If pretty wins are going to remain unavailable through this part of the Red Wings' schedule, I guess we'll just have to accept the ugly ones. The Wings went into Edmonton for the third of four meetings with the Oilers this season and took a commanding 3-0 series lead on them. The win is nice, but it should never have been that close in the first place.
The refs mostly let the teams play to the tune of five opportunities shared between the teams. Detroit stopped all three of Edmonton's opportunity, but also was stymied on the two chances given to them against the league's worst PK. Overall, I'd call this a special teams loss. The Wings did manage to outshoot Edmonton 37-25, but still gave up 3 goals.
Chris Osgood was having a pretty good night until just under halfway into the third period when he gave up another soft goal. It's just maddening that a guy can make four big saves on relatively few chances and still have his team have to score 4 to win. I'm going to give him a +2 on the night with the caveat that I'm basically double-counting the bad goal out of frustration. His scrambling, puck tracking, rebound control, and side-to-side movement were all very good, but the third goal is absolutely terrible.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jumpThe Goals
1st Period 3:43 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (slap shot) from Nicklas Lidstrom and Drew Miller
Some great cycling down low by Holmstrom and Miller leads to a couple good opportunities down low. The puck comes back high in the zone where Lidstrom hands off to a fresh Zetterberg off the bench for a slap shot through a screened Khabibulin for the first goal of the game. Holmstrom will get an assist-and-a-half for his work low and for screening the goalie on the shot. Miller will also get a bonus half-assist and half-plus for his tenacity low in the zone.
1st Period 11:38 - Edmonton Goal: Gilbert Brule (backhand) from Liam Reddox and Linus Omark
A bad Ericcson pass goes off Helm's skate at center ice where Reddox and Omark pick it up to head the other way. Reddox gets it in the corner as too many Wings are watching the play develop. Reddox is facing the play as it develops and after getting it back from Omark, he finds Brule headed to the net for an easy backhand tip-in. The big defensive breakdowns here are from Rafalski, Draper, and Tatar. Each of them have a chance to either cover Brule or to block the passing lane and they're just not skating enough. As a result, each of these players receive extra half-minuses.
Penalty Adjustment: The Wings nearly give up a couple scoring chances in the final minute, but really turn on the intensity late. Bertuzzi hustles the puck into the zone with only a few seconds remaining trying to make something happens and his hustle forces Smid to board him. Bertuzzi will get a plus for this.
Penalty Adjustment: Not even four minutes into the second period, on a defensive zone faceoff, Abdelkader gets his stick between the legs of Liam Reddox and brings him down. Abdelkader will get a minus.
2nd Period 6:40 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (wrap around) from Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula
Some great work by Filppula on the half-boards frees the puck to Bertuzzi low. Bert goes to Hudler on the opposite side of the net low. Hudler gets pinched off, but gets it off the boards to Bertuzzi, who immediately turns and comes around front on a wraparound that sees him put it between Khabibulin's legs before he can adjust. Bert gets a half-assist on helping the play develop and Filppula gets a half-plus for his work on the boards to keep the play in.
2nd Period 10:43 - Detroit Goal: Kris Draper (backhand) from Darren Helm and Brian Rafalski
Coming out of the Wings' zone, Rafalski hits Draper with speed through center ice. Draper gets it to Helm on the Wing as they enter the zone and Helm completes the give-and-go by getting it back to Draper coming up the middle for a breakaway chance. Draper gets Khabibulin to bite on the move before going backhand and lifting it over the goalie. No scoring adjustment.
Penalty Adjustment: A turnover by Jonathan Ericsson creates a chance for Gagner going the other way. Osgood makes a great save and Rafalski is forced to take a penalty on the play. The minus here goes to Ericsson for the turnover.
Penalty Adjustment: Just inside the third period, the OIlers dump the puck in for Taylor Hall to retrieve with Speed. Lidstrom is standing just a few inches to the inside of where he's usually standing (perfect position) and he has to take a step into Hall's way where he gets called for interference. Lidstrom gets a minus.
3rd Period 4:54 - Edmonton Goal: Theo Peckham (wrist shot) from Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky
On a delayed Wings penalty to Hudler for what was likely holding Sam Gagner, but could have also been a couple of hooks, the Oilers get the extra skater on and capitalize. Hemsky moves it around the boards to Gagner behind the other side of Osgood. Hudler fails to stop a pass from Gagner to Peckham standing right out front for the one-timer from point-blank. Hudler gets and extra minus-and-a-half for taking the penalty to give the Oilers the extra skater and for not blocking the pass.
3rd Period 11:31 - Edmonton Goal: Sam Gagner (wrist shot) from Ales Hemsky
Off a faceoff which Gagner wins, Ales Hemsky ties up Helm enough to keep him from getting a stick on it. The puck lay there until Hemsky, the right-handed shooter picks it up and fires it through Osgood. This is a weak goal. I'm going to let FIlppula and Helm each keep half-minuses on the play, but I'm not going to give a minus to Bertuzzi, Stuart, or Lidstrom.
3rd Period 17:10 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula
Late in the tied game, the Wings put pressure on in the Edmonton zone as Filppula controls on the side boards. He finds Kronwall sneaking in for a redirect that goes just wide. Bertuzzi gets it behind the net and carries back around front before spinning around and releasing a shot/pass into the crease which deflects off Peckham's skate and in for the eventual game-winner. Hudler gets an assist on this play for running the pick and screen so well. Bert will also get a bonus half-plus for how well he plays this from pickup to shot.
3rd Period 17:54 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (snap shot) from Justin Abdelkader and Nicklas Lidstrom
40 seconds later, the Wings strike again, as Lidstrom frees the puck for Abdelkader, who throws an outlett pass up the boards for Helm as he skates in 2-on-2 with Drew Miller. Helm does a simple outside-to-inside cut, but Theo Peckham, obviously blown away by the skill, outright falls down and gives Helm the room to walk into the middle and shoot back across the grain into Khabibulin's net. No scoring adjustment here.
+1 Johan Franzen: Save a sure goal, get a plus. That's been the rule since day 1 and Franzen did just that when he picked a puck off the goal line after it had gone off Osgood high and landed behind him on its way into the goal.
-0.5 to Ruslan Salei: I don't care if he got away with it or if it ended up doing the Wings any good, he elbowed Taylor Hall in the face. If that's not bad enough, he also had three giveaways and was a bit shaky against the Oilers' forecheck.
+0.5 to Nicklas Lidstrom: Another solid game by the blueliner. This would have been a full plus were it not for him falling down in the first and leading to a 3-on-1 rush that the Oilers didn't capitalize on.
Next up: A couple days' rest (and curling) for the Wings before going to Calgary Friday.