Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment: 00:43 into the first period, Todd Bertuzzi is trying to tie up the stick of Hornqvist and ends up tripping him up. What a horrible way to start the game. Bertuzzi will get a minus.
2nd Period 13:05 - Nashville Goal: Gabriel Bourque (snap shot) from Jordin Tootoo and Hal Gill
Tomas Holmstrom tries to dangle Paul Gaustad at his own blue line and is 75% successful at it before Gaustad remembers that he's five inches taller and not exactly the stick-and-footwork kind of guy. As Gaustad is taking Holmstrom down with his newfound powers of not being an idiot, Homer tries to throw a backhand pass to Emmerton at center. The pass doesn't connect and the Preds transition back from just inside their own blue line to Jordin Tootoo entering the Wings' zone on a crisp three-pass play. Tootoo skates behind the net and tries to give it back to Gill at the opposite point, but instead sees the puck hit Nyquist's skate and bounce to the near point where Tootoo now recovers while playing Roamin' Josi's position. Stuart pressures, but Tootoo has no trouble getting a pass off to Bourque stepping away from the net-front traffic to the top of the circle to receive a pass, turn, and fire it before Cory Emmerton can cover his man. The puck gets through a Gaustad/Lidstrom screen and hits twine. Nyquist is the only minus cleared. He has too many angles to cover while Nashville is resetting the transition and actually blocks a pass and then covers exactly where he's supposed to (on Josi down low when he switches position to leave Stuart the high coverage). Holmstrom will get a half-minus for the bad stickwork which leads to the turnover. Emmerton will get a half-minus for losing coverage on Bourque, and Stuart will get a half-minus for coverage on Tootoo which is too too soft (Screw you, my jokes for this one are only going to be as good as the Red Wings' performance.)
Penalty Adjustment: On his next shift after the goal, Pavel Datsyuk skates hard into the Nashville zone 1-on-3. He makes a move on Nick Spaling that beats his #13 counterpart (who has defensive coverage), and ends up drawing a hooking call on the guy with a confusing verb for a name. Plus for Datsyuk.
2nd Period 19:27 - Nashville Goal: Francis Bouillon (wrist shot) from Alexander Radulov
The Wings battle in their own corner to free a up a puck under pressure. Abdelkader sweeps it to Cleary at the dot, but he's set on by Gabriel Bourque. Instead of making the smart play (which is "anything but what he ended up doing"), Cleary pokes it around Bourque straight to Bouillon at the point. This sets up a Slap shot from Josi which Howard kicks to the far side half-boards. Stuart has to untie himself from the net-front pressure and gets beaten to the puck by Bourque, Bertuzzi comes over to help, which is dumb, because when he fails to do that, he's not covering Bouillon, who gets to the puck that's poked past the winger. This slap shot through traffic goes wide and bounces high along the boards to the other side of the zone where Cleary can't get to it before Josi, but he can probably not get beaten clean off the boards to allow another shot from the point into traffic. I mean, I guess he could do that, but that's not what he did. This shot is deflected over the net where Nick Spaling gets to it and carries it around the other side. Stuart passes off his net-side coverage of Bourque to Abdelkader to keep Spaling to the outside on the wrap. As Spaling steps out skating away from the net, Radulov runs a good (and clean) pick which gives Spaling enough separation from Stuart to freeze Cleary in the low slot and allow a pass from Spaling to Josi for a one-timer from the high slot. This puck is stopped, as is the immediate rebound attempt by Spaling about ten feet out. As Stuart reaches to try and stop it and Radulov cross-checks a defenseman in the head and Bertuzzi jumps over a guy to hit Radulov and Abdelkader ponders existentialism while Cleary debates whether you can be the beneficiary on your own life insurance policy and Jimmy Howard tries to figure out where the puck is, Bouillon steps just above the entire scrum, picks up the loose puck, and throws it into the net for what will be the game-winner. The Charge of the Light Brigade was put together better than this line. The big mistakes belong to Cleary (-1.5) for the turnover and the bad play on Josi at the point and Bertuzzi (-1.5) for the bad coverage on Bouillon at the half-boards and for taking himself out of position to cover the goal-scorer in the royal rumble. I thought Abdelkader did a pretty good job on this play, all things considered. I'm going to halve Abby's minus. Notice that this sentence is the first in this entire goal writeup that I'm mentioning Jonathan Ericsson? He's quietly doing his job this entire time and is prevented from making a play by the sense that Bertuzzi lacks (in that he's consistently playing his man and clearing bodies directly in front of the net). Ericsson will not get a minus. Stuart's real crime is losing a race to a puck he has no chance to get to unless he starts towards the boards using premonition. He's also the victim of a pick. This one really is on the forwards, as Stuart will have his minus halved.Too much of this play goes through him to completely clear the minus.
3rd Period 02:40 - Nashville Goal: Alexander Raddle-ov (wrist shot) from Andrei Kostitsyn and Pekka Rinne
Much like the previous goal was a great example of a guy trying to do a little too much and coming out of his coverage area to leave another guy open, this one is the perfect example of a coach who isn't paying enough attention. The shift starts with the Wings' 4th line and top pair out there against Gaustad, Radulov, Legwand, Weber, and Suter. Nashville gets a chance to change for a matchup quickly and get Weber and Gaustad off for Josi and Kostitsyn. This puts a top-line quality trio of forwards out for Nashville against Detroit's fourth line and saves their best defenseman for duty against better competition. Ten seconds after this, Detroit gets a puck deep with an opportunity to get Datsyuk's line on the ice (since he had been on the bench for 1:49 by this time), but decides to forecheck instead of changing for the matchup. While Emmerton plays the boards to Rinne's forehand, the Predators' netminder backhands the puck around Tomas Holmstrom to Radulov at the half-boards. Then, while Nyquist steps up on Radulov, he makes a quick backhand redirect to Andrei Kostitsyn exiting the far side of the zone with speed. Kostitsyn and Legwand skate 2-on-2 in against White and Lidstrom. Kostitsyn tries to saucer a pass over White's stick to a cutting Legwand, but White blocks it and Kostitsyn picks it back up to skate behind the net with it. Legwand stays on his line with Lidstrom in tow and stops up short of the boards to create a little corridor for Kostitsyn to skate through to get to the other side of the ice behind the net. Lidstrom recognizes this late and loses the opportunity to pinch two Predators to the boards. As White has to step around the screen to try and recover on Kostitsyn, he throws a pass across the net-front to Alexander Radulov sneaking in on the back door for an easy put-away while Cory Emmerton wonders to himself how hard playing net-front can be, since there doesn't seem to be anybody close to where he's standing. I'm mad at the coach for not forcing the change, but the players still have to do their jobs. Homer will have his minus halved for failing to block the Rinne outlet, but otherwise not being a factor here. Nyquist keeps his minus for not getting to Radulov sooner. White will keep his minus for letting Kostitsyn get to the Legwand corridor in the first place. Emmerton will pick up a full minus for not picking up Kostitsyn in front of the net and Lidstrom will also get a full minus. Technically if he pushes Legwand into the boards and Kostitsyn cuts a different direction, he could be sent to the box for interference, but this game was 42 minutes old by this time and we'd seen stuff by both sides much more obstructive than that would have been. Lidstrom needs to pinch this play off when he has a chance and doesn't.
Penalty Adjustment: 10:48 into the period, Jakub Kindl is about to lose a race to a loose puck. To prevent this, he steps into the path of Patric Hornqvist, who reacts like he's never been on ice before and takes a hilariously embellishy tumble. I'd give Kindl a break on the laughable dive, but it's interference clear as day. Kindl will get a minus.
3rd Period 16:57 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (pointless) from Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson
The Wings carry up ice with speed on a set breakout from behind their own net. Zetterberg goes to Filppula to cross into the zone and Filppula dumps it back into Zetterberg's pass. Tootoo gets an angle and tries to do one of those stop-up-short hits on Zetterberg that he's seen good hockey players do before. Z shrugs off contact and gets around to get to the puck while bodying Suter off. From behind the net, Zetterberg rings it up the boards to Jonathan Ericsson cutting in to the corner. Jiri Hudler remains behind the net while Ericsson carries deeper into the corner and Zetterberg steps out front. While four Nashville defensemen stare at Ericsson's amazing ability to not turn the puck over for two whole seconds, he gets to a good shooting angle and throws a lot shot from a severe angle on net. The puck hits Rinne's pads and goes straight to Zetterberg all alone. Rinne squares to the puck, but has no defense when Z tosses it to Hudler on the back door for the wrister to break the shutout. Filppula will get the third assist and Zetterberg a half-plus.
3rd Period 19:20 - Nashville Goal (EN): Shea Weber (wrist shot) from David Legwand.
The Wings scramble to pull within one for some reason, despite not having scored a goal with their own net empty since Moses ran the Coyotes. They get a handful of great opportunities, but finally fall when a cross-ice pass fails to get through a currently-being-crosschecked Tomas Holmstrom and the Predators pick it up with enough space to get to center ice. Shea Weber gains the center stripe and makes like the baseball stadium he's named after by finishing off just an awful game to watch from start-to-finish.
2nd Period 05:42 - Paul Gaustad (tripping): Gaustad chops at Abdelkader's stick the same time that Abby begins to fall down for no reason. No adjustment.
2nd Period 16:24 - Nashville Bench (too many men): After the expiration of the Spaling penalty, the Preds take another as a puck runs out of the Wings' zone and right into a Predators' line change.
+0.5 to Pavel Datsyuk: Datsyuk turned it on a bit later than he should have, but he also got dragged own by linemates who would not skate into his passes and couldn't make one of their own to save a life.
-1 to Todd Bertuzzi: Easily the worst forward on the top six in this game, Bertuzzi did not look focused or play well.
-0.5 to Jonathan Ericsson: Riggy had a handful of good plays and also two brutal turnovers. I was happy with how well he played the body, but he's got to do more with the puck.
Jiri Hudler almost got a minus for one shift where he tried three different times to clear the zone and couldn't do it. Ultimately, I thought he made up for it. In fact, that was Detroit's best line, but their failure to break through on the scoreboard was their undoing.
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