The Red Wings played a flat and frustrating game against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. They got their chances, but big saves by Josh Harding and simply missing wide-open opportunities (Franzen) left them losers of four straight games and in need of something to get the team going.
The lone bright spot for the WIngs was a very effective penalty kill, led by Drew Miller, Nik Kronwall, and Brad Stuart. Minnesota got four chances and only three shots on goal with the man advantage. The Wings power play moved the puck well, but it seemed as though every one-time opportunity got turned into a two-touch and the rebounds just weren't going to the right people. Again, inconsistent reffing was a problem in this game, but I don't feel it affected the outcome.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Non-Goal Adjustment: About 20 seconds after Brad Stuart misses a step-up in the offensive zone to send Latendresse and Heatley on a 2-on-1 that Kronwall breaks up with an aggressive move, the Wings give up a disallowed goal. This play starts after a line change with Kronwall ragging behind his own net to allow the fresh players to come on. Kronner passes to Helm coming up the boards, but Brodziak pressures him and blocks his outlet pass. Abdelkader follows up to push the puck back to where Helm can retrieve, but he's once again pressured by Brodziak and tries to make a weak one-armed sweep of the puck past Cal Clutterbuck and up to Abdelkader. Clutterbuck blocks the attempted pass and sends the Wild back into the zone with numbers. Minnesota's #22 finds Brodziak in the lot slot for a good scoring chance and a great toe save by Howard. The rebound goes out front and is directed into the net by Nick Johnson. Fortunately for the Wings, this goal was not allowed to stand, as the war room in Toronto called it a distinct kicking motion. Still, I'm going to give Helm a minus (overall) for this one. He had two clearing attempts at his own blue line stopped and that can't happen.
1st Period 10:51 - Minnesota Goal: Dany Heatley (snap shot) from Mikko Koivu
This play starts as Zetterberg dumps the puck into the corner for Datsyuk to retrieve. Pavel gets to it and pushes it around the boards to Cleary at the opposite low corner. While this is developing, Kronwall is coming in from his point into a quiet area of the ice. Unfortunately, the Wings are not on the same page and Cleary tries to control instead of spinning it out to Kronner for a scoring chance. Although Cleary has body position, this gives Jared Spurgeon a chance to pressure him and force him to push it higher up the boards to be pinched by Koivu. Cleary tries breaking this pinch with a short backhand to Zetterberg, but the puck goes off his skate and to Koivu. Heatley recognizes this and rushes up ice while Zetterberg tries to prevent Koivu from getting the pass out. Unfortunately, he fails at this and leaves Heatley to start the other way with Latendresse forming the other half of the odd-man rush. Brad Stuart is in the passing lane like he should be, so Heatley instead gains the faceoff dot and fires a snap shot over the far side shoulder of Howard for the eventual game-winner.This goal is a prime example of a good and complex play just not working. As it stands, I'm going to clear the minuses for Datsyuk and Stuart. Both of them were doing what they were supposed to be doing on the play. I'm actually in the camp where I'd like to see the defender attack the puck-carrier high in the zone on an odd-man rush and let the goalie take the risk that he's going to have to face a breakaway, but that's not how the Wings play and I'm not going to punish Stuart for playing the Wings' system like he's supposed to. Kronwall is going to keep his minus, but I liked the pinch. I'd have liked it a ton more if everybody were on the same page. I'm going to give Cleary an extra minus on the turnover. Consider it half for being slow to recognize Kronwall and half for throwing a three-foot pass into a guy's skates. Zetterberg will also keep his minus, but will not get anything extra.
Penalty Adjustment: At the end of a first period power play for the Wings (see non-adjustments), Brad Stuart lets Latendresse get behind him coming out of the box. A 100-foot pass connects and sends the Wild in on their third odd-man rush of the period as Ericsson covers the pass and Stuart hooks Latendresse from behind. This will earn Stuart a minus.
Penalty Adjustment: 1:17 into the third period, Todd Bertuzzi goes to the box for holding Spurgeon's stick. This is a painfully obvious call to make and a stupid penalty to take for a team trying to get a game tied up. Bertuzzi gets a minus.
1st Period 17:06 - Guillaume Latendresse (roughing): The Wild forward punches Ian White in the head after failing to block a dump-in. Pretty stupid move by Latendresse.
2nd Period 05:38 - Niklas Kronwall (interference): A puck gets behind Kronwall and Cullen makes contact on his way through. This is an incredibly soft interference call considering some of the other stuff that got let go.
2nd Period 06:31 - Guillaume Latendresse (holding): This one is about as soft as the Kronwall call. He does get a free hand on his guy, but I think it's neither drawn nor deserved.
3rd Period 05:38 - Devin Setoguchi (hi-stick double minor): Setoguchi falls down and hits Bertuzzi in the face. I'd like to give him a high-five for it. It's a good call on an accidental play, but not adjustment-worthy.
3rd Period 6:27 - Pavel Datsyuk (hooking): Less than a minute into the four-minute power play, Detroit loses the man advantage. Thanks to a broken stick, Datsyuk has to rag the puck in the zone; he eventually gets pinched off and Matt Cullen pokes it past an oncoming Franzen to go the other way. Datsyuk is behind him the entire time pestering him with stick checks. The ref calls Pavel for hooking here, but the replay clearly shows that Datsyuk does not commit a single instance of this the entire time. This is a bad call.
3rd Period 13:11 - Todd Bertuzzi (holding): I'm clearing this one because the play should have been dead five seconds sooner. I'll deal with another in a long line of dumb plays by Bertuzzi in the bonuses below, but prior to this hold, Kyle Brodziak lazily tossed his stick blade at a puck and missed it. What he did hit was Danny Cleary's skate, bringing the Wings' forward down. The play should have been blown down on this trip, but it was allowed to go forward. I'm not going to make the adjustment a penalty adjustment because of this.
-2 to Todd Bertuzzi: Ok, like I said, the refs screwed up the call in the third that led to him taking a penalty, but it was a lazy and stupid play to pull down Brodziak. It was one in such a long line of lazy and stupid plays by Bertuzzi that I feel he deserves an overall -2 on the night.
-1 to Jiri Hudler: The diminutive Czech is still skating harder than he was last year and I'm happy for him there, but he's making bad decisions. He had a fantastic scoring chance in the 2nd period that he completely flubbed and passed it off instead. Ending the game with zero shots on net, Hudler was not good in this game.
+1 to Drew Miller: Miller was the best Wings' skater on the ice, considering he got fewer than seven minutes played. His penalty killing work on breaking up passes and creating problems for the Wild PP units are what earned him this plus.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk: Things aren't happening right for his line and he got another minus because of it on the official scoresheet, but I don't feel it's on him at this point. I called him out after Washington and Columbus for not moving his feet enough; since then, he has really been pushing for the puck and trying to do everything he can to will goals to happen. He's not getting lucky bounces, but he's playing the right way and deserves a plus.
-0.5 to Valtteri Filppula: 5-for-14 in the faceoff circle and a shady memory as to whether he even played got him here. He was trying, but we're at the point where execution is expected and it wasn't there for him.
Brad Stuart had a step up in the first period which led to an odd-man rush the other way, but I felt he made up for it as the game went on. Jonathan Ericsson had a couple of plays where he didn't stay tight to the front of the net when he should have and this is really too bad because he otherwise would have earned a plus. His defense partner Kindl also had a good game, but nothing worth giving him a bonus rating for.
Click on a column header to sort by that stat. Shift+click will create secondary sorts.
Use the drop-down at the top to toggle between points adjustments, plus/minus adjustments, and goalie adjustments
Be sure to check out HockeyCSSI.com for even more.