Detroit and Anaheim faced off on Sunday night in the Honda Center. The Wings had roundly defeated the Los Angeles Kings the previous night in the Staples and took on a struggling Ducks team which has still only won once in the month of November. I'm too tired to think of a good pun related to the 27-minute delay of the game caused by a power outage though. It's like the Ducks are some bullshit Mickey Mouse organization who can't even run their own arena right or something.
The refs did a good job playing "whose turn is it to go on the power play" in this game, awarding a total of 11 power play opportunities to both sides. Detroit's recently-hot power play was cooled down in an 0-for-6 performance (although one of those PP opportunities was broken in half by the power outage). Meanwhile, the Ducks went 1-for-5 and brought the Wings' PK% up for the season. This game was closer than it should have been after Detroit jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead, but fortunately, the Ducks stink something fierce.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 01:26 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (backhand) from Jiri Hudler and Brendan Smith
Detroit dumps the puck in to Jonas Hiller behind his own net. Zetterberg pressures the netminder and he tries to beat this by going high around the boards around Z. Kronwall is there to pick off the attempt and dump it back around to Zetterberg on the far side. Z goes to Brendan Smith at the point. Under pressure at the blue line, Smith throws a puck at the traffic developing in front of the net. The shot gets blocked in front, but Jiri Hudler is there to pick it up and sweep it back around to the far side where Z is skating in. The puck hits the skate of Brandon McMillan and lays there. Here, Zetterberg makes McMillan his bitch in taking the puck out from under him and getting off a backhander from the slot that beats Hiller to the stick side. The step-up and cycle reset by Kronwall is good for a third assist on this play. Meanwhile, Zetterberg's doggedness on the puck both in forcing Hiller to speed up his pass and in taking it from McMillan will earn him a bonus plus.
1st Period Penalty Adjustment - Nicklas Lidstrom (17:27) Lidstrom hooks Maxime Macenauer as the Ducks come out of the zone. The stick gets parallel and in on the hands. Easy call to make. Minus for Lidstrom.
2nd Period 00:14 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Pavel Datsyuk
The Ducks win the opening faceoff of the 2nd period and Detroit goes into a 2-2-1 with Franzen as the lone forechecker high in the zone. Beauchemin cycles to Fowler in the middle, who skates to the blue line and meets mule in the middle. Cam Fowler tries to go to Corey Perry on the Wing to get an overload headed into the zone, but Datsyuk reads the pass perfectly and picks it off. While the Ducks try to regroup, Datsyuk feathers a pass to Franzen in stride for a breakaway that Mule converts top shelf with a wrister on Hiller. This is a great defensive read and pass by Datsyuk to break Franzen for the goal. Pavel Datsyuk will earn a bonus plus on this play.
2nd Period Penalty Adjustment - Teemu Selanne (00:54): After a good scoring chance by the Wings' second line, Zetterberg carries behind the net to cycle around. Selanne doesn't take the right angle on him and instead jams his feet into Zetterberg's and takes him down. This is a good hustle play by Z to force the penalty. Zetterberg will get a plus.
2nd Period 07:10 - Detroit Goal: Brad Stuart (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk
The Wings again do an excellent job clogging up the neutral zone to stifle the Ducks through center. A half-assed pass attempt goes into the top of Detroit's zone, but Kronwall pokes it out. Franzen races for it, but the Ducks push it past him and back to Bertuzzi, who collects back to Kronwall and breaks the pressure. The Wings are given an opportunity to come through center as the Ducks regroup in the neutral zone. They run this almost like a power play zone entry as Franzen posts at the blue line along the boards on the strong side (the left in this case), Bertuzzi comes up the right wing on the opposite side, and Datsyuk trails Kronner. When the pressure comes on Kronwall, he drops to Datsyuk, who gains center and puts it on Franzen's stick to establish the Ducks' zone. Here, the Wings get an overload, as Bertuzzi has cut across the blue line and now heads in front of Franzen. Datsyuk also cuts in front of Mule while the coverage all collapses on the side of the ice. Here, Franzen hits Brad Stuart joining the rush on the opposite side wing and with enough room to skate unimpeded into the faceoff circle. Bert crosses in front right as Stuart releases a shot that goes through Hiller for what turns out to be the game-winner. Bertuzzi is going to earn a screener's assist on the play while Kronwall will again get a third assist. This is truly a transition goal, as the five-man unit played a great neutral zone defense to turn the puck over and get it headed the right way up ice.
2nd Period 11:24 - Anaheim Goal: Saku Koivu (slap shot) from Cam Fowler and Andrew Cogliano
The Wings are buzzing in the Anaheim zone again when a shot by Stuart goes wide and takes a non-Joe-Louis-bounce wider than the incoming Bertuzzi and up to Andrew Cogliano on the half-boards. From here, Cogliano starts the rush the other way with Koivu and Andrew Gordon on a 3-on-2. Gordon peels off as the Ducks cross in, but Cam Fowler jumps in behind the play. Bertuzzi hustles back, but he doesn't catch that Fowler is now the high-man coming in. Cogliano forces Stuart to the inside and drops it past the backchecking Bert to Fowler. Koivu pulls up to let Ericsson continue his slide too far into the zone and receives the pass from Fowler in the slot for a one-timer past Howard. Helm and Abdelkader will be cleared of minuses on this rush. The play happens bang-bang, but both Ericsson and Bertuzzi focus too much on the puck and not enough on their coverages. Stuart's job is to prevent Cogliano from getting in on net and he does that. It's Bert's job to prevent both the pass to Fowler and the pass from Fowler to Koivu. Meanwhile, it's Ericsson's job to prevent the pass to Koivu and the shot on goal. The coverage failures by these two will result in an extra half-minus for Ericsson and Bertuzzi.
Goal-Saved Adjustment: At 14:36 of the period, Brad Stuart earns a goal-saved plus. The Ducks put great pressure on in the zone and, thanks to a blown coverage by Kindl, Stuart is forced to both respect an Andrew Cogliano drive to the net while trying to cover a cross-ice pass to Saku Koivu. Cogliano gets the pass through to Koivu and Stuart makes a diving play to get his stick blade on the one-timed shot which is destined for twine.
2nd Period 16:21 - Anaheim Goal (PP): Teemu Selanne (wrist shot) from Corey Perry and Ryan Getlaf
The Penalty - Cory Emmerton (interference): On the play which led to the Brad Stuart plus above, Cory Emmerton commits a penalty by hitting Teemu Selanne into the boards away from the puck. Bad decision by Emmerton and a penalty minus for his troubles.
On the power play, the Ducks get set up while the Wings play a PK style that has their defensemen setting the bottom of the box somewhat high up the ice, leaving a lone Ducks player in front of the net. This almost bites them once as a point shot from Kurtis Foster gets through and Corey Perry just misses on the rebound attempt. The Ducks get it back up the ice and reset immediately after this while the Wings' d-men also reset their coverage. This time Foster carries to the middle and passes to Getzlaf coming up the wing. While Getzlaf turns inside, the Wings' PK transitions to a diamond formation (since the Ducks have it in an umbrella by this point). Getzlaf throws the puck on net into a Perry screen and the rebound lays in front. While Smith scrambles to get back to make a play on Perry and players crash in, the reigning Hart Trophy recipient backhands a cross-crease attempt which gets through to Selanne on the other side to slam home. This is a perfect example of a power play using their size and numerical advantage to their benefit. Smith is out of position because it's his job to cover Getzlaf and his shooting angle from the high slot. The responsibility to stop the cross-crease pass is Lidstrom's. Failing to do this will earn Lidstrom a half-minus on the blown coverage.
2nd Period Penalty Adjustment - Brendan Smith (17:59): Chasing a puck into the Detroit zone, Brendan Smith has the speed to get to it before Andrew Gordon. Unfortunately, Smith coasts in front of him and, without ever making a play on the puck, rides him into the boards. It's a small difference, but incredibly important here. At no point before making contact with Gordon is Brendan Smith in possession of this puck and he chooses to make a hit instead of a play on the puck. I think the call was still a bit on the soft side, all things considered, but it fits well within the letter of the rules and a learning experience for Smith, who will get a minus.
3rd Period Penalty Adjustment - Jonathan Ericsson (17:26): The Ducks come in on a nearly-broken play. Ericsson misses a poke check and a sweep check while the play comes through him. This gives Andrew Gordon a chance to step around the defenseman for a chance on the net. To prevent this, Ericsson hooks his man up. It's probably smart knowing that he's beaten to take a penalty, but it's his own fault he got beaten in the first place. Ericsson will get a minus.
3rd Period 19:12 - Detroit Goal (SH, EN): Brad Stuart (
bank wrist shot) from Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg
With Hiller pulled for the extra attacker late in the game and in the Ericsson penalty, the Ducks almost put it into their own net. The puck trickles wide though and Anaheim brings back up ice to dump it in. Zetterberg is first on the far side to get to the puck. Here, he wisely establishes position on the boards and slows up to the puck. This prevents both Koivu and Bobby Ryan from getting to it to make a play. Z pushes it back to Kronwall lower in the zone. Kronner tries to make the safe play up the boards while being pressured by three Ducks. Bobby Ryan gets his stick on this attempt and deflects it into the middle of the zone. Here, Brad Stuart gets on the loose puck first and beats the immediate pressure by Ryan Getzlaf by banking it off the boards, out of the zone, and into the empty net to ice the game. The best play here is by Zetterberg, who will earn an extra half-plus for evening out the numerical advantage low in the zone with his body position.
1st Period 05:22 - Francois Beauchemin (interference): Dumb decision by Beauchemin on an offensive-zone penalty.
1st Period 07:11 - Brandon McMillan (delay-of-game puck over glass): Poor play by the kid.
2nd Period 08:22 - Brandon McMillan (roughing): Smith and McMillan race for a loose puck in the Wings' end. By all rights, this should have been matching minors, since Smith stepped into McMillan's path before they got to the puck. I can't award a plus on this play.
2nd Period 19:16 - Devante Smith-Pelly (cross checking): Ducks are on a power play here and Smith-Pelly takes his man down in front to create a scoring chance for the Ducks. It's not a drawn penalty as much as a Ducks error.
3rd Period 03:06 - Ryan Getzlaf (hi-sticking): Getzlaf pops Lidstrom up high. No adjustment.
3rd Period 14:14 - Justin Abdelkader (boarding): Two guys jockey for position and initiate contact heading into the corner. One guy loses an edge and the other gets a boarding call. This one was a bad call.I'm glad to see that Brookbank wasn't hurt at least.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom, +0.5 to Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg: The Wings' three best players all had very good nights in effectively keeping the Ducks' top line talent quiet. Both Pavel & Hank went less than 50% in the faceoff circle though and that could have been much costlier for the Wings.
-0.5 to Brendan Smith and Tomas Holmstrom: I know that the kid is easy to like and that he had a very good start to the game, but there were two passes directly onto Ducks' sticks in the slot in the third period which came from these guys which were not adequately made up for elsewhere.
+1.5 to Darren Helm: I have written in my notes that Helm is a "Penalty Killing Genius". I can't quite mark down when the change happened, but it seems as though he's being given more leeway to play outside of his own zone on the PK and it's paying huge dividends for the Wings.
+1 to Danny Cleary:Believe it or not, no Red Wings' forward played more PK time than Cleary and he did a very good job of playing defense both shorthanded and even-strength.
+1 to Todd Bertuzzi and Justin Abdelkader: Neither got a ton of playing time (both under 13 minutes), but they made what they got count by playing a high-energy game which created problems for the Ducks in their own zone and at center ice.
Franzen, Kronwall, and Stuart all played very well. The reason they didn't get bonus adjustments is because previously-adjusted plays did well to cover how much they performed (+2, +2, and +3 respectively). Drew Miller had another solid game, but nothing worth adjusting. Jiri Hudler played well with Helm and Abdelkader. I think he's fitting in nicely as the puck-handler on an aggressive and speedy checking line.
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