Detroit turned around after an ugly Sunday game looking to prove they could beat what might be the Western Conference's worst team (until Calgary starts playing more games) and held on for a 3-2 win against the Avalanche.
Two of the game's goals were scored on the power play as Colorado went 1-for-3 and the Wings went 1-for-2. This was the first time in three games the Wings actually took a penalty.
Jimmy Howard won the head-to-head and played well in his rebound game. Before the Wings jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Howard did some great work keeping them ahead early in the 2nd. I'm going to give Howard a +1 rating overall.
1st Period 15:57 - Detroit Goal: Justin Abdelkader (skating at the net) from Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall
The Wings get a 4-on-3 rush up ice which turns into a 3-on-2 by the time the puck enters the zone. Franzen fires a shot top corner, which Varlamov shoulders away. Fortunately, Abdelkader is driving the net and pops the rebound in out of midair. Datsyuk will get the third assist for starting the rush. Ericsson and Kronwall will each get a half-plus. Riggy starts this as an odd-man by trapping two Avs against the boards behind Howard and Kronwall is very smart to jump into the rush.
2nd Period 06:27 - Detroit Goal (PP): Daniel Cleary (tip in) from Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk
The Wings get set up on the power play and Franzen makes an insanely good pass from behind the net out to Cleary who jams it in from the doorstep. Great hustle by Cleary and Franzen to regain possession after a lost faceoff starts this play. Cleary and Franzen will each earn a half-plus for this. Cleary will get a self-assist too. Franzen will also pick up a bonus assist for doing a lot of the setup work prior to the goal. Kronwall will get the third assist for helping draw the high coverage which makes space for the pass.
2nd Period 09:54 - Detroit Goal: Damien Brunner (one-timer) from Gustav Nyquist
Gustav Nyquist is good. A keep-in, spin-o-rama cross-ice pass comes right into Brunner's wheelhouse low in the faceoff circle to Varlamov's right and Brunner one-times it in. Brunner will get a self-assist and a bonus plus. He makes a great play to get the Wings out of their own zone and then is the one responsible for the loose puck that Nyquist gets to in order to set him up. Nyquist's stick-handling here will earn him a half-plus. Andersson will get a non-touch assist. He has a drive to the net and another body-positioning play which is crucial to how this one develops in the Wings' favor. Also, Kronwall and Ericsson come on behind the play for White and Kindl. I'm going to give Kronwall's and Ericsson's pluses back to White and Kindl for being involved in how the play happens.
3rd Period 05:52 - Colorado Goal (PP): Jamie McGinn (wrist shot) from John Mitchell and Cody McLeod
The Avs take advantage of a mad scramble in front of the net culminating in McGinn picking it up in the slot and chucking it past a sprawling Howard.Mistakes here are on Andersson (coverage minus) and on Colaiacovo (coverage minus). Andersson allows two high-quality chances, including the one that goes in, because he's chasing too much. Colaiacovo dog-piles onto McLeod up front and is the reason his goalie can't get back into it. Smith doesn't get blame because he's legitimately shoved on top of his own goalie.
3rd Period 18:42 - Colorado Goal: Matt Duchene (backhand) unassisted
Duchene picks off a bad clearing attempt and dekes Howard to make it close late. Brendan Smith pulls the turnover minus on this one. Colaiacovo and Cleary are innocent here and will have their minuses cleared. Franzen will have half his minus cleared. It's not his job to pick up Duchene here and he'd have to take a penalty to prevent this turnover, but he had an opportunity to do that. Filppula will keep his minus. With Colaiacovo tied up in the corner and Smith standing on the goal line about ten feet to Howard's right, it's the center's job to cover the net front. Flip is cheating ever so slightly on the turn up ice and ends up letting Duchene behind him as the puck is turned over.
Penalty Adjustments (pluses and minuses only)
1st Period 16:14 - Joakim Andersson (high-sticking): Andersson gets a minus for being careless with the stick
1st Period 19:38 - Jonathan Ericsson (slashing): Riggy falls down, turns the puck over, and then is forced to take a penalty to prevent a good scoring chance by Parenteau. It's a good penalty making up for his mistake, but it's still going to earn Ericsson a minus.
2nd Period 06:06 - Tyson Barrie (slashing): Gustav Nyquist and Daniel Cleary will get a half-plus each for a good pressure play to the front to draw a penalty as Barrie chops Cleary's hands to keep him from finishing a great feed from Nyquist.
3rd Period 04:32 - Jakub Kindl (slashing): A bit of a panic move under pressure, Kindl slaps the stick out of Landeskog's hands and earns a minus.
-2 to Jakub Kindl: Just a brutally bad game for Kindl in terms of turnovers. Whatever confidence he had been playing with seems to have disappeared.
+1 to Jordin Tootoo: This guy was a one-man response unit to an early gameplan by the Avs to take runs at guys. He threw the body around incredibly well.
+1 to Drew Miller & Cory Emmerton: The PK work done by these two in this game was fantastic.
+0.5 to Pavel Datsyuk: A few miscues and a little bit of unnecessary fanciness is an incredibly mild complaint for a guy who made people look stupid.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall: Kind of a quiet game for the guy who had the best corsi on the ice for the Red Wings in this one. Strong performance by Kronner in this one.
+1 to Gustav Nyquist: Really impressed with Nyquist's stick-handling and puck instincts in this game. Also did a much better job using his body to shield the puck.
+1 to Valtteri Filppula: Put simply, I think Filppula had too good a game to be an adjusted minus overall. Tasked with watching the O'Reilly/Landeskog line, Flip won the possession battle and played well.
Franzen used the body better in this game, but got off to a very slow start. He dug himself out of a hole in this game. Ericsson had a decent night that would have been a plus if not for a pretty bad turnover. I still like Colaiacovo and am happy to see him survive an entire game. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does with a bit more ice time.