Detroit came out of the All-Star break looking to get back on track after seeing an 8-game win streak snapped in an embarrassing loss to Montreal last Wednesday. Fortunately, they were able to shake the rust of the break and the emotion of a quite incredible ceremony in Calgary honoring Brad McCrimmon to overcome a tight-checking Flames team.
I thought referees Chris Rooney and Kyle Rehman did a good job of managing the game without taking it over with the way they called penalties. In a Red Wings game that nearly featured two fights, they did well to keep control of the situation when called for. Unfortunately, Detroit's special teams lost the battle in this one, as they failed to put the game away on any of their three power play opportunities and allowed Calgary's only goal on one of their two chances. Detroit was outshot 29-25 in this one thanks in large part to a dominant 2nd period from the Flames.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 05:57 - Detroit Goal: Cory Emmerton (wrist shot) from Justin Abdelkader and Jan Mursak
Tom Kostopoulos carries the puck at center ice and dumps it into the Wings zone to go chase. Mursak uses his jets to beat Kostco to the puck easily and play it to Lidstrom on the safe side. Lidstrom holds for a bit to let the play develop before hitting Mursak in full stride coming through center ice from behind his own net. Mursak carries across the blue line and lays it off to Abdelkader on his right wing so he can go to the net and take Chris Butler with him. Abby uses the space granted by Mursak's wake to put a shot on Kiprusoff through a screen from the top of the circle. Kiprusoff stops the screened shot, but kicks the rebound directly to Cory Emmerton crashing the far side for an easy put-away. Mursak's speed is on full display here and has a lot to do with how it all develops. His backchecking and awareness coming back up ice will net Mursak a bonus plus. Lidstrom will get the third assist for the outlet pass as well.
Penalty Adjustment: Less than a minute after the goal, the Wings are again in the offensive zone trying to create chances. Datsyuk throws a puck at the middle of the ice hoping that Bertuzzi can get a stick on it through the coverage by Olli Jokinen. The puck gets knocked away, but Bertuzzi gets careless with his stick and ends up bringing down Jokinen. This is a minus for Bertuzzi.
2nd Period 01:59 - Calgary Goal (PP): Mike Cammalleri (backhand) from Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen
The Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi (interference): Bert kind of loses his mind early in the second period and hits Chris Butler behind the play to take this penalty. Minus for Bertuzzi
On the power play, Calgary pulls even thanks to some strong net-front play. Detroit kills the first minute and forces Calgary to chase down a cleared puck, but they get it back in when a very long pass from their own zone hits Iginla skating away from the Wings' zone. Iggy draws Ericsson up and dumps it in behind him where Olli Jokinen sweeps in to pick it up. Ericsson is actually the high man to Danny Cleary's low coverage here when Cleary steps toward Jokinen so as to cut off his angle up the boards higher in the zone and in the process gives Jokinen too much room to move from the half-boards down low to take advantage of a missing coverage in front. He skates to the low corner and dumps it to Cammalleri behind the net, who throws it immediately out front where both Ericsson and Cleary have recently vacated to chase their men trying to regain positioning. Alex Tanguay gets it here and has room to step into the slot for a blast at Jimmy Howard. Tiberius stops the shot, but can't hold onto the rebound as Cammalleri comes out from behind the net on the far side and is able to swoop in behind the defense to pick up and put in the rebound. Naturally, blame is going to fall to Cleary and Ericsson for a miscommunication which leads to the breakdown and the eventual goal. Cleary will get a half-minus on the play, as he needs to force Jokinen higher into the zone rather than lower. However, Ericsson makes a couple of goofs here which will combine to earn him a full minus. Chasing Iginla across his own blue line allows the Flames to set up and then taking too long to get back prevents them from stopping Tanguay out front.
Penalty Adjustment: 5:42 into the 2nd period, Olli Jokinen goes to the box for hooking on Nik Kronwall. Kronner is low in the zone after taking a pass and deking Kiprusoff clean out of his pants before shooting it wide. Kronner continues his one-man wrecking show by chasing his own rebound to the corner, where Jokinen is caught by surprise and gets his stick parallel to slow Kronner down. This play will earn Kronwall a plus.
3rd Period 11:29 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (backhand) from Valtteri Filppula
The game-winner comes off a little bit of luck which may or may not have been self-directed. The Flames try another long pass from deep in their own zone to a player at the offensive blue line to tip in. This time, the tip is intended to go to Iginla skating directly down the center of the ice at Ian White. Fortunately, an astute backcheck by Hudler takes the puck away and turns it back the other way. Hudler skates back to the hash marks before turning and throwing a pass to Filppula exiting the zone after having come back and in support before turning back around to start transition. Flip takes the puck off the boards just inside the neutral zone and does a very quick turn to aim at the middle of the ice. This turn forces Chris Butler to get his skates caught up while he adjusts and makes him fall down. Filppula recognizes this and steps around him to drive the outside lane. Jay Bouwmeester gets over to prevent Flip from cutting in front of the net, so instead Filppula goes just behind the net to bring Kipper out and then throws a backhand designed most likely to hit off the goaltender and go in. Instead of this, the puck hits the post and comes straight out through the crease, where a late-crashing Jiri Hudler gets a stick on it to bang it home. The backcheck by Hudler and the pass to start the rush will earn Happy a bonus plus and a self-assist. Filppula makes a clever move to force the defense here and will earn a half-plus.
3rd Period 15:58 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (wrist shot) from Danny Cleary and Darren Helm
Just after the end of a Red Wings power play, they're able to add the much-needed insurance marker off the rush. Mark Giordano steps out of the box and carries the puck up ice into the Detroit zone where Cleary and Helm combine to take it away and get it to Ian White. White goes cross-ice to Kronwall, who crosses the ice from his own zone again to hit Helm in the neutral zone. Helm does the quick hook-and-ladder play to lay the puck there so Cleary can pick it up in stride and bring it to the center stripe. Mike Cammalleri steps up on Cleary, but Helm has also stepped into the rush and receives the pass on the wing from Cleary. Helm brings the puck across the blue line where he's pressured by Cammalleri from behind and Chris Butler along the boards. Fortunately, Butler doesn't recognize that Drew Miller is also joining the rush and Jarome Iginla is on the wrong side of the ice. This gives Helm room to go laterally off the boards about five feet to Cleary who is still moving with speed. Cleary receives the pass and gets behind Butler, creating an in-zone 2-on-1 with Drew Miller charging the back door and Cory Sarich caught as the D-Man who has to make a play. Cleary steps around Sarich as he moves over to pressure the puck carrier and delivers a backhand pass to Drew Miller on the back door for an easy put-away. First things' first on this play is to give the pluses that are awarded to Stuart and Ericsson back to Kronwall and White, their rightful owners. The D changes behind this play, but I feel that White and Kronner each have something to do with how this one turns out. In fact, Kronwall is going to pick up a third assist and White a fourth for their calm breakout. Cleary and Helm will each pick up a bonus half-plus for their work retrieving the puck from Giordano and getting it back up ice so quickly.
1st Period 10:26 - TJ Brodie (slashing): The Wings are in the middle of creating a chance here, which is the sole reason a penalty is called, but this is a horribly weak slash to be giving anybody credit for drawing.
1st Period 15:51 - Mike Commodore & Tim Jackman (fighting): Both men engage in some post-whistle fun near Jimmy Howard's net. It's not a stupid fight nor a momentum-changer. I like it as a concept, but it's not worth an adjustment.
2nd Period 10:33 - Brad Stuart (interference) & Alex Tanguay (slashing): Even-up penalties. I haven't seen a good replay of this, so I can't tell you what happened.
3rd Period 12:56 - Tom Kostopoulos & Justin Abdelkader (roughing): This one got a bit chippy, huh?
3rd Period 13:36 - Mark Giordano (interference) Geodude & Cleary do a bunch of interfering with one another on this play, but the Flames D-man gets himself caught pushing Cleary's stick away from him after Danny loses it.
+1 to Justin Abdelkader & Cory Emmerton: I felt these two were Detroit's best forwards through the first period with how well they forechecked and played in their own zone. Emmerton was rewarded with a goal for his efforts, but he also did all of the little things right. Abdelkader laid the body effectively and made an heroic shot block on Iginla short handed.
+1 to Valtteri Filppula: Flip was a defensive dynamo in this one. I still want him to shoot the puck more, but considering he was on the ice for so much time against Jarome Iginla and I felt he won that battle, I'm very happy with his level of play.
+0.5 to Henrik Zetterberg: Z also played a ton of shut-down minutes against the Flames' most dangerous unit. His bonus adjustment is lowered by one particularly bad turnover in his own zone late in the 2nd period.
+0.5 to Pavel Datsyuk: Pavel ended up with zero shots on goal, but still got himself very close to earning a marker. He also basically erased a resurgent Olli Jokinen from existence at 5-on-5.
+1 to Ian White & Nicklas Lidstrom: Detroit's top pair played exactly like one would be expected to in this one. These were the only two D-Men to carry a positive Corsi rating in this game and that was despite being the crew set to handle Jarome Iginla and his 5 shots on goal. I felt they did a very good job of slowing down the Calgary rush and making transition happen the other way.
+0.5 to Brad Stuart & Niklas Kronwall: The Wings' second pair had a solid defensive outing. Kronwall was a tiny bit shakier than Stuart, but he also made up for it in flashier ways.
+0.5 to Mike Commodore: Commie played fewer than ten minutes in this one, but he registered three blocked shots and 2 hits. He threw the body around well and stayed well within his positioning.
Jonathan Ericsson's two giveaways canceled some otherwise smart in-zone work on the boards and will leave him with no adjustment on the night. I actually liked the fire shown by Franzen, but I think he got himself shut down just as much as he was helping to shut down the Flames. Jan Mursak had an impressive showing in his 7:32 TOI. Hopefully as he regains his full game shape, he can start earning a few more minutes.
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