The Red Wings responded to a frustrating loss in game 1 of their first-round series against Nashville by jumping out to a lead and holding on until the end, despite a large number of chances for the Predators. Detroit controlled long stretches of play and fought to keep momentum on their side during others, in the end, they ended up winning in much the same way they won so many games in the middle of the season, by gaining the lead and holding on through the flurry of activity.
Well there were fewer than 17 penalties called in this one, but I still don't think the standard was good. This one felt very much like the trailing team got the benefit of missed calls significantly more often than the one in the lead. Despite that, Detroit held strong on the penalty kill, eliminating all six Nashville chances, including a 30-second two-man advantage. Detroit looked dangerous on their two power play opportunities, but weren't able to score. The late-game score effects drove Nashville to a 26-17 overall advantage in shots.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment: 1:36 into the first period, Johan Franzen goes to the box for cross-checking on Mike Fisher. This is a retaliatory play for a punch to the face that went uncalled earlier. It's a bit of a weird standard, so I'm not going to make an adjustment. At the same time, Todd Bertuzzi grabs Shea Weber for a dance. This is a multi-purpose fight and takes Weber off for the entirety of the Nashville power play. Bertuzzi will earn a plus for sticking up for his teammates and picking a great time to fight.
Goal-Saved Plus: 3:30 into the game, just at the end of the Nashville power play, Valtteri Filppula earns a goal-saved plus. Andrei Kostitsyn pushes hard at the side of the net and finds a very small lane to get a pass to Radulov skating through the slot with a wide-open net. Fortunately, Flip is there to stop the shot. Ordinarily, I might not give full credit on a play that develops this quickly and instead call it a "happy accident", but the replay shows very well that Filppula actually does react this fast and intentionally angles his skate to make sure he blocks this shot.
1st Period 08:25 - Detroit Goal: Ian White (wrist shot) from Tomas Holmstrom and Drew Miller
Nashville cuts off a Wings rush in the neutral zone, but can't transition as Brandon Yip misses Paul Gaustad with a pass. The puck goes to Lidstrom, who cycles back into his own zone before throwing a pass out of the zone that Drew Miller lets by him to hit the boards and go to Tomas Holmstrom on the other side of center. Kevin Klein steps up on Homer at center ice, but the wily veteran pokes it past him into the Predators' zone for Cory Emmerton to hustle across ice and pick up. Emmerton protects the puck and feeds it to Miller following into the zone. Miller steps to the outside of the dot and puts a shot on that's blocked out front to the far side half-boards. Holmstrom wins the race to this puck and is able to feed it to Ian White at the point before Brandon Yip attempts to take him hard to the boards. With nobody up top covering the point, White steps to the inside and goes for a skate lower in the zone. White brings it to his forehand just inside the top of the circle to Rinne's left and fires a shot through traffic that beats him to the blocker side. Cory Emmerton will get the third assist and Nick Lidstrom will get a half-assist (fourth) on the transition pass. Emmerton is also going to pick up a screener's assist. Right as White is releasing this shot, Emmerton is dragging his coverage man across the goalie's field of vision about six feet above the crease. Rinne gets a slow bead on the puck thanks to this flowing screen. Bonus pluses will go to Holmstrom and Miller. Homer does a great deal to keep this play moving in the right direction while Miller is involved from before teh start of this play in helping to separate the Predators from the puck and to create the zone entry.
Penalty Adjustment: 12:04 into the period, Detroit draws a penalty with a good drive into the offensive zone. Drew Miller pushes to get a chance off around Klein and Homer gets to the net-front to collect on rebounds. This may have been a goal if not for the Radulov cross-check which fells Holmstrom. Both Homer and Miller will get a half-plus each.
1st Period 15:33 - Detroit Goal: Cory Emmerton (wrist shot) unassisted
The Predators use having too many men in a play to force the Red Wings' neutral zone defense to allow a zone entry. Sergei Kostitsyn gets to a loose puck on the half-wall and tries to throw the puck to the front of the net. Drew Miller gets his skate on this attempt and the puck bounces to Kevin Klein at the top of the zone as Cory Emmerton skates out to pressure him. Klein collects the puck, but doesn't look before he turns and tries to fire it back in. The puck hits Emmerton's shinpad and bounces out to center where Cory can gather it in behind Klein with Gustav Nyquist joining to his right on a 2-on-1 rush. Emmerton gains the faceoff circle before Roman Josi goes down to take away his lane to Nyquist. This doesn't matter though, as Emmerton pops it into the near top corner to put Detroit up 2-0. This is a great defensive play by Emmerton, who will get a self-assist and a bonus plus for his defense here. Drew Miller will also get a bonus plus for breaking up the Kostitsyn pass.
Early 2nd Period Penalty Bonanza!
00:26 - Jiri Hudler (goaltender interference): The Wings start the period with a good shift where Filppula helps create a turnover to Brad Stuart at the top of the Nashville zone. Jiri Hudler immediately skates to the top of the crease where Pekka Rinne comes out to skate into the back of his legs and knock Hudler slightly off balance. As the shot bounces to the side of the net where Filppula just misses a chance, Rinne goes down like Hudler's the one who's 6'5" and he's 5'7". No adjustment.
02:24 - Jonathan Ericsson (tripping): Just as the Hudler penalty expires, the Wings go back on the PK as Ericsson and Gabriel Bourque race for a puck in the corner. Ericsson puts his stick in front of Bourque to establish position and the Nashville forward falls down before it makes any contact with him. This one is more shameful than the Rinne fall. No adjustment.
04:04 - Niklas Kronwall (delay of game puck over glass): The Predators run a long period of zone time on their power play which culminates in a loose puck out front that Kronwall clears in a bit of a panic. The puck goes over the glass and Kronner goes to the box. I hate to do it, but this has been a rule for too long and Kronner has to be in control of his clearing attempts the same way a player has to be in control of high sticks. Kronwall will get a minus.
06:23 - Matt Halischuk (tripping): Detroit kills off the penalties and clears the zone, but Nashville gets it back in. White wins a board battle against Halischuk and gets it to Abdelkader to skate up the boards. As he goes, Halischuk falls down from leaning on White and gets his stick into the feet of the forward, bringing Abby down. Abdelkader and White will share credit for this one, each getting a half-plus
2nd Period 09:01 - Nashville Goal: Andrei Kostitsyn (wrist shot) from Alexander Radulov and David Legwand
The Predators kill off the Halischuk penalty and both teams change lines. Nashville gains the zone as Roman Josi brings it in on the wing. Kyle Quincey plays this a little soft as he doesn't recognize that Cleary has Kostitsyn covered to the inside. As a result, Quincey lets Josi circle behind the net with speed. This is nearly immediately costly as Abdelkader collapses too far and isn't in the passing lane from Josi in the far corner to Radulov skating through the middle late. Raddles snaps a shot off from the high slot that bounces off Cleary's dome in front and goes over the net before bouncing to the half-boards on Howard's right. Both teams are a bit slow to react as nobody quite knows where the puck is after hitting Cleary. Klein wins the race to it and pokes it to Radulov in the corner, who pushes it farther along the boards to David Legwand behind the net. Legs fights off White as he goes to the corner and then feeds it back to Radulov behind the net. Radulov skates to the same corner in the wake of Legwand as the previous puck-carrier goes to the front of the net. Mr. Fancy-Pants-Came-in-from-the-Cold tries Pavel Datsyuk's patented inside-out move on White, who plays the body instead of being dumb and the puck rolls away from Radulov to the hash marks. Unfortunately, thanks to the pick Legwand runs on Quincey, he can't get there before Kostitsyn picks the puck up, drags it around the downed Quincey, and puts it around the screen in front of Howard. Todd Bertuzzi will be the only player cleared of his minus, as the puck doesn't go through him at any point on this play. The Legwand pick and the bad luck off a good defensive play by White are the primary contributing factors to this goal. However, there were times to angle people off on the boards or better clear them, so everybody else keeps their minuses. Quincey is going to get an extra half-minus for the soft play on Josi. This is a defenseman making a rush into the zone. Quincey has to angle him farther outside than he did.
2nd Period 09:57 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (calf muscle) from Brad Stuart and Pavel Datsyuk
Less than a minute later, Detroit has their two-goal lead back. Datsyuk almost loses the puck to a two-man forecheck in the corner of the Detroit zone, but Franzen comes in to help and finds the outlet to the middle of the ice where Ericsson sets it up for Stuart, who finds Bertuzzi at center. Bert feeds it through to the other side of the ice on the breakout where Datsyuk and Franzen are skating close. Datsyuk takes the pass skate-to-stick and crosses the blue line in the middle of the ice where he dishes to Franzen ten feet to his left. Datsyuk splits behind Weber as Mike Fisher gets back to mark on him and Weber goes to mark Franzen. Nobody is on Brad Stuart joining the rush just behind the play as he receives the pass from Franzen as he skates through the middle of the ice. The puck bounces a little bit on Stuart, so he takes a minute to control it as he skates to the side of the action while Franzen goes to the front of the net to join Datsyuk already tied up with Fisher. As Weber tries to hand off coverage, he gets caught flat-footed near the bottom of the circle and can't stop Stuart from skating around him and chucking the puck at the traffic in front. The puck hits Franzen's lower leg and enters the net for the eventual game-winner. Franzen will get a self-assist on this play for the two ways he was previously involved (on the boards in the Detroit zone and the drop pass to Stuart). Franzen will also get a bonus plus with a half-plus going to Datsyuk. Todd Bertuzzi's pass at center will earn him a third assist. Stuart will also earn a bonus plus. He wins a race to get the puck to Datsyuk in the Detroti end before hitting Bertuzzi with the outlet and realizing his opportunity to join the rush. This is a sequence of smart decisions by Stuart.
Penalty Adjustment: 12:02 into the 2nd period, the Wings go shorthanded again on a high sticking penalty to Kyle Quincey. The Wings' third line is fighting hard for a puck as Danny Cleary fights through 15 feet of interference by Nick Spaling only to see Quincey take two minutes when he misses a stick-lift on Gabriel Bourque and pops him in the nose. Quincey will get a minus.
Penalty Adjustment: At 6:12 of the third period, Valtteri Filppula goes off for "hooking" Martin Erat. This is a very bad call on a good defensive play. No adjustment.
3rd Period 15:16 - Nashville Goal: Shea Weber (backhand) from Paul Gaustad and Nick Spaling
Nashville makes it interesting late with this goal. Franzen goes back to retrieve a puck behind his own net and tries to bounce it out of the zone up the boards with Bertuzzi at the point. A Nashville step-up on Bertuzzi forces the puck back deep into the zone where it gets to the low corner. Ian White bodies off Paul Gaustad to allow Bert to get to it. Bert tries a pass to Quincey just a few feet away behind the net, but the pass is a bit soft and Spaling comes in to disrupt the play. Kyle Quincey lifts Spaling's stick and pushes it up around the boards, but Shea Weber gets to it first and is able to push it around Franzen to the low corner where he follows it up. Quincey keeps Weber against the boards, and pushes the puck back around him to the high corner, but Spaling gets there first and pitchforks it around the mess in the corner to Gaustad behind the net. The Nashville center man takes it to the far side of the net and tries the same thing he did when he scored in game 1 with just flinging the puck out front. This time it works because the puck ends up on Shea Weber's stick in the slot for a backhand shot over Howard's blocker. This play develops like it does because at no time is Pavel Datsyuk playing the defensive center's job. Instead, Franzen and Bertuzzi switch off that responsibility. The best opportunity they have to get the right guy playing that position is when White takes down Gaustad, but Bert is closer to the puck. As it stands, Datsyuk will have his minus cleared. The puck really doesn't go near him this entire sequence. Bertuzzi will get an extra -1.5 for a few little mistakes. He's slow to get to the loose puck and his pass to Quincey is too weak. When Weber steps up and Quincey battles, he needs to pinch into this battle either up or down the boards and when it gets back to Spaling, he's basically covering nothing and is responsible for the pass getting to Gaustad. After that, he chases behind the net in a race he's already lost by a mile instead of going out front and helping his D-men with what's now an odd-man situation down low. There's just so much blame on Bertuzzi here... At any rate, both the D-men and Franzen will keep their minuses
-1 to Jiri Hudler: Hudler doesn't have the same defensive responsibilities as his linemates. As a trade-off, he is expected to help transition and to finish his chances. Hudler missed two chances to put a dagger into this game in the third period and flubbed them. This can't happen for a guy who is supposed to specialize in this. I thought he otherwise played well, but that could have gone ugly.
+1.5 to Danny Cleary, +1 to Drew Miller, & Justin Abdelkader: These defensive, grinding forwards did their jobs incredibly well. None of them had fewer than 3 minutes on the PK (Miller had 5:39), and they played their battles incredibly well. Danny Cleary fought along the boards like a man possessed.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, and Valtteri Filppula: These top-line two-way forwards did as much to create chances as they shut down in their opposition. I was very happy with their engagement and how well they did to control the pace of this game.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart, & Jonathan Ericsson: These were Detroit's three best defensemen in this game. Stuart & Ericsson came up huge on the PK while Lidstrom calmly shut down rushes all night. Turnovers by the defense were at a minimum in this game and that made a difference.
Kyle Quincey, Ian White, and Nik Kronwall did all play well, but they weren't the difference-makers like their other linemates. I liked Cory Emmerton, but he still chases a bit much. Gustav Nyquist had the highest corsi on the team with a +4, but I have to say that I'm not bothered with his mere 7:16 of ice time. Perhaps I'd like to see more of him at home with the line matchup advantage, but he needs to learn to play the body and go to the net more.
Click on a column header to sort by that stat. Shift+click will create secondary sorts.
Use the drop-down at the top to toggle between points adjustments, plus/minus adjustments, and goalie adjustments
Be sure to check out HockeyCSSI.com for even more.