Detroit played their first game in what seemed like a week on Thursday night against a Vancouver Canucks squad which was playing their third in four nights and second of back-to-back games. As expected, the Canucks played very well in the first period while the Red Wings shook off the rust, but as the game got going, so did Detroit. Two second-period tallies were all it took to earn the Wings' third win in as many games.
This was a pretty dominant performance by the Wings on the shot clock, especially in the 2nd period, when Detroit outshot Vancouver 24-8. Overall, the totals were 37-25. The penalty kill did a great job on all four opportunities they were given, but the power play squandered all seven of their chances. The refs were a bit quick with the whistles and I felt that there were weak calls which went both ways.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
2nd Period 8:37 - Detroit Goal: Justin Abdelkader (wrist shot) from Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall
After a a few forced miscues in the Wings' end lead to scoring chances, Bertuzzi and Helm work to get the puck out. They get the puck up ice, but Helm is dispossessed. Bieksa picks it up and tries to hit Burrows with a long bomb which Kronwall intercepts. Immediately, Kronner turns it back to Bertuzzi having just touched up and circling back into the zone. While Datsyuk draws the weak side defender to the front of the goal and Bertuzzi goes to the right-side half boards, Abelkader slips into the hole in coverage behind the backchecking foward. Abby receives the pass and deposits it under Schneider as the Canucks goalie tries to slide into position to stop it. Datsyuk will get a non-touch half-assist for drawing his defender out. Also, the defensive work by both Bertuzzi and Helm earlier in the play will get Bertuzzi a bonus half-plus and Helm a full plus (since he had stepped off and didn't get an official plus). Finally, Ian White had just stepped onto the ice in favor of a changing Kindl. I'm going to give Kindl back his plus and take White's away.
2nd Period 10:55 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler
Some goofy neutral zone play and a bit of a miscommunication almost turns disastrous for the Wings as Franzen and Hudler find themselves the only two players back to break up a Vancouver counter-attack. Fortunately, some good stickwork by Franzen does exactly that and as Hudler recovers himself from going down to block a pass, he finds the puck in his feet. Hudler immediately gets it to Filppula who is just swooping back around from the Wings' blue line with speed to get through center ice and bring it into the Vancouver zone. Flip's speed forces the Vancouver defense back and he uses this to his advantage by laying a drop pass to Franzen near the top of the circle. After the drop pass, Filppula skates into the faceoff dot exactly like Zetterberg did for his goal against Colorado. Franzen finds him with the return pass and he snaps it over the pad and under the glove to give the Wings a two-goal lead. Filppula will get a self-assist on this play for the drop-and-go pass. Meanwhile, Franzen will pick up a bonus plus for the backchecking work that helped create the transition.
1st Period 1:02 - Jakub Kindl (interference): As the Canucks enter transition, Kindl skates into Samuelsson at center ice. Sammy sells it with a pretty embellishment, but Kindl actually does interfere with him. Kindl gets a minus.
1st Period 4:54 - Dan Hamhuis (holding):On a routine dump-in, Homer tries to step around Hamhuis, who hog-ties him. Homer tries to keep his feet moving the entire time and forces this one. Homer gets a plus for drawing one.
1st Period 7:00 - Maxim Lapierre & Justin Abdelkader (fighting): No adjustment on this one.
1st Period 9:19 - Johan Franzen (interference): Chasing a puck behind the Detroit net, Franzen gets careless with his stick and brings down Hodgson. This will earn Franzen a minus.
1st Period 17:19 - Vancouver Bench (too many men): Detroit has the puck at their own blue line when Ian White recognizes a change and throws the puck at the melange of players to get them caught. White will get a half-plus for the head's up play.
1st Period 19:05 - Todd Bertuzzi (interference): On the Wings' power play, Bertuzzi and Malhotra chase a loose puck to the half-boards. Bert expects the two players will meet and instigates contact; Malhotra is going for the puck the whole time. It's a nothing play that happens lots of times per game usually, but Bert initiates contact away from the puck. If Malhotra wants to bump too, then fine, but he doesn't and this is textbook interference. Bertuzzi gets a minus.
2nd Period 1:54 - Kevin Bieksa (tripping): Datsyuk brings the puck into the Vancouver zone and undresses Bieksa with a spin-o-rama. Bieksa's answer is to trip Datsyuk and take a penalty. This will earn a plus for Pavel.
2nd Period 5:42 - Keith Ballard and Jiri Hudler (roughing): I actually like Hudler sticking up for himself, but no adjustment.
2nd Period 13:18 - Henrik Sedin (hooking): This one was more like slew-footing, but it wasn't a drawn call. No adjustment.
3rd Period 1:46 - Mikael Samuelsson (boarding): Good call, dumb decision, no adjustment.
3rd Period 9:08 - Keith Ballard (clipping): Replay shows really clearly that it actually was hip contact. Weak call, no adjustment.
3rd Period 11:42 - Todd Bertuzzi (boarding): Christopher Tanev is fighting Abdelkader for a puck behind the Vancouver net. Tanev looks to come out with it when Bertuzzi comes in and hits him shoulder-to-shoulder, knocking Tanev over. I understand that they're being a lot more careful to call more boarding, but the wording of Rule 41 calls for a player to be thrown violently into the boards and Bertuzzi not only made sure not to blindside him, but he also let up on contact so as to separate him from the puck without hurting the kid. I understand why they made this call, but I don't feel comfortable giving Bertuzzi a minus for making a hockey play. No adjustment.
3rd Period 19:23 - Vancouver Bench (too many men): No adjustment
-0.5 to Jonathan Ericsson: I'm going to get the lone overall minus out of the way first so we can get back to the good vibes. He created a semi-breakaway for Vancouver in the 2nd which Darren Helm had to bail him out of and he had a terrible turnover in his own end. A strong third period turned this into a half, but it wasn't strong enough to make up for those errors.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom, +0.5 to Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall: Lidstrom broke up two passes in his own zone which were aimed directly at the stick of a Canucks forechecker intent on slamming a puck in on the backside of Jimmy Howard. Stuart and Kronwall were also strong in their own end, breaking up passes and keeping their guys to the outside well.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk: It's odd when you disagree with a homer scorekeeper on a guy's takeaways because you think he should have given more, but Datsyuk absolutely owned the puck in this game.
+0.5 to Darren Helm and Jiri Hudler: It's not often (ok.. it's pretty much never) that you'll see these guys named in the same adjustement and both for good defensive work, but that's what they did. Jiri Hudler looked a lot like he did in 2008 in this game with how well he played in his own zone.
+1 to Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula: More than any other pair of forwards, these two kept the puck moving in the right direction for Detroit in this game.
Honorable Mentions: A slow start to the game with a turnover in both zones by Zetterberg cost him a bonus adjustment. I thought the fourth line did their jobs well, but simply didn't pull enough ice time to make much of a difference. Danny Cleary took seven shots on goal, but that wasn't quite enough to get him noticed often enough to pull any bonuses.
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