Hockey season has started in Detroit and it has started right where the Wings left off last year. That is to say they showed they can impose their will on other teams, but struggle to play a full 60 minutes. Still, I'm happy with the effort in the 5-3 Red Wings win.
No complaints about the reffing standard. They let them play for the most part and the teams rewarded us with playing it fairly clean (for those not named Neil, at least). I thought there were weak calls that went both ways and some stuff that also got let go both ways. Consistency is all we ask for from the refs. The Wings' special teams was a big let-down in this game though, surrendering goals on 2 of the 3 Ottawa power plays and going 0-for-5 on their own chances.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment: 1:06 into the first period, the Wings earn their first power play of the season. Datsyuk loses the puck bringing it into the zone, but forces a turnover to Kronwall at center ice. Kronwall turns and fires to Cleary at the blue line, who feathers a pass forward to Hudler, who had just finished touching up and completing the turn behind the defense. As a result, Brian Lee brings his stick into Hudler's hands to prevent a scoring chance and takes a hooking call. Initially I thought this was a weak call, but replay clearly shows it. I'm going to give a penalty drawn plus to both Cleary and Hudler for the teamwork and another half-plus to Kronwall for springing them to draw it.
1st Period 16:01 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Darren Helm and Jakub Kindl
After good pressure by the Filppula-Zetterberg-Franzen line, the Senators throw the puck out of their own end trying to break the forecheck. The puck is on its way to Milan Michalek's stick, but a good neutral zone tie-up by Ericsson forces the puck to Kindl backing into the top of the Red Wings' zone, where he rags it puck waiting for his guys to change. Ottawa takes the same opportunity by switching up their defenders. Stepping onto the ice, Helm skates to Kindl to receive the pass and turn at his blueline to start out of the zone while Ericsson stays back to give him an outlet. Ottawa's forechecker pressures Helm, but Danger has his head up and notices Bertuzzi coming on with a step between the Senators' defensemen. Helm hits him with the two-liner entering the zone and Bert's on a break. He stays in shooting position the entire time coming in on Anderson and roofs it over his glove from the low slot. The patience and poise by Kindl is going to earn him a bonus half-plus, as will Helm's vision on the outlet pass. Without Ericsson tying up Michalek's stick, this play doesn't happen. Ericsson will get a non-touch assist for this play. However, Abdelkader has nothing to do with this play and will lose his plus on the shift change.
2nd Period 1:39 - Detroit Goal: Nicklas Lidstrom (wrist shot) unassisted
Early in the 2nd period, Helm gets chased from an offensive-zone faceoff and the linseman quick-drops it on Abelkader. As the puck goes behind the Ottawa net for Chris Phillips to chase, Bertuzzi angles him off at the boards. Phillips throws a horrible pass up the ice that misses its target and ends up on Lidstrom's stick. With nobody to cover, Lidstrom walks all the way in and gets kind of an excuse-me wrister past Anderson for the Wings' 2nd goal. Bertuzzi will get a non-touch assist for driving Phillips to commit the turnover as well as a bonus half-plus for the forecheck. This is as good as a direct pass from Bert in my book.
Goal Saved Non-Adjustment: 6:43 into the 2nd period, the Senators get a puck through Howard as Zack Smith picks up a rebound on the doorstep and puts it on net. But for the luck of Kindl's skate being in the crease and having the puck deflect off it just wide, this would be a goal. However, I'm not giving Kindl a plus here. For one, the positioning was good, but the stop was unintentional luck. This might be good for a half-plus, except Kindl was supposed to have been covering this play in the first place. Smith would not have gotten a shot off if Kindl had done his job better.
2nd Period 9:40 - Detroit Goal: Cory Emmerton (wrist shot) from Drew Miller
On a dump-in from Tomas Holmstrom, Drew Miller chases down Erik Karlsson as he takes the puck from Anderson. Miller first eliminates Karlsson's stick and then pushes through the body to physically separate the defender from the puck and establish body position. From here, he turns and feeds it out front. The puck gets between the Ottawa defenders and ends up being swept in by the outstretched stick of Cory Emmerton. Miller does the exact same thing that Bert did, except he actually touched the puck and made the play better. Miller will get a full bonus plus on this.
2nd Period 10:38 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (wrist shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Jonathan Ericsson
Late into the next shift, the Hudler-Datsyuk-Cleary line is pressuring in the Sens' zone. An attempted outlet pass hits the skate of Bobby Butler and before he can collect it back, Jonathan Ericsson punches it behind him with a long poke check. The puck sits still for a short while as players converge on it. Zack Smith is the first on the scene, but a stick-lift by Jiri Hudler prevents him from getting to it. Jared Cowen attempts to pick it up, but he's hounded by Datsyuk, who steals the puck and finds Hudler now streaking toward the goal into the hole that Cowen just left for him and with a step on Smith. Hudler gets the puck, decides that he only has to give Craig Anderson the ol' double-deke and roofs it backhand. Hudler is going to get a self-assist for the stickwork on Smith to prevent him from making the play on the puck. Datsyuk's defensive magic will net him a bonus half-plus.
Goal Saved Adjustment: about 11 minutes into the period, Kronwall has a pass at center ice blocked that sends Michalek and Spezza in two-on-one against Stuart. Kronwall actually gets back in time to get his stick on the Michalek pass attempt, but it goes back to Michalek who throws it on goal. The rebound sits on the back door in the crease with a split-second before Spezza buries it when the heroic stick of Brad Stuart comes sweeping in and clears it. Stuart will get a goal-saved plus.
3rd Period 3:12 - Detroit Goal: Ian White (slap shot) from Drew Miller and Cory Emmerton
Cory Emmerton wins the faceoff to Drew Miller, who slides it back to White at the point. White one-times a slapshot through a crowd that Anderson never sees coming. It taps the goalie's shoulder to say hello to him on its way into the net. Replay shows that Anderson is leaning hard to his left to look around Miller when the puck barely passes to Miller's left and goes over Anderson's right shoulder. Drew Miller is going to pick up a screener's assist for it and this may very well be the farthest out anybody has ever been standing while being awarded one of these.
3rd Period 5:49 - Ottawa Goal: Milan Michalek (tip-in) from Jason Spezza and Nikita Filatov
Nikita Filatov gets the puck high in the Detroit zone and fires a slap shot from the top corner of the zone low to Howard's stick side. As he's supposed to do, Howard kicks it to the corner. Here, Jason Spezza outmuscles Tomas Holmstrom on the boards to recover the puck and then dekes around Datsyuk to get a clear lane from the point to fire a wrister into traffic. The puck bounces off Milan Michalek who is tied up out front with Ian White and softly flips up over Jimmy Howard's shoulder to break the shutout. Hudler and Lidstrom are covering their areas of the ice and will not get minuses for this. White will keep his minus for not stopping the shot. Holmstrom and Datsyuk will each pick up an extra half-minus for the bad coverage on Spezza which allows him to retrieve the puck and get the shot off from the middle of the ice. Finally, Jimmy Howard will receive a goal-forgiven rating for a bad fluke.
Penalty Adjustment: 8:03 into the period, on a shot that goes wide of the net, Ian White tries to eliminate the stick of Mika Zibanejad and ends up eliminating his right foot with it. White will draw a minus here for the trip.
3rd Period 8:22 - Ottawa Goal (PP): Milan Michalek (backhand) from Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson
Off a faceoff win and a clear by the Wings' PK unit, the Senators score a quick-strike goal. Erik Karlsson gets the puck behind the net and finds a streaking Jason Spezza at center ice. The Wings' defense is playing a diamond formation and Spezza beats it by cutting directly through it. When he does, Brad Stuart moves over to try to make a play on Spezza, leaving Milan Michalek open on the wing to receive the pass from Spezza and beat Howard on the one-on-one. Although this is a PK, Stuart will get a minus for blowing the coverage here. He needs to prevent the pass from Spezza to Michalek and he doesn't. Kronwall will also pull a half-minus for his failure to stop that pass.
Penalty Non-Adjustment: With the Wings on the PP thanks to Chris Neil acting a damn fool, Jakub Kindl takes it to center ice, drops it and then accidentally bumps an Ottawa player. This is apparently good for two minutes now. There will be no adjustment here.
3rd Period 18:29 - Ottawa Goal (PP): Filip Kuba (wrist shot) from Daniel Alfredsson and Mika Zibanejad
After the brief 4-on-4 expires, Ottawa gets a power play goal. The Sens move it around the PKers to create a shooting lane which Kuba uses from the point. The puck goes through the legs of Colin Greening and past a completely screened Howard. I'm going to give a half-coverage minus to Jonathan Ericsson here, who was fronting Greening. The whole purpose of fronting the guy screening the goalie is so you can block the shot and prevent him from tipping it in. Ericsson does not block this shot.
Penalty Non-Adjustments: Chris Neils' 2nd period hooking penalty was a combination of weak and dumb. Helm's speed wasn't enough of a factor to credit him with drawing this one. The first Ian White penalty was a pity call that no ref in his right mind should make. White mishandles the puck, but he definitely does not step out in front of his guy to impede progress. Filip Kuba got called for a slash when Cleary's stick magically broke. This was probably the worst call of the game (although it was a nice scoring chance by Cleary). The Neil Roughing call in the third was a retaliatory play for Kindl hitting Zibanejad cleanly. It's a donkey play by Neil, so I can't give Kindl a plus for drawing it. finally, the Bobby Butler boarding call was not a result of Jakub Kindl forcing him to make a mistake, so there will be no adjustment.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen, +0.5 to Valtteri Filppula: Despite being the only line held off the scoreboard, this might have been the best combo of forwards on the ice throughout the game. Franzen made some absolutely fantastic feeds while Zetterberg chased the puck well in all three zones. Filppula only gets a half plus because, while he was overall impressive, I felt he could have been better.
+1 to Jakub Kindl and to Nicklas Lidstrom: These were the two most-poised defensemen in the lineup for the Red Wings. The puck was consistently moving the right way when they were out there.
-1 to Jonathan Ericsson: Sometimes it feels like Wings fans are piling on unfairly on Ericsson; this was not one of those nights. He committed two brutally terrible turnovers in his own zone and did not do well enough in other areas to make up for it.
-0.5 to Brad Stuart: He got the plus for preventing an Ottawa goal and the minus for the bad play on Ottawa's 2nd goal, but he overall was less than impressive.
Honorable Mentions: Jiri Hudler, Pavel Datsyuk, and Danny Cleary all played well, but they got their credit in other ways. Helm-Abelkader-Bertuzzi is the same case here. Kronwall was closer to a minus than to a plus with his struggles to control the puck on the night. I also thought Holmstrom played well in his 4th line duties.
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