Detroit welcomed a recently-struggling San Jose team to the Joe Louis Arena for some early Sunday action. Despite the Sharks playing a very good game, they came up empty-handed to the Wings, who played that much better on their way to a 3-2 win.
I was not impressed with the refereeing standard in this game, as things which were called on one play were not on others. San Jose got four power play chances to Detroit's three and were able to score on one of theirs. Detroit's man-advantage unit did not look good in this game. There are times when they come up empty-handed despite good puck movement and shot selection; this was not one of those games. The Wings were again outshot in the 2nd period while winning the odd-numbered rounds. This time though, the 2nd period advantage (19-8) was enough to get the Sharks the overall advantage in shots 33-28.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 06:30 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (backhand) from Jonathan Ericsson and Valtteri Filppula
Zetterberg carries into the San Jose end and throws a low shot that Niemi deflects behind the net. Filppula sweeps in to pick up the loose puck, taking it around to the corner before throwing a backhand pass out front. The pass comes to Ericsson making a trip low into the zone. Ericsson tries to control the puck on the backhand, but can't do it quite fast enough to prevent Patrick Marleau from getting his stick in and disrupting the process. Fortunately, what the movement does do is draw the defense in on Ericsson and make room for when it rolls to Zetterberg. This room allows Z to step into the middle of the ice and fire a backhand shot from the middle of the ice that sneaks through Niemi and in. Zetterberg will get a self-assist and Hudler a screener's assist.
Penalty Adjustment (x2): 14:48 into the period, the Wings draw a call when a Datsyuk forecheck brings the puck to Ian White at the top of the zone for a shot on net through a screen. Niemi stops it, but the rebound lays right out front for Datsyuk. While Pavel is cutting through to pick it up, Brent Burns delivers a chop to his stick to prevent the scoring chance. Burns goes for slashing. Datsyuk will get a plus and White a half-plus. The 2nd penalty comes near the end of the period as the Wings are pressuring deep in the Sharks zone. Todd Bertuzzi is steered into Niemi outside of the top of his crease. Niemi flops and Bert goes to the box. This is a bad call; no adjustment.
Penalty Adjustment (x2): Good pressure by the Wings' fourth line creates a play wherein Cory Emmerton draws a trip on Logan Couture. This is good hustle by Emmerton, who will get a plus. On the ensuing power play Johan Franzen goes to the box when he "hooks" Vlasic. Replay on this one shows stick-on-stick. No adjustment.
2nd Period 10:40 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (wrist shot) from Justin Abdelkader
After doing some great penalty killing work, Drew Miller is rewarded by going hard to the net. Dan Boyle fires a shot from the point as the penalty expires. Joey MacDonald sees it the entire way and kicks the rebound out the other side to Justin Abdelkader, who starts it up ice with Miller joining on his left and Franzen coming out of the box to take the right. Burns and Boyle are back on the play as Abdelkader passes it off to Miller entering the zone so he can drive the net. In doing this, Abby does a smart thing in skating behind Boyle to keep the man-advantage lively (Burns has to respect the far side with Franzen being there. Miller feathers a pass back to Abby that he directs immediately at the net. Niemi gets his left pad on it, but doesn't stop the rebound, which bounces past Burns and directly to Miller following up his own play. Miller puts it home to put Detroit up 2-0. Joey MacDonald will earn an assist for the rebound control here. Miller will also earn a self-assist with Abby getting a half bonus assist.
Penalty Adjustment: Shortly after the goal Johan Franzen gets another penalty for boarding. This time it's for boarding Joe Pavelski. This call actually is a good one and Franzen will get a minus. Regardless of Handzus getting away with one later, this is a bad play by Franzen.
2nd Period 14:33 - San Jose Goal (PP): Logan Couture (high-stick) from Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski
The Penalty - Jonathan Ericsson (interference): This is a play Brent Burns does six times in this game by stepping into a guy on the boards behind the net, but for some reason it's a penalty when a Red Wings player does it. No adjustment for bullshit.
The Sharks get on the board on a net-front scramble and a lucky bounce. The Sharks' PP gets set up around the perimeter before they finally get a feed from Pavelski to Boyle that the D-Man fires at the traffic in front. The puck doesn't get through MacDonald on the first shot or the Joe Thornton rebound attempt. Thornton picks it up behind the net and quickly throws it to Pavelski for a shot attempt which pops up in the air off MacDonald. Couture tries jamming it out of midair and in, but it pops up and bounces off the top of the net. Unfortunately, from here, it bounces into the Detroit goal off Justin Abdelkader's stick as he gets up from being knocked down in the scrum. I'd ordinarily assign blame to a guy who deflects it into his own net, but I'm having trouble faulting Abdelkader here. No adjustment.
Penalty Adjustment: Early in the third period, Jason Demers takes an interference penalty when he steps into the path of Tomas Holmstrom at the boards. Homer does the smart thing here by keeping his feet moving. The ref takes notice and whistles Demers for the interference he deserves. Holmstrom will get a plus.
3rd Period 07:01 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (slap shot) from Drew Miller
Detroit's third line is doing good work again in the zone as a puck gets to Jakub Kindl high that he shoots at the net. The puck is blocked and carried out by Handzus, but Darren Helm gets over to pester him. Helm sweep-checks the puck, which pops it up in the air. From here, Helm can't pop the puck out of mid-air, but he does eliminate Torrey Mitchell's stick and allows his and Handzus' momentum to carry them all beyond the puck for Drew Miller to pick up and carry back into the zone on the wing. Miller turning back in quickly catches Brent Burns just a little flat-footed. This forces Burns to turn and face his own net to keep Miller from driving the corner on him. As he does this, he takes his stick out of the lane from Miller to Helm in the middle of the ice. Miller hits Helm as he enters the high slot. Helm collects the puck and fires a slap shot on the short side past Niemi for what would be the game-winner. Helm will continue the self-assist streak here by getting a half assist on his own goal. Helm will also get a bonus plus for this.
Penalty Non-Adjustment: 14:54 into the third, Ryane Clowe and Justin Abdelkader fight over whose name is tougher to type. Clowe wins the fight, but it also ends some zone-time for San Jose. There's no adjustment, but at a certain level I'm happy Abdelkader took Clowe off the ice for what was basically the remainder of the game.
3rd Period 15:16 - San Jose Goal: Patrick Marleau (wrist shot) from Brent Burns
The Sharks make it interesting again with a late goal after a horrid turnover and another net-front scramble. Dan Boyle throws a puck out of his own zone that goes directly through Patrick Marleau and all the way back into the Wings' zone to be picked up by Ian White. Pavelski and Thornton come in to forecheck here, cutting off White's pass to Lidstrom in the strong-side corner and White's ability to reverse the play. As the pinch on White closes, he throws a backhand up the zone which is picked off by Brent Burns at the half-boards. Burns throws it to the front of the net for Patrick Marleau cutting in. The puck hits Marleau's skate as MacDonald comes over to challenge and rolls into Joey Mac. In the scramble here, MacDonald tries to snow-angel on top of the puck, but it just gets out from under him on the far side where Marleau picks it back up and puts it in. The turnover by Ian White will earn him an extra minus. He has got to be more aware than this. However, I'm not entirely happy with Johan Franzen's hustle or angle on this play, as the defenseman (Burns) is his coverage responsibility on this pinch. I'm going to clear the minuses for Lidstrom, Bertuzzi, and Datsyuk, but let Franzen keep his.
+1.5 to Henrik Zetterberg: The puck-possession numbers did not favor the Red Wings' 2nd line, but Henrik Zetterberg played some fantastic defense in this game. His shift to keep the Sharks pinned in their own zone with the goalie pulled was vintage Conn Smythe Zetterberg
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk: Datsyuk's puck-possession numbers DID favor him, but he was an official -1 for the game (although the adjustments already took care of that). Datsyuk won the head-to-head matchup against Joe Thornton at 5-on-5 (Thornton's assist came on the power play) and covered hard minutes against hard competition.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom: TPH backed up Datsyuk against the Thornton line and he played incredibly well in his own zone. He got the outlet passes to the sticks where they needed to go and consistently kept the play to the perimeter in his own zone. His penalty killing was also very good.
+1 to Darren Helm, Drew Miller, & Justin Abdelkader: I said it last game too, but I'll stop giving them pluses in games when they stop deserving them. These three played big PK minutes and did a great job of it. They consistently stop chances in their own end and create them in the other.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall: When Kronner is on his game, he's not making bad passes or thinking too much in his own zone. Nik Jr. had a solid game on the PK and with measured instances joining the rush well.
-1 to Jakub Kindl: The youngest member of the Wings' D-corps again had a shaky outing against a tough forechecking team. Kindl did not handle the puck well in his own zone and was lucky to be bailed out of mistakes by his forwards.
Todd Bertuzzi is a five-hour energy away from going on a hot streak again. He's generally playing in the offensive zone to keep a cycle going when he should be going to the net or going to the net when he should be playing at keeping the cycle going. Sometimes his focus just isn't there, but it feels close. Franzen had a few good plays, as did Filppula and Hudler, but I didn't feel they gave enough to warrant extra consideration. For what it's worth, the entire Detroit 4th line was closer to a plus than to a minus, but they didn't stand out.
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