USA TODAY Sports
Game 21 of 48
There were only three penalties called in this game. I wouldn't say a ton of stuff was let go by the refs, but the standard was loose. It was at least consistent. Detroit is going to have to score on the power play in a road game eventually.
Jonas Gustavsson only allowed one goal on 26 shots for the Sharks and he's going to lose the head-to-head battle to Antti Niemi, who had to make more stops and who generally looked more solid in his own net. I had Gustavsson down for two pretty big saves, but I also had him down for being bailed out twice and I think the goal he allowed was soft. He spent a lot of time scrambling and seemed jittery with the puck. Despite all that, I think he was a positive overall for the Wings and will get a +1 overall. His saves were timely and, despite his "jittery" look, he got the job done well.
3rd Period 04:49 - San Jose Goal: Logan Couture (slap shot) from Joe Thornton and Douglas Murray
The puck takes an odd bounce off a stanchion out to the middle of the Wings zone and Abdelkader gets it knocked off his stick just prior to gaining the blue line. San Jose turns it back into the zone in an odd-man situation and Couture one-times it short-side on Gustavsson. This is a bad goal for Gustavsson, who takes too long to square after the Thornton pass and makes himself look small by the time Couture fires it. This will clear minuses for Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Ericsson, and Kronwall. Abdelkader's turnover will earn him back his minus.
3rd Period 06:21 - Detroit Goal: Patrick Eaves (deflection) from Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson
Kronwall gets the puck at the point and fires it into a crowd, The puck hits Eaves on its way through and beats Niemi to tie it. There's a lot to like about this play, especially from Tomas Tatar, who will get an assist and a plus for cleanly winning a board battle against Brad Stuart to create this play. Then, Tatar will also get half a screener's assist, as once he's established inside position on Stuart for the developing screen, he also wisely leans even farther over to make Niemi have to do even more to peek around him.. Joakim Andersson also runs a half-plus-worthy pick in his own zone to give Jonathan Ericsson room for the long dump-in off Tatar's stick.
Goal-Saved Plus - 3rd Period 9:17: Henrik Zetterberg: Z gets himself bailed out first by Gustavsson making a great save on Marleau at the doorstep, but then Z actually makes two saves to prevent a surefire goal.
Penalty Adjustments (pluses and minuses only)
1st Period 01:25 - Douglas Murray (interference): Tootoo's line does some good board work in the offensive zone. Toots hustles for a loose puck and causes Murray to step into his path to stop him. Tootoo will get a plus. Cory Emmerton will also earn a plus; he had a lot to do with Tootoo getting his chance to draw a call.
2nd Period 16:54 - Jordin Tootoo (roughing): Tootoo gets a minus for taking a pretty long run at Kennedy and getting himself sent to the box.
+0.5 to Joakim Andersson: He made a couple of turnovers which lowered this from a full plus, but I thought Andersson had a very strong game.
+1 to Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey: Getting to play behind Datsyuk all night helped, but this defensive pair had a very good game. Quincey was quietly solid and Smith was very strong using his body. I liked the aggression.
+1 to Brian Lashoff. The defense on a Sharks' 2-on-1 in the second period is nearly enough by itself to create this rating, but I thought he was great.
-1 to Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl: Not strong performances out of these two. Ericsson committed two cardinal-sin turnovers and Kindl was not as good as he has been lately.
-1 to Justin Abdelkader: Abby seemed completely lost in this game. It wasn't just that he didn't create much, but it sure seemed like he actually killed offense.
Johan Franzen got killed in possession and was quiet enough in the offensive zone that he would have earned an overall minus if not for a solid defensive performance by the Mule. Overall, the Wings' top six did a slightly-less-than-stellar job of silencing San Jose's dangerous scorers. That's not intentional understatement. On a road game and the second of back-to-backs, having your top six eliminate the only scoring threats on the other team is a win. They also got outchanced at even strength though.