CSSI Analysis: Red Wings 3 - Blackhawks 2 (OT)

For people who complain about the national stage being reserved for only a handful of teams in bigger markets, I would ask them to give us a matchup that all but guarantees games as exciting as Wings/Hawks games have become lately. Two teams which should vie for the Clarence Campbell Bowl met on Saturday to give us a proper follow-up to the exciting game they played earlier last week in the United Center. Saturday's game went nearly the opposite of that one, except for the result.

I felt that the 3-1 power play advantage for the Hawks in this one made sense considering how the game played out. For the most part, both teams played clean. There was a blatantly obvious interference that Eddie Olczyk heroically pointed out seven times which went uncalled on Jiri Hudler, and there was also a blatantly obvious interference by Brent Seabrook that went both uncalled by the refs and unnoticed by Edzo for some reason. Detroit went 1-for-1 on their own power play while keeping the still-struggling Hawks man advantage off the board on three tries, two of which ran back-to-back in an all-Hawks third period. Despite that disparity, Detroit outshot the Hawks 43-27 thanks to jumping out to a 21-4 first period advantage.

CSSI Methodology Explanation here

Goalie Ratings

Jimmy Howard struggled with controlling pucks away from pressure, but did a great job of controlling them in and around traffic while the Hawks were challenging. One of his two mishandles led to a Blackhawks goal and the other would have if not for him making a great kick save on Michael Frolik. Still, he had his glove working well and was challenging shooters all afternoon. His opponent on the other side saw a lot more pucks and, by default had to make a lot more saves, but watching Corey Crawford on the other end, I felt that he directly created somewhere in the neighborhood of ten more saves simply by his inability to control where the puck went after it hit him. I was not impressed enough with Corey Crawford to say that he outplayed Jimmy Howard in this game, so Howard will get an even rating in the head-to-head. For the overall rating, the puck-handling gaffes by Howard are going to cost him what would have otherwise been a good positive rating. I don't know how the game would have turned out without the Shaw goal, but all other things being equal, it earned the Blackhawks a point I didn't feel they deserved. Howard will get an even rating for the overall category.

Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump

The Goals

1st Period 12:56 - Detroit Goal (PP): Tomas Holmstrom (tip in) from Ian White and Pavel Datsyuk
The Penalty - Marcus Kruger (hooking): Kruger is forechecking behind the Red Wings' net when Drew Miller comes into the play and outmuscles him for a loose puck, knocking him down in the process. Kruger's stick gets between Miller's legs and as he's trying to get back up, he uses his stick to gain leverage in the process. The ref sees this and whistles him for hooking. Miller makes a good strong play in his own defensive zone. The decision to hook by Kruger is a dumb one, but Miller will get a half-plus for drawing it.
After an initial clear by the Hawks, Datsyuk re-enters the zone on the left wing and pulls to the middle to make enough space for a drop pass to Holmstrom at the blue line. Homer carries it into the corner and goes to Datsyuk on the inside next to the net. The pass comes back to Homer, who resets by going to Lidstrom at the point. Lidstrom brings it toward the middle of the point to keep the PKers moving before going to Ian White in the top corner of the zone. The two D-men now reverse the flow as White backs to the middle and passes to Lidstrom on the left side point. Lids threatens a trip into the faceoff circle to force the PKers to start collapsing to his side before going back to White at the top to follow into the wake that Lidstrom created. Andrew Shaw does a good job of staying in the shooting lane as White moves into the area, but now the Hawks' PK is fairly compressed in the circles. White goes across the top of the slot to Datsyuk standing just inside the top of the right faceoff circle. Pavel controls to let the play reset while the PKers try to react. Franzen slides from the middle of the ice to the top of the point while Lidstrom steps from the low net-side into Franzen's spot. Toews follows Franzen about three steps before letting him go and making a move to try and pressure Datsyuk while cutting off his angle back to Franzen. Shaw steps up to cover Lidstrom in the middle while Ian White stands alone at the top of the opposite circle. As Toews coasts in to pressure the puck, Pavs changes the angle on him by gliding down behind the faceoff dot. Meanwhile, Franzen starts his cut from the top middle of the zone just behind Lidstrom in the slot. Datsyuk saucers a pass over Toew's stick and around Shaw's which Franzen artfully collects. Crawford slides over to stop Franzen's five-hole shot from close, but he's actually slid a bit far and ends up kicking the rebound out the other side directly to Datsyuk. While everybody scrambles, Datsyuk immediately tips the puck out to Ian White for a one-timer that makes its way through the hole in the shooting lane created by the movement. Holmstrom, who has been in or near his office this entire time is right out front of Crawford as he should be. The big tipper gets his stick on the shot and deflects it in. Sorry for the long writeup on this goal, but I really wanted to highlight all of the movement done here by a successful Wings power play (not only puck movement, but also the movement away from the puck to force the PKers out of lanes). This goal is created by the entire unit doing their jobs. Franzen will get the third assist while Lidstrom will get half a fourth assist and half a non-touch assist. The pass to White about ten seconds before the goal has a part, but not nearly as big as his positioning in drawing Andrew Shaw too deep in the zone to make a play. Additionally, Franzen will get a half-plus for controlling that Datsyuk pass. This is not an easy one to knock down and get a good shot off from like he does.

1st Period 16:10 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (backhand) from Pavel Datsyuk and Ian White
Detroit's second goal comes thanks to a blue line turnover and a line change. The Wings let the Hawks break out as they get new personnel on the ice. Holmstrom is the high man in and last to change while they set up a 1-3-1 defense. Homer forces Patrick Kane to one side as he exits the Chicago zone. Kane goes to Duncan Keith on the left side wing to carry in. Ian White steps up on Keith at the blue line while Franzen gets back to cover. Keith temporarily loses it, but is able to regain and attempt a cross-ice dump-in while Toews tries to find a hole between Lidstrom and Datsyuk on the far side. Ian White gets a stick on the pass attempt and Datsyuk jumps the route to Toews to pick the puck off in the middle. While this is happening, Holmstrom changes for Bertuzzi, who steps onto the ice behind the Chicago defense. Datsyuk is immediately aware of this and wastes no time throwing a hard backhander up ice. Brent Seabrook partially deflects the pass, but doesn't get enough of it to keep it off Bert's stick as he collects it in stride to walk in on Crawford. Bert dekes forehand-to-backhand and puts it over the pad of Crawford to put Detroit up 2-0. The vision by Datsyuk here is stunning. That he has the on-ice awareness to recognize the line change and to process it quickly enough to make that pass will earn Pavs a bonus plus. Holmstrom will also get a plus on the play. While he changed, his neutral zone defense is part of what makes this play happen. Ian White will also get a bonus plus for the strong play on Keith at the Wings' blue line.

2nd Period 14:54 - Chicago Goal: Andrew Shaw (wrist shot) from Nick Leddy
Late in the 2nd period, the Hawks get a gift. The Wings get a broken clear thanks to Stuart getting his stick caught in the boards long enough to let the forecheckers get in and prevent transition. Leddy recovers at center ice and dumps it back in to reset the forecheck. Howard goes behind the net to play it, but the puck takes a weird bounce off the same spot where the Stuart stick incident had just happened. The puck gets through Howard and slides directly to Andrew Shaw out in front on the other side. Shaw, not being Stalberg, hits the open net easily to get Chicago on the board. This is a bad luck play all around, but in the end it's Howard's job to do a better job making sure that he's got his skate in good position to keep the puck from hitting the boards and going around his stick. This will count as a bad goal for Howard. Stuart, Hudler, Zetterberg, Filppula, and Kronwall will all have their minuses cleared.

Penalty Adjustment: Less than a minute later, Patrick Kane picks up a rebound from a good Detroit chance and heads up ice on Jonathan Ericsson. Kane enters the zone with speed in the middle and Ericsson holds his stick strong at his own waist-level to give Kane more to skate around. This is a good defensive play until Kane turns the corner on Ericsson and now the big defenseman is turned around with his stick in the forward's midsection. If Ericsson takes a step to his left, he's in great shape to ride Kane off to the side. Instead, he lets the guy get the angle and hooks him. This will earn Ericsson a minus.

Goal-Saved Adjustment: The Hawks spend the first portion of the third period running circles around the Wings. About five minutes in, they're doing this against Detroit's fourth line on a faceoff win in their zone. Jamal Mayers gets a shot from close blocked by Jonathan Ericsson, but the puck deflects right to Steve Montador coming in from the point. Howard recovers from the initial block to square to the shooter, but Montador dekes him to get around the aggressive play by Jimmy. Fortunately, before Montador's backhand can slide under the outstretched Howard and into the net, Justin Abdelkader gets in to play backup goalie and prevent the puck from going in. This will earn Abdelkader a plus for saving a goal at 5:28 of the third.

Penalty Adjustment: 6:28 into the third period, Drew Miller draws a double-minor for high-sticking Andrew Shaw across the bridge of the nose and drawing blood. Shaw is jumping around Miller to get to a loose puck in front of the net while Miller is trying to lift his stick. Miller misses and gets Shaw, but I think Shaw's head being at waist-level by the time the contact is complete adds to the severity of this play. Miller will get a minus.

3rd Period 19:08 - Chicago Goal: Jonathan Toews (deflection) from Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith
With Crawford pulled and Chicago pushing hard for a tie, they get exactly that off a clean faceoff win by Jonathan Toews. Keith gets the puck at the point and immediately goes cross-ice to Hossa. Franzen pressures him, but he gets off a seeing-eye half-slapper aimed simply at getting into traffic. The puck does just this as it deflects off the skate of Lidstrom in front and then into the net off the leg of Jonathan Toews. There's not a whole lot that can be done about a play like this. Holmstrom will get his minus cleared as there can be no expectation that he can make a play on Keith before that pass is connected. Franzen, Lidstrom, and White will each keep their minuses under the general "the puck went through your area" rule. I actually think that this may have been a good opportunity for White to take one of those mythical "good" penalties by cross-checking Toews in front of the net to clear him out. He might even get lucky and have the ref mistake him for a defenseman on any other team by letting him get away with "clearing the front". I mean, I'm never going to punish a guy extra for intentionally NOT taking a penalty, but if Toews is planted in the net, maybe his leg isn't there to deflect it in? At any rate, the big mistake is Datsyuk's for losing the faceoff cleanly. This will be a turnover minus for Pavs.

Overtime 04:21 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (snap shot) from Valtteri Filppula and Nicklas Lidstrom
The goal that Detroit almost scored a dozen times before this one finally goes in and the right team wins the game. Detroit buzzed the entire OT period and outshot Chicago 9-0 in the 4:21 it took to end it. The play starts as Brad Stuart brings in a loose puck and skates it behind his own net. Stu dumps it into the weak-side corner for Lidstrom to collect and let the breakout set. Detroit gets this with an impressive in-zone cycle on a hook-and-ladder play. Filppula skates aroudn behind the Detroit net and heads up ice while Lidstrom passes it up the middle of his own zone to Bertuzzi skating back toward Howard. Bert immediately passes it off to Filppula and the Wings are into the neutral zone with speed. Flip gains the Chicago blueline first and cuts parallel to it from the center to the wing while Brad Stuart drives the middle lane and Todd Bertuzzi drives in on the wing to force both Blackhawks defenders to give Flip room. Hossa weakly pokes at Filppula as he crosses over him at the point and gets behind with room to move down the boards. Filppula threatens to cut in on the net from the half-boards while Bert skates behind the net facing the play and Stuart backs out to take his position high. Keith and Hossa combine to close the lane to the front of the net, so Filppula passes off to Bertuzzi. The momentum of the play carries Bert and Filppula around behind the net at an even spacing. As Bertuzzi comes out of the corner backwards and starts drifting up the boards with Seabrook in tow, he passes it back down to Filppula still following along back in the corner. Flip is well behind Seabrook as he pivots around the puck to face the net from the very bottom of the faceoff circle. Keith moves over to prevent the drive to the front of the net and Crawford hugs his post while Filppula squares. Here, Val tries to pick the near-side top corner; Crawford stops the shot, but the rebound bounces off him directly into the middle of the ice. Bertuzzi is right there, having circled back into the middle around Frolik, who is watching the play develop. I still don't know if it's a split-second before the puck touches down or immediately as it does, but Bert pops the puck into the net for the game-winner. This is another play where the entire line is involved and Brad Stuart will get the same treatment as Lidstrom did on the first goal. Stu will get a half-assist for the third touch and a half-non-touch assist for his part in driving the defense into areas where it would make space for the puck-carrier. Filppula's play to keep his speed up the entire time is a big part of why this play was successful. Filppula will get a bonus plus. Bertuzzi will also get a bonus half-plus for his work.

Bonus Ratings

+1 to Jonathan Ericsson: I wanted to get this one out of the way first. Ericsson looked in this game like he switched his brain off before the puck drop and worked solely on instinct like he should. He definitely benefited from playing mostly against Chicago's bottom six, but he did it incredibly well. He only killed 47 seconds worth of penalties (one shift on the Miller double-minor), mostly because 1/3rd of Detroit's penalty minutes were his, but his one shift was a noticeably good.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen: Mule turned it up another notch in overtime, but he was good on and off the puck throughout the game. It's expected of him to play like a power forward in the offensive zone, but he also backchecked well. Datsyuk controlled the play incredibly well with the space that Franzen and Bertuzzi gave him. The defensive dynamo kept Toews and Kane in check very well, playing 17:46 of the 20:54 those two shared on the ice.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom and +1.5 to Ian White: Detroit's top pair ate up big minutes against Chicago's best forwards and played very well on the back end. Lidstrom made a couple of mistakes to drop his rating down to +1. The biggest was missing a puck at the Chicago blue line to allow an odd-man to develop with Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart: The Wings' 2nd pair also played a solid game. Kronwall looked more focused than he had in previous games while Stuart did a lot of the in-zone pursuit. The penalty killing show they put on was fun to watch.
+1 to Darren Helm and Danny Cleary: Mostly for the +2MIN worth of PK time each player put in, these guys were incredible in their own zone. Darren Helm had an highlight-reel shift of how to play as a defensive forward late in the third period before Corey Crawford got pulled. Cleary was back to making simple, effective plays and creating trouble for the Hawks.
+1.5 to Valtteri Filppula: While his linemates weren't bad in this one (nor were they particularly noteworthy), Filppula was a defensive star in his 20:05 (one second more than Datsyuk played). There were two shifts, one in the first and the other in the third, where Filppula dominated on the puck in a way we usually only see a lower-numbered forward for the Wings do.
+0.5 to Henrik Zetterberg: Z poured it on late creating chances all on his own. Overall he had a solid game in both ends of the ice. He very nearly became the hero of the game when he rang a puck solidly off the post after about six seconds worth of one-man cycling in the zone to create a good shooting attempt.

Honorable Mentions:

Despite netting two goals, Bertuzzi was a bit feast-or-famine in this one. He made a couple of boneheaded plays in his own zone and a couple of really good plays. He didn't have a bad game, but didn't play defensively well enough to earn bonus adjustments. Jakub Kindl is the only defenseman who didn't get a plus. It was close with him, as I felt he played fairly well, but among the most memorable things he did in his 14:49 of ice time was dump a puck (while under no pressure) around the boards to his defensive partner who had a forward draped on him at the half-boards. Cory Emmerton is playing a solid yet unspectacular game. Fans of most teams would love that from their fourth-line center... I still want more out of him.

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Use the drop-down at the top to toggle between points adjustments, plus/minus adjustments, and goalie adjustments

Be sure to check out HockeyCSSI.com for even more.

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