A well-rested, but still hurting Red Wings club went into Calgary for game #41 on their schedule and left with another win which cost them a lineup regular. This time, Brad Stuart went down with a broken jaw on a hit by Tom Kostopoulos which looked suspiciously like a head-hunting charge. In the end, the Wings wound up with two points after taking the shootout on Todd Bertuzzi's backhanded tally.
The Flames outshot the Wings 39-27, but fortunately, Jimmy Howard was able to win a goaltending battle which was the ugliest duel since Stephen Hawking and Larry Flynt went to pistols over a girl. Both goalies had sub-.900 save percentages. Both sides had their fair share of power play opportunities; the Wings went 1-for-6 while holding the Flames to 1-for-5. Let's get straight to the analysis.
Jimmy Howard made two big saves and allowed two bad goals. Up until an absolutely monstrous stop on Jarome Iginla on an overtime power play, I had him marked down for the first Wings' goaltender to get a minus this season in the CSSI rankings. He has got to start playing better. His rebound control was decent, but he was just not stopping shots he should have stopped. The only thing that saved him here was the horrible play of Miikka Kiprusoff on the other end, who apparently felt sorry enough for Brian Rafalski to spot him two soft ones. Anyway, back to Howard. His rating for the night is Even.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jumpThe Goals
1st Period 8:43 - Calgary Goal: Curtis Glencross (wrist shot) from Matt Stajan and Anton Babchuk
The Flames break out of their own zone and nearly turn it over, but neither Helm nor Tatar are able to get control. Instead, Glencross brings it through center where he throws a saucer pass toward the center which gets tipped. Salei plays this too soft and allows Stajan to get it in the corner. Stajan throws it back to Glencross out front where he's somehow managed to sneak between both Helm and Kronwall without actually being covered. Glencross gets off a weak shot that Howard plays completely wrong and the puck slides beneath him. The whole movement by Howard just seems like useless acrobatics here and will earn him a bad goal. This doesn't mean anybody else is off the hook (except Miller, who won't get a minus). Helm made mistakes on both ends of the ice, giving him an extra minus. Kronwall and Salei play way too soft on their men in the defensive zone, earning each a bonus half-minus. Tatar keeps his minus for the play in the Calgary zone.
1st Period 15:58 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Brad Stuart
Draper gets this play started in the neutral zone, cycling back on the puck and finding Helm streaking in on the wing. Helm goes across to Franzen, but gets the pass slightly behind him. Franzen gets a shot off, but it flies over the net. As the puck rings around the boards, Draper takes his man to keep him from getting to the puck while Franzen picks it up and gets it to Helm behind the play. Helm takes a bad-angle shot as he moves low. The puck sneaks through Kipper for his first soft goal given up on the night. Draper will earn both an assist and a plus on this play; the one comes from the pass in the neutral zone and the second from the smart play tying up his man.
Penalty Summary: Jan Mursak has a good rush late in the first period where he carries in across ice with speed and gets a shot off on Kiprusoff which is kicked into the slot. Unfortunately, as the Wings set up to cycle the puck, Mursak tries to run a pick on Adam Pardy and instead knocks him on his ass. Rookie mistake by Mursak to be sure, but he's getting a minus for it.
1st Period 19:50 - Calgary Goal: Jarome Iginla (wraparound) from Curtis Glencross and Jay Bouwmeester
The Flames come through center ice late in the period with speed. Iginla takes it up on the wing on Salei and gets a shot on Howard that's stopped. As the rebound lays there, Salei loses position and Iginla is able to pick it up and carry behind the net. Iggy's allowed to carry all the way around the net and put it in on the wrap-around before Howard can get over and set to stop him. Salei gets a half-minus for losing Iginla on this play, but his gaffe isn't as bad as Eaves', who never should have let Iginla out from behind the net in the first place. Eaves will get an extra minus on this play. Ericsson and Helm keep their minuses, but Hudler is cleared as the only Red Wings player not caught out of position here.
2nd Period 00:41 - Detroit Goal: Brian Rafalski (wrist shot) from Jonathan Ericsson
Early in the 2nd, the Wings lose an offensive zone faceoff which ends up with a dump into their own zone by Calgary. Ericsson recovers and makes the safe smart play to Rafalski in the opposite corner. Raffi picks up the puck and carries it all the way down ice just inside the Calgary blue line before releasing his world famous off-some-dumbasses'-leg-and-into-the-net shot which Kiprusoff never sees coming. Just... such an awful goal by the Flames' goalie. I'm of half a mind to take away partial credit to Rafalski for the goal here, but he made a smart play shooting on net in a 1-on-4 rush, so he'll keep it. No scoring adjustment.
2nd Period 1:09 - Calgary Goal: Curtis Glencross (wrist shot) from Anton Babchuk and Niklas Hagman
28 seconds later, the Wings are back to sucking. Howard goes behind his net to retrieve a dump-in which he throws around the boards. Hagman cuts the puck off at the half-boards and carries toward the middle of the ice for a shot that Helm blocks. The puck bounces to the blue line where Babchuk fires a shot which is deflected by Draper and bounces deeper toward the net. Between Helm and Lidstrom, nobody can knock the puck away from Glencross before he picks it up cutting across the middle. This catches Stuart flat-footed and Howard out of position as he was still struggling to get back up after going down to be in position for the initial shot. Glencross outwaits Howard and puts it over him as he sprawls out for it. Mursak will not get a minus here, as he's the only player on the ice who doesn't resemble one of the Keystone Kops. The play is a bit flukey and it's hard to specifically pin down more than any one player's share of blame. Lidstrom, Stuart, Draper, and Helm all keep their minuses. This is the second bad goal by Howard though, as he had an opportunity to track Glencross on his way through the middle, but bit on a fake that never appeared to come.
2nd Period 11:33 - Calgary Goal (PP): Anton Babchuk (slap shot) from Mark Giordano and Jarome Iginla
The Wings are shorthanded here because apparently the refs thought it was a good time to call a penalty. The Flames had a scoring chance where Ericsson tied up his man as the puck came through and somehow got a hooking call. The Wings are able to kill off much of the penalty with an aggressive kill unit until late in the man advantage when Iginla finds Giordano very open at the point to walk in and fire a shot just wide. The Flames get the rebound and Giordano plays catch with Babchuk before the Ukrainian devil fires a slapshot on net which deflects off Nick Lidstrom's stick and into the net. Cardinal rule of CSSI has been don't put the puck in your own net and Lidstrom broke that. Lidstrom will get a minus.
Penalty Adjustment: Less than a minute removed from the Babchuk goal, when the Wings are trying to press to close the gap, Patrick Eaves gets overzealous and trips a guy to put the Wings shorthanded. This will earn Eaves a minus.
Penalty Adjustment: Fortunately, the Wings are able to kill off the Eaves penalty and one of their own, as Darren Helm picks up the puck and motors through center ice with it. His speed forces Adam Pardy to trip him up and start a series of events that will lead to the Wings' third goal. Helm gets a plus.
2nd Period 19:42 - Detroit Goal (PP): Patrick Eaves (snap shot) from Jiri Hudler and Todd Bertuzzi
During the power play that Helm draws, the Wings get a 5-on-3 thanks to Jay Bouwmeester shooting the puck over the glass. The Flames are able to kill off the 2-man advantage, but surrender one late in the second penalty taken. Hudler carries in during the last 30 seconds of the period and immediately goes back to Stuart at the point. Stu passes low to Bertuzzi, who gets it to Hudler now at the half-boards. Huds holds the puck just long enough for Eaves to sneak in low on the back door before firing a laser pass to him for the one-time snap shot past Kiprusoff. Stuart will get an assist here and Hudler will get both a half-plus and bonus half-assist for making this play happen. The Wings had trouble carrying in all night and this play by Hudler was a rare instance of carrying with speed and continuous movement which helped the PP unit score.
Penalty Adjustment: Early in the third, the teams fight for the puck on the boards behind Howard. Zetterberg manages to come out with it and start moving up ice with his legs pumping. Stajan trips Zetterberg up before he can build a head of steam and ends up in the box for it. Zetterberg gets a plus.
Penalty Adjustment: Three minutes later, the Wings take a penalty as a relatively harmless dump-in gets pushed up the boards by Stuart to Hudler, who tries to be too fancy and pass to Helm inside his own blue line. Iginla intercepts this pass and moves in on Howard. Stuart is caught going the wrong way and brings Iginla down to keep him from getting a scoring chance. I'm giving the minus here to Hudler for the bad pass.
3rd Period 8:16 - Detroit Goal: Brian Rafalski (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Darren Helm
With 17 seconds left in the Stuart penalty, Helm gets the puck in the Wings' defensive zone and skates up ice to kill off the remainder of the penalty. He waits at the boards for Zetterberg to join him before threading a cross-ice pass to him. Z fires the puck wide of the net where it caroms off the back boards and would exit the zone if not for a great hustle play by Rafalski to keep it in. Raffi lets his momentum take him to the half-boards where he throws a puck at the net through a screen which gets through Kiprusoff for his third gift goal of the night. Helm will get an extra half-plus for ragging the remainder of the penalty and holding the puck in as it expired. Rafalski's hustle on the keep-in will earn him a full bonus plus.
Penalty Adjustment: Later in the third, the Wings get a power play as Tom Kostopoulos takes a cheap shot at Stuart, knocking him out for the game and breaking his jaw. On the power play, the Wings start a rush up ice that leads to another 5-on-3 advantage as Eaves' speed and willingness to keep his feet moving forces Brendan Morrison to hook him. Eaves gets a plus.
Penalty Adjustment: During the overtime period, after a very good scoring chance from Bertuzzi to Helm, the Flames carry through center ice where Bertuzzi gives Glencross a love-tap on the hand. Glengarry Glencross earns himself an Oscar for selling this one, so I'm only going to give Bertuzzi a half-minus. He shouldn't have ever gotten his stick parallel in the first place, but I feel a full minus gives too much credit to Glencross' acting job here.
Shootout: No CSSI adjustment here. Just wanted to say "HAHAHA" to Kiprusoff and enjoy that Bertuzzi scored the game-winning goal against him.
-1 to Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen: For being the Wings' top two centermen in this game, they were harder to find than Waldo making out with Carmen San Diego.
-1 to Jonathan Ericsson: The kid is reverting back to too many mistakes. Without Stuart in the lineup for God knows how many games, we need him not to suck.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom: Again the best defenseman on the ice, Lidstrom broke up a couple of key opportunities for the Flames.
+0.5 to Todd Bertuzzi: As Casey points out in the comments, Bert had a good defensive game covering for the D-men low and backchecking well. Of the players who constituted Detroit's "top six" forwards, he played the best.
Honorable Mentions: Tatar made a good backcheck in the third period that may or may not have saved a scoring chance, but he also turned the puck over three times in the offensive zone, so that evens out. Holmstrom played 19 minutes and I hardly remember any of them. Maybe that's because seven of them were on a power play unit that didn't do anything with their chances.
Up next, Vancouver awaits. Hopefully they exhausted themselves beating up on Edmonton on their way to a 6-1 victory at home.