The Wings headed to Long Island for an early Friday evening tilt to put their two-game winning streak to the test and perhaps turn around their overall minus goal differential. By the end of the match, the win streak was at three and the goal differential was back to positive thanks to a 5-0 drubbing.
The reffing standard was a bit odd in this game and I do think the Wings got the better of the missed calls, but there were some goofy ones that didn't match up. Neither team scored on their power plays (Detroit 0/2, NYI 0/1). The Wings outshot the Isles 30-29.
Jimmy Howard had a phenomenal game in net and absolutely earned his shutout with some huge saves both early and late in the game. He seemed to be a bit closer to his crease, but also got the help needed on the sides/back of the net to keep the puck out.
1st Period 07:09 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (Backhand) from Daniel Alfredsson and Brendan Smith
Detroit gets on the board first on a few beautiful moves to spring Helm behind the netminder. The play starts with Helm losing a defensive zone draw that turns into a shot attempt by Thomas Hickey which is blocked by Brendan Smith between the hash marks. Alfredsson picks up the loose puck and exits the zone with Abdelkader on a 2-on-2 rush. Both Helm and Smith join on the second level with only Okposo getting back for the Islanders, turning this rush into a two-level 4-on-3 rush. Abdelkader and Alfredsson enter the zone on the left side with Abby jumping in front of Alfie to make a little bit of room for the threat of a cut to the middle which pushes both defenders back. As Alfredsson cuts to the middle, he drops it off for Helm to pick up at the top of the circle as Abdelkader skates to the net-side to take Martinek out of the middle while Hickey watches the pass back to Alfredsson in the middle. Helm threatens a slapper from the dot which freezes both Martinek and Poulin, giving him time to move the puck across the front of the crease and slide a backhander into the net. I love the play here by the forwards to make this play happen. Alfredsson makes an incredibly clever play on the drop pass and will get a plus. Helm freezes the D and earns a plus on creating the goal. Abdelkader will get a half-plus for drawing Martinek off to the side and Smith will get a half-plus for joining the rush to tie up Okposo and keep this an odd-man rush.
2nd Period 16:49 - Detroit Goal (SH): Darren Helm (lolwhut) from Daniel Cleary and Jonathan Ericsson
Darren Helm kills penalties like Don Juan gives compliments. In a play reminiscent of Hasek/Gaborik, Helm shows how it's done by putting a puck past a goalie too far out of his crease. The Isles try a tip-in dump on a zone entry that doesn't work because it comes just a bit too late, allowing Darren Helm to pinch off the forechecker at the top of the zone. Ericsson gets it behind the net and rims it up the boards past two Islanders coming up on the far side. Cleary is able to tip the puck past the pinching defenseman and the puck exits the zone. MacDonald and Helm skate back on the puck, but I don't think MacDonald realizes Helm is there because by the time they reach the blue line, Helm is blowing past his man and just shy of catching up to the puck. Poulin thinks he can out-race Helm to it and loses on the gamble as Helm catches up to the puck in the high slot and pokes it through the goalie before being awkwardly tripped. Helm reaches the goal line just wide of the net just about the same time that the puck is going in to put the Wings up 2-0. This is good safe play on the PK paying off with aggressive skating. Helm will earn a bonus plus and a half for his work.
3rd Period 00:12 - Detroit Goal: Daniel Alfredsson (wrist shot) from Brendan Smith
Just 12 seconds into the period it's party time again. Helm loses the period-opening faceoff, but the Isles turn it over on a Hickey attempted dump-in that goes to Smith just at the top of the faceoff circle in his zone. Immediately after the Hickey dump-in flub, Alfredsson steps from pressuring in front of Hickey to behind him up ice. This pays off when Smith chucks an outlet from the middle of his own zone to Alfie just as he crosses the offensive blue line. Breaking in alone, Alfredsson snaps the puck high to the glove side and it's 3-0. Beauty pass by Smith and good pressure by Alfredsson will earn each a bonus plus.
3rd Period 06:12 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall
A beauty play creates an odd-man and a snipe shot by Nyquist to make it 4-0. A scrambled faceoff to Jimmy Howard's right turns a bit dangerous when Colin McDonald spins and throws it at the front of the net. Howard stops it and Kronwall skates back to recover the puck, bouncing it up the boards to get it around Casey Cizikas. Andy MacDonald misplays the bouncing puck at the point and finds himself behind Franzen as he and Nyquist come up ice in a 2-on-1 against Hamonic. Both skaters slow up just a little bit to keep Hamonic out of the passing lane and see it pay off when Franzen goes from the top of the left circle to Nyquist skating in towards the right dot. Poulin crosses over to square to Nyquist, but slides just a bit too far and is beaten by a snipe that goes off the far post and in. This is a very good job to take advantage of a mistake which will earn Franzen a half-plus.
3rd Period 16:13 - Detroit Goal: Daniel Alfredsson (wrist shot) from Niklas Kronwall and Darren Helm
Alfie earns his second of the night while crushing the dreams of an Islanders defender trying to save a goal. The Wings gather possession on a stolen pass from behind their own net that turns into a bit of a hook-and-ladder play as Abdelkader passes to Helm skating up ice. Abby, Helm, and Alfredsson skate up ice in a 3-man line. Helm crosses center and dumps it to Alfredsson on the right side while he goes the net. Abdelkader is just behind Helm tying up his man while Ness watches Alfie. Both Helm and Abdelkader end up going to the net-front while Alfredsson curls back and waits for everybody to get in the zone before skating across to the opposite side point where he switches places with Kronwall then spins and passes it back to Kronner standing all alone at the top of the zone. While Helm and Abdelkader battle the defenders for net-front position, Kronwall is able to step about 10 feet into the zone and throw a wrister through a shooting lane on net. Poulin doesn't see the puck thanks to the screen and it bounces out of his glove, up over him and toward the goal line. Brock Nelson is able to sweep it off the goal line before it crosses, but he unfortunately sweeps it right to Alfredsson sneaking up to that side of the net. Alfie puts it back into the net and it's 5-0. Abdelkader will get a screener's assist on this play. It's Abby that Poulin is trying to peek around when the puck hits his glove. I'm going to give Helm and Alfredsson a half-plus each for the play which earns the zone and the one which keeps the zone calmly while the Islanders' defense over-collapses.
1st Period 02:57 - Radek Martinek (Cross-checking): Tomas Tatar drives into the Islanders' end on a forecheck, nearly creating a turnover scoring chance. Instead, he creates a penalty when Martinek knocks him down. Plus for Tatar.
2nd Period 14:06 - Casey Cizikas (interference): The Isles go shorthanded when Cizikas prevents Nyquist from getting onto the Red Wings bench. Dumb play by Tzatikis here. No adjustment.
2nd Period 16:03 - Justin Abdelkader (interference): In an attempt to dig a puck out of the boards, Abdelkader gets a bit too rough with Travis Hamonic and goes to the box for it. Minus for Abdelkader. It's just a little soft based on the reffing standard, but Abby has to know better.
+2 to Jakub Kindl: The only defenseman who didn't get in on the plus beneficiary fun and deserved it, Kindl played incredibly solid in his own end, at one point possibly saving a goal with a great stick tie-up.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyquist, and Johan Franzen: This line had some positively dominant shifts and did a good job as the Wings' first line again.
I loved this game.
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Screener's Assist Totals
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