The Red Wings have a lead in a series that isn't over yet after taking a 3-1 win in Detroit on Monday night. This one was a back-and-forth affair that could have gone any number of ways. Thankfully, it went the way I wanted it to.
People are going to complain about penalties for the next seven weeks after this one and they're all going to be right, no matter which side they're arguing. The refs made any number of mistakes. Neither team scored on the power play in nine combined opportunities (Detroit 5/4 Chicago). Overall, the Hawks put 40 shots on net compared to the Wings' 30.
Jimmy Howard may have had his best game of the playoffs here. He was very good at rebound control for most shots and scrambled exceptionally well when the puck came back off him. Howard will win the head-to-head battle. Overall, I'm going to hand him a +2 rating and I'm very much fighting the urge to bust out the rare +3. I think his teammates did him a few favors in net-front scrums, but damn was I impressed.
2nd Period 07:49 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (wrist shot) from Damien Brunner and Joakim Andersson
The Wings get on the boards first with a great hustle to turn into a great zone entry and then a great move across the middle and then a great job outwaiting Crawford before Nyquist pots it home. Overall...great. Brunner will net an extra half-plus for the hustle to get to the puck that he flips over Leddy. Nyquist will get a bonus plus for his hustle and great work to score this.
2nd Period 08:20 - Detroit Goal: Andrew Miller (tip in) from Patrick Eaves and Cory Emmerton
The Wings score again 31 seconds later as the fourth line creates a turnover high in the zone. Eaves wastes no time putting a shot on goal that Crawford can't corral. Eaves puts the rebound back on and it gets through. The puck is sitting behind Crawford when Miller pokes it home. I'm going to give Eaves a bonus assist and a bonus plus for all of his work here. He does most of the legwork moving the puck around the zone and is the reason for the Rozsival turnover. Colaiacovo was in good position and will earn half an assist on the work to keep the puck in. Kindl will also earn an assist for a clever move at his own blue line to move the puck up ice on the faceoff win and also a well-timed pinch to prevent a clear.
3rd Period 04:35 - Chicago Goal: Patrick Kane (wrist shot) from Duncan Keith
Chicago breaks the shutout on a bit of a controversial call. Johan Franzen gets hit in the numbers in the corner of the Chicago zone, allowing the Hawks to break the forecheck. Keith dumps it high over the Wings' defense to break Kane in all alone for the finish between Howard's legs. The no-call aside, Quincey and Smith have to have this play covered better. This is a desperation move by the Hawks that pays off because Q misses a jump and Smith isn't back far enough to deny Kane the break. Both Quincey and Smith will pick up coverage minuses. Datsyuk, Franzen, and Filppula will be cleared.
3rd Period 06:46 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen Brendan Smith
The Wings reclaim the two-goal lead on a transition play just over two minutes (and one waved-off goal) later which leads a puck to the very end of Datsyuk's reach as he crosses into the zone. Pavel collects it and slings the puck on net. Crawford watches helplessly as the puck is in and out faster than Andrew Shaw on prom night. Datsyuk will get a self-assist for starting this play in his own end while Abdelkader gets the third assist for helping make sure the Wings make it out of the zone. Smith will get a bonus half-plus on this play for good body positioning and a quick turn to hit Franzen in stride out of the zone. Franzen for his work will also get a half-plus.
Penalty Adjustments (pluses and minuses only)
1st Period 16:12 - Justin Abdelkader (holding the stick): The only obvious penalty of the first period which wasn't also let go at some other time of the period will earn Abdelkader a minus.
2nd Period 00:54 - Brendan Smith (holding): Smith gets a minus for grabbing Patrick Sharp on the rush. Obvious call.
2nd Period 17:39 - Brendan Smith (interference): Smith gets another minus later in the 2nd. He's trying to make room for Datsyuk to come out from behind the Detroit net, but doesn't have the timing to establish the ice before Bolland gets there. Since this makes it a moving pick, it also makes it an illegal interference.
The Entire 3rd Period - The Blackhawks (childishness, lack of composure): I just want to mention how off their game Chicago was by the third here. None of the penalties were directly "drawn", but I kind of want to give everybody on the team a plus for driving them to this level of madness. I think Cleary actually will get a plus here that's a gametime achievement award for driving Hawks players bonkers which kind of works as an overall plus, but deserves to be in this category.
+1 to Drew Miller, +0.5 to Cory Emmerton: Detroit's two best PKing forwards got a lot of chances to show their mettle, as Miller played more than 5:30 while Emmerton played more than 3:30 of perfect PK. The way they get in shooting and passing lanes has been just great.
+1 to Kyle Quincey: The little nastiness he showed which got him penalties in the regular season have turned into good defensive work around his own crease. I liked Quincey's play in this one.
The Filppula-Z-Cleary-Kronwall-Ericsson grouping got killed on possession and bailed out by Howard a few times. The D-men there each spent more than five minutes PKing, but overall, I think even ratings for everybody but Cleary works out for them.