Mar 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Detroit Red Wings right wing Johan Franzen (93) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at the Scottrade Center. The Red Wings defeated the Blues 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
Sorry for the delay, folks. I've been battling the most wonderful of illnesses this week and I feel like I went to Traverse City and told Andrei "that" to his face. Hopefully
my iron constitution drugs will help me pull out of it soon.
At any rate, there are games to catch up on. I'm going to do the scoring for each game, but I'll get caught up on the numbers all at once when I can get around to it.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period Penalties:
06:00 - Alexander Steen (roughing): Steen punches Brad Stuart in the back of the head behind the play and goes to the box for it. No adjustment.
19:25 - Niklas Kronwall (holding): A scary net-front scramble ensues off an iffy rebound given up by Howard where Kronwall nearly redirects the puck into his own net with a skate. The Blues get the puck back and set up another good scoring chance with a one-timer from the slot while Kronwall defends the net front against Patrik Berglund. The big idiot first tries to push Kronwall into his own goalie and then makes sure he looks as tied up as possible as Kronwall prevents him from getting to another rebound at the side of the net. As the whistle goes for Kronwall's holding penalty, Berglund chops him in the hand for good measure. Honestly, Kronwall probably saves a goal here with some great defense on a guy who commits two penalties in this timespan. No adjustment.
2nd Period Penalties:
05:41 - Alexander Steen (roughing): Steen still doesn't have control over his raging steenage emotions and decides taking it out on Todd Bertuzzi is a good idea. Bert doesn't retaliate so nobody has to go to jail. No adjustment on this one though. I'm not giving Bert a plus for having a punchable face.
10:15 - Patrik Berglund (hooking): Henrik Zetterberg defends a Berglund chance in front of the Wings' net and gains body position on him to take the puck. Berglund hooks Zetterberg as a result of this and goes to the box. Great play by Z here, who will get a plus.
3rd Period Penalties:
06:01 - Ryan Reaves (boarding): Reaves charges into the back of Brad Stuart's shoulder and bounces his head off the glass in the Detroit zone. This is a donkey play. No adjustment.
10:10 - Tomas Holmstrom (holding the stick): Homer loses a board battle to Steen in the corner on the power play and holds his stick to prevent a breakout. This will earn Holmstrom a minus. Homer's got to be on the high side of the forward here.
3rd Period 07:18 - St. Louis Goal (SH): David Perron (backhand) unassisted
A little over a minute into the Reaves major, the Wings' 2nd PP unit sets up for their typical breakout and zone entry play. Jakub Kindl carries to the center red striped facing Perron. The Blues' forward takes up good position to get his stick in the passing lane from Kindl to Holmstrom at the blue line. With White and Hudler on the far side covered, Kindl does what he's supposed to do and drops it to Valtteri Filppula trailing the play. Filppula misplays the puck directly into Perron and can only watch as the fish-faced forward heads the other way alone on Howard. Perron dekes forehand-to-backhand and roofs it over the sprawling goalie to put the Blues up 1-0. First off, Holmstrom, White, and Hudler will be cleared of minuses. They're exactly where they're coached to be on this setup. The puck that Kindl drops to Filppula isn't bouncing or anything. It's possible it just got caught in a rut or something, but ultimately, it's Filppula's job to control it. Flip will get an extra -1.5 for this turnover. Kindl does things mostly right, but part of the play that involves the drop pass is using the fact that you just had the puck as a way to legalize the pick you're supposed to run on the forward. Kindl lets Perron escape too easily and for that will get an extra half-minus.
3rd Period 10:19 - St. Louis Goal: Andy McDonald (wrist shot) unassisted
A few minutes later in the Reaves major, Tomas Holmstrom turns it into a 4-on-4 with a holding the stick penalty. Justin Abdelkader wins the ensuing faceoff in the Detroit end to Kindl on the outside wing. Kindl turns from the inside back to the boards to try and escape the zone with Steen chasing him. Here, Kindl doesn't use the body effectively and lets Steen get a chop on his stick, which causes Kindl to lose control. Andy McDonald is already skating in on the Wings' defender to complete the pinch when he finds the loose puck there for the taking. McDonald gets it around Kindl and turns the corner to the front of the net. With Ian White trying to respect the option that McDonald has of passing it off to Steen on the back door, McDonald has enough room to pull it to the front of the crease and beat Howard to the far side. Cleary and Abdelkader will have their minuses cleared. Kindl will earn the same -1.5 extra that Filppula did on the previous goal. White's in a tough spot here, but I want to see him challenge McDonald as he turns the corner. There's always the chance that he'll make the pass to Steen, but a challenge at the right moment makes that an incredibly difficult pass to complete. White will pick up an extra half-minus.
3rd Period 13:55 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (snap shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi
Ian White misplays a Bertuzzi pass in the neutral zone, but quickly recovers and backhands a pass to Johan Franzen at the offensive blue line for a tip to Pavel Datsyuk a few feet away and a zone entry. The puck bounces back to Franzen, who escapes a TJ Oshie check by chipping it only a few feet to Pavel Datsyuk down the boards. Datsyuk leaves it back for Franzen as he skates off the boards and is met by Matt D'Agostini. Franzen again pokes it back to Datsyuk and skates into the middle of the ice to find the puck back on his stick with a step on D'Agostini and a step in front of Vladimir Sobotka covering the far point position. Mule challenges the forward to open up space for a shot when he passes off to Ian White. This shot misses high and wide, but finds its way to Pavel Datsyuk's stick at the low boards. Pavel whips a pass back to White who shoots on net again with Bertuzzi skating through on a screen. Bert tips it on Elliott, who makes the stop and kicks it into the low corner. Datsyuk is there again to pick it up and this time whips the same quick pass to Johan Franzen coasting into the slot between Oshie and Sobotka. Franzen gathers it and snaps it over the glove to put Detroit on the board. Ian White will get the third assist on this goal and also a half-plus for the way he reacts to the crappy neutral zone ice conditions by smartly turning his body to protect the puck and getting it up ice for the zone entry. Datsyuk is all over this play and will get a bonus assist for how much he helped get the Blues' defense chasing around. He didn't waste time with his passes and hit the tape perfectly every single time. I know we take that for granted but that's not easy to do. Franzen will get a self-assist for helping win the board battle to keep possession in the zone.
3rd Period 16:10 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi
Franzen enters the zone in the middle and tries to chip it to Bertuzzi on the wing. The initial try gets knocked down, but the second gets through. Bert tries to bat it on net out of mid-air but misses. Bert recovers in the corner and fights it up the boards a bit to make some room for Datsyuk to recover and pass it to Ericsson on the far point. Riggy holds for a second and then dumps it around the boards to Datsyuk in the far corner to poke around Jason Arnott to Bertuzzi. Both Arnott and Colaiacovo key on Bertuzzi as Datsyuk skates behind the net to receive the pass back with plenty of room. Pavel skates around to the other corner where he keeps his distance from the boards as Colaiacovo skates over to adjust the defensive coverage. Datsyuk gives him the look like he's going to keep turning on the backhand toward the middle of the ice before quickly pivoting back to his forehand to open up space with him facing the inside. Datsyuk sees Franzen all alone at the bottom of the opposite circle and feeds a laser pass through to him. Franzen collects and throws it into the net before Elliott can get his glove over to stop it. Tie game. Ericsson makes a good read here letting the defense stretch over to his side for a bit before reversing it around the boards back to Datsyuk. Riggy will get a third assist for this. Datsyuk again has his fingerprints all over this play. Datsyuk will get another bonus assist. I like Franzen and Bertuzzi using their size to make space. I want that to be the norm for them.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi, +0.5 to Johan Franzen: Franzen may have scored the goals, but his linemates stirred the drink to make it happen. I was impressed with this line in the offensive and defensive zones. They absolutely dominated corsi.
-1 to Jakub Kindl: Rough night for the 'Yak. Even when he wasn't giving up pucks leading to goals, he was doing that leading to scoring chances. He did not look like an NHL-caliber defenseman in this game.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson: Speaking of which, Ericsson looks very comfortable next to Lidstrom and plays a much stronger and more patient game. During the broadcast, Pierre McGuire shared that the Blues bench was yelling out to keep the pressure on him when he was out there with the puck. They did do that, and he withstood it very well. There was one turnover, but doing that in 26:34 of ice time with a team-leading 2:42 perfect PK time is only going to shave a half-plus off of what he deserves overall.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg, +0.5 to Valtteri Filppula: Flip being at fault for the shorthanded goal still counts against him here, but it's partially mitigated by how strongly he played throughout the rest of the game (which is why this is only a half-plus which will still keep him in the minus overall). Zetterberg played a strong north-south game against a physical Blues team and kept them at bay very well.
-0.5 to Drew Miller: Miller's role is to play a simple physical game where he goes to the middle, gets shots on net, and tries to pick up loose pucks. He wasn't doing that very well in this game as I felt he floated to the outside too often and didn't handle the puck well.
Nyquist started strong, nearly creating the first goal of the game on a great job forechecking in the first period. Unfortunately, he faded after that. Despite fan complaints, moving him off Datsyuk's line in favor of Bertuzzi was the right choice. Nyquist has all the skills to be a top-line player, but I felt this game was a message about the physical cost of doing that against a tough grinding team.
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