The Red Wings found themselves out-of-sync going up against a motivated Coyotes squad on Monday night and ended up losing the game because of it. Detroit was only able to get one goal by Mike Smith. I'm not sure that level of effort was the main problem (although it was one of them), but it felt like Detroit was over-thinking on choppy ice against a team like this. I mean, c'mon; Shane Doan is their captain. Are you really going to overthink?
Coming to the "Detroit lost the special teams battle" portion of the post, I feel it warrants mentioning that Detroit lost the special teams battle. They actually did score a power play goal on the night, which balanced nicely with the shorthanded one they gave up. Sadly, the Coyotes' power play game-winning goal upset the balance and tipped the scales in favor of Phoenix. The Wings outshot their foes 31-23 in the loss.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment (x2): At 4:58, Ian White gets his stick parallel while battling Shane Doan in the corner. This is a stupid play to make.. White will get a minus. 38 seconds later, Darren Helm draws an even-up call as he does some dogged work in the top corner of the zone battling against three Coyotes players. Finally, he forces Martin Hanzal to trip him up and we go 4-on-4 for a spell. Darren Helm will get a plus.
1st Period 07:22 - Phoenix Goal (SH): Boyd Gordon (deke) unassisted
While on the 38-second-long power play, Detroit gives up a goal to Boyd Gordon. The Wings get set up and bring it up ice right as the power play starts. Kronwall dishes to Zetterberg at center ice and he finds a seam to gain the blue line just inside of Jiri Hudler holding his spot in along the boards at the mark. Z crosses and cuts in to throw a pass to the far side where Valtteri Filppula has just crossed as well. I feel this play was designed to get it to the point man with room thanks to Flip skating in front, but it's very possible that the pass is intended for Filppula and just way behind him. Either way, the puck bounces off the boards of the open point and out to center. Boyd Gordon gets a good jump on it while Ian White and Niklas Kronwall bump into one another, as they'd both trying to play the same position. Neither can stop Gordon from picking it up and coming in all alone on MacDonald. Gordon on the breakaway does a move similar to what Danny Cleary looked like he was trying to fake in Edmonton and gets the goalie to bite. Despite my rage at the power play, this isn't the fault of Hudler or Filppula and they'll be cleared of minuses. Zetterberg, White, and Kronwall, on the other hand will each pick up an extra minus for the communication/timing error which leads to this turnover.
2nd Period 06:55 - Phoenix Goal (PP): Martin Hanzal (wrist shot) from Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata
The Penalties - Ian White (tripping) and Pavel Datsyuk (hooking): The goal here comes on a 5-on-4, but the penalties overlapping makes a difference. Ian White will get a minus for some brutally bad work in his own zone which ends in him taking down Oliver Ekman-Assassin. Datsyuk helps create a shorthanded scoring opportunity with Filppula, but instead of separating in front of the net and trying to get his stick on the ice, he gets it parallel on Oliver Ekman-Larsson to go to the box for hooking, earning Datsyuk a minus.
Phoenix gets a power play goal by bringing the puck off the half-boards and pressuring the PK unit. Novel concept, to be sure. Phoenix dumps it behind the net where Ericsson and White fight to get it away from the forecheckers. They're able to push it toward Zetterberg in the corner, but Z whiffs on a clearing attempt, which allows the Coyotes to keep it in and reset the cycle with Shane Doan at the point going to Vrbata at the half boards before he cycles it to Whitney coming from in low to take his position. This entire cycle happens on the left wing side of the ice while Zetterberg and White defend. After the pass from Vrbata to Whitney, Ian White hits a bit of a rut and loses his balance just long enough for Whitney to take a step inside to a shooting lane and put a wrister into the mess of traffic out front. The puck deflects off Martin Hanzal's leg and into the net. It's a bit of a bad break on bad ice for White here. The only real avoidable problem was Zetterberg's failed clear, which will earn him a minus.
Penalty Adjustment: 15:04 into the middle frame, Pavel Datsyuk earns back his plus thanks to some good transition work by Johan Franzen to steal a puck and get it up ice to Datsyuk moving already. Michal Roszival hooks Datsyuk as he goes by. The ref doesn't call this until Roszival also lets go of his stick and Datsyuk trips over it.
2nd Period 17:14 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk
The Penalty - Rostislav Klesla (delay-of-game): Rusty bats a puck out of midair right behind his own net and it goes over the glass. Not a forced penalty; no adjustment.
Holy shit, a PP goal... This penalty happens moments after the expiration of a previous one, so it's almost like the culmination of a double-minor on Phoenix. Zetterberg wins the offensive zone faceoff to Datsyuk, who goes to Lidstrom at the point. The PKers set up as Lidstrom returns the pass to Datsyuk looping from high. The pass around Gordon leads Datsyuk a little and gets him moving toward the net, which kind of freezes Oliver Ekman-Twist and allows Datsyuk to go to Zetterberg behind the net. Z carries around to the far side while Franzen gets set up out front. Adrian Aucoin hands off his coverage of the net-front guy to his defensive partner so he can chase down Zetterberg, but he does this right about at the same time that Zetterberg daylights from behind the net with a passing angle to Franzen. Mule has body and stick position on Oliver Ekman-fuckthisguy and jams it under Mike Smith from the top of the crease. Lidstrom will pick up a third assist and Zetterberg will pick up a plus for winning the faceoff and helping set up the play so well.
3rd Period 19:31 - Phoenix Goal (EN): Martin Hanzal (wrist shot) from Ray Whitney
Detroit can't score on their next power play, so they're reduced to trying to get a goal with MacDonald pulled. Phoenix's pressure on the boards forces a clear where Johan Franzen picks up the loose puck along the boards at his own blue line. Doan pressures Franzen here, as he throws a backhand up ice. The puck goes straight to Ray Whitney at the center line. Holmstrom is there to pressure Whitney into passing the puck off the Hanzal, who walks it in and softly deposits it into the net. Nobody is getting a minus cleared here, as it's the whole unit's fault the puck god cleared. Franzen is going to get most of the blame. This turnover is a pass made between Holmstrom and Lidstrom to nobody in particular. Franzen will get an extra 1.5 minuses for this. Franzen shows all the on-ice awareness of a lemming with this pass, as even if it gets through Whitney, it's not likely to also get through Hanzal.
1st Period 18:19 - Nicklas Lidstrom (Hooking): Weak bullshit considering the stickwork that's gone on in this period and the interference which hasn't been called. No adjustment.
3rd Period 14:03 - Shane Doan (tripping): If you want to call this a good penalty, then ok, it's Shane Doan getting his stick lazily caught in Franzen's feet. Even as a Wings fan, I felt this was a soft call given to a team down by one goal late in the third.
-1 to Pavel Datsyuk & Todd Bertuzzi: Datsyuk had some shifts where he looked motivated. That made the other shifts of his look particularly bad by comparison. He was not sharp in this game. His linemate Bertuzzi wasn't much better as far as how he played. Bert could not win a board battle to save his life and that's kind of his job (winning board battles, not saving lives).
-1.5 to Johan Franzen: Franzen was just extra-awful in this game. If this were a garbage sunday with oily mess and skin-flake sprinkles on top, Franzen would have been the rotten cherry to finish the thing off.
-1 to Nicklas Lidstrom: The Wings' captain did not look good in this game. The regularly smooth passing and skating were just off.
+1 to Danny Cleary & Justin Abdelkader: I felt these two moved their feet better than everybody else on the night. Cleary had a fantastic shot block to end the Phoenix 5-on-3 and Abdelkader managed to go 4-0 in the faceoff dot.
+0.5 to Darren Helm & Drew Miller: Not quite as impressive as the other two grinders, I liked what these two brought from the third line. Here's where I lament Helm's lack of finish.
+0.5 to Jonathan Ericsson: Big Rig spent much of his time on ice in this game against Lauri Korpikoski and Shane Doan, yet let the Wings in corsi. Sadly, an ugly defensive zone turnover in the third brought this rating down, but Ericsson played the most consistent defense of all the Wings blueliners in this one.
I was neither impressed nor disappointed in the play of Commodore or Kindl, definitely not to the point of saying that either has definitely won his spot in the lineup when Stuart comes back from his illness. Cory Emmerton continues to impress to the point where I worry about his being able to clear waivers at this point, but he didn't do enough to warrant bonus consideration.
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