The Detroit Red Wings came off a big shootout victory on Wednesday over the Hawks to welcome the division rival Montreal Canadiens to the Joe for the teams' first meeting of the season. The Habs played a physical game, but Detroit held their own well and put up a 4-1 victory.
The reffing standard in this game was absolutely awful. If something wasn't a penalty one minute, it was a penalty in the next. Easy too-many-men calls were ignored for both sides while bad icing/offsides marred the linesmen duties as well. Each team scored one power play goal. Detroit had six chances and the Habs got four. Shots went 31-26 for the Habs.
Jonas Gustavsson allowed only one goal for a 0.968 save percentage on the night and kept the scariness down to an acceptable level. He wasn't tested too greatly, but he cut down on some chances for the Habs to turn the game.
1st Period 12:27 - Detroit Goal (PP): Henrik Zetterberg (slap shot) from Daniel Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall
Detroit gets a 5-on-3 goal with a blast from the point by Zetterberg. The Wings win an offensive zone faceoff as Nyquist comes in and digs the loose puck out, feeding it to Kronwall, who switches places with Zetterberg getting back to the point. Z tries setting up a one-timer with Alfie down low, but Gorges gets in the lane. Unfazed, Z sets up the same play with Alfie, this time blasting a one-timer through a Dan Cleary screen to the glove side. Dan Cleary will get a screener's assist on this play, otherwise no adjustment on the 5-on-3 goal.
2nd Period 11:48 - Detroit Goal: Riley Sheahan (wrist shot) unassisted
Minutes after blowing an open net shot, Riley Sheahan makes up for it by firing a laser top-shelf on Price to make it 2-0. Montreal has a zone entry, but Lars Eller inexplicably pulls it back across the blue line and then has to go for a skate to reset the rush while both teams change. Eller goes to Emelin in the Habs' zone, allowing Tatar to get in and put pressure on him. This causes Emelin to try a bounce-pass off the boards either to Eller at the blue line or Murray skating back. The puck bounces between both players and ends up on Riley Sheahan's stick cutting up through the neutral zone. Tatar races to get back onside just as Shehan crosses into the zone with speed. Emelin gets over to keep Sheahan from rushing in on net, but has to give up a lot of space for this. Sheahan is able to skate into the top of the circle before unleashing a top shelf snipe past Price. I'm going to give a half-plus to Darren Helm and Brendan Smith on this play. Helm had already changed, but he put pressure on the puck forcing them to move it up ice quicker than they would have liked. Smith recognizes Jurco jumping on behind him and aggressively dogs the puck at center, which leads to Eller putting his teammate offsides and having to reset the play. Tatar will get a plus for the forecheck which causes the turnover.
2nd Period 12:56 - Montreal Goal (PP): Brendan Gallagher (wrist shot) from David Desharnais and PK Subban
The Habs break the shutout on a power play where Gallagher has too much room to jam to the front of the net from the low corner, slamming it under Gustavsson before somebody knocks him on his ass. Zetterberg loses the faceoff and the Habs get it to the point with Gallagher and Subban playing a little give-and-go to get around Zetterberg at the point. Gallagher goes to Desharnais low in the corner and rushes to the net-front to draw Z a bit inside before going back to Subban up top. PK skates toward the middle of the ice to drag Z away while Desharnais goes to the top of the circle to receive the return pass. Ericsson is standing in the shooting lane here, but his stick isn't in position to deal with the pass down to Gallagher low to the side of the net. Without wasting time, Gallagher turns and drives across the front, jamming it around Gustavsson and in before Riggy and Kronwall can get over. This is good puck movement by the Habs, but the faceoff loss by Zetterberg will earn him a minus. Ericsson will also get a minus for ranging too high to effectively deal with Gallagher. Additionally, Kronwall will pull a half-minus for the same thing. Kronner is covering Pacioretty in the slot, but he's too far up to effectively prevent this play.
2nd Period 16:29 - Detroit Goal: Niklas Kronwall (wrist shot) from Gustav Nyquist and Jonathan Ericsson
Superior forechecking and a good pass to the middle springs Kronwall for a snipe shot through a screen. This time, Z wins a defensive zone faceoff after the previous shift spent a long time in their own zone. Abdelkader moves it up ice, dumping it in and causing enough trouble for the defense that Nyquist is able to come over and keep the puck low in the zone, dumping it back to Abby on a give-and-go that just misses (which would have sprung Nyquist right in front for a glorious chance). Instead, the puck rolls to Ericsson at the top of the zone in the middle of the ice where he's immediately pressured by Pacioretty. Riggy breaks the pressure with a pass to Kronwall to his left. Kronner gets above the top of the circle while Abby goes to the net-front before firing a wrister which is blockered to the near-side corner where Nyquist is able to get to it first after cutting through the middle of the ice in case a rebound came out front. Murray chases while Gallagher keeps containment to the inside and Desharnais lingers above watching the passing lane to Kronwall. As Goose gets to the half-wall, he's lost Murray and is still below Desharnais. Gallagher is useless at the dot and nobody has picked up that Kronwall has left the point and is now cruising through the center of the ice. Nyquist throws a backhand which bounces off Gallagher's stick and goes right to Kronwall all alone in the slot. Quickly, Kronner snaps a shot that goes right through a Justin Abdelkader screen and into the net for the back-breaker. Abdelkader will get a screener's assist and a bonus plus on this play for the good forechecking work. Nyquist is also very good moving the puck here and will earn a plus. Zetterberg's faceoff victory shouldn't be diminished here in what was a one-goal game where Montreal had just spent several minutes gaining momentum in the offensive zone. I'm going to give Z a half-plus on this, as there's a lot of time between the faceoff win and the goal. Finally, Kronwall will get a half-plus for good smart play to keep himself and the puck moving, which draws the defense out of position.
3rd Period 18:41 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader
Goose makes it four after an awful line change by the Habs gives them a 3-on-1 rush. PK Subban tries skating end-to-end as the Wings line up three from the blue line and strip him of the puck, allowing the forwards to move it up ice in a play that almost gives Abdelkader a backdoor tip-in. Abby loses the recovery after the miss and Beaulieu gets it in the corner to start back up under some pressure by Nyquist (and good support by his teammates). Beaulieu flips it high in the air to clear the zone and the Habs start a change. This is a terrible decision, as the puck isn't high enough to get past the upstretched hand of Kyle Quincey, who knocks it down and immediately throws it back to Abdelkader on the left wing side. Subban is back, but Nyquist is there on the opposite wing behind all the oncoming defenders and Zetterberg trails into the zone through the middle wide open as well. Abby feeds Z 1/3rd of the way into the zone to give the most options while he and Nyquist stay in a line going to the edges of the net. Price is square to Z, but has to freeze on a pump-fake slapper from the high slot. Subban does what he can to take up the most possible space, but Z easily passes it behind him where Nyquist is all alone. Price can't get over before Nyquist slams it home to finish out the scoring. I'm going to give the plus that DeKeyser gets for changing on this play back to Jonathan Ericsson, whose stick breaks up the initial Subban rush and allows the counter-rush to develop. Quincey will earn a plus for the good positioning and quick thinking on the transition pass. Nyquist will get a plus for moving the initial rush very quickly and pressuring the defense effectively. Beaulieu made a mistake on the high dump attempt, but Nyquist sure helped him decide to do that.
1st Period 06:42 - Henrik Zetterberg (high sticking): Z tries a backhand shot after fighting in front of the net, catching Emelin in the chops on the follow through. For some reason, this is a penalty, despite it being on a follow-through. No adjustment on this bad call.
1st Period 10:30 - Brendan Gallagher (high sticking): The Wings get their first power play on a forecheck by the top line leading to a high-sticking penalty. No adjustment. Just a lazy stick play.
1st Period 11:26 - Alexei Emelin (boarding): Dan Cleary gets victimized on a dirty hit by the PKer along the half-wall. No adjustment. Just a shit play.
1st Period 19:15 - Brandon Prust (tripping): Alfredsson scrambles to pick up a loose puck around an open net and escape the pressure, getting dragged down by Prust on a clever turn. Alfredsson will get a plus.
2nd Period 02:19 - Brendan Smith (interference): Shortly after Drew Miller gets crushed along the boards away from the puck by Emelin, Smith goes to the box for following up his own playing of the puck and getting slowed down by Bourque. Smith gets called for interference as he tries to swim away from the hold. No adjustment. This is a pity penalty.
2nd Period 07:22 - Danny DeKeyser (cross checking): Montreal forechecks hard in the Detroit end, winning a board battle low after Gionta puts an elbow into DeKeyser. As the play comes up the boards, DeKeyser pushes Gionta and gets called for a cross-check by the ref in the far corner of the zone. There's not nearly enough contact here to justify this call. No adjustment.
2nd Period 07:48 - Max Pacioretty (tripping): Danny Cleary attacks the point shorthanded, pressuring Markov. On his way there, he passes by Pacioretty, who slyly sticks a leg out to bring Cleary down. Cleary will get a plus.
2nd Period 12:40 - Justin Abdedlkader (cross-checking): Abby is forechecking in the zone on Subban, makes contact with him and goes to the box on another flop. This is pretty ridiculous. No adjustment.
2nd Period 17:56 - PK Subban (hooking): Patrick Eaves forces Subban back at the Montreal blue line, pushing the puck behind him and getting the chance to break in behind. Subban slows him up and goes to the box. Eaves will get a plus for this.
3rd Period 05:41 - PK Subban (delay of game): Justin Abdelkader does his usual good forechecking job aided by Gustav Nyquist and Subban panics trying to get a clear, putting it over the glass in the process. Ordinarily, this is a one-man mistake, but I'm going to give Abdelkader and Nyquist each a half-plus for the pressure leading to it.
3rd Period 11:58 - Travis Moen (slashing) and Kyle Quincey (cross-checking): Two guys get mad at each other behind the play and take offsetting penalties. No adjustment. It's finally a good call by the refs to call both the original and the retaliation.
+1 to Luke Glendening and Drew Miller, +0.5 to Patrick Eaves: This line got the heavy reps against the Canadiens' top trio of forward. Possession-wise they struggled, but played good frustrating bend-don't-break hockey. To add to it, both Glendening and Miller played very good PK.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg: Playing against the 2nd line for the Habs, Z drove possession very well. Hank went 18-4 in the faceoff circle in this game.
+1 to Daniel Alfredsson: I didn't notice him a great deal in the offensive zone in his first game back, but he played a great defensive game. He was only credited with one takeaway officially, but I had him down for a few more than that (4).
+2 to Danny DeKeyser, +1 to Niklas Kronwall: The two best defensemen on the ice for the Wings in this game kind of flew under the radar, but DeKeyser was stellar in his defensive coverage and puck movement. Kronner was hardly a slouch either, playing 3:35 shorthanded ice time.
Darren Helm had the second-lowest playing time among forwards, but noticeably moved the puck (he was an overall plus, as was everybody). Tatar played only 11:31 and ended up an adjusted +2. I liked how he pushed the play. This wasn't worth an adjustment, but watching Brendan Smith wave his stick at pucks 10 feet above his head is annoying.
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