Detroit faced off against a struggling Dallas team, losers of their last five, looking to improve on a decent, but not stellar home record and, well, they failed. Dallas played like a team possessed by the thought that they may miss the playoffs and as a result, earned all of the bounces. Detroit was the victim of a terrible waive-off of a goal, but Dallas deserved to win this game.
Detroit's penalty kill managed to prevent the still-struggling Dallas power play from scoring on their three chances in this game, but the man advantage for Detroit was given six chances and only managed the one late goal in the third period. The effort was just not good enough. Credit to Lehtonen for his 38-save performance though. Ultimately, he played very well.
The best thing Jimmy Howard did in this game was throw a punch at Mike Ribeiro. He made two big saves in the first period, both on Brenden Morrow, but he wasn't the story of this game. I'm hoping that his frustration at being left out to dry by the players in front of him is carried in the locker room by those players. Howard was average in a game where even stellar wouldn't have led to a win. +2 rating.
Reminder: The H2H2 Pledge Drive continues through March 5th
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump.The Goals
1st Period 16:42 - Dallas Goal: Mike Ribeiro (wrist shot) from Brenden Morrow and Jamie Benn
Ribeiro gains the zone and drops to Morrow, who throws it cross-corner where Benn takes on Stuart for it. Stu tries to poke it away, but Benn gets it to Ribeiro, who outmuscles Datsyuk behind the net and screens him long enough for Benn to come back in and pick it up to carry up the boards. Lidstrom picks up Benn, while Stuart is a bit slow to jump up on Morrow standing in the slot. Benn sweeps it to Morrow, who immediately finds Ribeiro all alone on the back door, after he slips his coverage from Datsyuk and disappears behind the net. Ribeiro has the entire net to shoot at and doesn't miss. Datsyuk's gaffe is the biggest here and he'll get an extra minus. Stuart and Lidstrom will each get an extra half-minus. Stu is slow to pick up on Morrow and Lidstrom actually takes a weak angle on Benn. Neither Cleary nor Hudler will get a minus.
1st Period 19:35 - Dallas Goal (SH): Loui Eriksson (backhand) unassisted
The Wings are on a power play thanks to a Jason Williams hook on Hank which will earn Zetterberg a plus. On the power play, the Stars pressure the puck on the boards and toss a bouncer up the boards. Kronwall can't corral the puck and Loui Eriksson moves down ice on the breakaway. He goes forehand/backhand on Jimmy as he comes in on the angle and dekes the Wings' goalie well enough that the momentum of moving backwards prevents Jimmy from being able to keep it out of the net. Kronwall will get an extra minus for this turnover.
Penalty Adjustment: 5:28 into the second period, Kronwall goes to the box for holding on Ribeiro. The call here is a bit tough because it's a bad dive by Ribeiro, but Kronwall put himself in position to be called in the first place. I thought he was playing pretty good D here, but there's a reach-in. Kronwall will get a half-minus.
2nd Period 08:54 - Dallas Goal: Krystofer Barch (wrist shot) from Jason Williams
Following a fairly long cycle in the Dallas zone with a couple of good chances, Ericsson steps up on the boards to collect a puck. He turns his back to the defender to try to shield the puck and ends up losing it to Jason motherfucking Williams of all people. Realizing he's lost the puck and now trying to take his man, Ericsson tries to body Williams off the puck right as he gets it to Barch at center ice, starting Barch up ice on a 2-on-1 with Benn against Rafalski. Raffi gets his stick on the ice to stop the cross-ice pass, but Barch picks it back up and weakly throws it at the net against the grain. Howard gets a piece of it, but it goes off his blocker and in. Ericsson will get the extra minus on this play. Rafalski does a decent job defending the 2-on-1, but he won't get any break here, as he needs to keep Barch from getting that shot off. Zetterberg and Bertuzzi will be cleared of their minuses. They're the deep forwards at the tail end of a long shift. There's nothing they could have done here to have prevented this.
Penalty Adjustment: 6:55 into the third, Draper bear-hugs Goligoski behind the net and goes to the box. Minus for Draper.
3rd Period 16:29 - Detroit Goal (PP): Tomas Holmstrom (backhand) from Pavel Datsyuk
On the last Detroit power play of the game, Jamie Benn forechecks deep in the Detroit zone with Lidstrom helping Datsyuk take the puck from him before starting the rush up ice. Pavel enters the Dallas zone and cuts across the ice before finding a seam for a backhanded pass to Holmstrom streaking towards the net. Lehtonen goes down very early on Holmstrom as he carries on the backhand at the goal. Homer roofs it over the goalie to break the shutout. This is an extra-half-assist-worth pass by Datsyuk. Lidstrom will also get an assist for helping Datsyuk separate Benn from the puck so cleanly deep in the Detroit zone.
3rd Period 18:17 - Dallas Goal: Jamie Langenbrunner (wrist shot) from Steve Ott and Alex Goligoski
Detroit pulls Howard with two minutes left looking to make up the two-goal deficit. They lose the puck deep in the Dallas zone to a lucky bounce off a downed Burish where Robidas pokes it to Goligoski in front of his own net. Goligoski throws it off the boards to Ott at the top of the far wing and he gets it to Langenbrunner at center ice. The Stars' forward gains the red line and fires it into the open net to ice the game. No adjustment here. All six skaters deserve their minus.
-0.5 to Drew Miller: He gets it halved for playing three minutes of good penalty kill, but when you play five minutes of even-strength ice time in a game and I can only remember a bad turnover from you, then you get a minus.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall: He didn't play a great game, but he did save a goal in the third period.. This effectively cancels out the extra minus he got for allowing the puck to get by him on the shorthanded goal.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson: Not every fight this season will lead to a plus or a minus, but I want to give Ericsson credit for taking on Ott, who needed a good punching early in the third as he continued to take liberties with Wings players. Ericsson winning the fight is good for a bonus plus here.
Overall, it feels like I should have more minuses to give out, but looking at the official ratings plus the already-adjusted ones, I think the numbers are pretty indicative.
Honorable mentions: The Adam Burish penalty 1:11 into the game was a dumb play by Burish, not a great play by Mursak to force a penalty. Instead of doing two penalty adjustments which would have canceled to zero for Helm, I'll just say that the interference on Ott in the first and then forcing Skrastins to trip him in the second equal out to zero adjustment for the speedster. The replay of Lidstrom's second-period holding penalty shows no such thing, so he did not get a minus for that. The exact same is true for the Goligoski penalty call five minutes later, meaning there will be no adjustment on that one either. Finally, on the last two Dallas minors, there are no adjustments because Kronwall and Abdelkader don't get extra credit for having high-stickable faces.