Missing half of their roster, it's tough finishing watching a Red Wings game and wondering what might have been if they hadn't shot themselves in the foot. The Wings got off to a good start, gave back the momentum with mental errors, and then couldn't make up for their mistakes as the game wore on. Just a frustrating game.
The Wings got four power plays to the Flyers' two. Neither team scored with the man advantage, but Detroit gave up a shorthanded goal. Once again, Detroit lost the special teams battle and this one cost them the game. I thought the refs actually did a pretty good job in this game, especially on the non-call for Kronwall.The Wings poured it on trying to tie it up and ended up winning the pointless battle to win the shot count 39-23.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 04:00 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (backhand) from Valtteri FIlppula and Jiri Hudler
Jakub Voracek picks up a loose puck in the Flyer's zone while Detroit has backed off to change. He circles in a bit and cuts up through the middle with speed where Detroit stacks up at the center stripe. Cory Emmerton gives Voracek's stick enough of a little check to make him temporarily lose control and momentum. Here, he's forced to sweep the puck deep into the zone and retrieve to prevent Ian White from turning it into a chance the other way. The puck goes over Voracek's stick behind the net and White takes a good angle to cut him off first up the boards and then out from behind the net. As they tie up and battle, Voracek kicks the puck out front past White and straight to Jiri Hudler covering the near side lane. Hudler turns it to Zetterberg, who is immediately set upon by Braydon Coburn at the top of the circle. Zetterberg hears his teammates warning him and gets his head up just in time to dish the puck off to Kyle Quincey jumping up to take Z's spot. Quincey passes off to Hudler and fades to the left wing while Filppula takes up his right to enter the zone. Hudler dishes off to Filppula so he can drive the net while Filppula forces the play by cutting toward the slot. Niklas Grossmann cuts off Flip's angle well, so he dishes off to Zetterberg rejoining the play. Z cuts around behind Flip, protects the puck from Coburn, and roofs a beautiful backhand over Bryzgalov's glove-side shoulder from inside the dot. Lots of good adjustments here. Cory Emmerton will pick up a half-plus for his work separating Voracek from his rush. Ian White will get a plus for his defensive work preventing Voracek from keeping the puck low in the zone. Zetterberg will get a self-assist and half-plus on the quick pass that springs the Wings on a 3-on-2 with Coburn pinching. Kyle Quincey will get the third assist. Hudler will also get half a screener's assist for his net-front job. When Z carries it, he lets Hudler's positioning temporarily eclipse Bryzgalov's vision. As soon as he daylights on the far side, Bryzgalov bites and goes into his butterfly very early. I don't think this happens without the screen there.
Penalty Adjustment: At 5:21 of the first, the Red Wings line of Franzen-Helm-Holmstrom draw a call. Wayne Simmonds gets a puck behind the Philadelphia net, but has his pass up the boards blocked by Darren Helm, who immediately gains a couple of very nice passing options in Kronwall and Holmstrom in front. Holmstrom goes to the net where Andreas Lilja ties him up and brings him down. Holmstrom and Helm will each get a plus, along with a half-plus for Franzen for making this play develop.
1st Period 13:50 - Philadelphia Goal: Jakub Voracek (wrist shot) unassisted
The Wings clear their own zone under pressure, but a step-up from Lilja in the neutral zone forces Mursak to go around him and gives Max Talbot a chance to retrieve it. Mursak battles Talbot along the boards to force him to dump it in around Brendan Smith at the blue line. Joey MacDonald goes behind the net to stop the dump-in and leave it there for Doug Janik. Unfortunately, Janik expects MacDonald to pass it to him and gets caught flat-footed ten feet away from the puck. Jakub Voracek comes in from the far side to beat Janik to it. Before the defender can stop him, Voracek throws it across the front of the crease on a pass intended for Talbot. Unfortunately, the pass hits Brendan Smith rushing back to cover him and goes into the net. Part of this miscommunication is on MacDonald, who will get credited with a bad goal. This will clear the minuses for Smith, Abdelkader, Miller, Mursak, and Janik. Janik will earn back his minus plus an extra half for his part in this screw-up. Brendan Smith will earn back a half-minus. He does good work to hustle and get back on Talbot, but does deflect it into his own net. It's more bad luck, but that's why it's only a half-minus.
1st Period 18:11 - Philadelphia Goal: Claude Giroux (backhand) from Braydon Coburn
Detroit has an offensive cycle broken in the corner as Claude Giroux makes a good defensive play on Valtteri Filppula that does involve the absolute tiniest corkscrew on the Detroit Finn to knock him off balance. Braydon Coburn picks up the loose puck and skates to the opposite corner where he's pressured by Zetterberg. Coburn throws it up the boards where it gets through Zetterberg, then Jagr, then finally Niklas Kronwall as the point. Giroux is already skating with speed at the point and has only a very small adjustment to make to skate around Kronwall and get the puck for a breakaway in on MacDonald. Giroux dekes MacDonald out of his pants above the top of the crease and puts in an easy backhander to put Philadelphia on top. Kronwall is the focal point of this mistake and will get an extra minus for letting the puck by him cleanly, but Filppula is the only player who will have his minus cleared (by the grace of being the victim of some incredibly subtle stickwork by the talented Giroux). Still, Hudler is skating back to cover Giroux up until the top of the circle when he makes the assumption that the Coburn dump up the boards will be stopped and will get to him. This is a bad assumption to make given the circumstance of having two Flyers players bearing down on Kronwall. This is basically a case of the winger needing to step behind the defenseman as though he's stepping up in the zone and Hudler fails to do this. Hudler will get an extra half-minus. (For what it's worth, I have as much faith that Hudler could have stopped Giroux anyway as I do in the idea that Bigfoot secretes happiness from his nipples). Stuart is in the same boat as Hudler in being a guy who needs to have backed off to try and prevent an odd-man situation. Stuart will get the same half-minus. Finally, Zetterberg keeps his minus for letting the Coburn dump get past him.
2nd Period 14:10 - Philadelphia Goal (SH): Maxime Talbot (wrist shot) from Claude Giroux
Detroit gets set up in the offensive zone on the power play after a faceoff win by Zetterberg. They try to get the puck into the middle of the ice, but the Philadelphia penalty killers collapse in and get a chance to clear. Ian White blocks the clearing attempt and steps to the boards to avoid an on-rushing Claude Giroux with Zetterberg going to the strong-side half-boards for support. Instead of using the easy outlet, White gets cute with the puck and tries to throw a backhand across the top of the zone to Kronwall. Giroux blocks this pass and goes off to the races shorthanded. White does get back enough to hook Giroux's stick and keep him from getting a better shot off, but the PKer is able to get it on net. MacDonald stops it, but the rebound bounces out to the side where Max Talbot neatly wrists it over the outstretched goalie. White is going to earn two extra minuses on this turnover. This is an inexcusably dumb move on the power play to try to force a pass that he has to know isn't there. Zetterberg, Filppula, and Holmstrom will have their minuses cleared. Kronwall will keep his however. When they're both coming back on Giroux, Kronwall completely forgets about Talbot. Kronner can't completely back off, as his back pressure does prevent Giroux from taking it to the backhand, but he has to be more aware that the other PKer is jumping up to pick up this rebound.
3rd Period 08:47 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (snap shot) from Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey
With 5 seconds left to go in a Detroit power play, Kyle Quincey dumps a puck in after a rush entry misfires. Jiri Hudler skates to the far corner with Max Talbot and lifts his stick to keep him from playing it. The puck rolls past the both of them to Brendan Smith stepping up at the half-boards. Smith surveys for half a second and then threads a pass across the middle of the ice to a wide-open Johan Franzen for a snap shot past Bryzgalov to make it interesting. Hudler will get a non-touch assist for the stick-lift on Talbot here. Everybody's plus will be cleared however, as this is essentially a power play goal with the fifth man for Philadelphia still out of the play. Smith, Hudler, Quincey, Franzen, and Holmstrom will lose their pluses.
2nd Period 08:01 - Zac Rinaldo (unsportsmanlike): After Nik Kronwall's now-infamous check on Jakub Voracek, Rinaldo goes to the box for jaw-jacking. I'd love to know what he had to say.
2nd Period 13:46 - Scott Hartnell (roughing): Refs are still trying to keep control of this game and send Hartnell as kind of an achievement award for running around looking for hits. I thought this one was weak. Fortunately for the Flyers, Ian White did too and he felt bad enough about it to turn the puck over and give them a shorthanded goal.
3rd Period 06:44 - Scott Hartnell (goalie interference): Hartnell tries one of those subtle goalie-runs and gets caught up for it. The guy's a jerk.
3rd Period 20:00 - Zac Rinaldo (misconduct): Rinaldo's last shift of the game ended at 9:47 of the third. Again, I'd like to know what he said after the game was over to pull a 10-minute call.
+1 to Brendan Smith: The kid had three very good defensive decisions in his own zone in this one. Nobody else on the blue line had more than one. What's more is that Smith instantly made up for the only turnover he had.
-1 to Jiri Hudler: Of all the players who are guilty of getting the puck in the middle and passing it back to the point for a hope at a lucky deflection, Hudler is the most-consistent with it. He's got to get his shooting confidence back and soon.
Helm had another solid game, but this one was shy of spectacular. The lower-line grinders played a good game, including Mursak and Conner. You're in trouble when you have to expect them to score, but that was kind of the boat we were in.
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