A tired Red Wings squad has suddenly taken on the habit of showing up for games completely unprepared and trying to play catch-up after falling behind. Naturally, this playing style works as well as you would expect it to. The Wings could not overcome 40 minutes of shit play with 20 minutes of puck possession.
Same reffing squad as last night, same number of goals for the Red Wings. Must be a conspiracy or something. The standard was the same. It was consistent though. Detroit's power play failed on their only two chances, but at least they didn't give up a shorty this time. Sadly, they also allowed a Calgary goal in their three chances. Detroit pouring it on late created a 31-27 shots advantage, but they didn't get enough through.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment: 12:04 into the first period, Henrik Zetterberg is forechecking deep in the Calgary zone. As he fights with Jay Bouwmeester for a puck, he gets his stick in on him and the ref sends him for hooking. This is an easy call to make and Zetterberg will get a minus.
1st Period 16:10 - Calgary Goal (PP): Curtis Glencross (wrist shot) from Olli Jokinen and TJ Brodie
The Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi (hooking): This is a lazy hook by Bert in the neutral zone done right in front of the ref. No idea what he's thinking. Minus for Bertuzzi.
Calgary regains control off the faceoff to stary the power play and the Flames begin cycling around the zone. Detroit plays their large box formation until Calgary moves to the umbrella with Jokinen on the high side and Brodie at the top of the zone. a give-and-go between those two sets up a slapper attempt on goal by Jokinen from the outside of the top of the circle. The Shot from Jokinen hits Kronwall on the way through and bounces awkwardly in on Conklin. Glencross comes in from the side of the net to jab the rebound in over Conks. This is a bit of a fluke goal. Similar to the concept from last year of "If you can't block the shot, at least don't tip it past your own goalie, Kronwall doesn't completely block this shot and it ends up fluttering in on Conklin, making it difficult to control. This will create a half-minus for Kronwall.
2nd Period 01:30 - Calgary Goal: Blake Comeau (wrist shot) from Brendan Morrison and Tim Jackman
Early into the 2nd period, the Wings give up another one. A D-to-D pass at center ice misses Derek Smith and forces him to retrieve back in his own zone. Pressure from Hudler and Helm force him to throw it up the boards where Brad Stuart keeps it in at the point. Stu takes a few strides into the zone and goes lower on the boards to Helm, who is immediately pressured by Smith. Helm throws it at the front of the net where Cleary is standing with Chris Butler. The shot goes wide of the net and bounces off the boards to Tim Jackman at the top of the zone. Jackman turns to bring it up ice with all three Red Wings forwards behind him. Kronwall decides this would be a good place to step up on a guy, despite the lack of coverage. While he lays a big hit on Jackman, he fails to prevent the Calgary forward from getting an outlet pass up ice to Brendan Morrison to spring him and Blake Comeau in on a 2-on-1 against Brad Stuart. Morrison hits the half-boards in the Detroit zone before taking a line straight in on net which cuts right through the faceoff dot. Stuart goes down to block the pass while Conklin squares to the puck, but Morrison finds a way through Stuart from the bottom of the circle to put it on Comeau's tape for the wrister into the wide-open net. I'm going to forgive Conklin this goal. He's got to cover the shooter and it would take nothing shy of a jaw-dropper of a save to prevent this goal once the puck gets through the guy whose job it is to prevent that. Cleary will be completely cleared of his minus for how far out of the play he is. There's an argument to be made that Hudler should be higher in the zone to cover the breakout, but before offense is forced to turn to defense, Hudler is standing in a very quiet high-scoring area of the ice where Helm simply doesn't see him. The same argument that Hudler should be covering can be made that Helm (as the center on that line) should immediately be backing out of the zone to cover high. After all, Comeau and Helm start this play in basically the same part of the ice, and Helm is 20 feet behind Comeau when the goal is scored. I don't blame Red Wings forwards for trying to create offense and the much bigger problem lies elsewhere. Helm and Hudler will have their minuses halved. Stuart is going to receive an extra half-minus on the play for his failure to stop this pass. He has no other job than to prevent the puck from reaching Comeau cleanly and can't. Ordinarily, this might be worth only keeping his minus, but I feel that Morrison had taken himself out of a good shooting or deking option by the time he makes the pass. The only way I feel Calgary scores on this play is by connecting cross-ice. The biggest mistake remains with Kronwall. The step-up without forward coverage is not excusable and he needs to have better awareness of where his guys are when he tries this. I like the move as a concept, but this was the wrong time and place to do it. Kronwall will get an extra minus.
Penalty Adjustment (x2): at 3:58 in the second period, Darren Helm gives the Wings an opportunity at a power play when he jams the puck past Cory Sarich in the neutral zone and then steps around him into the Flames' end threatening to create a scoring chance. Sarich is forced to step into Helm to prevent this and goes to the box for it. Helm will get a plus for this. Holmstrom ends the good feelings 34 seconds later while Detroit is trying to get back into the game. Detroit gains the zone with a left-side overload as Lidstrom get the puck at the point and Homer goes to the net. Inexplicable, Holmstrom skates directly at Jay Bouwmeester and pushes him into Kiprusoff while a Lidstrom shot comes to the side of the net. The referee's arm comes up as Franzen pucks up the loose puck and puts it in. The goal (naturally) doesn't count and Homer goes to the box for interference. This has consistently been the most maddening part of Holmstrom's game for the last few seasons. He's been good this year, but the penalty he takes here is so obvious and egregious (not to mention what it does to the team's momentum) that he's going to get a minus-and-a-half for taking this penalty.
2nd Period 05:47 - Calgary Goal: Curtis Glencross (snap shot) from Jay Bouwmeester
While the teams are still at 4-on-4, Calgary gets what will be the game-winner. Cleary, White, and Datsyuk cross center ice together, as Cleary goes to White on the left wing so he can drive the net. White stops up at the half boards and recognizes that Roman Horak has chased a bit too deep into the zone, leaving Datsyuk room to fill that area right in front of the Calgary D on White's side. Unfortunately, the pass to Datsyuk which would have given him the chance to split two defensemen and create an in-zone 2-on-1 with Cleary is neither a good pass nor a good pass reception. Datsyuk can't dig the puck out of his skates before his momentum carries him out of the play and White whiffs on it as it slides by him. Bouwmeester gets a handle though and pokes it up the boards to Curtis Glencross to jump up ice with Roman Horak joining for another odd-man rush. Lidstrom is covering the center of the ice and recognizes that White needs a couple of strides to get back to cover Horak. As the puck reaches the top of the circle, Lidstrom does make a move to force a play by the puck-carrier, but the left-shooting Glencross gets off the snap shot from the right dot before Lidstrom can get his stick over to tip it like he does so often. The puck beats Conklin to the far side and Calgary has this one all but wrapped up. It's a hell of a well-placed shot by Glencross which beats him and it isn't a soft goal, but Conklin is more square to the shooter than he is to the puck here. That's still a very difficult save to make from this shooting area though. Again, Cleary will not receive a minus for being low in the Calgary zone when his teammates let him down. Datsyuk will receive an extra half-minus for his part in not better-controlling the pass. Perhaps it's a bit mean to expect him to control such a bad feed, but considering what we see Datsyuk do with the puck regularly, I'm not going to give him the benefit of the doubt. However, White will receive a full extra minus not only for the bad feed, but also for letting Glencross get behind him and get the puck. Not a good play by White.
Penalty Adjustment: Midway through the 2nd period, the Wings are waking up from their slumber and trying to get some chances. Datsyuk and Franzen get their cycle going deep in the Calgary zone and Franzen threatens to step around defenseman Derek Smith. To prevent this from happening, Smith sticks his leg out and brings Franzen down. Mule will get a plus for drawing this one.
3rd Period 04:55 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (backhand) from Jonathan Ericsson
Detroit gets one early enough in the third to make it interesting. Ericsson dumps a puck into the Calgary zone for Derek Smith to retrieve in the corner. Filppula and Zetterberg cover up the boards, so Smith tries to go to his teammate Mikael Backlund as the outlet in the middle. The pass completely misses and ends up on Ericsson's stick at the point. Riggy fakes a slapper to freeze the D before he quickly turns the puck back into the zone to Jiri Hudler cutting down through the middle of the ice. While Hudler lets the pass go through his skates so he can pick it up facing the net, Scott Hannan slides into his path to prevent him from shooting it on the forehand. A nifty play by Hudler moves it under Hannan's stick for Hudler to regain on the backhand. While Smith also tries to dive and stop the shot and Z hangs out in front of Kiprusoff, Hudler backhands it through Kipper to break the shutout. This goal is primarily the result of a bad turnover by Smith, but it's good to see them capitalize on mistakes. Hudler's move around Hannan will earn him a bonus half-plus. Zetterberg will also pick up a screener's assist. He's not in Kiprusoff's line of sight for very long, but the split-second he is blocking the view is the split-second right before Hudler gets his shot off. Kipper is guessing at trying to block off the entire bottom part of the net and is caught completely off-guard by the time Hudler's shot daylights around Z and goes high over him.
3rd Period 15:48 - Detroit Goal: Ian White (slap shot) from Pavel Datsyuk
Datsyuk wins an offensive zone faceoff back to Ian White, who puts a quick slapper on net from the outside top of the circle. The puck deflects off the stick of Kostopoulos on its way in and handcuffs Kiprusoff to make the last four minutes of the game that much more of a tease. Datsyuk will earn a half-plus for a clean faceoff win leading to a goal, but other than that, there's no adjustment.
+1 to Ian White: He was punished rightly for his part in the 4-on-4 goal, but he was one of Detroit's better d-man as far as actually completing passes and moving the puck in the right direction.
+1 to Darren Helm and Danny Cleary: Helm's hustle and drive were evident throughout an entire game when his teammates didn't seem to have it. They both really turned the pressure on and were the forwards who consistently took space away from Calgary.
-1 to Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom: As two of the leaders on the team, I was unimpressed with the way they played for forty minutes. Neither were particularly sharp or moving their feet very well. I expect better.
Valtteri Filppula made up for what would have been an overall minus for his lackluster offensive zone play if he weren't so good defensively. Hudler had a decent night too, but that line is there to finish. I was impressed with the third pairing. Both Ericsson and Commodore played relatively low minutes, but they did their jobs well enough. I feel the easy assignments they got and the official +1 rating for each was sufficient for the kind of performance they turned in. I'm not sold on Commodore as an upgrade over Ericsson (and especially over Kindl). Watching those two trying to break pressure to get out of their own zone, it was clear that Ericsson was quarterbacking that breakout and doing it well. The other thing I noticed in this one was how much the offense kept trying to run things through Brad Stuart in the zone. Now I love the guy as a defensive d-man, but I don't really ever want to see Valtteri Filppula passing up a scoring opportunity to feed it to Brad Stuart.
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