The Red Wings played a pretty ok road game on Sunday night in Chicago, losing to the Blackhawks in overtime. I would have liked to have seen a better effort overall, considering the Hawks were coming off a back-to-back and didn't seem to have as much jump after the first period energy dissipated. I don't like the loss, but at least they got a point.
This game was a great moneyball study as to what drives calls. You can argue that the trailing team works harder to draw calls and therefore gets the benefit or you can argue that the refs tend to want to give the trailing team more chances to even up, and then have to work to even the penalty score once that happens. Either way, many of the calls were weak. The standard didn't really work either way.
Jimmy Howard earned the Red Wings a point in this one. It was close in shots, but it feels like Howard had to do more to rob the Hawks of goals than Crawford did to rob the Wings. I'm going to give Howard a +1 in the head-to-head rating. Overall, I think his performance warrants a +1. I don't like the OT game-winner getting through him, but a goalie has to position himself for the shot that's released and really can't do much more than get lucky when it gets tipped.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 02:24 - Chicago Goal (PP): Duncan Keith (slap shot) from Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa
Duncan Keith gets a chance to unleash a slapper from the faceoff dot and he fires it over Jimmy's shoulder to put the Hawks ahead. Patrick Eaves will get a half-minus on this play for losing his stick. Toews skates into him and he loses his grip. This causes a coverage breakdown which essentially turns the play into a 5-on-3 while he tries (and fails) to recover his stick in the corner. Lashoff can't range over fast enough to block the Keith shot because he's got traffic in front of the net to deal with while Seabrook is threatening with the puck at the top of the zone.
3rd Period 04:30 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (snap shot) from Damien Brunner and Henrik Zetterberg
The Wings tie it thanks to a willingness to throw the puck on net and let good things happen. Hank chucks it there with Brunner streaking and the puck bounces to Franzen going to the far post. Mule snaps it under Crawford while he's adjusting to it. Franzen will get a self-assist here for a clever play in the neutral zone to take a pass from Brunner and get it to Zetterberg with speed. Also, the defense changes behind the play here, so Quincey and Smith will lose their pluses on the change. Only Kronwall is going to get his plus back. The puck gets back to the Wings for this rush thanks to a scoring chance by Toews as he gets a step on Ericsson in the zone.
Overtime 02:45 - Chicago Goal: Nick Leddy (snap shot) from Viktor Stalberg and Jonathan Toews
The Blackhawks get a counter-attack and take advantage of a defensive miscue to get Nick Leddy a good shooting location. Leddy puts it off Brunner's stick and past Howard for the game-winner. I discussed above how I want Howard to stop this, but don't blame him on the redirection. As a result of that redirection, Brunner's going to get a half-minus. On top of that, Brunner will also get an extra full minus. Leddy is his man in the zone and Brunner does not have that pass covered. Ericsson and Kronwall are covering their lanes while Zetterberg is getting back. This one is all on Brunner.
On a non-player adjustment angle, but worth mentioning, I don't like that Babcock put Abdelkader out there for this defensive zone faceoff if the intent was to change him out for Brunner immediately. Zetterberg comes into the Hawks zone alone because they're changing behind him. This is a bench decision and not a player decision and I don't like it. Either don't make Abby change here or tell Z not to get tossed out of the circle.
Penalty Adjustments (pluses and minuses only)
1st Period 01:45 - Kent Huskins (holding): This is a play that happens ten times a game and gets called inconsistently. I'm only going to give Huskins a half-minus. It's technically a hold, so he shouldn't do it, but it happened a dozen times.
1st Period 15:48 - Duncan Keith (tripping): Brendan Smith makes a good move at the blue line to force Keith into a bad position. Smith will get a plus.
2nd Period 17:29 - Jamal Mayers (closing hand on puck): Mayers falls victim to the new rule where you can't close your hand on the puck to keep it away from an opponent. Cory Emmerton does well to force this by jamming his stick in. Emmerton will earn a half-plus. It's not much of a call, but it's good play by Emmerton.
3rd Period 14:34 - Henrik Zetterberg (holding): Toews gets a step on Z as they enter the zone and Zetterberg uses a free hand to (very slightly) impede Toews. Slightly or not, holding is holding and Zetterberg will get a minus for doing it.
+1 to Justin Abdelkader: He might have been Detroit's best forward in this one. Abby was a beast on the forecheck and did a very good job on the PK.
+1 to Kyle Quincey: He was more than solid in this game; Quincey was downright good. His board-battling was positionally sound and he did a very good job to give his teammates time without turning the puck over in his own zone. Add some great rush-killing and this is the Quincey I'd like to see a lot more of.
+0.5 to Kent Huskins: He didn't get much playing time and I'm not sure why. I really like Huskins' play in his own zone. It's going to be tough to see him lose ice time when guys start getting healthy.
-0.5 to Brian Lashoff: This one is pretty much solely due to the time he passed the puck directly to Marian Hossa in the slot for a scoring chance. Just can't do that.
+0.5 to Jordin Tootoo: The energy he brought and pressure he laid on the Hawks' lower lines made him very noticeable in a good way. I really like his hustle and attitude.
+0.5 to Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk: Against the toughest competition, Zetterberg did very well to push the play forward and limit the chances going the other way. I thought his backchecking was superb. Datsyuk wasn't as dominant as Zetterberg at even strength, but he was good in this one. Datsyuk also had less linemate help.
-1 to Valtteri Filppula: I wish I could say something as positive as "Flip was invisible", but he wasn't; Filppula was visibly bad in this game. He did not have a step and could not hold possession.
Zetterberg had a turnover exactly like the one that got Lashoff his minus adjustment. That's accounted for in his half-plus. Brunner was kind of hot-and-cold. I'd like to see him engage physically more. I liked Emmerton's and Miller's games, but not enough to give either an adjustment.