For all of the times this season that the Red Wings have owed Jimmy Howard steak dinners for his work keeping them in games until they got rolling, this game was a bit of an even-up. The Wings played a better game than the score indicated in Dallas on Tuesday night, but ended up with only a one-goal victory in a game where they had four different two-goal leads.
There was exactly one penalty called total in this game; it was on Todd Bertuzzi 15 seconds in. Detroit killed that penalty and then both teams enjoyed a well-paced game. There were some calls which could have gone either way, but for the most part, I think the refs did a good job. Special credit goes to Bryan Pancich, who was the only linesman in the game after contact on the boards led the other linesman, Steve Miller to fall backward and hit his head on the ice during the first period. Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery for Miller.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment: Fifteen seconds into the game, Todd Bertuzzi attempts to set a new record for fastest dumb offensive zone penalty when he gets called for holding the stick of Nicklas Grossman. Bertuzzi will get a minus.
1st Period 08:02 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Ian White
The Wings' 2nd line gets on the board first on some great cycle work in the zone. Hudler brings it in off a mishandle at the Detroit blue line by Grossman. After the Wings establish the zone, Hudler and Filppula work low to create chances and get the Dallas defense moving around. Finally, after a centering attempt gets blocked back to Filppula at the bottom of the circle, he realizes that all five Dallas skaters are standing at or below the hash marks. Flip goes to Ian White at the point to stretch the defense back out. White and Lidstrom pass back-and-forth before White blasts a slap shot through a Jiri Hudler screen on goal. Lehtonen makes the save, but the rebound goes straight to Zetterberg in the left faceoff circle. While Lehtonen is recovering to square to Zetterberg, Hank goes back to Filppula still low in the opposite circle. Lehtonen's momentum takes him completely out of his crease, giving Filppula enough time to pick the Zetterberg pass out of his skates and put it in the net. This is a great play by the entire line. Jiri Hudler will pick up a non-touch assist for all the work he does in the zone to pull the defense out of position. Lidstrom will pick up the third assist and Filppula will get a self-assist. On top of the points, Filppula, Hudler, and Zetterberg will each pick up bonus pluses for their work on transition and cycle.
1st Period 17:06 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (deflection) from Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula
On an offensive zone faceoff created by a good Detroit scoring chance, the Wings are able to control, move the puck around the zone twice, and finally get another goal past Lehtonen. Z wins it to Hudler, go goes to Lidstrom at the point before heading to the front of the net. Dvorak challenges Lidstrom, who passes off to Filppula at the half-boards. Flip gets a pass cross-ice to Ian White who puts it wide off Zetterberg's stick in the middle. Dvorak gets to the loose puck first in the corner, but board work by Filppula cancels out a clearing attempt and the puck rolls weakly to Z on the outside hash marks. Z throws it back on net, but it goes wide for Hudler to collect at the opposite half-boards. A dump back in meets Filppula behind the net skating to the corner with Vernon Fiddler in tow. Fiddler is too far behind Filppula, Daley covers too low, Dvorak covers too high, and Nystrom can't get over in time to prevent the pass to Zetterberg from Filppula for a one-timer attempt from 20 feet out. Unfortunately for Z, he kind of flubs the shot attempt. However, The puck moves forward and hits Jiri Hudler in the skate as he drives the net; it goes into the far side off Hudler's blade. Hudler will get a bonus plus for his work on the play moving around the zone and making smart choices. Filppula makes a good play on Dvorak to keep the puck in the zone. for Detroit to recover, which will earn him a plus.
1st Period 17:56 - Dallas Goal: Loui Eriksson (wrist shot) from Jamie Benn and Jordie Benn
50 seconds later, Dallas gets on the board with some good work by their Selke candidate. Eriksson feeds the puck to Benn at center ice to carry into the Detroit zone. Benn gets the puck knocked off his stick just inside the blue line by Drew Miller, but as Miller and Abdelkader turn to pick up the loose puck, Ericsson gets to it with speed and is able to escape them both in the corner to bring it down the wing. Eriksson tries a shot on the short side of Howard which is blocked behind the net where Eriksson again picks it up with speed and carries it out front. Ian White is covering the short-side wraparound and Abdelkader covers just above him. Unfortunately, Eriksson's speed makes Abby misjudge the angle he takes. This gives the Dallas forward the space he needs to turn in the high slot and fire a wrister through Howard to break the shutout. The only cleared minus on this play will go to Lidstrom, who is consistently covering his man around this play as it develops. Drew Miller will have his minus halved. It was kind of bad luck that his good backcheck turned into this, but he also did let Eriksson escape around the corner. White will keep his minus for not blocking the shot. Abdelkader will get an extra minus for a completely blown coverage. He cannot let Eriksson get that shot off. I'm also going to give Bertuzzi an extra half-minus. As Eriksson is carrying behind the net, Bert is chasing Jamie Benn back there. Bertuzzi has a fantastic opportunity to catch Eriksson with his head down and prevent him from coming out from behind the net. I know this would have involved him leaving his man on coverage, but I feel he made a mistake in not recognizing his opportunity here.
1st Period 19:00 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (wrist shot) from Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg
Detroit takes barely longer to answer the Dallas goal than it took Dallas to answer the previous one. Howard stops a puck behind his own net as both teams change. Ribeiro comes in to forecheck as Filppula pokes it to Kronwall. Kronner initially starts up the boards, but circles back around as the forecheck threatens. Dallas resets the forecheck as they change, but this doesn't happen quickly enough for them to effectively set up the 1-2-2. Kronwall gets it to Zetterberg, who turns on the jets in center ice and powers around Nystrom at center ice. Crossing the blue line, Z cuts to the middle, drawing Tom Wandell with him. From here, Z finds Val Filppula on the left wing streaking in wide open behind whichever forward (Dvorak) was supposed to be backchecking on him. Adam Pardy has just enough time to turn and face Filppula to try to block as many options as he can before Flip gets it to Jiri Hudler also cutting in behind all the forwards and skating into the slot. Hudler wastes no time receiving and chucking the pass into the net. First off, Niklas Kronwall will get the third assist and will also get the plus back he lost for going on a line change behind the play (Ericsson will lose his plus). Brad Stuart will also pick up a half-plus for his involvement in the defensive play before he changed for Commodore. However, Commie will keep half of his plus, as he was technically a part of the play and was serving as an outlet possibility when Kronner faced the forecheck. Zetterberg makes this play happen by driving to the middle of the ice and causing defensive confusion. This will earn Z a bonus plus.
2nd Period 01:04 - Dallas Goal: Jamie Benn (wrist shot) from Alex Goligoski and Michael Ryder
Early in the 2nd, Dallas gets to within one on a Jamie Benn goal. The play starts on an offensive zone turnover by Filppula which allows the Stars to gain the zone and begin working around the edges. After trying up one side, Dallas reverses to Michael Ryder behind the net in the corner. Ryder is pressured by Ian White into passing it back to Goligoski at the point. Under immediate pressure from Filppula, Golgoski flips it deep into the zone where it bounces to Jamie Benn off the end boards. Benn picks it up on the other side of the net and gets it just far enough in front from the corner to give him an angle to get it past Jimmy Howard. First off, this goal is half-soft. Howard does not set to Benn and allows a short-side goal where he shouldn't. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are in position on this play and will not get minuses. Ian White will keep his half- minus for allowing the pass from Ryder. Filppula will pick up an extra minus for the offensive zone turnover which led to the rush the other way. The biggest mistake remains with Ericsson, who completely loses his coverage on Benn. This will get him an extra minus-and-a-half.
2nd Period 03:51 - Detroit Goal: Cory Emmerton (wrist shot) from Gustav Nyquist and Brad Stuart
Not long after the Benn goal, Detroit regains their two-goal lead from Detroit's fourth line. Emmerton and Andersson play give-and-go entering the zone before an Emmerton centering pass goes wide for Brad Stuart to retrieve on the far side. Stu dumps it back in to Nyquist behind the net before Nyquist gets it to Emmerton behind the red line in the corner. Emmerton simply throws the puck at the net from just behind the red line and watches it bank in off him. No adjustment.
2nd Period 07:25 - Dallas Goal: Michael Ryder (wrist shot) from Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson
Minutes later, it's 4-3. Dallas recovers a blocked shot in their own zone and moves it up ice. Benn dumps it across the ice into the Wings zone where Lidstrom gloves it down, but can't get it out of the zone off the boards. Instead, Ryder picks it up and goes to Eriksson behind the net. Eriksson's pass to Benn it knocked to the half-boards where he has to turn and collect it by outmuscling Jiri Hudler. Benn and Ryder cross about five feet inside the blue line as the drop from Benn gives Ryder the puck moving the right direction. Ryder gets to the top of the circle and whips a wrister on net that gets through Jimmy Howard. This is a full weak goal by Howard. The weak goal will clear the minuses for Lidstrom, White, Hudler, Zetterberg, and Filppula. However, Lidstrom and Hudler will each earn back a minus on this play. Lidstrom turns it over in the defensive zone to let the cycle happen and Hudler gets outmuscled and beaten to a puck on the half-boards.
2nd Period 11:46 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (slap shot) from Pavel Datsyuk
Just over the halfway point in the game, Detroit gets the game-winner. Bertuzzi dumps the puck into the zone to try and retrieve behind the Dallas net. He gets outmanned by Benn and Goligoski. However, Datsyuk sweeps into the fray as well and somehow comes up with the puck by lifting Benn's stick and moving it around an on-rushing Steve Ott to find Johan Franzen standing all alone at the faceoff dot. Franzen one-times the backhand pass by Datsyuk into the top corner which Lehtonen leaves for him. Bertuzzi will get an assist added on this play, but it's all Datsyuk here. Pavs will get a bonus plus and a half-bonus-assist for the beauty he creates on this play.
3rd Period 14:07 - Dallas Goal: Michael Ryder (wrist shot) from Tom Wandell and Trevor Daley
With just under six minutes left to go in the game, Dallas makes it very interesting on Michael Ryder's second goal of the game. Detroit creates the neutral zone quagmire they're trying to create with the half-ice trap they're playing here, as Filppula's point pressure makes Trevor Daley attempts a pass across the blue line to Tom Wandell, but Brad Stuart gets a stick on it to tip it. Henrik Zetterberg tries gloving the puck down, but he collides with Stuart just inside the blue line. This allows Ryder to escape with the loose puck across the middle of the ice and essentially creates a low 2-on-1 as Ryder cuts across the middle and Burish comes around the wing on that side to give Ryder a passing option that the defense has to respect. Lidstrom attempts to get into a position which would allow him to both prevent a Ryder shot on net and a pass to Burish, but Ryder's lets his momentum carry him to the dot before firing back across his body, off Jimmy Howard's glove, and into the net. Cleared minuses go to Filppula and Hudler here for being in position. Lidstrom will keep his minus for his failure to block the Ryder shot, but the big error is in the meeting with Zetterberg and Stuart which lets Ryder have the puck to carry in dangerously. Both Z and Stu will get an extra minus for the turnover.
+0.5 to Mike Commodore, -0.5 to Jonathan Ericsson: Each of the made some good plays and some dangerous plays, but I felt they held their own. Commodore was the one who made more good plays. While Ericsson did have several very good plays on the body in this game, he also turned the puck over.
-0.5 to Todd Bertuzzi: I'm ready to park him either on a checking line or the bench until he grows back a willingness to shoot and go to the middle consistently. He avoided those two things tonight.
+1 to Danny Cleary, +0.5 to Justin Abdelkader: I liked the push from the third line in this game. Even more, I liked how defensively responsible they were. Good game by these guys.
+1 to Gustav Nyquist: 100% hustle on every. single. shift. I'm with Jeff on this guy; I'd love to see him get some shifts with scoring liners just to see if he can get some more in the way of chances.
The Hudler-Zetterberg-Filppula line had one of the best first periods I've seen from any line in a while. Unfortunately, I felt that after a strong first, they got outplayed in the 2nd and didn't do enough in the final frame. It seemed at times that Pavel Datsyuk was skating on an island; he was defensively good, but not up to his gamebeaking ways. Drew Miller was also good, but I don't feel he did as well as his third line teammates at backchecking.
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