The Red Wings are a very good team when they manage to score 3 goals. They're a pretty good team when they only allow one. After giving up the first, Detroit went on to score three unanswered to help their playoff chances with two points in the standings.
Special teams wasn't the difference-maker in this one, but they certainly helped, as the Wings went 1-for-4 on the power play and held Los Angeles scoreless. Overall, the Wings outshot the Kings 36-24.
Jonathan Quick had an excellent first period, making several big saves. Quick was tested a lot more than Howard, but while Jimmy got the win, I think this one was even in the head-to-head. I thought the Kings made a few decisions which made Howard's job easier. Overall, I'm going to give Howard a +1. He certainly was tested enough and came up big enough that he was big enough part of the reason the Wings won this game.
2nd Period 05:28 - Los Angeles Goal: Kyle Clifford (wrist shot) from Trevor Lewis and Jarret Stoll
The Kings catch Detroit running around in their own zone and pull Howard out of position. Lewis gets it around and behind Howard from the side of the net and Clifford is there to put it in. Damien Brunner will have his minus halved on this. I wish he had played more aggressively on Smith's turnover on the boards, but Andersson was there and Brunner's responsibility is Jake Muzzin up top. Smith will pull an extra minus for the turnover and for getting beaten cleanly off the wall by Clifford. Andersson will get a coverage minus here for a few little mistakes, including one in the neutral zone that allows a clean zone entry and then one down low which gets the puck to Clifford. Quincey will pull an extra half-minus for getting himself caught playing in-between defense which lets all of this happen.
2nd Period 10:32 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (backhand) from Jonathan Ericsson and Henrik Zetterberg
The Wings pull even on what is about two broken plays which turn into a beautiful cross-crease pass from Jonathan Ericsson to Datsyuk to slide it past Quick before he can get over. Datsyuk will get a self-assist on the pass to Z in the middle which almost leads to a goal right there. Abdelkader will get the third assist on this one and a bonus plus. He creates the zone entry and is responsible for Doughty losing the puck to Datsyuk. Ericsson will get a bonus assist and a bonus plus. He uses his size to help the Wings get out of their own zone and then is in great position to make an amazing pass.
3rd Period 05:42 - Detroit Goal: Jordin Tootoo (tip-in) from Patrick Eaves and Brendan Smith
Some great zone pressure by the fourth line leads to a couple of scoring chances for Eaves. The second one deflects off Tootoo's stick and gets through Quick to put Detroit ahead. Kyle Quincey is going to get a half-assist (non-touch) and a bonus plus. The Kings get one deep in the zone and he plays it in such a manner as to facilitate the breakout for Smith to get it to Eaves, who quickly turns it to Emmerton moving through center. Eaves will get a bonus assist and Emmerton the third assist on this end-to-end play. Bonus pluses go to each forward, Eaves, Emmerton, and Tootoo. The three of them are constantly either pushing furiously at the puck or are in great position for their linemates. Smith will get a bonus half-plus. His smart pass in his own zone and step-up in the offensive zone leads to this goal.Finally, since I apparently haven't hammered home enough how impressive this play is, Tootoo will also get a self-assist on his quick pass to Eaves for the first shot on net.
3rd Period 13:34 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk
The Wings take advantage of a power play chance as good passing down low leads the puck onto Franzen's stick in front of the net for a quick redirect over Quick's pad. Franzen will get a self-assist and Kronwall will get the third assist. Before the final passing play, the Wings win a 3-on-3 battle in the corner as Franzen, Zetterberg, and Kronwall are able to prevent Kopitar, Greene, and Scuderi from getting the puck cleared.
Penalty Adjustments (pluses and minuses only)
1st Period 04:41 - Matt Greene (roughing): Gustav Nyquist threatens to split the D and Matt Greene punches him in the face to prevent that. Plus for Nyquist
1st Period 04:51 - Kyle Quincey (tripping): Trevor Lewis gets aggressively on Quincey on the power play and then jumps his stick. It's a sell job, but Quincey absolutely speared the guy's skate. Minus for Quincey.
1st Period 08:24 - Detroit Bench (too many men): This one is going to be split between Patrick Eaves and Johan Franzen (half-minus each) for not focusing better on their change.
3rd Period 09:39 - Valtteri Filppula (interference): Filppula makes a move to get into Carter's way away from the puck and goes to the box when Carter trips over him. Minus for Filppula.
3rd Period 12:27 - Robyn Regehr (hooking): Thanks to a great zone entry and scoring chance by the top line, Robyn Regehr goes to the box for hooking Henrik Zetterberg. Hank will get a plus, but Datsyuk and Abdelkader will also get half-pluses for the passing play to create this chance which was very nearly a goal.
+1 to Johan Franzen: This was a solid performance for Franzen who skated hard and created chances.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall: I think Kronner had one of his smartest performances of the season. I really liked how intelligently aggressive he was. When he stepped up on guys, he made sure they didn't get around him.
+1 to Danny DeKeyser and Jakub Kindl: It might not have seemed as big as it was, but these two were Detroit's second pair in this one. They were tasked with defending Williams, Richardson, and Carter, and they did more than hold their own against L.A.'s best goal-scorer and those two other jerks on his line.
+1 to Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson: Jester's plus is to correct for what was an overall -2 which I don't feel adequately describes his play, despite the mistake made on LA's goal. Goose drove possession well and put five shots on net. He consistently tries to get right through the defense instead of taking the easy route to the corners and this leads to scoring opportunities.
Just about everybody I was down on after one period evened out by the end while a few people who I thought started well faded a little bit late. I was ready to bench Cleary after the first, but he played a strong third. Filppula played a decent enough game too.