The Red Wings put their 12-game home winning streak on the line against the visiting Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night. At the end of a hard-fought battle, the Wings squeaked away with the two points after Henrik Zetterberg pulled a trademark Swedish shootout move to beat Mike Smith and Jimmy Howard shut the door on the follow-up attempt.
I cannot possibly stress enough how awful the reffing was in this game. Both teams got two power plays and spent exactly three minutes with the man advantage. This would be all well and good if the game were actually as even on the ice as it looked on the scoreboard. The sad truth is that there was far too much and far too obvious stuff let go. This one was embarrassing. The one place on the scoreboard that wasn't held artificially even was the shot counter, which showed a 42-27 advantage for Detroit.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 09:41 - Phoenix Goal: Radim Vrbata (snap shot) from David Rundblad
Halfway into a period the Wings are dominating, they find themselves trailing by a goal on a snipe shot by a guy who's already on the north side of 20 for the season. A stretch pass attempt by Zetterberg to Hudler gets knocked away by David Rundblad and collected in the Phoenix zone. Detroit backs into the 1-2-2 as Rundblad circles around in his own zone and gets it to Vrbata heading up ice. The Coyotes' forward steps around Hudler as the high forechecker and then to the inside of Henrik Zetterberg just outside the Wings' zone. The speed that Vrbata builds up forces the defensemen to back off and let him have the high half of the zone. Vrbata takes it to just outside the top of the circle to the inside and snaps it over the blocker of Jimmy Howard for the game's first goal. I do not like Howard giving up this goal from here. It's an absolute snipe shot, but it's also one I want stopped. Howard will get credit for a half-bad goal. Minuses will automatically be halved for Kronwall, White, Hudler, Zetterberg, and Filppula. I'm going to go ahead and clear the minuses completely for Kronwall and Filppula, as they're away from the play as it develops. Zetterberg, and Hudler will each keep their half-minuses, but White will get an extra half-minus. As pointed out by nickname1234 in the comments below, White acts as a partial screen on his goalie, who cannot see Vrbata's upper body as well and cannot pick up on the shot as quickly. Howard will still get the half-bad goal since he doesn't square to the puck while this happens though.
1st Period 19:08 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (slap shot) from Ian White
Just after the Budd Lynch announcement of one minute left in the period, the Wings pull even. Boyd Gordon wins a faceoff in the Coyotes zone at the circle to Mike Smith's right. The puck is dumped around behind the net to Yandle, who tries to continue it up the boards and out. Here, Ian White steps up on his man to keep the puck in and it ends up bouncing lower into the zone for Boyd Gordon to come in and pick up nearby. Fortunately, Valtteri Filppula is there to lift Gordon's stick and free him of his puck-carrying burden. The puck comes out off the boards where Filppula is able to gather and skate to the high slot. Derek Morris gets over to challenge Filppula as he releases a slap shot and possibly even tips it. Whether or not he does has no bearing on the play; the important thing is that the puck goes off the crossbar above Smith's blocker and into the net to tie it up. Filppula will earn himself a bonus plus on this goal with the great defensive work on Gordon to steal the puck. I'm going to halve Zetterberg's plus for losing a faceoff cleanly.
Penalties: Since all of the game's penalties were called in the 2nd, let's get to them by time.
04:46 - Ray Whitney (tripping): Jonathan Ericsson carries through center and Whitney lazily corkscrews him as he crosses the middle stripe. This is a dumb play by Whitney; no adjustment.
05:46 - Tomas Holmstrom (interference): Based on what gets let go and the sell job by Adrian Aucoin, this is going to be a no-adjustment on the horrible standard upheld.
09:08 - Jiri Hudler (holding): What Hudler does is actually considered a bit of a strong hold. It's ridiculous that similar plays aren't called, but Hudler earns a half-minus for what is a good call on an island of bullshit.
17:17 - Phoenix Bench (too many men): Not a drawn penalty, no adjustment.
3rd Period - 03:02 - Phoenix Goal: Taylor Pyatt (backhand) from Kyle Chipchura
Early in the third, the Coyotes pull out to the lead again with some net-crashing muck. The Coyotes recover a dump-in by Justin Abdelkader and turn it back out of the zone. Derek Morris is forced to chip it off the boards around Tomas Holmstrom to Taylor Pyatt. Jonathan Ericsson steps up to make a play on Pyatt and slow down the transition game. As Ericsson makes a play to separate Pyatt from the puck, he also leaves the biscuit behind and creates a lane for Kyle Chipchura to skate through and pick up the puck. As Chipchura crosses the Detroit blue line, Pyatt separates from Ericsson and heads up ice to join in the rush. Emmerton is back covering, but he's caught a bit flat-footed on the play. Chipchura recognizes this and takes a hard line to turn the corner. Chupacabra gets to the bottom of the circle before centering a puck into the melee forming at the top of Jimmy Howard's crease. There are three Red Wings players around as Howard initially stops the chance, but none of them stop Pyatt from chipping the rebound over Howard and in. The cleared minus on this play belongs to Holmstrom, whose pressure on Morris is the only good part of this play. Kindl will keep his minus for failing to prevent Pyatt from chipping in the rebound as he's right there. Emmerton keeps his minus for getting caught a bit flat-footed on the Chipchura entry. Ericsson will pick up an extra half-minus for the mistake which left the puck in an open area for Chipchura to pick up with speed. Abdelkader will get the same half-minus. He takes a weird angle in choosing to also engage with Pyatt at center instead of covering for his D-man. They're both equally at fault here.
3rd Period - 10:03 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (tip-in) from Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary
Midway through the third, Detroit pulls even again on a beautiful passing play. The Wings set up a rush from behind their own net as Ian White goes to Datsyuk to gain the zone against a tough neutral zone trap. The Coyotes double-team him, but Franzen cuts in to give him some space to try a backhand attempt to Lidstrom at the point. Unfortunately, Lidstrom is taking a run inward from his position at the moment and has to turn to recover the puck from behind him. The captain dumps it back into the near-side corner to keep it in and Franzen goes to get it. Mule goes to Cleary behind the net to reset the play and Cleary skates toward the corner before going to Datsyuk on the half-boards. Pavel waits a half-beat to let the play develop a little bit before throwing an absolutely beautiful pass through both Coyotes defenders to meet Franzen on the back door to tip it in past Smith and tie the game. The vision here is absolutely incredible. Datsyuk will earn a bonus assist (not just for how great a pass it was, but also for carrying it into the zone to establish the presence in the first place). He'll also get a bonus half-plus for his work. Lidstrom will get a third assist on the play as well.
+1.5 to Pavel Datsyuk: The only downside to Datsyuk's game tonight was his sub-.500 faceoff percentage. He made up for it by absolutely dominating play whenever he was on the ice.
+1 to Jiri Hudler, +0.5 to Valtteri Filppula: These two were very impressive in this game. Hudler did very well in his defensive assignments and seemed to have won every board battle to create transition.
-1 to Brad Stuart, -0.5 to Niklas Kronwall: These two struggled. Stuart was worse, with two pretty egregious turnovers. He also had a great defensive play on a partial breakaway by Ray Whitney, but he doesn't get credit for that since the breakaway was Stu's fault in the first place. Kronwall got better as the game went on, but he seemed to lack focus
+1 to Jan Mursak: He was credited for zero takeaways, but I had him down for creating two turnovers in the offensive zone with his hard work. He was also very good at pressuring Mike Smith on the puck. His offensive game will need to catch up, but his defensive play is very strong.
I thought Lidstrom and White played... decent. Kindl and Ericsson were solid other than being on ice for that goal, but there were also mistakes which led them to lose bonus consideration. Holmstrom had some good hustle going, but wasn't completing enough passes. I was impressed by Cleary, but I really expect this kind of effort as being closer to the norm and not just a change from not playing well several games in a row.
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