Detroit was able to snap out of their recent playing slump with a good effort against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. Returning to the Joe Louis Arena to shoot for consecutive win number 18 on their home ice was enough to get Detroit a victory, even after losing the 2-0 lead they built in the first half of play. After Edmonton tied it, the Wings poured it back on and came away with the 4-2 victory.
The Oilers were given seven power play opportunities in this game thanks to some heroic work by the refs to give penalties randomly. Fortunately, the Wings could say they won the special teams battle for the first time in what feels like a month. The Oilers did get one on the power play, but 1-7 isn't nearly as bad as they had been lately. The Wings were also able to go 1-4 on their own power play chances with Johan Franzen scoring his 2nd PP goal in as many games. Overall, the Wings outshot the Oil 30-17. Nearly half of Edmonton's shots came in the third period.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment: Following a clean hit on Ian White in the neutral zone, Justin Abdelkader cross-checks Ryan Jones and then loses a fight to him. Minus for Abdelkader. I understand the concept of "standing up for your teammates", but I'll always hate fighting after clean hits. Besides, even without the fight, the cross-check was dumb.
1st Period 13:18 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (tip-in) from Ian White and Pavel Datsyuk
The Penalty - Eric Belanger (holding the stick): This could have been any one of three penalty calls the Oilers deserved on this great shift by Datsyuk, Holmstrom, and Emmerton. These three combine to create several dangerous chances before a down-and-out Belanger gets called for grabbing Holmstrom's stick in front of the net to prevent a rebound chance. Datsyuk and Holmstrom will get a full plus and Emmerton a half.
Detroit gets on the board first with a well-set power play goal. Edmonton does get a clear, but for the most part, this play is 1:07 of the Red Wings' power play unit cycling the play around the zone until a good lane opens. The zone entry is actually done on a dump-in that's kept in by Ian White on the boards with some help by Zetterberg and Datsyuk. The two forwards and Franzen cycle low in the corner for a bit before breaking that to go back to the points and reverse the play. White goes to Lidstrom, who goes to Zetterberg, who tries to feed Franzen low in front. The puck deflects back to the other corner where Datsyuk picks it up and carries high to play catch with Ian White. Ryan Jones gets caught between the two of them when Pavs feeds it back to White up top. The three remaining PKers are all below the tops of the circles and fairly spread out around Zetterberg and Franzen. White fires a low, tippable half-slapper around the stick of Tom Gilbert and onto Franzen's stick for the tip over Khabibulin. Half-pluses go to White, Datsyuk, and Zetterberg for their work setting up the play. Z will also pick up an assist for his work away from the puck.
Penalty Adjustment: at 15:27 of the first, Cory Emmerton goes to the box for grabbing Jeff Petry while going in on the forecheck behind the Edmonton net. This is an obvious penalty and a bad one for Emmerton to take. Emmerton will get a minus.
2nd Period 02:45 - Detroit Goal: Cory Emmerton (wrist shot) from Justin Abdelkader and Danny Cleary
Emmerton makes up for the penalty by charging the net to poke home a rebound. After a dump-in, Miller, Cleary, and Jakub Kindl combine to regain possession in the corner to Khabibulin's left. Eventually, Miller and Cleary turn it to the other corner, leaving Kindl to regain his spot at the point with Abdelkader coming back down to join the forecheck when the puck comes back into that same corner on a reverse. Here, Abdelkader ties up with Ryan Smyth before Cleary and Tom Gilbert join in the fun. Smyth actually kicks it low in the zone past the fray, but Abdelkader separates first while Cleary and Gilbert remain tied up. Abby picks it up right at the corner of the goalie trapezoid and follows the line up to get a short-side stuff-in attempt thanks to Cam Barker's slow reaction speed. Khabibulin stops this attempt while Barker lays into Abdelkader. The puck rolls off the goalie's stick and right to Cory Emmerton, who has changed for Miller during the scrum in the corner. Emmerton crashes the top of the crease in a mile-wide coverage hole. Emmerton pokes the puck into the net and gives the Wings the 2-0 lead. I'm going to give both Abdelkader and Cleary a bonus plus for their great work on the boards. Kindl will get a half-assist (third) for his role earlier in the cycle. Miller will also earn a plus for the work earlier on the shift. This is an excellent grinding goal.
Penalty Adjustment: 5:11 into the 2nd period, Pavel Datsyuk is having a dominant shift when Ladislav Smid gets caught being stupid. Datsyuk walks him and Smid brings him down. Datsyuk will get a plus.
2nd Period 11:08 - Edmonton Goal: Sam Gagner (backhand) from Ryan Jones and Jeff Petry
Edmonton gets on the boards as Ben Eager has his first good play of the season (in the process of hurting a guy) and disrupts a Detroit line change which leads to a breakaway. The Wings clear the zone with Ericsson and Cleary combining to get it to center ice. Cleary dumps it in and gets knocked into the bench door by Eager. Khabibulin gets the puck to Petry deep in the zone, who passes forward to Ryan Jones. Jones turns and sees Gagner all alone skating toward the Red Wings zone and hits him with a pass. This breaks Gagner in with nary a Red Wings player in sight. Gagner skates in on MacDonald with Eager joining to make it a 2-on-0. Gagner dekes Joey Mac and puts it in over him. Both Holmstrom and Miller will be cleared of minuses on this play. Miller is forechecking deep and Homer has just come on for Cleary when the pass gets to Gagner. Helm will keep a half-minus, as he's supposed to be very close to where he actually is in the zone, but I don't think he's got a chance at preventing this pass anyway. The biggest issue here is the three defensemen and their lack of communication. Ericsson is part of the up-ice rush and needs to change immediately. Instead, he pauses to consider whether he wants to fight Ben Eager. Meanwhile, Jakub Kindl will get back his shift change minus because he doesn't recognize the situation and changes, despite him being the last man back. Ian White is slow to jump on the ice and is completely out of the play by the time the Oilers realize nobody's covering Hemsky. I'm only going to let White keep his minus without assigning extra blame. There's enough of that to give to Ericsson and Kindl for both making the wrong decision in regards to who's doing what. Ericsson's failure to change and Kindl's insistence on it are going to earn them both an extra minus.
3rd Period 08:23 - Edmonton Goal (PP): Sam Gagner (backhand) from Magnus Paajarvi
The Penalty - Justin Abdelkader (tripping): Abby is forechecking, chasing Whitney out from behind his own net when he carelessly swings his stick and jabs Whitney's skates out from under him while he turns. Dumb play here. Minus for Abdelkader.
The Oilers pull even on the power play with net-front work. The Wings clear the puck and force Edmonton to carry back in. Smyth gains the blue line and does a cross-corner dump that Kronwall gets to just prior to Paajarvi. Kronner tries to go up the boards, but has this attempt picked off cleanly by the vowel-infested youngster. Paajarvi is already moving with speed and catches Brad Stuart unable to keep him to the outside. Stu finds himself a spectator as Paajarvi loops at the goal line and out in front before cutting across the top of the crease for a scoring chance. MacDonald tracks him the entire way and stops his eventual shot on goal, but he can't keep the rebound off Gagner's stick. Samwise comes in through the middle and deposits the loose puck into the net to tie it up. Brad Stuart is going to pick up a half-minus on this play. It's tough that he's caught here by a bad turnover by his teammate, but he's already coasting outside of the D-man's box when the turnover happens and is not far enough to the inside to prevent this move by Paajarvi. Kronwall will pick up two minuses. The first is for the turnover to Paajarvi and the second is for his failure to pick up Gagner as he comes in. Not a good shift by Kronner.
3rd Period 10:46 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (backhand) from Justin Abdelkader
Justin Abdelkader is sick and tired of this tied hockey game bullshit and Drew Miller is just the kind of guy he needs to help him solve that problem. The play starts behind the Detroit net as both sides change. Stuart collects for Kronwall, who passes to Miller. Miller takes it from the middle of the ice in the Detroit zone to the boards where he's set on by two forecheckers. Before being run to the boards, Miller throws an outlet pass up ice that's barely tipped out of the reach of Abdelkader as he enters the zone. Khabibulin plays it to the boards for Cam Barker. Abby bumps Barker and the puck bounces off the boards past both of them. Helm flies in to get a stick on it at the same time as Belanger. The puck stays where it's at, which gives Abdelkader the inside track to bring it to the slot and fire a shot at the five-hole (where else?). Khabibulin stops it, but the puck lays behind him as he prays the ref blows the whistle. Since the ref can plainly see the puck behind the goalie, he lets the play keep running. Helm is the first to realize it's loose, but he misses it from the far side of Khabibulin. Fortunately, Drew Miller crashes in and gets his stick on it to poke it home for the game-winner. This play is mostly Abby, who will get a bonus plus and a bonus half-assist. Darren Helm will also earn an assist for his hustle and crease-crashing work.
3rd Period 14:44 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (wrist shot) from Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall
Henrik Zetterberg gets off the goal-scoring schneide with patience and a goal-scorer's touch. Edmonton clogs up the neutral zone pretty well, forcing Detroit to regroup several times before a cross-ice feed from Filppula gets Hudler into the zone on the right wing side. Hudler tries an aerial pass to Zetterberg streaking to the net which just misses. Anton Lander defends it and pokes the puck from behind the net out in front intended for Barker. Hudler and Filppula (shadowing Eager) combine to take it off Barker's stick. Flip gets it and takes it behind the net where he tries to feed Z just in front of the red line between the net & boards. Barker knocks Z down and the puck rolls to the top of the zone where Stuart beats Eager to it and gets it to Kronwall at the point. Kronner quickly fires the puck toward the mess in front of the net. The puck bounces back out on the rebound to the low slot. Zetterberg is cutting through this area and picks it up. Khabibulin tries to square to him, but he outwaits the goalie and fires it from a low angle into the net. Both Hudler and Filppula will pick up assists (Hudler third, Filppula fourth), as well as bonus pluses. Stuart's hustle is good for a half-plus, as it Zetterberg's hard work.
Penalty Adjustment: 15:42 into the third, Ian White goes to the box for bringing down Taylor Hall. It's lazy stickwork by White and will earn him a minus.
1st Period 16:13 - Brad Stuart (boarding): Jordan Eberle turns at the last moment while Stuart is heading in on a hit to which he's already committed. This is a case of player putting himself in position to be boarded immediately prior to impact. I disagree with this call and will give no adjustment.
2nd Period 14:17 - Eric Belanger (boarding): I think this is a weak call on a hit to Justin Abdelkader to begin with, but either way it's not deserving of a penalty.
2nd Period 15:29 - Tomas Holmstrom (goalie interference): Holmstrom is clearly pushed in and clearly tries to avoid contact with the goalie, but gets the penalty on reputation alone. This is a brutally awful call.
2nd Period 18:34 - Detroit bench (too many men): The puck goes near two Red Wings during a line change; the referee from the far corner of the ice behind Jimmy Howard's bench (you know... in the period of the LONG CHANGE) calls the penalty without a bit of shame in his heart after watching Cam Barker nail Pavel Datsyuk in the corner late and away from the puck 20 seconds earlier. No adjustment.
3rd Period 03:13 - Ales Hemsky (tripping): Hemsky gets his stick caught up in Datsyuk's skates and brings him down. It's also a bit of a weak call and more on Hemsky's lazy stickwork.
+1.5 to Pavel Datsyuk: Aside from drawing penalties, Datsyuk was back to his dominant ways. He dominated just about every shift he was out there for.
+0.5 to Henrik Zetterberg, +1 to Valtteri Filppula: Flip was better defensively than Z in this one, but that's not a knock on Z's play. Flip won 5 of 7 faceoffs and was very effective backchecking. Z was very aggressive on the puck and forced a few turnovers.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson: Edmonton had 1:14 of 5-on-3 hockey and Ericsson was out for all but the last 8 seconds. During that 1:06, he battled incredibly on the boards to clear the puck one time against three Oilers and then later helped Datsyuk with a similar board battle. People who haven't seen how well he's been using his body in the defensive zone this year should take notice of that shift.
+1 to Darren Helm: Helm led all forwards with 4:46 of time on the PK (more than Lidstrom even) and did his job exceptionally well.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall: Forgetting about the five seconds he failed twice, Kronwall played 7:38 of shorthanded ice time. He was also on the ice for much of the 5-on-3 PK and ultimately was a big part of why the Wings' PK had a successful night.
Lidstrom and Kindl were good, but not adjustment-good. If Stuart hadn't ended the night with an official +3, I would have added one for him, but he was aptly rewarded for his good play. I was impressed with Franzen's level of play comparatively, but not THAT impressed.
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