The Blues made sure that the Red Wings would not start a streak of alternating wins and losses quite yet, as they dropped their 2nd in a row to St. Louis in a choppy affair. The 3-2 score was pretty close to the middle of the realm of scores that would not have surprised people who watched this one unfold. It seriously could have turned into an 9-1 game for either team at any time.
The refs took this game to a seedy motel and had their way with it. They missed a guy hitting his teammate with a stick, called two soft slashes and no hard cross-checks, and generally had their heads so far up their asses that the whistles rippled when blown. Both teams scored two power play goals on 7 chances for Detroit (one which was two seconds long) and 8 chances for the Blues. Overall, Detroit outshot St. Louis 29-26, but didn't capitalize on their chances.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Goal-Saved Adjustment: at 18:23 of the first period, the Blues think they have one in a net-front scramble. Fortunately, Brad Stuart is there to prevent the Christ Stewart 2nd-chance opportunity from deflecting off of him and in. Stuart (the good one) will get a plus for saving a surefire goal.
2nd Period 07:42 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Jiri Hudler and Jimmy Howard
The Penalty - David Backes (roughing): Backes tries to have sexy-time with Holmstrom at the Blues bench. Donkey play by Backes, but nothing Homer did to draw it. No adjustment.
After one minute of power play futility which ends in a clear by the Blues, Howard comes out to restart the movement up ice with a quick pass to Hudler. Huds gathers the puck & turns from the top of the circles in Detroit's zone before skating into the Blues' zone and dishing to Franzen on the wing. Mule carries to the corner where he catches Roman Polak coming out a little too far to greet him. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Franzen makes a move around Polak and charges the net from the side. As Polak comes back to try and stop him and Elliott prepares for a possible drag across the crease, Mule backhands it near-side top shelf. This is a very good play, but there will be no adjustment. Everybody is doing basically what they're supposed to be doing.
2nd Period 09:20 - St. Louis Goal (PP): Alexander Steen (slap shot) from Jason Arnott
The Penalty - Jakub Kindl (tripping): As if on-cue, the Blues get their power play opportunity as TJ Oshie runs a power move on Jakub Kindl and gets to the middle of the ice with it. While Oshie drives in, Kindl jams his stick into the guy's feet to take him down. Kindl will get a minus.
Arrnott wins the draw cleanly back to Alex Steen, who steps across the middle of the ice and blasts a slap-shot low through Jimmy Howard's five-hole. Helm tries to get over to block it, but some good interference work by Backes makes that impossible. Still, like I said above, a butterfly goalie has to have his 5-hole shut tight in this situation. This is a soft goal by Howard. However, Abdelkader simply cannot lose a faceoff this cleanly. Abby will get a minus for what should be considered a turnover.
3rd Period 00:45 - St. Louis Goal (PP): David Backes (tip-in) from TJ Oshie and Jason Arnott
The Penalty - Niklas Kronwall (delay-of-game): This puck tips the top of the glass before it goes out of play. It is a bad call and there will be no adjustment.
After some offensive-zone PK work by Darren Helm, the Blues get the puck back up ice on a carry in by David Backes. The Blues' captain muscles against Cleary while skating behind the net before going back to the point off the boards. Colaiacovo goes to Arnott at the half-wall between Helm and Stuart. As Stu goes to challenge Arnott, he passes low in the corner to Oshie. While this pass is being made, Backes moves from the low slot to the back door. Stuart is a bit slow in recovering from going so far up-ice and the Blues have the net-front 2-on-1 they want. Oshie feeds it past Ericsson onto the stick of Backes for the easy put-away. As much as Howard should have stopped the previous one, he had no chance on this one and will be forgiven on this. Stuart and Ericsson won't be so lucky. Stu chases so aggressively out of position that Ericsson has to change his coverage to respect the idea that Oshie has room to walk out in front. Ericsson still needs to block the pass, but he's left on an island by his defensive partner. Stuart will receive a full minus and Ericsson a half-minus for their coverage meltdown.
3rd Period 02:38 - St. Louis Goal: Patrik Berglund (slap shot) from Chris Stewart and David Perron
Shortly after the Backes goal, the Blues get the game-winner. The Wings' fourth line is trying to create a chance when Chris Conner tries to feed Darren Helm from behind the Blues' net into the slot. The puck is picked off and moved up ice by Perron to Chris Stewart. Kronwall steps up on Stewart trying to head the rush off, but the Blues' forward is able to get a pass off to the opposite side where Berglund is joining the rush. This creates something of an odd-man situation, as Berglund skates into the Wings' zone on a line bisecting the left faceoff dot and Perron drives the center lane with Shattenkirk filling the top of the triangle. Emmerton is back on Perron probably a quarter-step back, but not too badly. Ericsson doesn't have faith that Emmerton is far enough back though, so he lets Berglund have his lane while also moving over to cover Perron. This gives the shooter all the room he needs to get to the top of the circle and blast a slap shot into the net. The mistakes here belong to Ericsson. Conner and Helm are trying to create offense. Although the rush starts up ice off Conner's stick, it's not a turnover. He's making a good play in the offensive zone to create a chance and his defense lets him down. Both Conner and Helm will be cleared of minuses. The Step-up by Kronwall is not a bad decision. He can see that Emmerton is already moving the right direction to jump in behind him and he takes a chance to end an outlet before it can start. However, if Kronner is a bit quicker on his man, the outlet likely doesn't happen. I'm going to let Kronwall keep his minus. The issue here is with what to do about Emmerton. Watching the replay and the angles available, I have no doubt that he's in good enough position to prevent a clean scoring chance by David Perron if the pass gets back to him. If he keys on Ericsson covering the passing lane, there's nothing he can do to get to Berglund, who is already three steps farther up ice than he is. I have a hard time faulting him at all on this play. Emmerton will not receive a minus. So, Now we're left with Jonathan Ericsson, who completely either fails to recognize or refuses to trust Emmerton's backchecking and decides to cover the completely wrong person on this play. This is an absolutely horrible decision by Ericsson. It feels here as though he doesn't even want primary defensive responsibility here. The coverage mistake is going to be considered bad enough for an extra minus-and-a-half for Ericsson.
3rd Period 18:40 - Detroit Goal (PP): Jiri Hudler (tip-in) from Danny Cleary and Niklas Kronwall
The Penalties - David Perron (goalie interference), Johan Franzen & Chris Stewart (roughing): At the end of a Franzen penalty, David Perron gets a tip-in opportunity stopped by Howard. He then uses contact with Brad Stuart as an excuse to plow over Jimmy Howard. Instead of putting on his best dying soldier impression like the coward Brian Elliott, Howard gets mad and jumps on Perron. Chris Stewart grabs Johan Franzen in the ensuing scrum and throws about six punches at him before Franzen finally retaliates and throws one. Stewart gets one last one in for good measure and somehow Franzen gets the same roughing penalty. I'm not going to make any adjustment on this play.
The Wings make it interesting with a power play goal here. The Wings pull Howard on the rush into the St. Louis zone. Kronwall skates to the wing and drops it to Hudler to cross the blue line in the middle of the ice before dishing to Cleary on the Wing. Cleary skates up the boards and gets around Berglund. Here, Cleary recognizes he had a chance to go to the middle between the PKers.Cleary gets to the top-middle of the faceoff circle and throws it at the net where Hudler and Bertuzzi are stationed. Hudler gets his stick on the shot and deflects it on net where it goes off Elliott's leg and in. Hudler will get a self-assist on this play for his carry-in.
1st Period 04:25 - Alexander Steen (holding): Steen is forechecking and he uses a free hand to grab Bertuzzi. Soft call, not drawn, no adjustment.
1st Period 09:02 - Danny Cleary (tripping): Berglund is coming out of the Blues zone after they break the Wings' forecheck. Danny Cleary takes a swing at the puck, misses, and takes Berglund's feet out from under him. Easy call to make. Cleary gets a minus.
1st Period 13:59 - Vladimir Sobotka (holding the stick): Ericsson and Sobotka skate into the corner to retrieve a dumped-in puck. Ericsson checks up on Sobotka, who grabs his stick as they go in together. This is also an easy call to make, but not drawn. No adjustment.
1st Period 16:18 - Drew Miller (hi-sticking): Miller gets sent to the box because he's nearby when Scott Nichol high-sticks Jason Arnott. What a horseshit call. No adjustment.
2nd Period 00:34 - Jonathan Ericsson (hooking): Off the faceoff to open the 2nd period, the Blues dump the puck in and create a penalty. Zetterberg has an outlet pass blocked and kept in. As a result, Jonathan Ericsson takes a hooking penalty on David Perron when he gets his stick stuck in the guy's jersey and refuses to let go. Both Ericsson and Zetterberg will get minuses for creating this penalty.
2nd Period 00:44 - Kevin Shattenkirk (slashing): Darren Helm brings the puck up ice shorthanded and gets a chance on net. Shattenkirk weakly taps him and gets an even-up call. This is such a soft penalty. No adjustment.
2nd Period 03:01 - Niklkas Kronwall (tripping): At the end of a ten-second Detroit power play caused by the previous two calls, the Blues get a 2-on-0 rush which creates a great save for Howard and a penalty for Kronwall. The rush happens because Abdelkader is tripped (in a play which looks very similar to the Cleary trip on Berglund earlier) and Ian White cannot keep the puck in the top of the zone. Kronwall had jumped into the play on the far side, and Franzen was a half-second slow to react to the fact that Abdelkader wasn't getting back to cover because he had been tripped by Oshie. At the tail end of the play on a secondary opportunity, Kronwall gets his stick into the skate of Shattenkirk and hauls him down. Both Kronwall and White will receive minuses for what happens on this play.
3rd Period 06:22 - Justin Abdelkader (charging): Detroit is driving for chances in the zone, as Elliott makes a very good save on an Ian White shot. The rebound comes out as Elliott is playing the puck two feet outside of his crease. Abdelkader sees the loose puck and goes after it, running into the goalie in the process. Elliott sells this like an overpriced vacuum cleaner, but Abdelkader does not avoid contact with him. Abby will pick up a minus for this.
3rd Period 09:03 - Kris Russell (hi-sticking): Jiri Hudler skates for a loose puck and Kris Russell is too stupid to not have his stick blade high in the air for no reason. No adjustment.
3rd Period 15:09 - Johan Franzen (slashing): As the Wings skate to get back after the end of an offensive zone possession, Johan Franzen gives Barrett Jackman a slash on the back of the skate in plain sight of the ref. These two had been going at it all game long and Franzen let his frustration get the better of him. This is a stupid and selfish penalty for Franzen to take and he will get a minus.
3rd Period 19:58 - Alexander Steen (delay-of-game): Nothing like a two-second power play to screw up your stats. No adjustment.
+1 for Pavel Datsyuk: Bounces were the difference between him being the player of the game and not. He was easily the best Wings' skater on the ice and the guy who created the most chances. At times on even strength, it looked like he was alone.
+1 for Jiri Hudler: Hudler factored in on both of Detroit's goals, scoring one of them. He played well on the corners and probably got interfered with more than anybody else. Yes, he had one play where he passed up a shot to make a pass, but that's three fewer than Zetterberg had, and Z didn't put up any points.
Speaking of Zetterberg, his two shots on goal very well should have been five. He did pass up too many shooting chances, but he wasn't worse than the -1 rating he got. I was going to give Ericsson an extra minus for shitty play when I realized the existing adjustments had him with more than double the minuses of his nearest competition (Kronwall & Abdelkader). Sometimes, all of your mistakes bite you in the dick. This was one of those nights for Ericsson, who I'd like to see sit for a game to remember what the hell he's supposed to be doing.
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