The Red Wings and Kings finished what may have been the most frustratingly defensive and low-shooting 4-3 game in NHL history. Fortunately, the right team won, as the Wings overcame three different deficits to score the game winner with fewer than two minutes to go.
Detroit lost the special teams battle again, giving up 1 goal on 4 chances for the Kings while being held scoreless on 3 of their own power plays. The PK got better as the game went on, but Detroit would make things a lot easier for themselves if they could score power play goals. Even with "Book 'Em" Dan O'Rourke calling the shots, I felt the refs did a good job. Overall, Detroit was outshot 24-15.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 07:29 - Los Angeles Goal (PP): Jeff Carter (backhand) from Anze Kopitar
The Penalty - Darren Helm (tripping): Helm chases Drew Doughty out of the corner of the L.A. zone and gets his stick into Doughty's feet, bringing him down. I'm going to give Helm a minus for this trip, but I'll also share in his frustration as the non-call that he suffered just two seconds prior when Rob Scuderi got his stick in Helm's legs and tripped him in front of the net.
The Wings kill off most of the penalty, but get bitten on a net-front scrum after a failed clear. Drew Doughty dumps the puck in and goes to retrieve, poking it to Jeff Carter behind the net to the opposite side. Three PKers collapse in to pressure Carter, but Justin WIlliams helps bail him out and get the puck back to Kopitar at the point. Kopitar shoots at the traffic in front. Ian White stops the shot and tries to clear, but Kopitar gloves it down in the high slot after coming in from the point. Kopitar fires it from here off the crossbar and back down into the crease (intentionally, obviously). Jeff Carter drags Kyle Quincey into the area to get a put-back attempt that MacDonald again stops, but as he goes down to cover it, Carter gets one final poke at it and puts it under the sprawling goalie. Ian White is going to get a minus on this play. He tries to shovel the puck up and out of the zone, but doesn't get any air under it and instead shovels it straight to Kopitar in the middle. Quincey will get a half-minus. He has a chance to stop the Doughty-to-Carter pass behind the net and then gets beaten to the front of the net by Carter. The mitigating factor on Carter getting position is that Drew Doughty knocks him off balance a half-second prior to Carter occupying the space and getting body position on the Wings' defender.
Penalty Adjustment: 8:08 into the period, Helm earns back his plus drawing a tripping call on Mike Richards. Helm's moving his feet well on the first shift after the goal and gives Richards a good deke at center ice. Richards sticks his leg out and brings Helm down.
1st Period 14:40 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (slap shot) from Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler
Zetterberg picks off a Rob Scuderi keep-in attempt and heads the other way with his linemates to enter the zone. Z gives it to Flip at the left point and goes to the net. Filppula waits for the defense to collapse and the play to set up before being forced by Doughty to try and dump the puck into the corner to reset a cycle. Doughty deflects this attempt and it goes high in the air and lower into the zone. Anze Kopitar tries to be all like Wolfman from Top Gun and volleyball that shit, but he whiffs on it and the puck rolls all the way to the corner on Quick's right. Hudler ties up Scuderi's stick here to let Zetterberg come in and take it. Z is checked by Kopitar to keep him in the low corner, but he and Hudler are able to take it off the boards. Scuderi and Kopitar keep them from holding the puck cleanly and it rolls into the low slot. Drew Doughty and Zetterberg tie in a race to sweep at the puck, but Doughty gets a little more on it and it rolls slowly to Filppula at the high point. Flip carries to the faceoff dot while the defense tries to adjust. As Quick goes down to stop the assumed shot, Filppula crosses back over to the opposite dot where Zetterberg has coasted uncovered. Z's one-timer nails the open net and the game is tied. Zetterberg will get a self-assist and a half-plus on this play for the hard work to get the puck in the zone, win the board battle, and then get to a quiet area.
1st Period 17:41 - Los Angeles Goal: Justin Williams (wrist shot) from Dustin Brown
Justin Williams dumps a puck in on the boards and gets around Kronwall to pick it up in the corner. Kronwall keeps him to the outside like he should here, but Williams throws a bad-angle shot at the net for which Joey MacDonald is not prepared. The puck bounces off MacDonald and into the net. This is an incredibly bad goal for MacDonald. Kronwall, Stuart, Hudler, Filppula and Zetterberg will have their minuses cleared.
2nd Period 15:37 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (wrist shot) from Valtteri FIlppula and Niklas Kronwall
The Wings gain possession and cycle to break the Kings' forechecking pressure. Kronwall gets a pass from Zetterberg and hits Filppula with a pass at his own blue line. Filppula starts his rush up ice by powering around Justin Williams at the blue line to get to center. Once he hits the center red line, Filppula cuts it back inside to avoid the sweeping stick of Anze Kopitar and cross the blue line around Jiri Hudler setting up a pick position for him. From here, Filppula dangles Drew Doughty just to the left of center as he skates into the zone. Scuderi sweeps at the puck, but Filppula, now just inside the faceoff dot recovers while spinning his back to the goaltender. Finally, Filppula gives somebody else a chance at the puck by passing it to Zetterberg cutting straight through the swath of destruction the pretty Finn just completed cutting. Z fakes a pass to Hudler standing on the back door to get Quick to commit before bouncing the puck off his hip and into the net. Hudler's going to get a half-assist for being the pick and the decoy to Zetterberg's pass. Now that that bullshit's out of the way, let's get to crediting the real reason for this goal: Valtteri. MotherFinnish. Filppula. Flip's end-to-end here is a thing of beauty which will earn him a bonus assist and a bonus plus.
Penalty Adjustment: Near the end of the 2nd, Henrik Zetterberg goes to the box for grabbing the arm of Justin Williams. This is an insanely easy penalty call to make. Textbook holding will earn Zetterberg a minus.
Penalty Adjustment: Colin Fraser goes to the box 2:21 into the third as Brendan Smith does some good offensive zone work to pick up a loose puck and outmuscle Fraser to keep the puck in at the blue line. As a result of getting turned and possibly embarrassed, Fraser hooks him. Smith will get a plus for drawing this penalty.
Penalty Adjustment: 8:19 into the period, Brendan Smith gives his plus back when he steps up to intercept a pass in the neutral zone and misses. The puck ends up on the stick of Dustin Penner, who is brought down when Smith reaches back for it and gets his stick caught up in the pancake-lover's feet. Smith will get a minus.
3rd Period 14:06 - Los Angeles Goal: Dwight King (wrist shot) from Jeff Carter and Willie Mitchell
Filppula wins a faceoff back to Kronwall in the Detroit zone. Kronner tries to get it to Z in the other faceoff circle, but puts the pass directly into his skates. Dwight King knocks the loose puck into the corner while Zetterberg goes down in pain. Filppula goes behind his own net to Stuart, who chops it on the backhand up to Hudler at the half-boards. Willie Mitchell steps up, forcing Hudler to try and chip it past the pinching defender. Mitchell deflects the puck into the middle on a path out of the zone. Unfortunately, Carter is there to pick it off and fire it from the point in net. MacDonald stops it, but King is right there behind Stuart to jam home the rebound. Filppula and Zetterberg will be cleared of their minuses. The bad pass is Kronwall's to put a five-foot pass into his recipient's skates. For this, Kronwall will pick up a minus. Stuart will also get an extra half-minus on the coverage. He's either got to stop the Carter shot from getting through or he's got to be on King's stick here.
3rd Period 15:58 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (wrist shot) from Brendan Smith and Henrik Zetterberg
Less than two minutes later, Detroit ties it again. The Wings get some good zone pressure and a couple of decent scoring chances after Kyle Quincey wrecks Dwight King in the corner of the Detroit zone to free the puck. The Kings are able to chip the puck out of the zone past a pinching Quincey, but Filppula gets to it and quickly turns it back to White for the carry-in while the Kings try to change some personnel. Penner chops the puck off White's stick inside the zone and Richards plays it to himself off the boards to make a bit of room. Richards tries to cycle back to Scuderi in the corner of his own zone to set the breakout, but Hudler makes a very smart read and picks that pass off. Hudler holds off Scuderi as he skates from the corner up the boards, eventually passing it back down to Z at the half-boards. Doughty is watching Zetterberg low, but both Scuderi and Penner are all the way at the point when Brendan Smith steps into the play off the bench and cuts into the middle. Zetterberg finds him streaking (giggity) and hits him with the pass just above the slot. Both remaining Kings defenders (Carter and Richards) step to Smith skating in at full speed. Smith uses this confusion to throw a backhand to Val Filppula standing all alone at the back door. Filppula lifts it up over a sprawling Quick and it's tied again. Kronwall will give his plus back to Kyle Quincey on the line change, as Quincey had more to do with the way this play developed. Ian White will also pick up a plus for being part of the play before changing. Hudler will get the third assist and a bonus plus for picking off the pass and setting up Zetterberg. Brendan Smith does a fantastic job of recognizing that he's potentially got two forwards to cover for him taking this jaunt through the zone. The play will earn Smith a half-plus. Filppula also gets a half-plus for his work starting back in the Wings zone to covering for Quincey at the point on the clear and turning it back in quickly.
3rd Period 18:47 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (awesome) from Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist
The Wings lose the zone with about 1:36 to go in regulation as Kronwall just can't hold the line and decides to back out to center instead of forcing the issue. Kronner waits for the zone to clear before passing it to Franzen on the left wing at the blue line to bring it in with Helm making some space for him by cutting in front of the defense on his way deep. Franzen goes across the ice to Nyquist streaking in on the far side for a good scoring chance, but the kid flubs it in front of a sprawling Rob Scuderi. Nyquist tries to kick it back to his stick but misses with it. Franzen is able to come into the middle from the point and kick the puck behind the defenders and recover at the half-boards before setting the cycle down to Helm in the low corner. Helm cycles back up to the half-boards before being angled off the puck by Doughty. Fortunately, Franzen is still there to pick it up. Mule goes to Nyquist now in the low corner being watched by Mike Richards. Nyquist steps up the boards while Franzen cuts behind Richards to receive the pass back at the bottom of the circle and carry to the corner. Rob Scuderi comes out to challenge Franzen and make sure that he doesn't step to the front of the net. Mule does a bit of a deke to open Scuderi up a little bit before throwing a backhand at the front of the net. Darren Helm has beaten Drew Doughty of the boards and is right there to pop this pass over the blocker of Quick for the game winner. I first want to point out that part of the reason Joey MacDonald won the head-to-head is because of a save he makes on Mike Richards open in the low slot about 40 seconds before this goal is scored. Goalies don't get goal-scored pluses, but I had to seriously consider it for this. Kronwall will get the third assist on this play, as (despite losing the zone), he makes a smart play to reset and get the Wings back into the zone. Helm will get a self-assist for helping give Franzen room to enter the zone and for the carry up the boards to pull Doughty out of position. Helm will also get a half-plus for this play. Franzen makes some excellent plays on this and will get a half bonus-assist and a full plus.
Penalty Adjustment: With 24 seconds left in a one-goal game, Brad Stuart goes to the box for tripping Dustin Brown. It's a good call and Stuart will get a minus.
1st Period 01:20 - Jarret Stoll (boarding): Stoll knocks Franzen awkwardly into the boards at center ice and goes to the box. Franzen was ok and looked to have gotten a bit fired up about his precious face meeting the dasher.
+1 to Brad Stuart & Brendan Smith, +0.5 to Doug Janik: Stuart and Smith were very good in all three zones (especially the defensive one). Janik logged a very good 13:29 of ice time and was solid on every shift. I was very happy with his play.
-0.5 to Jiri Hudler, -1 to Danny Cleary: Hudler actually made some good plays, which is why his minus is only a half. Too many mistakes by both of these players on turnovers and lost pucks. I want both of them to have their sticks on the ice much more consistently.
-0.5 to Kyle Quincey: Quincey was shaky at times and chasing around. He was consistently unable to get his stick on loose pucks.
+0.5 to Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula: When they weren't creating actual goals for the Wings, they were busy playing good defense and moving the puck well. However, I wasn't impressed with their faceoffs, as both were below .500 in the category.
+0.5 to Gustav Nyquist: The kid's absolutely got skills. He needs to shoot more often, but he made good things happen and got himself promoted to 2nd line duty for stretches
White was quiet in this game and I think I'm more relieved about that than anything. Andersson and Holmstrom had a couple of good shifts each, but nothing worth getting the Jan Mursak Fan Club fired up over.
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