Detroit finished out their visit to Western Canada with six out of six possible points after winning their second consecutive shootout. The injury-depleted Wings played a good road game against a strong Canucks team coming off a demolition of the hapless Oilers on Friday at home. This marks the first time they've won a game in which they didn't score four goals since the day after Thanksgiving.
Both teams went 1-for-5 on the power play in a game where the refs again sent the clear message that they'll allow things like charging but will absolutely not stand for that tripping crap that's hurting so many kids these days. Ultimately, the reffing was nearly consistent, although I'm waiting for the day that Luongo gets himself a call. Hasek was the king of the flop, Luongo is his heir apparent.
It's good to be able to type up that Jimmy Howard won a game for Detroit. He was absolutely stellar in a 34-save performance, making four big saves, two of which were highlight-reel robberies on the Sedins. Aside from that, you could see his confidence growing as the game went on, especially after the first. I'm happy to give him a +5 rating.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jumpThe Goals
First Period Penalty Adjustments: Midway through the period, the Canucks dump it in and pressure on the forecheck. Zetterberg controls on the boards and tries to get it to Salei in the middle, but puts the pass in his skates and causes a turnover in the zone. Partially because Kesler now has position and partially because Kesler takes a swing at Zetterberg, Hank ends up in the box for holding. Zetterberg will get a minus. Later in the period, the Wings get into Vancouver's end with speed and cycle it to Kronwall low to carry around the boards. The speed of the play and Kronwall taking an aggressive line causes Daniel Sedin to take his feet out from under him, earning Kronwall a plus.
2nd Period 12:09 - Vancouver Goal (PP): Daniel Sedin (wrist shot) from Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin
After killing off the Abdelkader penalty, the Wings are the recipient of a Jeff Tambellini goaltender interference call. Unfortunately, on that power play, Tomas Holmstrom lets his emotions get the better of him and goes to the box for interference (cross-checking Bieksa). The Canucks control in the Wings' zone at the end of the four-on-four and transition to the power play. At one point, Kronwall has the puck on his stick with an opportunity to clear down ice and instead opts for a pass up the middle which misses his target, leaving the Canucks the puck to cycle around the zone. Eventually, while in the umbrella setup, Edler passes from the top of the formation to Henrik Sedin, who waits until he's given just enough room to shoot. Henrik does so for the far side. Howard gets his pad on it, but the rebound kicks straight to Daniel Sedin for the putaway. Holmstrom's penalty here is about the dumbest penalty a Red Wings player has taken to this point. The Wings are down in depth and need scoring against one of the league's top teams and Holmstrom goes apeshit and costs his team a goal. For this, I'm giving Holmstrom two minuses. Also, Kronwall's bad clear will earn him a minus.
Penalty Adjustments: Knowing full well that he's in Babcock's shithouse for taking the penalty he did, Holmstrom will attempt to make good by drawing an interference call from Burrows by driving the net on a rush. This will earn him back a plus. Later in the period, Mikael Samuelsson carries into the Wings' zone with speed and, thanks to an odd bounce, threatens to get a scoring chance, forcing Ericsson to hook him and earn a minus.
Penatly Adjustment: While killing Ericsson's penalty, the Wings get a chance of their own when a pass in the neutral zone from Edler to Sameulsson doesn't connect, Rafalski immediately recognizes and pounces on the puck, getting it to Miller on a partial break with Abdelkader. Detroit doesn't score here, but they force Edler to take a penalty which will (eventually) lead to the goal. I'm going to give Rafalski and Miller each a plus here and Abdelkader a half-plus for making this play happen.
3rd Period 00:42 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Brian Rafalski
This goal comes on a delay-of-game puck-over-glass penalty taken by Kevin Bieksa while the Canucks are still killing the Edler penalty. An offensive-zone faceoff loss forces the WIngs to regather from behind their own net. Rafalski carries to center where he drops it to Franzen, who immediately passes to Zetterberg. Zetterberg gains the zone and slows to set up while Franzen keeps skating hard. This pays off as Zetterberg finds Franzen as he gets behind the defense for a partial breakaway and the game-tying goal. Franzen will get an assist for his pass to help set up this goal and I'm awarding Zetterberg a half-plus for the setup and beautiful pass to Franzen.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg: He played an outstanding third period, playing many of the tough minutes throughout the entire game and managed to be the only Red WIngs' centermen to win more than half of his faceoffs.
-1 to Ruslan Salei: A step down from quietly good and from quietly not-so-good, he was noticeably bad. Salei did not make good plays in this game and had to be bailed out on several occasions.
+1 to Darren Helm: He's starting to get more ice time because he's really stepping up to deserve it. Helm had another very solid game.
-0.5 to Justin Abdelkader: Abby laid the body like he always does, but he had a terrible game trying to control the puck and in keeping his feet moving.
Honorable Mentions: Both Kindl and Hudler played decent and noteworthy hockey, but nothing good enough to warrant a bonus plus. Helm's third period trip didn't get him a minus because of how ridiculous it was that Raffi Torres didn't get a charging penatly or that Keith Ballard didn't get called for tripping Helm earlier in that play. Since Helm's trip wasn't retaliatory, I didn't punish him.