After winning two straight over the Ducks, the Wings flew into Arizona for a Monday night matchup against the Coyotes, a team that's struggled lately and was looking at this game to potentially turn things around for them. Fortunately, a tired and sometimes sloppy Wings team held on for the victory thanks to road power play goals and backup goaltending. I know, I'm surprised too.
I thought the reffing standard in this game was a bit better than average, but I've also though the average reffing standard for this season has been kind of shitty, so take that as you will. Detroit went 2/5 on the power play while Phoenix went 1/3.
The Wings outshot Phoenix 35-31, but it sure felt like Jonas Gustavsson did more work than Jason LaBarbera, who also had a good game at the other end. Gustavsson did a good job helping out his defense to get pucks away from forecheckers and also at making me terrified that he was going to hand the puck directly to a goal-scorer like Dominik Hasek sometimes did. I'm going to give Gustavsson a +2 overall and a +1 in the head-to-head.
1st Period 04:01 - Detroit Goal: Ian White (slap shot) from Jakub Kindl and Daniel Cleary
After a series of chances in the Wings' end, the Wings break out with speed and end up catching the Coyotes over-collapsing as White fires a slapper from the top of the zone that makes its way through traffic and in. Brunner's going to get the third assist and a bonus plus for starting the rush. Joakim Andersson will also get the screener's assist, as LaBarbera is looking around him just as White releases his shot.
1st Period 07:56 - Phoenix Goal(PP): Martin Hanzal (tip-in) from Radim Vrbata and Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Phoenix pulls even on the power play as they collapse the Wings in and get a half-boards slapper which is tipped past Gustavsson out front. I'm going to give Joakim Andersson a half-minus on a failed clear under pressure and I'm going to give Ericsson a half-minus for not being in Vrbata's shooting lane.
1st Period 12:17 - Phoenix Goal: Rob Klinkhammer (wrist shot) from David Moss and Keith Yandle
A bad turnover in the Wings zone brings hell to the front of the Wings net. Klinkhammer comes in to collect the loose puck and roof it over a sprawling Gustavsson. Brendan Smith is going to pull a minus here for an overall bad shift where he misses an easy pass getting into the Phoenix zone and then misplays against a forechecking Moss. Brunner and Lashoff will each pull extra minuses for a turnover and a coverage mistake while Andersson will get a half-minus for not recognizing the coverage needed in front sooner.
2nd Period 19:21 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk
The Wings pull even late in the 2nd on a good passing play in which Kronwall finds Franzen with room in the slot for a one-timed wrister over the glove. Brunner will get another third assist on a good keep-in and escape from pressure. The pass from Datsyuk to spring Kronwall on the far side is amazing here and will earn Datsyuk a half-plus. This is nearly a lost-zone chance, but it turns into a goal with how smoothly-delivered the puck is.
3rd Period 06:12 - Detroit Goal (PP): Pavel Datsyuk (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall
Zetterberg skates behind the net and tries to throw it out front to Datsyuk on the back door. Pavel doesn't let the puck deflecting off a stick stop him from potting the game-winner. This one comes off a rush where Datsyuk draws the defenders over and then slides it to Zetterberg for a smooth zone entry. Pavel will get a self-assist.
Penalty Adjustments (pluses and minuses only)
1st Period 07:11 - Jakub Kindl (holding): Kindl grabs a guy and falls down. That's a penalty. Minus for Kindl.
1st Period 15:13 - Rusty Klesla (interference): Quick transition by the Wings leads to a good scoring chance for Andersson and an interference on Klesla as he denies the rebound chance. Andersson will get a plus while both Miller and Kronwall will get half-pluses.
1st Period 18:08 - Henrik Zetterberg: Z wastes time on a defensive positioning mistake by the Coyotes as he and Filppula run into each other and end up taking down Michael Stone. Both Z and Filppula will get a minus.
2nd Period 02:36 - Boyd Gordon (tripping): The Wings get a very good scoring opportunity that doesn't finish, but at least gets the Wings a power play opportunity as Damien Brunner charges the net hard and forces Boyd Gordon to bring him down. Brunner will get a plus and Cleary will get a half-plus for his work making this play happen.
2nd Period 14:42 - Valtteri Filppula (interference): Filppula isn't really paying attention to where he's going as he skates into Martin Hanzal in the neutral zone, bringing him down. Filppula will get a minus.
2nd Period 17:49 - Michael Stone (high-sticking): It's not common to give pluses on high-sticks, but this is a great scoring chance which leads to the failed stick-lift that hits Filppula in the face. Filppula and Zetterberg will earn back pluses for the scoring chance getting them a PP chance.
+1 to Damien Brunner: He was skating like a madman in this one and made a handful of excellent defensive plays. I was really impressed with him in this one.
-0.5 to Brendan Smith: Too many mental mistakes for Smith, who needed to be better.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall: Quietly, I think Kronner may have had one of his best games of the season here.
+1 to Drew Miller: The shot block late in the game that cleared the zone was the most-memorable of his great plays, but Drew Miller was fantastic on the boards and in his own zone.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg: I thought Z had a very strong game in all three zones. He needed to be better on faceoffs, but he drove the puck the right direction.
+0.5 to Gustav Nyquist: Giving up a shorthanded breakaway while on a powerplay late in a game hangs on Nyquist as a pretty big msitake and he still deserves a positive rating for a good game. He got robbed on the scoresheet for takeaways in this game.
+1 to Johan Franzen: Mule put five shots on net and was even credited with two hits. I thought he was well-engaged in this one and helped take control when he was on the ice.
White was fairly good, but probably not good enough for a plus,
same as Kindl (adjusted to +0.5 overall for Kindl). Ericsson being an adjusted -0.5 feels about right for him in this one.