Detroit took their so-far perfect record into St. Paul on Saturday night to tussle with a Wild team backstopped by Josh Harding for the first time since the original H2H game. Harding absolutely rose to the challenge in this one, but the Wings were able to finally overcome their power play goose egg and pot the game-winner with the man advantage in overtime.
The refs absolutely swallowed their whistles in this one. Blatant interference by both sides was let go, as well as a few hooks & holds and one play I thought should have been a boarding call on Colton Gillies. From the end of the Patrick Eaves penalty at 15:04 in the 2nd period, there were no calls until Matt Cullen took a questionable tripping call in OT. Overall, the Wings went 1-for-3 on the PP while holding Minny to 0-for-1 and outshooting their opponents 41-14(!)
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 19:48 - Minnesota Goal: Greg Zanon (slap shot) from Guillaume Latendresse
As time ticks off in the period, the Wild dump the puck in to get a line change. Latendresse is first into the zone where Bertuzzi ties him up to keep him from getting to it. Heatley tries a backhand in front that's blocked by Datsyuk and taken into the corner behind the net. Pavel turns away from Heatley, but is immediately set upon by Latendresse, who pins him to the boards and takes the puck away. Latendresse tries to hit Heatley now streaking through the slot, but Dany has his stick tied up by Abdelkader on a very heads-up play. Instead, the puck goes to Greg Zanon at the top of the zone where he tees up a slap shot that makes it through a screened Jimmy Howard. Unfortunately, Niklas Kronwall and Justin Abdelkader are the people screening him. Datsyuk gets a turnover minus for giving it up to Latendresse, Kronwall gets an extra half-minus for the bad coverage (in screening Howard). Abelkader will only get a half-minus on the play, as the tie-up of Heatley was a great play, but he was also part of the Howard screen. Todd Bertuzzi is covering the outlet up the near-side boards when the puck gets to Zanon. Technically, that's his coverage responsibility, but he was in position. For this, Bertuzzi will have his minus halved. Finally, Stuart is in position the entire time and will have his minus cleared.
2nd Period 00:16 - Minnesota Goal: Cal Clutterbuck (wrist shot) from Colton Gillies and Kyle Brodziak
Off a Wild faceoff win to start the 2nd period, Marek Zidlicky throws a pass into the neutral zone where Kyle Brodziak tips it into the zone past Nick Lidstrom. Lidstrom holds off Brodziak while Ian White goes to the corner with Colton Gillies. As White and Gillies tie it up, the puck ends up on Datsyuk's stick behind his own net. Datsyuk gets fancy with the puck back there in trying to draw both Brodziak and Gillies to him before an attempt to flip it to Lidstrom away from the pressure. Brodziak blocks this attempt and Gillies finds it. From here, he quickly beats White around the corner of the net and feeds it to Cal Clutterbuck sliding through the slot. Clutterbuck, who is a step ahead of Zetterberg, quickly wrists it past Howard. Datsyuk will get another turnover minus for this play while Zetterberg will get a coverage minus for losing Clutterbuck. Danny Cleary will not get a minus on the play.
Penalty Adjustment: 13:04 into the 2nd, the Wings' fourth line gets a good chance on net, but Harding stops the shot and freezes the puck. Eaves gets involved in some net-front extra-curriculars and gets his stick up on Scandella, earning him a penalty. Eaves will get a minus.
2nd Period 19:12 - Detroit Goal: Ian White (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula
Filppula wins an offensive zone faceoff back to White, who is pressured by Bouchard into stepping up in the zone. While Hudler covers his point, White skates to the corner and tries to throw it in front where Franzen is tied up with two defenders and Filppula is just behind him in the slot facing the net to try to get in shooting position. Franzen can't turn the puck in, but he pokes it back to White who is now cutting into the middle. The puck bounces off Darrol Powe's skate, but White stays strong on it, pushes it behind Powe, recovers the puck, and snaps it back across the grain to Harding's glove side to get the Wings on the board. White's dogged determination to make something happen is great to see and will earn him a bonus half-plus and a self-assist.
Goal-Saved Adjustment: Just under three minutes into the third period, Jimmy Howard goes behind his own net to handle a dump-in. Howard misplays the puck and gets his pass attempt blocked by Powe, who feeds it right on the tape of Devin Setoguchi, who is in front of the net (while Howard is still behind it). Setoguchi doesn't handle it cleanly and tries to recover. This mistake is enough for Datsyuk to lift his stick and force the puck to roll higher into the zone. Unfortunately, Clayton Stoner is right there to step into one. Detroit gets another break as Stuart is standing right there and has the puck go off of him to prevent the goal while Howard is still regaining his crease. Both Datsyuk and Stuart will get a half-plus for a goal saved. They each needed a little bit of luck to get the credit, but they did the right thing.
3rd Period 03:46 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (tip-in) from Jakub Kindl and Valtteri Filppula
Not long after the goal-saved adjustment, the Wings tie it up. A good offensive zone shift forces the Wild to scramble to clear, which Ericsson gets to in the neutral zone and moves to Kindl in the middle of the ice. Kindl immediately turns it up to Hudler at the opposite blue line while the Wild are changing. Hudler takes it to the half-boards and lets the box of oncoming defenders collapse far enough to find Filppula streaking in behind the play. Flip's shot goes wide of Harding and bounces all the way to Kindl back at the opposite point. Kindl and Flip play catch to shake the pressure by the Wild Backchecker and Kindl throws a wrister at the front of the net where Hudler tips it in past Harding. Kindl is going to get a bonus assist for how many times he helped keep this play going. Hudler will also get a self-assist for the pass to Filppula which ended up confusing the Wild defense.
Overtime 4:11 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Tomas Holmstrom and Ian White
On the power play, the Wings get a good chance in front of the net. Harding holds strong here and Clutterbuck picks the puck up with a chance to clear. Fortunately, Lidstrom is there at the corner and masterfully picks the puck off the glass and keeps it in. From here, he goes to Franzen at the top of the right faceoff circle while the Wings are in a diamond formation. Franzen tries to go across the ice to White in the middle of the opposite faceoff dot. Powe gets enough of the pass to prevent a surefire one-timer into the net, but White still gets a shot off. This is blocked by Greg Zanon, but rolls into the crease (where Homer is already stationed). In the scrum, Homer passes it back to Franzen crashing in. While completely in the crease, Franzen does a toe-drag which brings the puck forward off his skate and into the net before Franzen dislodges the pipe and smashes his face on the crossbar. This is a fantastic keep-in by Lidstrom to help create the goal and he will get the third assist on this play. Holmstrom will also get half a screener's assist and Franzen a self-assist. If he's not where he is doing what he does, this play does not develop.
Penalty Non-Adjustments: Both of the Wild penalties in the first were bad penalties to take, but weren't drawn calls. The call in Overtime is a tough decision, but I felt it was so far outside the standard that had been established in that game that I don't feel comfortable giving Abdelkader a plus for what might have been an embellishment and was a call out of the blue considering what both sides got away with in the third.
+1 to Johan Franzen, Jiri Hudler, and Valtteri Filppula: For a team that I felt should have been moving their feet more and earlier, I can't say that about these three. They were playing hard throughout. I feel they still have more they can give as far as driving the play though.
+1.5 to Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, +0.5 to Danny Cleary: Datsyuk was punished as he should have been on the two goals against and he had an official -2 rating on the night, but I felt that he made up for it to an extent. If you're putting stock in Corsi, know that his was +21. Zetterberg led the team in that category with a +22 and he didn't turn the puck over leading to goals two times. Cleary did his job well as the mucker on the line to create space for the two more skilled forwards.
+0.5 to Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, and Todd Bertuzzi: As an energy line, these three have gelled very well. They're doing exactly what they need to be doing and are creating a lot more chances than they're allowing.
+1 to Ian White: I thought he was the best defenseman on the ice for the Wings in this one. He made a few miscues in his own zone, but in general played a solid game and put lots of pucks on net.
Honorable Mentions: Brad Stuart got very near to a minus from me (to the point where I'm still considering whether to give him one). He made a great play to clear the zone while the Wings were reeling early in overtime, but there's something about seeing him as being the only Red Wings player to be outshot while on the ice in a game where Detroit outshot their opponents 41-14. Lidstrom made an equal number of mistakes as good plays (2 each), so he doesn't get an adjustment. Kindl and Ericsson played well, but not well enough for bonus pluses. Cory Emmerton played another good game for his position. It's going to continue being tough to leave him out of the lineup.
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