Detroit continues to struggle to win games on the road, as they dropped another decision in a 5-2 loss to the Kings that was exactly as close as the score indicated. The injuries excuse is wearing quite thin while watching a team that isn't physically engaging. Sure, the scorekeeper at the Staples was on acid counting Kings hits, but I don't think he was far off scoring only 20 for Detroit.
0-for-4 on the power play, a shorthanded goal allowed, and 1-for-2 on the PK was the difference in a game where the 5-on-5 scoring was even. The special teams problems are getting to be disgusting. The refs let the teams get away with a lot, but it was a consistent standard. Shots were 27-24 in favor of Los Angeles
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 06:48 - Los Angeles Goal: Justin Williams (wrist shot) from Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown
After a big save on a chance in close, the Kings get an ugly goal on a shot from the point through traffic. After retrieving the puck in the corner, LA cycles to Doughty at the top of the zone for a shot through traffic that Howard stops, but doesn't freeze. Ian White is overpowered by both Williams and Kopitar while Kronwall boxes out Brown in front and Helm recovers from losing the board battle in the corner by not covering anybody. Williams jams the rebound in for the first goal. No minuses cleared here, but extra halves will go to White, Kronwall, and Helm.
Penalty Adjustment: Brendan Smith makes a good play at the top of the LA zone to keep a puck in and move around Dustin Penner, who grabs him to keep from getting beaten cleanly. Smith will get a plus for drawing this one.
1st Period 13:15 - Los Angeles Goal (SH): Anze Kopitar (snap shot) from Dustin Brown
The Kings get a clear on the PK and Detroit gets a change. The zone entry stalls when Quincey goes cross-ice to Smith to gain the zone and Smith is bodied off by Brown at the blue line. Rob Scuderi chips the puck over Franzen's stick back to Smith, who is checked again by Brown. Smith tries to break this pressure by chipping it back to Quincey at the point, but he misses the pass and accidentally springs Kopitar short-handed. Quincey partially gets back to keep him from driving the net, but can't stop him from snapping it to the far side from the faceoff dot. Minuses here for Cleary and Hudler will be erased, as they bear no fault in this situation at all. Smith will pick up an extra minus for the turnover. Quincey and Franzen will each keep their minuses.
2nd Period 04:06 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula
After a good cycle in the Kings' zone by the first line, Justin Williams gets the puck at the half boards with a step on Hudler to get it out of the zone. The Wings' defense is solid here and Henrik Zetterberg steps up to challenge Williams at the blue line. A mishandled puck and deflected pass leaves the puck to roll to the middle of the ice on the LA side of the neutral zone where Filppula picks it up and re-enters the zone in the middle with Z to his left and Hudler trailing the far side. Flip goes to Zetterberg on the wing and drives the center lane while Hudler remains parallel to the puck carrier. Zetterberg gets a pass through traffic to Hudler at the top of the far circle where Huds goes skate-to-stick and fires it past Quick to break the shutout. Zetterberg will get a bonus plus for creating the turnover which led directly to this goal.
2nd Period 10:57 - Los Angeles Goal: Drew Doughty (slap shot) from Jeff Carter and Dwight King
The Kings get an easy breakout from behind their own net which frees Mike Richards to build up speed and do a cross-corner dump-in play where Jeff Carter gets to the puck first and starts the cycle for the Kings. Los Angeles does a very good job of keeping their feet moving and bodying off defenders away from the boards to open up space. Finally, Carter gets it to Doughty at the top of the zone in the middle. The defender closest to Doughty (Cleary) has to respect the chance of the D-man taking it low in the zone. Doughty fakes this and makes enough room for himself to fire a half-slapper at the traffic in front. As it gets to Richards tied up with Ian White in the low slot, the puck deflects from head-height to ice-level and beats Howard low. After a review it was (correctly) deemed to be a good goal. Everybody on this play will keep his minus, but I'm going to give Franzen an extra one. The LA zone entry is made extremely easy thanks to the speed through the neutral zone. This is made extremely easy by bad gap control. The bad gap control starts here when Cleary forces Doughty to pass off to Scuderi in the corner from behind his own net. Instead of skating right at Scuderi and forcing him to make a quick play which allows the people behind the forecheck to also pressure up, Franzen coasts lazily at him and fails to block the outlet which leads to the dump-in which leads to the zone-entry, which leads to the cycle, which leads to the shot from the point, which leads to the goal. In short, screw you, bad forechecking.
Penalty Adjustment: 06:53 into the third, Doug Janik goes to the box for boarding Trevor Lewis. This is an extremely easy call to make and will earn Janik a minus.
3rd Period 08:23 - Los Angeles Goal (PP): Slava Voynov (wrist shot) from Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams
The Penalty - Henrik Zetterberg (interference): Yes, Dustin Brown dove like a chump and it was funny when Babcock pointed it out on the bench, but Zetterberg absolutely did interfere with him. Minus for Zetterberg.
The Kings' PK gets set up in the zone and utilize their forwards extremely well to continually overload the defensive side of Ian White (Jimmy Howard's right side). Passes go from low to high and PKers are easily outmanned on the boards when it comes to that. Eventually, Williams goes from the half-boards to Stoll in the low corner. While Williams skates at an angle toward the front to play the give-and-go angle, Ian White gets caught in no-man's land watching Stoll from a distance. Stoll throws a pass at the front of the net where Dustin Brown is perched behind Kyle Quincey with his stick firmly on the ice. Quincey makes the right play and gets his stick in to deflect it over Brown's stick, but Voynov is on the back door to pick up the loose puck and put it in. I originally though Quincey made a mistake, but I'm not going to punish him here. His job is to keep it off Brown's stick and he does just that. Instead, Abdelkader will get a minus for losing the coverage on the sneaking Voynov. White will also get a minus for a lost board battle to free up the cycle and for his hesitation to step towards Stoll and try to cut off his angles.
3rd Period 13:30 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Brad Stuart and Danny Cleary
Franzen makes it interesting after nobody asked him to. The play starts in the corner of the Wings' zone when Abdelkader stops a pass from Dwight King along the boards and then muscles King off to get a pass to Doug Janik in the circle. Mike Richards tries stepping up on Janik in the zone, but he's able to get it to Franzen along the boards and step around Richards. This starts a 4-on-2 rush up ice with Franzen carrying and Janik joining in front of Abdelkader on Franzen's left while Cleary takes the right. Mule dishes off to Cleary going to the half-boards while he continues on to the strong-side corner below Cleary. Rob Scuderi steps up on Buckets at the half-boards, but Cleary is able to protect the puck and get it back to Stuart at the point with enough room to shoot beyond the over-collapsed LA defense. Quick is partially screened by Mike Richards in front and can't control the rebound, which is picked up by Franzen as he crosses in front. Mule puts it in and it's 4-2. The official scorekeeper has Quincey on the ice instead of Janik. I'm hoping they officially correct it, but if not, I'll make sure that the correct plus is given. In fact, Janik is going to get a bonus half-plus for breaking the Richards pinch as well as a third assist. Abdelkader will also get a bonus plus to go with the fourth assist on this play. Franzen does most of the lugging of the puck and will get a self-assist.
3rd Period 19:39 - Los Angeles Goal (EN): Jeff Carter (pitching wedge) from Anze Kopitar
30 seconds to go in the game, Babcock pulls Howard for an extra attacker on an offensive zone faceoff. Zetterberg wins it to Hudler, who tkaes it to the side boards and tries to feed it back to Z toward the middle of the ice. Kopitar gets his stick on the pass attempt and gloves it down to himself. Hudler tries to get it back, but Jeff Carter is there to pick it up. Quincey and Kronwall step up on Carter before he gets to the blue line, but he chips it all the way down the ice into the empty net. Fault on this is going to lie solely on Jiri Hudler. Quincey, Kronwall, Zetterberg, Filppula, and Franzen will be cleared of minuses while Hudler will get an extra minus for the turnover leading to the goal. I can't fault Quincey and Kronwall for failing to stop Carter from hitting the open net because it is the D-mens' job to force him to try for the empty net from there in this situation. There's just not anything you can do when he hits it.
2nd Period 19:29 - Jarret Stoll (hi sticking): This one wasn't as bad as Drew Doughty hip-checking Henrik Zetterberg 20 feet away from the puck, but whatever.
3rd Period 00:56 - Matt Greene (slashing): It's a slash, but it's not worth an adjustment.
3rd Period 09:51 - Jarret Stoll (boarding): Stoll is looking at Quincey's numbers the whole way into the boards when Quincey short-stops on him and Stoll finishes his check like an idiot.
-1 to Jiri Hudler, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Danny Cleary, Drew Miller, -0.5 to Valtteri Filppula & Tomas Holmstrom: Pretty much the entire forward corps was bad tonight. Zetterberg had another sub-.500 faceoff night and was not able to put together consistent effort. Franzen was... well... Franzen. I know Cleary is hurt, but there's only so many excuses I can make for a guy who is playing terribly. If he's so hurt he can't even handle the puck on his stick, then he should be sitting. I applaud his courage to keep trying to play, but I can't ignore the damage he keeps doing to the rush, transition & forecheck because his body isn't cooperating with him. Miller doesn't have the excuse of being hurt, but he handled the puck like a grenade tonight. Filppula didn't win a faceoff all night and kept losing the puck trying to recreate the magically dangleicious goal from Friday. Holmstrom is one of the only forwards consistently playing the body, but he's not tracking or holding the puck well.
-1 to Doug Janik, Ian White, Brad Stuart, and Kyle Quincey: The Wings' defensive corps didn't get a ton of help from the forwards, but each of these guys had enough plays where they were chasing pucks, playing too much stickwork, failing to use the body, losing the offensive zone, or otherwise hurting the transition/rush game.
If you see a Red Wings' player is missing from the list of extra minuses on the night, congrats, you're thinking about one of the best Red Wings' players to play in this game. The bad news is that nobody actually played well, just that guys like Nyquist, Smith, Kronwall, and Emmerton played less crappy than everybody else.
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