, as he stepped on the ice for Hudler just as the breakaway pass comes.
2nd Period 3:57 - Detroit Goal: Jonathan Ericsson (backhand) from Darren Helm
Helm wins an offensive zone faceoff back to Ericsson; he skates down through the zone and behind the net where he throws a backhand that deflects off Mason and into the net. Helm gets a bonus half-plus for the faceoff win while Miller gets a half-assist for running a smooth pick.
2nd Period 8:02 - Detroit Goal: Brian Rafalski (wrist shot) from Drew Miller and Jonathan Ericsson
Ericsson throws the puck out of the zone where it finds Miller to come in with Helm and Rafalski as the trailer. While Helm goes net-front, Raffi gets the puck as the trailer and fires it in off the defenseman. Helm gets a half-assist.
3rd Period 1:10 - Columbus Goal (PP): RJ Umberger (backhand) from Fedor Tyutin and Derick Brassard
On a Columbus PP, Tyutin shoots from the point and Umberger picks the rebound off MacDonald and puts it in. No additional adjustment.
3rd Period 3:32 - Detroit Goal: Kris Draper (wrist shot) from Drew Miller and Nicklas Lidstrom
Off a rush started on Lidstrom's 2nd attempt to get the Wings up ice, Miller comes in on a 3-on-2 after getting it from Draper, pulls up, and throws it on net as Helm & Draper crash. Draper gets the rebound off Mason and puts it in one-handed. Draper gets an assist while Lidstrom gets a half-plus.
3rd Period 18:56 - Columbus Goal: Rick Nash (wrist shot) from Grant Clitsome and Antoine Vermette
Zetterberg loses a D-zone faceoff with the BJ's net empty. Nash gets it back and Z goes down early to block the shot. Nash steps around him and fires a wrist shot through traffic and in. Zetterberg gets an extra minus for losing the faceoff and letting Nash get that shot off.
Overtime 00:45 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall
Franzen passes to Z for a shot off the side of the post and then backs up to cover a deep run by Kronwall. Z gets the rebound and takes to the half boards where Franzen now comes low from the point for Z to find him wide open to rip the wrister for the GWG. Franzen gets an assist.
Minuses: Henrik Zetterberg (tripping - 2nd) at the end of the period and his shift, Zetterberg sticks his foot out to take down Stralman. Not a very well-thought out play by Z.
Not Counted: Derick Brassard (slashing - 1st): I don't have a great replay of this, but from the looks of it, Brassard is acting like a shithead here and slashes Zetterberg behind the play where he thinks nobody is looking. I can't give Z a plus for drawing a goon slash. Nicklas Lidstrom (hooking - 1st): Rick Nash, not long after his coach bitches to the media about him not getting the calls, grabs Lidstrom's stick and gets him sent to the box. This is an embellishment not worthy of a minus.
+1 to Jan Mursak and Tomas Tatar: Their hustle was fantastic and they really pushed the play well.
+1 to Patrick Eaves: stepping up to top-line duties, he looked like he belonged.
Honorable Mention to Drew Miller: He was officially a +4 in this game, meaning that just about everything he did right came to him in the form of a plus.
Game 3 (January 18): Detroit 1 - Pittsburgh 4
Goalie Ratings: Joey MacDonald isn't the reason the Wings lost this game, but he sure as hell didn't help. He recorded two big saves to the one bad goal he gave up for a +1 rating.
1st Period 3:02 - Pittsburgh goal: Jordan Staal (wrist shot) from Tyler Kennedy
A dump-in goes disastrous as MacDonald and Ericsson don't communicate behind the net, allowing Kennedy to get the puck to Staal in front for a wide-open tap-in. This is a bad goal for MacDonald. Also, Ericsson gets an extra minus for his part of the problem and Eaves gets an extra half-minus for not getting to Staal. Rafalski, Zetterberg, and Franzen cleared of their minuses.
1st Period 11:29 - Pittsburgh Goal: Chris Connor (backhand) unassisted - Penalty Shot Goal
After a Kindl giveaway and an ill-timed step up by Ericsson, Draper hooks Connor on the breakaway, giving him a penalty shot, which he converts with a backhand through the five hole. Draper gets a minus. Kindl and Ericsson half-minus each.
2nd Period 17:28 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Patrick Eaves and Henrik Zetterberg
Behind the net, Eaves and Zetterberg fight to free the puck. Z brings it out front and fights off two defenders before throwing a backhand that Eaves gets and quickly passes to Franzen for an easy put-away. Zetterberg gets a bonus half-plus.
2nd Period 17:58 - Pittsburgh Goal: Chris Kunitz (wrist shot) from Pascal Dupuis and Evgeni Malkin
Kronwall turns the puck over up the middle of his own zone. Dupuis throws a backhand and Kunitz collects the rebound (through Kronwall) and puts it home. Kronwall gets an extra minus-and-a-half.
3rd Period 18:41 - Pittsburgh Goal (EN): Matt Cooke (wrist shot) from Tyler Kennedy and Brooks Orpik
With the Wings skating six men to catch up, Rafalski misses a keep-in which Kennedy picks up and comes in 2-on-1 against Lidstrom. He passes to Cooke, who puts it in the empty net. Rafalski gets an extra half-minus.
Minuses: Ruslan Salei (tripping - 2nd): in a play very similar to the Jan Hejda trip during the Columbus game, Salei takes down Rupp and gets a minus.
Pluses: Patrick Eaves (Chris Kunitz hooking -2nd) a great pass from Hudler to Eaves in the neutral zone creates speed and makes the lazy play from Kunitz stand out. Hudler will also get a half-plus for his pass that helps speed up the play. Drew Miller (Kris Letang tripping - 2nd) Miller jumps on an opportunity shorthanded to try to create a scoring chance and Letang brings him down.
Not Counted: Matt Cooke (tripping - 2nd): Raffi is skating here, Cooke just suffers from mild stupidity and pokes his skates out from under him. Mike Rupp and Jakub Kindl (cross-checking, roughing, slashing - 3rd) Matching minors and an extra for Rupp. Kindl started it though, so the minus he'd get for starting it is cancelled out by the plus he'd get for making sure Rupp got he extra two minutes.
-1 to Ruslan Salei: He had two bad turnovers and wasn't particularly impressive
-1 to Brian Rafalski: He seems to have trouble playing defense sometimes, which is about as helpful as a lighthouse keeper with vertigo.
Game 4 (January 20): Detroit 4 - St. Louis 3 (OT)
Goalie Ratings: Jimmy Howard played a pretty average game. His rebound control failed him, but just about as much as his defense did too. I'm not counting any goals as soft, but I only counted 2 big saves for a +2 rating.
1st Period 12:25 - Detroit Goal: Patrick Eaves (snap shot) from Henrik Zetterberg
Eaves, Franzen, and Z pressure on the forecheck, causing Johnson to throw a blind backhand up the boards which Zetterberg picks off and carries just enough for Eaves to sneak behind the defense and receive the pass for the easy put-away. Eaves gets a half-assist and a bonus half-plus. Zetterberg gets a half-plus and Franzen gets a half-assist.
2nd Period 7:34 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler
Filppula carries below the net while Bert sits out front. Two Blues defenders chase Flip and nobody picks up Bertuzzi, who gets the pass from Filppula and puts it top shelf before Halak even realizes that the pucks not coming out from behind the other end. No adjustments here. It's good play for guys who needed points, but the Blues really screwed the pooch defensively here.
2nd Period 9:50 - Detroit Goal: Jakub Kindl (wrist shot) from Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler
Bert throws a great outlet from his D-zone that Hudler and Flip carry in. Kindl trails the play and gets a great cross-ice pass from Filppula. He tries to pass back across to Hudler low, but it goes in off the defender. Sucks to do it to him on his first ever NHL goal, but this was an intended pass that bounced off a defender and in. I halved a similar goal for Valtteri Filppula in the Wings' 2nd game of the season and I'm halving this goal for Kindl as well. Bertuzzi will get an assist for starting this rush while Filppula's vision on the pass is worth a half-plus.
2nd Period 11:44 - St. Louis Goal: TJ Oshie (wrist shot) from Patrik Berglund and Roman Polak
Salei loses a dump-around to Berglund, who finds Oshie coming to the middle and low. Oshie fires it top-corner for the goal. Salei's turnover is worth an extra minus. Filppula gets an extra minus for coasting in the zone without getting to his position, allowing Berglund an easy lane to Oshie without covering either. Hudler, Rafalski, and Bertuzzi all cleared of minuses.
3rd Period 6:35 - St. Louis Goal: Patrik Berglund (snap shot) from Vladimir Sobotka and Alex Pietrangelo
The Blues activate their D trying to get goals and the Wing's backcheckers don't pick up their men, as Sobotka finds Berglund trailing a four-man rush with a cross-ice pass for an easy goal. Bertuzzi and Hudler both get an extra minus. The wingers are supposed to pick up this extra man and neither of them did. Ericsson and Rafalski are cleared of their minuses. Raffi pressures the puck carrier like he should and Ericsson goes down to block a pass for what would have been a better scoring opportunity while Filppula fails to block the pass to Berglund.
3rd Period 14:14 - St. Louis Goal: David Backes (backhand) from Brad Boyes and Alex Steen
Pressure from the Blues and chasing from the Wings leads to a Backes goal on a couple of rebounds. Nobody clears his man out or takes a stick. This is a total breakdown by the five guys on the ice, no adjustments.
Overtime 1:51 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (snap shot) from Jiri Hudler and Niklas Kronwall
Kronwall blocks a shot; Helm pokes the puck past a pinching Blues defender to create a 2-on-1 with Hudler, who carries up ice and waits for Brewer to move his stick out of the passing lane before getting it across to Helm for the OT game-winner. Helm gets an extra plus while Hudler gets a half-plus for recognizing Brewer making the wrong decision and passing.
Minuses: Johan Franzen (tripping - 2nd): Pretty straightforward tripping call here to get mule a minus.
Not Counted: Ryan Reaves and Jonathan Ericsson (Boarding, slashing - 1st) both of these were weak calls that should not have been made.
+1 to Jakub Kindl: Even without the goal, this might have been his best ever game as a Wing.
+1 to Darren Helm: Loving the way he plays with all the extra ice time. Also, being unafraid to shoot is a great thing on a team with some guys who still don't always get that.
+1 to Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler: speaking of guys who need to shoot more. They both did in this game and had excellent plays in all three zones.
Game 5 (January 22): Detroit 1 - Chicago 4
Goalie Ratings: Jimmy Howard made some fantastic saves and got hung out to dry by his team. None of the goals against were soft and he made at least three huge stops. His rating is +3.
1st Period 10:07 - Detroit Goal: Cory Emmerton (wrist shot) from Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson
Emmerton throws a wrist shot from just inside the blue line on a rush that gets through Crawford for a soft goal. No adjustment here.
1st Period 16:37 - Chicago Goal (PP): Dave Bolland (wrist shot) from Troy Brouwer and Duncan Keith
Chicago's puck movement on the power play is helped by Bolland cross-checking Salei in front to get open for the pass from Brouwer to score the goal. This doesn't excuse whatever Ericsson is doing in the play though, and Big Rig gets a minus. The other minus here goes to Bertuzzi for taking the tripping call to put Chicago up a man.
2nd Period 10:04 - Chicago Goal (PP): Tomas Kopecky (tip-in) from Dave Bolland and Duncan Keith
Bolland on the PP throws a wide puck that Kopecky tips in. Abdelkader gets a minus for taking the stupid roughing penalty.
2nd Period 15:49 - Chicago Goal: Tomas Kopecky (wrist shot) from Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp
After a couple good scoring chances for the Wings, Chicago transitions up ice with speed. Hossa takes it to the net and Kopecky picks up the rebound while the defense is trying to get back into position. Zetterberg and Bertuzzi are cleared of minuses for having just stepped onto the ice.
3rd Period 8:35 - Chicago Goal: Troy Brouwer (snap shot) from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane
Good puck movement in the Detroit zone after two Kronwall turnovers leaves Brouwer alone in front for the easy goal. None of the Wings skate particularly hard to play defense here, so nobody gets cleared, but Kronwall gets two extra minuses for the turnovers.
Minuses: Aside from the Bertuzzi and Abdelkader penalties counted above, Draper gets a minus for going high on a guy in the third.
Pluses: Henrik Zetterberg (Niklas Hjalmarsson hooking - 3rd): Z beats Hammer to the inside late in the game and the guy drags him down. Then he gets pissy with the ref and is asked to go sit down.
Not Counted: Jake Dowell (delay of game - 1st): dumb penalty, unforced error, blah blah blah.
-1 to Johan Franzen: for a guy who can take over a game, he looked like he wasn't even interested in taking over a shift. I love that he's got a good shot, but he needs to help drive puck possession more.
-1 to Ruslan Salei: As commenter Brion points out below, Salei had positioning issues where he was beaten to pucks or allowed his man to get behind him too often in this game. Overall, his season-long adjusted plus-minus is getting to be a bit of a concern, as while I can remember plenty of times he's been just quietly "solid", I can also remember plenty of times where he's been getting burned on mistakes.
So there we have it, folks. All caught up just in time for the Devils game.
Please call me out on anything I've gotten wrong here. I want to make sure that this post lives up to the standard I've tried to set for the rest of them and if there are things with which you disagree, please let me know so we can fix them.