In something of a big-deal kind of game for one of Detroit's depth wingers (I kid, love you Alfredsson), the Red Wings were able to extend their winning streak to four straight games by putting down the Senators 4-2 in Ottawa on Sunday.
Detroit was given one power play opportunity to Ottawa's four. Neither team scored with the man advantage. I'd say the Wings' penalty kill looked at least as dangerous as Ottawa's power play when they were on the ice. Ordinarily, I'd complain about the reffing standard, but aside from one hook and maybe a couple of dives, I don't think Ottawa got away with as much on the loosely-called game. This shows somewhat in the 32-29 shooting advantage the Sens held.
Jonas Gustavsson did everything necessary to win this game for the Wings and got the job done in a sometimes-nerve-wracking performance that saw him make some great stops, play the puck decently well, and do a ton with trying to direct rebounds to teammates which could have gone very ugly if the defenders weren't as focused as they were in this matchup.
2nd Period 08:22 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Jakub Kindl and Daniel Alfredsson
Nearly halfway through the game, the Wings break through, catching the Senators in a change and getting a beauty snipe from the Mule. After a good scoring chance for Quincey, the Wings regain possession in center as a Colin Greening outlet misses his mark to be collected again by Quincey at the Detroit Blue line. Q passes to Kindl, who gets a pass back from Alfredsson after trying to hit him at center ice under pressure. Immediately, Kindl throws it past three Senators on the wrong side of center to Franzen on the left wing side at the blue line. Franzen skates toward the faceoff dot with Zetterberg creating a 2-on-1 through the middle lane (Alfredsson is just behind Z here and it's nearly a 3-on-1). Just inside the top of the circle, Mule snaps it over the glove side to put the Wings on the board. I'm going to give Lashoff a plus on this play. He had changed before the goal, but he makes a play in the Wings' end that gets two Senators trapped deep and helps create the rush up ice. Zetterberg is also part of this play and will get a half-plus.
2nd Period 11:13 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (snap shot) from Tomas Tatar and Niklas Kronwall
The Wings get another on a good zone entry and a beautiful cross-ice pass for a one-timer. After a line change, Jonathan Ericsson picks off an attempt to dump the puck in from behind center and get a tip past the defense. Riggy turns and feeds Kronwall facing up ice. Kronner catches the Senators in a change with a cross-ice pass to Tatar at the left wing side of the Senators blue line. Erik Karlsson challenges Tatar at the half-boards while Andersson charges the middle lane and Miller comes from the right wing side on a diagonal toward the net. A little bit of a toe-drag gets Tatar into position to rip a cross-ice pass to Miller in the right faceoff circle where he one-times it past Lehner to make it 2-0. Ericsson and Kronwall will get the pluses back which are lost to Smith and Lashoff on the line change behind the play. Smith and Lashoff lose their pluses. Additionally, Ericsson and Kronwall will each receive a bonus plus for the quick turn to catch the Senators. Tatar will get a half-plus for continuing on the great work created by this transition.
2nd Period 14:14 - Ottawa Goal: Clarke MacArthur (wrist shot) from Milan Michalek and Chris Phillips.
The Sens get one back on a net-front scramble after digging the puck out from under Gustavsson. The play starts as Kyle Quincey gets caught pinching and creates a 2-on-1 which Ericsson defends well. The Wings get the puck back into the Sens' zone, but not very deep, allowing the Sens to transition thanks to an outlet from Phillips to Michalek breaking in on the right wing. Quincey challenges, but Michalek gets a dangerous shot off from the faceoff dot. Gustavsson thinks he has it, but Michalek stays on it and jams at the goalie until the puck pops out to the net-front where MacArthur is the first to get to it, slamming it into the open net through a couple players trying to prevent the goal. All five Wings players are below the hash marks when this goes in, so nobody is getting a minus cleared. The mistakes here are by four people. Quincey will get a coverage minus for not clearing Michalek away from the goaltender. Miller will get a half-minus for collapsing a little bit too far and whiffing on the puck as it heads out towards MacArthur (his true coverage responsibility is the backside where Spezza lurks on the half-boards). The third mistake is on Zetterberg, as he's just behind Michalek. Z actually makes a smart play recognizing that the change is broken here and in getting back, but Michalek is the last man in on the zone (Corvo is standing in the scrum to Gustavsson's left). Z is playing potential transition if the puck gets out, but a couple more steps allows him to lift MacArthur's stick and prevent the goal. Zetterberg will get a half-minus. This one's only a half because he shouldn't be in this position in the first place. On the backcheck, Stephen Weiss chases defenseman Joe Corvo to the side where Quincey and Ericsson are already covering. Weiss should be in the low slot here when the puck gets there and he isn't. This coverage will earn Weiss a minus.
3rd Period 01:58 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (wrist shot) from Brendan Smith and Darren Helm
The Wings get held in their own zone for a period before breaking out. This turns into a goal thanks to a one-man zone-hold which goes fantastically on the rush. After a rebound off Gustavsson hits the ref in the low circle, Chris Neil gets to it and tries to feed it out front with a blind spinning backhanded pass that gets through everybody. Helm collects it at the half-boards with room to head up the wing into the Ottawa zone before the three Ottawa defenders on him are able to force him to circle back at the half-boards in the Ottawa zone. While this is happening, the Wings get a change behind the play. Smith, Borowiecki, and Corvo all collapse below Helm when he turns, giving him a passing lane to get the puck to Brendan Smith rushing into the zone on the center-left side off the line change in front of the next level of Senators backcheckers. Corvo gets over to try and cut down the shooting lane for Smith by the time he reaches the hash marks, but can't stop the pass from Smith to Drew Miller, who's right next to him also having jumped into the zone. Miller goes skate-to-stick and puts it into the open net behind Lehner to make it 3-1. This is a great play by Helm, who will earn a plus for recognizing the change and giving time for the play to develop like it does. I'm also going to give Lashoff a plus while taking away Quincey's on the line change. Smith keeps his plus for jumping into the play and will also earn a bonus half-plus for recognizing the lane to jump into on the change. Kindl won't get a plus back because the breakout on the previous shift happened despite him. He had a turnover and lost a board battle which could have turned into a goal for the Sens. Tatar will lose his plus for having just jumped on behind the play while Alfredsson and Abdelkader will each only recover a half-plus on their line changes (both made a coverage mistake which cuts down on the plus)
3rd Period 18:39 - Ottawa Goal: Mika Zibanejad (wrist shot) from Erik Karlsson and Zack Smith
Ottawa gets one with their net empty thanks to a fortunate bounce out front to Zibanejad on the doorstep. The Sens dump the puck into the zone and rush the corner to keep it in. Spezza gets just enough room to throw a hail-mary backhand saucer pass across the ice trying to catch some luck. Quincey knocks the puck down and Nyquist races against MacArthur to get to the puck. On their way, MacArthur makes a great veteran play to simply fall down on Nyquist's stick to take them both out of the play and make room for Smith to pick it up and feed it to Karlsson at the point. Karlsson moves to the middle of the ice with Nyquist just getting up and Quincey up on Zack Smith at the half-boards. Franzen is in the slot when the Karlsson shot bounces off his hand before bouncing off the Spezza/Zetterberg tandem standing in front. The puck bounces off to Gustavsson's right where Zibanejad gets to it first, putting it into the empty net. There's a bit of luck involved in this goal, but there were some chances to prevent it. Quincey will have his minus halved. He's in good position throughout this play and the only complaint I really have is that he didn't go nuts and chase Smith all the way up the boards, which would have been a mistake. Brendan Smith is in the unenviable position of being the guy who needs to react in a split-second to a puck taking a double-deflection. Zibanejad's stick is his responsibility and he doesn't get turned around fast enough, earning Smith a coverage minus.
3rd Period 18:57 - Detroit Goal (EN): Daniel Alfredsson (wrist shot) from Justin Abdelkader and Niklas Kronwall
Couldn't have asked for a better way to top off the scoring than Alfredsson icing it with a goal 18 seconds later. A weird bounce at the boards on an Ericsson step-up leads to a scoring chance as Kyle Turris gets in behind Darren Helm and puts a backhanded wrister on net. Gustavsson makes the save, but leaves a rebound. Fortunately, Niklas Kronwall gets there before Bobby Ryan and throws the puck hard to the corner. Abdelkader challenges Corvo for the bouncing puck up the boards and is able to play it past both Corvo and a pinching Michalek to get it out of the zone. From here, Alfredsson takes over, skating the puck just across the center stripe before chucking it into the open net. Kronwall and Abdelkader will each earn a bonus plus for their defensive play which helps prevent a goal and spring Alfredsson.
1st Period 06:39 Mikael Samuelsson (interference): Trying to prevent a breakout on the forecheck, Samuelsson gets in a Conacher's way and goes to the box. Minus for Samuelsson. Stupid unnecessary play here.
1st Period 09:51 - Detroit Bench (too many men): A goofy line change gets us a penalty when four guys come on for three coming off. Cleary is the one who isn't paying attention and goofs up. Cleary will get a minus. He has to realize that Franzen isn't coming off when he jumps onto the ice.
2nd Period 05:40 - Brendan Smith (holding): Smith gets beaten to the outside by Zibanejad and uses a free hand to slow him down. Minus for Smith. Bad play here. Easy call for the refs, even though they're letting a lot go at this point.
2nd Period 11:39 - Milan Michalek (holding): Brendan Smith rushes through the neutral zone on a pass from Aflredsson, creating what would be a break if not for Michalek slowing him down. Plus for Smith and half-plus for Alfredsson.
3rd Period 08:26 - Brendan Smith (slashing): This call comes because Ottawa is down by two. Smith does good defensive work on Bobby Ryan and gets sent to the box for tapping Ryan's stick. No adjustment. Bad call.
+1 to Drew Miller: I thought all four of the Wings' PK forwards did a good job. This plus adjusts them to rank how I think they did overall (Andersson being the weakest to Helm the strongest).
+1 to Kyle Quincey: Quincey's performance for most of the game was good, especially the 3:16 he spent killing penalties. This brings him up to a better ranking on the game.
Brendan Smith had a roller-coaster game, but there was a cardinal turnover which led to a great scoring chance from Spezza which nearly single-handedly guaranteed he would deserve to be an overall minus. He made up for that, but I think the mistakes-to-good plays ratio was slightly negative. Gustav Nyquist is facing tough competition and is holding his own, but it looks like he's trying to do too much still. Meanwhile, Tatar is driving things fantastically from the easier third line. The $9.65M fourth line had their least-visible game yet.
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