The Wings looked to close out a 5-game homestand by going 4-1 against a slew of good teams and the Florida Panthers. Instead, they went 3-2 after losing in a shootout to the Panthers. Detroit blew a two-goal lead in the third to get that far and had a goal waved off, but allowing a shorthanded marker to tie it is inexcusable.
The reffing in this game fucking sucked. 1/4 on the power play for the Wings with one shorthanded goal allowed and 0/4 for the Panthers. Shots were 37-30 in favor of the Panthers.
Jonas Gustavsson was completely left out to dry on one of the goals, but I would have liked to have seen a save on at least one of the other three. They weren't bad goals, but Monster just didn't have it in this game. He got the team as far as the shootout, but let in one while Thomas stoned all three shooters.
1st Period 01:48 - Florida Goal: Sean Bergenheim (backhand) from Dmitry Kulikov and Mike Weaver
The Panthers break a guy in on a neutral zone stretch pass and Bergenheim backhands it into the net to make it 1-0. After a tough board battle, Florida clears it all the way down behind their own net, allowing the top line to get off as the Glendening line comes on with DeKeyser and Quincey. Nyquist back-pressures Mike Weaver up the boards while Miller stands up on him to pinch before Nyquist goes off for a change as Weaver passes it cross-ice to his D-Partner Kulikov. After a few steps, Kulikov throws it blue line to blue line and hits a streaking Sean Bergenheim entering the Detroit zone behind the D. Glendening chases, but Bergenheim has room as he dangles the backhand out in front of him cutting in front of the net. Gustavsson tries to stay square to him, but leaves a lot of room as Bergenheim simply lifts a backhander through him. I'm not happy with this goal, but it doesn't qualify for the automatic minus-clearing "soft" description, as it's on a breakaway. I am going to clear the minuses for Miller, Eaves, and Quincey though. They're each in position.. DeKeyser is in position to step up on his man, but I think that's less important than holding the last-man back positioning he had. DeKeyser will get an extra half-minus for being too far up. More-importantly, Glendening has to be covering back on Bergenheim better and can't let him get the puck behind him like that. This mistake will cost Glendening an extra minus on the coverage.
2nd Period 08:12 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (snap shot) from Johan Franzen
Mule makes his return known with a good forecheck that creates a loose puck and enough room to make Tim Thomas freeze on a shot, which Nyquist puts through the five-hole to tie it. Detroit recovers a dumped-in puck and moves it up ice while Florida changes, getting it in on the stick of Franzen at the right wing boards. Mule holds it in against two defenders until Alfredsson steps into help and pushes it deep. Thomas gathers the puck and throws it back up the near-side boards under pressure from Abdelkader. Alfie intercepts and battles to get it to Ericsson at the point for a shot through traffic which is kicked back to the right-side corner. Hayes pokes it out past Riggy, but Ericsson recovers at the center stripe and throws it cross-ice to the opposite wing where Abdelkader gets it and immediately re-enters the zone while Alfredsson goes off for Nyquist. Abby pushes through some interference by Olsen, but loses the puck to Jovanovski in the corner. Here, Abdelkader chases Jovo out to the opposite side where he feeds it to Shore low in the circle. Franzen immediately jumps up on Shore to pressure him, causing the young forward to try a backhand chip around him. Franzen blocks this attempt at the dot and immediately has body position on both Shore and Jovanovski who look to step around him to the outside. This gives space for Nyquist to jump in from just behind Franzen and move in on Thomas. Olsen is in front, but he dives down to prevent a cross-ice pass to Abdelkader. With nothing left to do but shoot, Nyquist rifles it through Tim Thomas' legs from right in front. Lots of movement to make this happen, but I'm going to give Alfredsson a plus, despite him having changed earlier for the goal-scorer. He helps the zone entry and the transition-stifling pressure which helps the Wings regain the attacking zone. Franzen will get a plus and a half for the entry and the two separate forechecking pressures which cause turnovers. Additionally, Franzen will get a penalty plus on this. Shore hooks him down after the steal and the ref's arm is in the air to call this penalty when Nyquist buries it and negates that call. Still, Franzen deserves credit for drawing the penalty above just the steal which led directly to the goal.
2nd Period 09:31 - Detroit Goal: Daniel Alfredsson (wrist shot) from Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff
Shortly after, the Wings take the lead on a faceoff win and a Nick Lidstrom special shot/pass from the front which leads to a rebound that bounces back out in front for Alfredsson to put home. Tim Thomas freezes a puck to give the Wings an offensive zone faceoff to the left side. Helm gets himself thrown out of the circle with a false start, putting it on Cleary to win, which he does. Lashoff gets it and feeds it to Smith at the top of the zone for the one timer aimed low to the side with all the traffic. The puck misses wide, but comes off the end-boards and bounces back in front of the goal where Alfredsson has won the race to put the puck home. The clean faceoff win by Cleary will earn him a plus. It's an unexpected bonus for a winger to win a draw that cleanly. Smith will get a half-plus for the intelligent shot selection.
2nd Period 18:15 - Detroit Goal (PP): Riley Sheahan (wrist shot) from Tomas Tatar and Patrick Eaves
Detroit gets a power play goal on a wonderful net-front play by Sheahan to spin with a puck and jam it under the goalie to make it 3-1. Sheahan false starts on an offensive zone faceoff twice and is asked to leave, so Tatar comes in and ties up the center, allowing Jurco to step in and push it back to the point for Eaves. The point men spread out on the faceoff win to set up the umbrella play with Eaves going to DeKeyser, who goes back to Eaves now at the top of the point. Goc pressures here and is beaten by a saucer pass to Tatar moving to the point from the faceoff win. Tats ranges down to the half-wall while everybody shifts over to that side of the ice. Once he gets into position just outside the top of the circle, Sheahan holds his position in front of Thomas while leaning over with his stick out to the side of the net. Tatar circles slightly back to the middle to find a shooting lane, which draws Thomas to square to him. From here, Tatar passes it through Kulikov onto Sheahan's stick. Sheahan is already spinning to address the goal when the stick gets there and Thomas goes down to attack the initial redirect/backhand shot from the side of the net. Instead, Sheahan pulls it back to his forehand and throws it under the sprawling goalie. This is a smart, calm play by Sheahan at the net-front and I want to see more of this stuff. Tatar will get a half-plus on the faceoff win, since it's not as clean as the Cleary win that drove the previous goal.
3rd Period 09:12 - Florida Goal: Jesse Winchester (wrist shot) from Tom Gilbert and Marcel Goc
The Wings get a goal called off for a player near the crease and then the Panthers score one with a net-front scramble and guys all over the place when Winchester pops a loose puck over a sprawling Gustavsson to make it 3-2. Winchester gets to a cross-ice dump-in as Lashoff angles to keep him to the outside. The Florida forward throws it low on Gustavsson, who kicks it to the opposite side boards where Brian Campbell gets to it first and throws it behind the net where he follows up to battle for it against Franzen while Smith holds off Goc. As Winchester comes in to help, Franzen throws it up the boards where Gilbert gets to it and chucks it to the front around Abdelkader. Goc tips it in on net where Gustavsson sprawls to make the save, but can't control the rebound. Winchester is inside both defensemen with good position and is able to jam it home before the whistle goes. Nyquist will be the only one who slightly gets away with this and he'll still only have his minus halved because the Campbell step-up is his responsibility. Abdelkader allows too much space for the Gilbert shooting lane up top so he keeps his minus. Lashoff, Smith, and Franzen will each get an extra minus (Lashoff coverage, the other two turnover). Smith is besieged at first and then kind of let down by Franzen, but he does get the puck on his stick twice during this play and can't force a better result. Franzen somewhat panics throwing it up the boards instead of the corner, turning it over to the point. Lashoff allows Winchester to establish the inside of the net-front and then doesn't knock him on his ass before he scores.
3rd Period 13:33 - Detroit Goal: Tomas Tatar (wrist shot) from Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco
The Young Guns get the Wings' lead back up to two goals with a great tic-tac-toe passing play ending with Tatar all alone on the side of the net to roof it over a sprawling Thomas. After a Panthers dump-in where DeKeyser wins the race and tries to turn it up ice only to turn the puck over on what is almost a goal for Boyes, the Wings get an odd-man as the rebound bounces past the net-front scrum and onto the stick of Tatar coming deep to help. Tats takes the center lane as Sheahan joins on the left and Jurco to the right. Quincey is also just behind them on this rush as only two Florida D-men are back. Jovanovski steps in front of Tatar at center, causing him to dump it off to Jurco on the right wing side. Olsen watches him and forces the step up above the faceoff circle as Jovo watches Tatar drive to the net. Jurco goes cross ice to a wide-open Sheahan cutting in on the left. Jovo releases Tatar to challenge Sheahan cutting into the slot. As Sheahan pulls the puck out of his skates, Tatar coasts to the back door to receive the pass from Sheahan and wrist it over Thomas for the goal. I'm going to clear DeKeyser's plus on this play. The turnover turns into a happy accident as Florida gets caught too deep, but he's very lucky this wasn't a goal for the other side. I don't think he deserves to join in the plus parade for his teammates. Tatar will get a plus for the backcheck and turn while Jurco and Sheahan will each get a half-plus for their smart, aggressive, and fast play in transition.
3rd Period 14:28 - Florida Goal: Drew Shore (wrist shot) from Tomas Fleischmann and Brian Campbell
Less than a minute later, the Panthers pull back within one with a pretty passing play of their own to create an open net goal of their own. After an icing and some battling, the Wings aren't able to get a full change when they fail to get it deep. Florida turns it from inside their blue line while Glendening initially pressures, but quickly steps off in favor of Helm, leaving Eaves and Smith stranded on the far side. Campbell and Gilbert utilize this space both rushing up the ice with Gilbert laying it off at the point for Fleischmann before pushing to the front of the net while Fleischmann makes a run up the boards with the puck. The nature of the two players on this side and the zone entry gives Fleischmann room to turn from the outside boards to the middle of the ice, cutting between Smith and Eaves into the slot. Gilbert ties up with Kronwall in front as both of the tired players collapse in an attempt to stop Fleischmann. Nobody picks up Shore jumping in behind them in the circle. Fleischmann tries a shot which is blocked by Smith, but goes straight to Shore, who has a wide open net to shoot at and hits his mark easily. Helm and Cleary will be cleared. While Helm is back in the scrum, stepping up on Fleischmann to make a play while two other people chase him would leave Hayes ridiculously open on the back door for a goal. Cleary had just stepped on and was never in a position to affect this play. I'm going to give Drew Miller a turnover minus for this goal, as the original icing and the failure to get the puck deep on the subsequent clear were on him. Kronwall will be halved. He's covering Gilbert from the get-go and that's what he should be doing, but the play happens right around him and in my wishful thinking, he'd at least have his stick on the ice here. Brendan Smith is caught here because of a mistake by Eaves which makes this somewhat difficult to score. One of Smith or Eaves needed to have aggressively stepped on Fleischmann as he receives the Gilbert pass. Kronwall is in position to cut off the return to the rushing D-Man, so this isn't a problem. Eaves really is the one who should be doing this, as Shore jumps in behind Fleischmann. Eaves stepping up makes the pass to spring Shore incredibly difficult and gives Smith a chance to pick up the loose puck if he angles him off. The failure to do so backs Smith off from doing it himself until the last second when it's too late (since Eaves is still chasing Fleischmann, nobody is covering Shore). As Fleischmann cuts to the middle, both players chase him. Smith has to do this because he's the only one of the two in front of his man (which turns out to be the right choice when he gets his stick on the eventual shot attempt). Eaves is close enough to taste it on Fleischmann, but can never reach him. Really he should release and go to the far post where he'd be able to cover Shore. This play goes directly through Smith, but he's caught by the bad coverage choices of his forward here. Smith will keep his minus, but he doesn't deserve extra blame. That extra blame will go to Eaves in the form of an extra 1.5 minuses. The immediate failure to pinch off on Fleischmann will combine with the next decision to chase the same guy and take himself out of position to cover the goal-scorer (who is coming in from the defenseman's spot, which is Eaves' coverage responsibility).
3rd Period 16:14 - Florida Goal (SH): Brad Boyes (wrist shot) from Brian Campbell
Florida pulls even on a shorthanded odd-man rush goal that Boyes finishes low to the stick side. After a few clears and a great missed opportunity for a goal, the Wings get it into the zone with Alfredsson carrying up the right wing while Franzen drives the right-middle side, Abdelkader goes up the left side, and Nyquist follows just behind the play up the middle. After cutting in to the faceoff dot, Alfredsson tries a cross-ice pass to Abdelkader on the back door which is blocked by Campbell and picked up by Boyes on the turn up ice in what is now a 2-on-1 with Bergenheim after Nyquist pinches too low. Kronwall is back and stays in the middle lane because Nyquist is pushing hard to get back on Boyes. Goose is never able to close the gap as Boyes skates in on the right side of the slot. Gustavsson is square to Boyes, but overcommits to his left and is beaten to the right (far) side on the immediate shot. I'm not happy with this goal either but will again hold off on defining it as soft because it's an odd-man rush and there are specific minuses which should automatically be kept. Franzen, Abdelkader, and Kronwall will be cleared here. Mule and Alfie are driving the net-front when the puck is turned over and Kronwall is doing exactly his job to block the passing lane when he's let down by his goalie giving up the angle. Alfredsson will keep his minus. He makes the cross-ice pass a half-second too late and gets it blocked in the process. It's only a kept minus and not an extra one because it's not Alfie's fault that Gustav Nyquist jumps far too low into the zone on this play. The coverage mistake by Nyquist will earn him an extra minus. He has to trail farther to prevent Boyes from getting this break.
1st Period 17:55 - Marcel Goc (high sticking): Florida is pressuring in front of the Detroit net when Goc gets his stick up in Lashoff's face. No adjustment. Sucks for Lashoff, who had just broken up a 2-on-1 rush.
2nd Period 04:47 - Jonathan Ericsson (hooking): Riggy loses a positioning battle to Upshall behind the Wings' net and hooks his man to slow him down. Minus for Ericsson. Dumb penalty to take.
2nd Period 12:48 - Jonathan Ericsson (elbowing): The Wings have a bit of a problem with the puck in the neutral zone and Ericsson tries to help by stepping up on Jimmy Hayes at the blue line. Riggy misses full body contact and instead grazes him with the elbow. Ericsson will get a minus. He's kind of lucky he didn't catch Hayes more solidly with this one.
2nd Period 16:30 - Sean Bergenheim (tripping): Brendan Smith and Bergenheim get tied up together going after a puck at center as Smith steps up on the guy and threatens to win the positioning battle on the loose puck he creates. Bergenheim throws his stick out to slow down Smith and brings his legs out from under him. Smith lays on Bergenheim's stick as he goes down, but that's due to the nature of how he's tripped. This was a confusing play to watch live, but on the replay, it's a good call and Smith will earn a plus.
2nd Period 18:24 - Sean Bergenheim (closing hand on the puck): Off the faceoff after the Sheahan goal, Bergenheim dives out of a tie-up with Eaves and falls on top of the puck, closing his hand on it momentarily to keep it away from the Wings (which he fails at). This gets Bergenheim sent right back to the sin-bin. No adjustment here. Bad play.
2nd Period 20:00 - Justin Abdelkader (interference): Abdelkader is standing behind the Florida D, but in the neutral zone as the Wings try a last-second rush up ice. As Franzen moves up ice, Mike Weaver is backing in and inexplicably skates backwards into Abdelkader before falling down. The refs whistle this one because it gives Franzen a break into the zone, but this one is a very bad call. Abelkader is in the neutral zone standing in an area he has already established. Weaver and the Florida D-man takes a ridiculous angle back in the first place to trip over the back of Abdelkader's skates. No adjustment.
3rd Period 06:41 - Justin Abdelkader (slashing): Niklas Kronwall turns over a puck in the defensive zone and Abdelkader comes in to prevent it, but does so by chopping the stick out of Jimmy Hayes' hand. This one's a weak slashing call. I'm going to give Kronwall the minus for the bad pass and Abdelkader only a half-minus for the understandable chop trying to limit the options by knocking down the player's stick. Guy needs to hold the lumber better (heh).
3rd Period 14:46 - Marcel Goc (roughing): Darren Helm takes a punch in the back of the head from Goc, who disguises this act as an attempt to swim around the guy on a dump-in. No adjustment, as this is just a bad pay by Goc.
-1 to Daniel Cleary: He didn't have an awful game, but he had a bad third period, including one extremely bad turnover.
+1 to Tomas Tatar: Even an adjusted +2.5 didn't do him justice. Tatar was possessed.
-0.5 to Niklas Kronwall: 28 minutes played for the guy was a lot, but they weren't the toughest minutes. He's got to do a bit more with this kind of opportunity than he showed. While he was ok defensively, he didn't move the puck very well in this game at all.
I liked Franzen in his first game back, but think I would have preferred him on the wing. Helm played pretty well, as did Alfredsson. Kyle Quincey was the only D-Man who ended the night an overall plus and I'm actually ok with that.
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