After losing three straight on the road, the Wings got a few days off to rest, rejuvenate, and figure out how to win games. Unfortunately, they seemed to have wasted that time, as they dropped another painful game 2-1 against Los Angeles at home on Wednesday. After being handed a soft goal in the first, the Wings were unable to solve Jonathan Quick once again and unable to find the kind of push necessary to score a single goal in the third period to tie it up.
All the penalties in this game were called in the first two periods, as the refs let the two teams play (especially Michal Handzus). The Wings had good movement on their one-and-a-half power play opportunities, but couldn't finish on plays. On the other end, Los Angeles was the beneficiary of a horribly blown call on one of their three power play chances, leading to the game-winning goal. Overall, the WIngs had a 29-26 shots advantage.
I will never, ever say that a goalie lost a game for the Wings in which they were only able to score one goal and only gave up two, but he did give up a soft one. Ultimately, he made a couple of big saves, including a great bit of rebound control on a break by Anze Kopitar where he shot far-side to force a rebound to a streaking winger on the back door. Unfortunately, the first Los Angeles goal was soft, lowering his rating to +1.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump.The Goals
1st Period 05:57 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (slap shot) from Justin Abdelkader and Kris Draper
Helm starts this play by losing an offensive zone faceoff, but hustling to gather back control. With Draper's help down low, he initially cycles back to the point on Quick's right where Lidstrom surveys the play and decides to dump it back behind the net on the far side. Draper gets to it first at the half-boards and passes lower on the boards to Abdelkader. Abby skates higher into the zone as Draper goes to the front of the net and Helm takes Abby's place low on the boards. Abdelkader cycles back low to Helm, who walks it into the right-side faceoff dot and blasts a slapper that Quick gets 90% of, but not enough to keep the puck from trickling through him and slowly into the net. Helm and Draper both will get a bonus plus for their hard work forechecking. I'm also going to give Draper an extra assist for being in good position all over the zone to help plays happen, including in front of Quick on the Helm shot. Helm getting his own lost faceoff back and furthering the cycle was also a good play, as was Lidstrom's smart dump-in. Lidstrom and Helm will each get a half-assist.
Penalty Adjustment: Zetterberg receives the puck in the Los Angeles zone and threatens to step into the middle of the ice for a great scoring chance, forcing Anze Kopitar to drag him down. Zetterberg gets a plus.
2nd Period 07:50 - Los Angeles Goal: Anze Kopitar (wrist shot) from Dustin Penner and Justin Williams
The Kings gain possession in their own zone and move up ice with speed. Williams gets it to Penner, who carries into the zone to the high boards. Penner tosses a change-up at the net while Kopitar drives the front of the goal. Howard fucks up the rebound, putting it right in his own feet where Kopitar sweeps it in past him. This is a bad goal. As a result, I'm clearing the minuses for Cleary, Datsyuk, and Zetterberg. However, I feel that the Wings' defensemen both had a decent chance of heading this play off and will let both Stuart and Lidstrom keep a half-minus for their mistakes.
Penalty Adjustment: After the goal, the Kings keep pressure on Detroit in their zone. Kopitar brings it out from behind the net for a good chance and, as he takes his own rebound back behind the net, Filppula reaches in and hooks him. This will result in a minus for Filppula.
2nd Period 14:43 - Los Angeles Goal (PP): Dustin Brown (tip in) from Alec Martinez
With Brad Stuart in the box for closing his hand on the puck and throwing it while deep into a shift where he's shaken himself up, the Wings penalty kill goes to work. Unfortunately, Detroit can't overcome the Kings and the refs. Lidstrom has the puck on the boards and goes to clear off the backhand, but also catches a high-stick from Handzus halfway through his wind-up. Instead of a clear (and a penalty), Martinez gets it on the point and shoots it into the traffic in front, where Brown tips it past Howard. This goal is horseshit. The puck is right there where four officials somehow fail to see an obvious high-stick. Aside from the Stuart minus for taking the penalty, no adjustment here.
+1 to Darren Helm: Aside from being the only goal-scorer, he was the only Red Wings player who consistently showed hustle throughout the game.
-0.5 to Jonathan Ericsson: He had a strong start to the game, but couldn't hold the focus together. He had one particularly horrible clearing attempt across the center of his own zone that could have led to a goal.
-0.5 to Pavel Datsyuk: I thought Datsyuk showed good hustle, but he killed too many rushes on the night. He consistently skated into double-and-triple coverage only to lose the puck.
+0.5 to Niklas Kronwall: Again, Kronner was consistently positionally good. He made mostly smart choices. This would have been a full plus except for a puck he got caught flat-footed on to spring Anze Kopitar behind him.
Honorable Mentions: The Jack Johnson cross-check on Helm early was a stupid play, but not a drawn penalty. The Hudler hook in the first was such an egregious dive that I don't feel it's fair to punish him. He tapped Mitchell on the shoulder and the guy falls down. I hope he gets fined for it.
Hopefully, the Wings can pull themselves out of the funk for Friday. Since I'll be in Detroit this weekend, the CSSI Analysis posts for the Oilers and Blues games will likely be either delayed or riddled with drunken slurring. I'm going to guess the first one, but who knows?