ALLLL BYYYYY MY-SEEEEeeeeEEEEELF!
Finishing up a great weekend in Chicago, it's time to get caught up on the CSSI from the split weekend. Game 1 on Saturday featured a rivalry game going back to the old Norris division. The Wings traveled to Toronto for a matchup at the ACC. Unfortunately, the Wings found themselves down early on mistakes, fought back to a tie, and then made one final and fatal mistake to lose the game.
Maybe it's a difference in the way teams play at midseason and maybe it's a difference in how games are reffed, but this was another one where there was a bit of chintzy stuff which could have been called and wasn't. Both teams were allowed to play with a handful of uncalled obstructions. Toronto definitely won this special teams battle though, going 1-for-1 on the power play, converting on a penalty shot, and preventing Detroit from scoring on their only power play chance. Detroit outshot Toronto 40-18.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 04:30 - Toronto Goal (PS): Phil Kessel (wrist shot)
The Penalty - Ian White (hooking): Phil Kessel gets behind the Wings on a line change after some good forechecking work in the offensive zone leads to a Zetterberg backhand shot from the high slot which is stopped out front and turned up ice to Kessel splitting the defense on a pass from Tim Connolly. The problem of the pass connecting here is both on White and Zetterberg. Z will pull a half-minus not for the weak shot attempt, but for not stopping the Connolly pass. White can't let Kessel get behind him and he will get a full minus.
This one isn't soft, as Kessel moves in on Howard while keeping a maximum amount of options open for him to make a move. Kessel skates fairly deep on Howard while putting dekes on him. He finally gets Howard to bite on a 50/50 decision whether he's truly going forehand roof or he'll try to slide it through the five-hole during the move. Kessel makes his move to perfection. No adjustment.
1st Period 08:19 - Toronto Goal (PP): Dion Phaneuf (slap shot)
The Penalty - Henrik Zetterberg (holding the stick): Z grabs the stick of Carl Gunnarsson on the forecheck in the corner of the Leafs' zone. It's an obvious penalty and one which will earn Zetterberg a minus.
Just seven seconds into the penalty, Dion Phaneuf puts Toronto up by two goals. Pavel Datsyuk wins the defensive zone faceoff to Stuart, who is immediately pressured by Joffrey Lupul. Stu tosses it behind the net off the boards intended for Danny Cleary. The puck takes a weird bounce off the boards, but Cleary is first on it anyway. Now with less time, Cleary turns on the puck away from Clarke MacArthur and tries to clear up the center of the ice. Unfortunately, he gets zero lift on this puck and it goes straight to Dion Phaneuf at the top of the zone to tee up and fire into the net. Danny Cleary will get a turnover minus on this for giving it straight to the other team.
1st Period 11:36 - Toronto Goal: David Steckel (wrist shot) from Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel
The Wings get a very good scoring chance on net off a Jiri Hudler feed to Valtteri Filppula standing in front. Flip doesn't finish the chance and the Leafs head up ice in transition. While both Filppula and Zetterberg crash the crease to try to pick up the puck in a net-front scramble, Joffrey Lupul gets it out behind them and heads out of the zone. Jiri Hudler steps up to try and prevent Lupul from escaping, but he pushes it forward and around Hudler where Kessel can pick it up and head in on the wing. Kessel hits the blue line where Ian White steps up and throws an area pass to the top of the circle where Lupul gets to it with a step on a hard-backchecking Zetterberg. This is now a 2-on-1 at the top of the circles as Lidstrom is between Lupul and Steckel. Try as he might, Lidstrom cannot prevent the pass across the ice just outside the crease which leaves the back door wide open for Steckel to put the puck home. I'm going to absolve Howard of blame on this goal. He is square to Lupul and has to be able to count on his defense to prevent the cross-ice pass. This looks like a bad backcheck from Zetterberg, but the true fault of the odd-man here goes to Hudler. Z stars out playing net-front on an offensive opportunity. When the breakout starts, Hudler is the one who tries to step up on Lupul and both fails to keep the puck from leaving the zone and fails to keep Lupul from leaving the zone with speed. Hudler's angle needs to eliminate one of those two things and it doesn't. This will earn Hudler an extra minus. Ian White, Val Filppula, and Henrik Zetterberg will keep their minuses. Between flubbing good scoring opportunities and letting pucks through them, they're not innocent on this play. Lidstrom will get an extra half-minus. He had a few chances to keep this from happening like it did and didn't. The area pass to Lupul was a chance for him to sweep the puck to safety and he chose wrongly to let it connect. Then he failed to prevent the cross-ice pass to the easy tip-in. He played this wrong.
Penalty Adjustment: Early in the 2nd, the Wings top line draws a penalty as good stick work from Datsyuk and Bertuzzi leads to Bert skating in on net. Mikhail Grabovski plays some lazy defense and hooks Bert's hand to go to the box. This will earn a plus for Bertuzzi on the good stick work to get around him in the first place.
2nd Period 06:46 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (tip-in) from Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen
As the 2nd period goes on, Bert continues his good play by creating the Wings' first goal. Detroit gets it into the Toronto zone on a waved-off icing call that Cody Franson gets to first, but is forced to dump it hard around the boards by a Bertuzzi forecheck. Franzen tips it at the half-boards in Kronwall's direction. As Nikolai Kulemin pressures at the point, Kronwall makes a diving play to sweep the puck to Datsyuk skating back toward the blue line from the middle of the ice. Datsyuk goes to Franzen at the blue line and the two cross. Instead of taking it back around the middle where the coverage has solidified, Franzen leaves the puck there for Pavel to turn toward the net on the outside. Grabovski keeps him from making a move to the middle, but Pavel throws it to the front of the net from the half-boards. Bertuzzi is in front to tip the puck in and break the shutout. Kronwall will get a third assist and a bonus plus for his work on the keep-in. Bertuzzi's aggressive forecheck will get him a half-plus. Datsyuk does good work earlier on this shift at both creating transition for the Wings and preventing it for the Leafs. Datsyuk will also earn a half-plus.
2nd Period 15:49 - Detroit Goal: Niklas Kronwall (backhand) from Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk
Both teams change on a dump-in to the Toronto zone, but Detroit gets it back and climbs one step closer to tying it up. Keith Aulie carries from behind the net as Franzen steps in to pressure him. Aulie tries to bounce a pass of the boards around Franzen to Lupul, but he misses with it and the puck goes to center where it's taken in by Datsyuk at the offside faceoff circle. Lupul immediately gets on Datsyuk and pokes the puck off his stick back toward the Detroit zone. Franzen gets to it first and resets the play by going back to Kronwall in the Detroit zone. Kronner holds to draw the forechecker in and then goes back to Franzen with a cross-ice area pass off the boards which Franzen picks up in stride to carry in before Toronto's 4-man box can get wide enough to stop him. Franzen toe-drags around Aulie to give himself room to skate behind the net unimpeded. As the play cycles around with Bert going net-front and Datsyuk cutting up through the middle of the ice, all five Toronto skaters find themselves below the tops of the circles and between the faceoff dots. Franzen sees this as he comes out the other side and leaves the puck for Kronwall to pick up streaking down the boards as he switches positions with Kronwall. Tim Connolly is very late to pick up on this change and leaves a gigantic lane to the net from the low corner that Kronner's approaching. Bert does good work here by stepping toward Kronwall's side to box out Phaneuf enough to keep the lane open. Kronner cuts in front of the net and gets tripped up by Phaneuf as he goes across the goal mouth. Fortunately, he finds the puck on the other side of Gustavsson as it slides through the crease and backhands it in on his way to the ice. First off, Datsyuk will lose his assist on this play. He last touches the puck 19 seconds before the goal and his contribution to it happening is to have the puck knocked off his stick by Joffrey Lupul to be recovered by Franzen. Mule however will get a bonus assist and bonus plus for all of his work on this play to create space and havoc. When he has the puck, he's doing things right and when he doesn't have the puck, he helps make sure the Wings recover it quickly. Kronwall will also get a self-assist for helping with the transition game back into the zone. Finally, Bertuzzi will get a non-touch assist for his net-front work making room and keeping Kronwall's lane to the net open for him.
3rd Period 04:32 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (wrist) Brad Stuart and Henrik Zetterberg
The Wings pick up a loose puck in front of their own net off a shot by Komisarek which is blocked out front. Ian White gets it to Zetterberg to exit the zone with Filppula on the far wing and Hudler on the near. Z drops it to Flip crossing the blue line so he can drive the net and pick up the rebound on the shot. Hank does this and circles in the corner to face back into the play. Again, the Toronto defense has collapsed too low and is only covering one side of the ice. This leaves Hudler all alone at the back door in front of the net and Stuart all alone at the far point. As Zetterberg cuts back into the circle with Komisarek and Kessel trying to pinch on him, he gets a backhand feed to Brad Stuart at the top of the opposite circle. Stuart tees one up and blasts it on net with Hudler out front. Gustavsson stops the initial shot, but can't prevent Huds from poking in the rebound to tie it up. Filppula will get the third assist for the shot on goal which serves to create the rebound that Zetterberg picks up.
3rd Period 07:10 - Toronto Goal: Joffrey Lupul (backhand)
Toronto gets the game-winner off another defensive zone faceoff win and turnover by the Red Wings. This time, Z wins the puck to Hudler, who puts it behind the net for Kronwall. Kronner lazily throws the puck around the boards behind the net, flubbing the chance enough so that Joffrey Lupul is in perfect position to get the puck behind the net and carry it out front with nobody around. Jimmy Howard bites ridiculously early without challenging the shooter and Lupul roofs it over him. This is a soft goal by Howard, which will clear the minuses for Stuart, Kronwall, Zetterberg, Hudler, and Filppula. However, the turnover by Kronwall to a wide-open man in an area where nobody's there to cover is cardinal sin territory and will get Kronwall to a -2 on this play.
-1 to Danny Cleary: He was very weak on the puck in this game and made bad decisions throughout. I was not impressed with his play.
I thought Kindl and Ericsson played well on Saturday. They weren't good enough to earn bonuses, but they were fairly quiet. Nyquist and Conner were also impressive, but not enough so in their 6:47 of ice time to earn a plus. I thought Kronwall maybe could have gotten an extra minus, but overall that's mostly be being very, very, very, very angry over the turnover which led to the game-winner and that's not very fair.
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