Detroit showed on Monday Night that they won't suck every time they follow up an emotional overtime victory over the Hawks with a struggling Eastern Conference opponent. The Red Wings jumped on the Sabres early and didn't let up on their way to a 5-goal shutout. It's nice seeing the Wings playing the first of back-to-back games in a manner that means none of their skaters played for more than 22 minutes or fewer than 10.
If there has to be a dark spot on a 5-0 victory, it's that none of Detroit's goals came on their four power play chances (including the one which only lasted 22 seconds). Even that is somewhat bolstered by the fact that half of their chances were spent with third and fourth-liners getting PP time. Detroit still got the better of the special teams battle though, keeping Buffalo's three power play opportunities off the board as well. Score effects did come into play here, but even then, Buffalo only managed one more shot on goal than the Wings, despite trailing for 54 of 60 minutes.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment: Just 2:33 into the game, Detroit gets their first power play as Henrik Zetterberg gets a good head of steam into the Buffalo zone and splits the defense. Marc-Andre Gragnani hooks him to prevent a scoring opportunity and goes to the box for it. Zetterberg will get a plus for drawing this one.
1st Period 05:20 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (wrist shot) from Jiri Hudler
Henrik Zetterberg wins a faceoff just outside his own blue line to Kronwall, who gets it over to Stuart. Stu tries a breakout pass to Hudler on the other side of center which just misses and goes all the way into the Buffalo zone. As Z comes in to pressure on the puck, Ryan Miller plays it safely to the corner for Jordan Leopold to come up the boards. Jiri Hudler steps in to pressure Leopold and the Sabres' D-Man tries to chip it past him onto the stick of Jochen Hecht, but Hudler gets his skate in the way and it deflects to the middle of the ice where Zetterberg is lurking. Mike Weber is the safety valve low, but there's not much he can do as Z cuts across the hash marks to get around his stick and create a shooting lane through which he snipes it over the glove side on Miller. Hudler's step up to create the turnover will earn him a bonus plus. Zetterberg is also doing good work on this whole shift and Z will earn a bonus half-plus.
Penalty Adjustment: 30 seconds after the goal, Buffalo is pushing back and forces a Detroit penalty as Niklas Kronwall goes to the box for holding on Drew Stafford. It's a bit odd that this penalty is called from center ice while the in-zone ref is looking directly at the play from five feet away, but Kronner definitely puts a free hand on his man. Kronwall will get a minus. This was a hold.
1st Period 18:11 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (snap shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi
Pavel Datsyuk wins a defensive zone faceoff to the outside where Lidstrom plays it behind the net to Ian White. White goes up the boards to Bertuzzi who is met by a pinching Jordan Leopold. Bert immediately goes cross-ice to Datsyuk at the blue line. Pavs stops the puck with his skate and, immediately recognizing both that Leopold is caught pinching a full step behind Franzen and that Paul Gaustad has not properly covered for the pinching defenseman by either getting back or closing the lane to the guy behind him, he throws a perfect backhand pass which is corralled by Franzen on the other side of center ice. Mule has the entire right side of the ice to play with, as Mike Weber gets over enough to prevent him from a true breakaway, but not enough to keep him from getting a shot off from the middle of the ice about 25 feet out. Mule buries the chance and Detroit goes up 2-0. This is another whole-line goal. Ian White will get the third assist, Niklas Lidstrom will get the fourth, and Pavel Datsyuk will get a half bonus-assist.
1st Period 19:43 - Detroit Goal: Nicklas Lidstrom (wrist shot) from Todd Bertuzzi and Pavel Datsyuk
Detroit gets an offensive zone faceoff late in the first that they turn into goal #3 on the night. Datsyuk wins another faceoff and gets the puck back to Ian White. White goes to Franzen on the half-boards while Pavel backs into an open area just to the inside of him. Jochen Hech gets over to block the pass attempt from Franzen and the puck goes low into the corner where Bertuzzi stands with body position on Jordan Leopold. Bert holds off his man while Franzen comes down to run a crossing play that frees Bert up enough to get it back to Datsyuk now standing on the half-boards. After making the pass, Bert slides into the middle of the ice while Franzen drags both defensemen to the net-front and Hecht hesitates to make a play on Datsyuk. Finally, Hecht lets his momentum drift him toward the crafty Russian on the boards and Pavs makes him pay by saucering a pass over his stick to Bert in a great shooting position. Bert wastes no time putting it on net through traffice. Miller is able to stop the puck, but he's not able to prevent the rebound from leaking out to the front of the net on the other side where a completely uncovered Lidstrom swoops in and deposits it into the wide-open net. Another great play and faceoff win by Datsyuk will earn him a bonus plus. Franzen does more not touching the puck than he does when he has it, so he'll get an assist added for the positional work he does. Bert also does work running a couple of clever positional plays to make room for his teammates. This will earn Bert a bonus plus on the play as well.
2nd Period 04:19 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (backhand) from Pavel Datsyuk
Bertuzzi pulls out the old spin-o-rama magic to put Detroit up by four. The play starts when Detroit barely misses an outlet coming out of their own zone and the Buffalo D turns it back to Derek Roy turning back in to attack. Ian White takes a perfect angle on Roy and pinches him off the puck at the half-boards. White then holds off Roy long enough for Bert to come in and get it to Lidstrom beside the net for the safe outlet. Lids has room to carry to his blue line before deferring off to Franzen on the wing at center ice. Franzen gains the center stripe and goes for a dump-around intended for Datsyuk on the far side. The puck hits a stanchion on its way around the high glass and bounces out to the middle where Mike Weber picks it up. Unfortunately for Weber, Datysuk was quick to respond to the change of direction and cuts immediately in to pressure him. Weber tries to get to the trapezoid behind his own net to dump it around the boards safely, but Pavel lifts his stick and steals it back there. Datsyuk immediately turns to see that Bert has the inside angle on Leopold on the near side and gets it to him while Franzen, who was coming around the net on the other side adjusts to keep from taking Bert out. With Bertuzzi coming out of the corner to cut in front of the net, Ryan Miller makes an acrobatic and aggressive play to keep from getting beaten to the far post. Bert calmly shrugs off the Miller poke check and instead opts to go backhand spin-o-rama through Miller and into the goal. I'm going to add a third assist and a bonus plus to Ian White on this play. The way he removes Roy from the puck to end that rush and help start transition is a crucial part to this play. Bertuzzi will also pick up a self-assist for coming in and helping White after he makes his play. Franzen's dump-in will get him a half-assist as well. The Datsyuk steal-and-feed is always fun to watch and will generally always be good for a bonus plus.
2nd Period 04:32 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Drew Miller and Danny Cleary
Just 13 seconds later, Detroit completes the scoring and ends Ryan Miller's night. Darren Helm wins the ensuing faceoff all the way back to Jimmy Howard, who sets it up for Jonathan Ericsson to come in and pick up. Ericsson makes a tiny fake like he could turn back against the grain instead of continuing behind the net that gives him the room he needs to beat Nathan Gerbe around behind the net. As Ericsson turns it up ice, Gaustad and Boyes both start squeezing in to cut off his angle, but he goes off the boards on a safe play to get it out of the zone. Cleary skates back in to the puck at center to retrieve while Andrej Sekera pinches in. Cleary tips the puck toward the middle of the ice to he pushed forward by a streaking Drew Miller. Tyler Myers is in the middle to try and poke it around, but Miller gets to it first and jams it into the Buffalo end where he retrieves. This gets Myers turned around, but he still has an angle to prevent Miller from cutting to the net. Instead, Miller gains the circle and throws a backhand pass through Myers' legs and onto the stick of Darren Helm, who has a half-step on Boyes still. Helm redirects the puck past a sprawling Ryan Miller and ends the goalie's night. This is a great speed play by the Wings. Ericsson will earn the third assist for picking it up and getting it to Cleary outside the zone. The play on Myers by Drew Miller will get him a bonus half-plus, as will Helm's speed and recognition that the Wings had a guy caught.
Penalty Adjustment (x2): at 6:28, Matt Ellis goes to the box for tripping Valtteri Filppula on a breakout at the Detroit Blue line. Flip is making some good moves and moving his feet to earn this penalty call. Filppula will get a plus. On the power play, Babcock runs the low-minute guys out there already up 5-0. Jakub Kindl loses the zone and ends up hauling down Patrick Kaleta as he dumps it past Kindl and goes for the chase. it's a bit of a weak call, but Kindl definitely leans on a guy away from the puck. This will earn Kindl a minus.
2nd Period 17:49 - Ville Leino (slashing): Leino slashes Zetterberg's stick out of his hands in the Buffalo zone and goes to the box for it. Not a drawn penalty by Z.
3rd Period 03:32 - Paul Gaustad & Danny Cleary (roughing, roughing double-minor): I still have no idea how Cleary came out of this with a penalty at all.
3rd Period 17:20 - Ville Leino (high sticking): Is this guy ever in control of his stick?
+1 to Darren Helm, and Drew Miller, +0.5 to Justin Abdelakder: Helm & Miller did a great job on the PK and at 5-on-5 creating chances, preventing the opponents' forecheck from getting set up, and generally being awesome. Abdelkader was only decent at 5-on-5, but he did some great PK work on his own as well.
+1 to Brad Stuart, Niklas Kronwall & Jonathan Ericsson, +0.5 to Jakub Kindl: This is pretty much a blanket bonus to the Red Wings' defense. Lidstrom and White aren't included because their official plus/minus scores did a great job of showing how well they played in this game. I felt all three pairings were strong and felt completely confident even with Kindl and Ericsson playing more than 18 minutes each. Kindl had only slightly less of a positive impact than his teammates, but he played well.
+1 to Jiri Hudler & Valtteri Filppula: A big part of how well the game went defensively for Detroit was in how defensively active the Wingers were in this one. These two won board battles and played a hell of a game together. Just like with White and Lidstrom, Franzen and Bertuzzi are left off because of their official +3 ratings.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg: Z went 10 of 14 on faceoffs and dominated play with his wingers. He needs to pick it back up on the points-scoring pace, but his defensive game is working at a high level right now.
There's not a Red Wings' player who had a bad game tonight. Cleary, Emmerton, and Holmstrom are the three I didn't mention in the bonus ratings. I felt each of them were good and moved their feet well, but they just didn't stand out as much as their teammates.
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