The reffing standard in this game was average for the season... and that's not saying a grand amount since there was quite a bit let go, including a slew-foot and a brutal cross check. Neither team capitalized on their power play opportunities though as Edmonton went 0-3, but Detroit went 0-6. Once again, the Wings outshot their opponents, this time by a 30-24 margin. It was a tight-checking game with the patience and poise shown by the Red Wings turning out to be the difference.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 10:35 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (wrist shot) from Patrick Eaves.
Detroit forces Edmonton back into their own zone where Tom Gilbert holds while awaiting a line change. Filppula forechecks in to force the issue and makes Gilbert go D-to-D over to Petry. Filppula then turns and forces Petry to make a rushed mistake in his own zone trying to go back to Gilbert. Drew Miller steps up on the play to keep it in at the point and force it lower. Gilbert picks it back up in the corner and tries to set up a breakout while Emmerton bears down and prevents a play up through the middle. Miller covers Petrell at the near side half-boards to block off that lane. Without another option, Gilbert reverses the play around the boards. Fortunately, neither his defensive partner nor Ryan Jones are in good position, allowing Patrick Eaves to step in and attempt to throw it on net from a steep angle. The puck deflects first off Petry and then off Gilbert directly to Miller's stick in the low slot. Miller wastes no time throwing it into the net from here. The pressure by Filppula to force an error will earn him half a plus on this play. It's really more Petry's mistake, but somebody had to be there to force it. Miller will also pick up a bonus plus and a self-assist for keeping the puck in, covering Petrell, and then being in the slot to pick up the loose puck. This is a great shift by Drew Miller
Penalty Adjustment: 15:30 into the first, the Oilers' Theo Peckham tries a shot from the point that Drew Miller block and threatens to take the other way. Miller gets a step, but Peckham and the linesman combine to help take him down. Peckham goes to the box, the linesman gets away with it, and Drew Miller gets a plus.
2nd Period 02:05 - Detroit Goal: Niklas Kronwall (slap shot) from Jiri Hudler and Justin Abdelkader
The Wings have trouble moving the puck through center ice on this play, but eventually get the puck in on a dump-in by Stuart. Helm skates in to pressure Petry while Abelkader cuts off the near board. Petry tries to ring it around to Peckham, but it's a slow pass which gives Hudler enough time to break up Peckham's play in the corner. While this is happening, Abdelkader is backing up the zone to cover high. Abby recognizes when Hudler and Peckham's puck battle causes the puck to squirt out and hustles to beat Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to it in the faceoff circle. Abby pokes it away back to Hudler who is skating back toward the center of the ice. Hudler tries to get a handle, but loses the puck. Fortunately, he recognizes that he should back off when he sees Kronwall stepping in (with what I'm guessing were eyes as wide as saucers and a bit of drool on his lip) and lets Kronner blast a slap shot from the middle of the ice over Khabibulin's shoulder. I'm going to halve Hudler's assist on this play. He's smart to recognize that he should back off and let Kronwall have it, but he essentially lost the puck to his own teammate. I'm also going to give Abdelkader a half-plus for his hustle on the coverage and recognition of the ability to get to the loose puck.
Penalty Adjustment: 45 seconds after the previous goal, Justin Abdelkader destroys Paajarvi with a good clean check. Lennart Petrell takes umbrage and instigates a fight (which Abdelkader wins by takedown). This draws a four-minute power play for the Wings. Abdelkader will get a plus for this while Lennart Petrell's parents get a million minuses for giving him that first name.
Penalty Adjustment: About 30 seconds into the 2nd penalty for Petrell, Kronwall steps in front of his man and gets an interference minor for it (despite the uncalled slewfoot and the uncalled cross-check he suffered on this play). The refs blew it here, but Kronwall absolutely step into the path of an attacking player away from the puck. I'm going to let Kronwall keep a half-minus for this penalty.
Penalty Adjustment: about a minute after the expiration of the Kronwall minor, Tom Gilbert takes a step into Justin Abdelkader's path and goes to the box for interference. This is another well-drawn penalty by Abdelkader, who will get a plus.
3rd Period 14:52 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (tip in) from Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen
The Oilers dump a puck in which Howard stops behind his own net for Ian White, who tries to go up the boards on a safe play. White flubs the attempted clear and it gets to a forechecking Ryan Smyth in the corner. Smyth tries to hit Nugent-Hopkins cutting in through the slot, but fortunately Johan Franzen recognizes this (as he's backchecking on both Nugent-Hopkins and Ladislav Smid, who is also pinching low). Franzen blocks the pass and, while three Oilers converge on him, he recognizes that he's got two teammates headed the other way. Franzen throws a backhanded area pass that hits Zettterberg in the neutral zone to set up an odd-man rush against Corey Potter. Z waits for Potter to give him room before throwing a cross-crease pass to Valtteri Filppula for the tip in past a sprawling Khabibulin. I'm going to halve Ian White's plus on this play for the turnover and give Franzen a bonus plus for the backcheck and recognition of the odd-man opportunity.
2nd Period 11:40 - Detroit bench (too many men): this is a bad coaching lapse as the Wings get six men into their own zone on the long line change.
2nd Period 19:44 - Andy Sutton (hi sticking): It's on a good shift, but it's more a bad decision by Sutton than anything.
3rd Period 03:07 - Niklas Kronwall (holding): This is an incredibly weak call on Kronwall for holding on Hall.
3rd Period 07:45 - Cleary does a good job hustling for a puck, but he doesn't force Ryan Jones to give him the ol' BC two-hander on his stick.
+0.5 to Darren Helm and +1 to Drew Miller: The defensive forwards got the job done very well for the Wings. Helm's speed kept him on the right side of the play while Miller had a strong game in all three periods. He was moved up to Datsyuk's wing on their last three shifts of the game and very nearly turned that opportunity into goal #2.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom and Jakub Kindl: These were the two smartest defensemen on the ice for the Wings in this game. Lidstrom had tougher competition than Kindl did, but the way they calmly controlled play against an aggressive Oilers forecheck made a huge difference in the way the game turned out in favor of the Wings.
+0.5 to Ericsson, Kronwall, Stuart, and White: Let's not beat around the bush here, this was a team shutout and all of the defensemen played well. The ones that only get half-pluses here do so because each of them at one point did fall victim to the aggressive forecheck, but each of them helped bail the others out and overall very successfully stifled a crafty speed team.
+0.5 to Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk: The other two centers couldn't break through offensively (except for Zetterberg's assist), but they played against tougher competition and more than held their own defensively. For that, they each get a half-plus.
Abdelkader got two penalty pluses and a half goal-scored plus and I still almost gave him an overall for the game. He had an excellent night. I thought Cleary and Hudler had decent games, as did Holmstrom, but none of them were anything to write home about. I was happy Eaves was able to make a positive difference too.
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