Time to get caught up on the games I hadn't completed in CSSI yet. We'll start off with Monday's loss to the Predators.
I'll take most of what I wrote in the placeholder post and just build off of that.
I can say with certainty that goaltending was a weak point in this game and that a better performance in net probably would have led to a different result in the standings.
1st Period 01:54 - Nashville Goal: Colin Wilson (wrist shot) from Seth Jones and Mike Fisher
Nashville's first goal comes on a harmless-looking wrister fro above the top of the circles which beats Howard glove side above the leg pad. The Wings have pressure in the Nashville end as they change. A somewhat weird bounce off the glass lets them get out as Fisher feeds Jones coming to center. Bertuzzi steps up at center forcing Jones to pass it off to Wilson through center. Lashoff moves over from the wing onto Wilson as he wrists a shot from above the circles which gets in. This is a soft goal for Howard to give up. Unscreened from this far away should be an easy save. I'm going to clear the minuses for Kindl, Datsyuk, Tatar, Lashoff, and Bertuzzi. However, I'm going to give Lashoff a half-minus back on this. He's standing too far to the outside and lets Wilson get too far into the zone before challenging him.
1st Period 03:00 - Detroit Goal: Justin Abdelkader (backhand) from Drew Miller
Some very good board battling by Abdelkader and Miller followed by a brilliant move to recognize and use space to come out from behind the net, finished on a wonderful falling backhand roofer. Great effort here. The puck gets dumped in as Abdelkader gets in on Klein behind the net. With the help of Miller up the wall and Helm coming in later to block off the outlet the other way around behind the net, Abdelkader is able to prevent Matt Cullen from escaping. Cullen tries reversing and gets himself pinned, which frees the puck for Miller to try a centering feed that Mazanec blocks back to where Abby and Cullen are tied up. Through this, Abdelkader keeps his inside position on Cullen. This pays off when Miller is able to punch it past Cullen to where Abby can get it and bring it out front. Cullen hooks him, but Abby gets it far enough out front that he's able to loop a reaching backhand high to the far side corner to tie it. This is great work by Abdelkader, who will get two pluses for separate board battles won to make this play happen. Miller will also get a plus and Helm a half-plus.
1st Period 09:50 - Nashville Goal: Craig Smith (snap shot) from Paul Gaustad
A clean defensive zone faceoff win after an icing by Nashville results in a 3-on-2 rush the other way. Gaustad wins the faceoff, but not behind him where both Bertuzzi and Zetterberg race, but instead by holding it in place where Smith can pick it up and head the other way with all three forwards trapped. Smith goes from the right side to the left through center as he's joined by Legwand and Weber on the odd-man. Smith and Kronwall position themselves to the passing lanes in the middle of the ice, leaving Smith room to get to the top of the dot and snap a wrister short side on Howard. I don't like this goal because it's short-side, but this one is at least from a sniper's shooting area. I'm not going to automatically call this one soft because I'm not going to automatically clear minuses. However, I am going to clear the minuses of Smith and Kronwall, who are doing their jobs on such a rush by forcing the shooter to the outside where the goalie should be able to stop them. It's not a definitively soft goal, but the defensemen got let down by their netminder. Datsyuk, Bertuzzi, and Zetterberg all keep their minuses, as they're responsible for this odd-man rush in the first place. In fact, both Zetterberg and Datsyuk will each get an extra half-minus. Bert is the net-front guy, so going immediately forward is what he should do, but one of the other two forwards can't let everybody get by him.
Goal-Saved Adjustment: 1st Period 15:20 (Kyle Quincey) - Late in the double-minor to Miller, the Wings almost allow another one after Lashoff breaks his stick and is given a new one by Andersson. Nashville loads to the now weaker side. Hornqvist gets it along the goal line down low and tries to dangle around Lashoff with very little room. The puck gets pushed behind the net where Howard tries to seal off the post, but Hornqvist is able to jam the puck back in front of the net where it nearly goes in off Howard's leg. Fortunately, Quincey is there to sweep it off the goal line and get the whistle. The puck is well on its way to trickling across the line here, so Quincey will earn a goal-saved plus.
2nd Period 04:24 - Nashville Goal: Nick Spaling (snap shot) from Craig Smith
Another odd-man rush for the Predators ends in a goal snapped short side past Howard. This time, it's Spaling from the top of the circle. The Wings temporarily lose possession after some rough board battling. Abdelkader gets it back, but whiffs on the attempt to dump it back in. This leads to a battle where Smith, Abdelkader, and Bertuzzi are fighting along the boards just beneath the point. Smith is able to kick it out of the scrum up to the point where Spaling picks it up and heads up ice with Josi joining. By the time Spaling crosses into the Wings' zone, this isnt' a true 2-on-1, because Smith has gotten back, but Kronwall has had to play it like this up to this point because it's really a race. Kronner lets Spaling have the top of the circle, which gives him enough room to rip it past Howard on the short side again. I am going to go ahead and call this one a bad goal, as Spaling is farther away than the last one and still gets it to the side that Howard should have completely covered. This will clear minuses for Smith, Kronwall, Abdelkader, Bertuzzi, and Datsyuk. Abdelkader, Bertuzzi, and Smith will each earn back their minuses for inability to prevent the odd-man despite outnumbering the Predators in the scrum just prior. Smith and Bertuzzi will each pick up an extra half-minus as well. Either one of them should have been watching the point. This isn't automatically the defenseman's fault, but it ultimately is his responsibility. Despite this, the winger should recognize the pinch and cover instead of getting himself caught up as well.
3rd period 00:35 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (slapshot) from Niklas Kronwall
A good start to the third, as the Red Wings pressure in the zone and Kronwall takes advantage of a Shea Weber turnover to feed it to Datsyuk for a one-timer through Mazanec. Pavel chucks a dump-in from just outside the blue line in off Mazanec, who kicks it to the corner. Zetterberg gets to it first and tries to feed it back to Datsyuk who would have a lane to the net, but it goes off Spaling's skate as he and Bertuzzi enter the frame. The puck bounces to Shea Weber low to the goalie's left side and he tries getting ahead of the play as he turns and throws it off the boards on the opposite wall. Unfortunately for Captain Caveman, the puck bounces straight to Kronwall at the point with a wide-open lane to pass back to Datsyuk all alone on the faceoff dot. Pavel one-times it into the net as Mazenec moves over to square. This is a clever bit of play, but a bit of luck that Weber would make such a bad turnover. However, I feel that Zetterberg helps force this. Hank will get a half-plus.
3rd Period 05:50 - Nashville Goal: Mike Fisher (wrist shot) from Colin Wilson and Patric Hornqvist
A whole host of mistakes including two turnovers by Brendan Smith and a refusal to freeze the puck by Howard leads to a goal where Wilson gets room to feed it out in front where Fisher sweeps it into the net. The first turnover happens at 5:11 as Smith gets poke-checked by Wilson trying to sneak up the boards. Wilson hits the near-side post on the ensuing-odd man, and is able to recover at the half-boards and pass it up to Fisher, who turns at the outside hash marks and throws it in front. Smith is there to intercept and he starts out of the zone. This time, he gets just to the slot before whiffing on a pass attempt to Joakim Andersson up at the Wings' blue line. Wilson gets the loose puck and throws it on net where Howard kicks it to the corner. Hornqvist gets it with a bit of space and the Preds cycle it from the corner on Howard's right to the opposite side half-boards where the play finally looks pinched off as Seth Jones simply dumps it to the front of the net to re-set the play. Howard sees the puck coming and has Hornqvist bearing down, but instead of freezing it after a long shift, he throws the puck off the opposite side boards where Hornqvist gets to the puck first and is able to dump it back in behind the net. Wilson and Fisher gain position in a switch-off that gets Wilson the puck coming around to the front while Fisher has already taken up position. Wilson finds Fisher with a cross-crease pass for the quick shot for the goal. Andersson and Nyquist will be cleared. As unbelievable as it sounds on a shift this long, neither of them really had a chance to affect this play without making it worse. Tatar will keep his minus. He plays a lot of good positional defense on this shift, but lets Fisher get separation for the shot that ends up in the net. Kronwall will have his minus halved. He's also keeping the puck to the outside on this entire shift as the net-front responsible d-man. Kronner finds himself a bit high above the crease on the final pass, but he's actually covering Hornqvist coming back in through that lane. Brendan Smith will get two minuses for his turnovers which create and then extend this play. By the time Wilson gets the net-front pass, Smith is very tired thanks to Howard's bad decision not to freeze it, but he got himself there.
3rd Period 11:30 - Detroit Goal: Kyle Quincey (wrist shot) from Darren Helm and Henrik Zetterberg
Helm feeds Quincey from behind the net and after two whacks at the puck, the Predators put it into their own net to keep Drew Miller from getting a goal that Kyle Quincey needed more. The Wings' put on some great pressure from their top line, but lose the zone as Datsyuk tries to feed to Zetterberg on the point, but they just miss connecting. As both teams try to change as many people as they can with the puck just outside the officials' crease, Hank sets it up on a tee for Helm to pick up and enter the zone with speed coming off the bench. Helm's speed collapses the defense around a stickless Mazanec. Weber keeps Helm from getting to the net-front, but all four Nashville defenders below the tops of the circles are watching Helm blaze around behind their net without picking up Quincey going right to the net front. Helm finds Q at the top of the crease for a great shot attempt that Mazenec is able to stop. However, Quincey is able to get another shot and this time the puck rolls under the goaltender. Mazenec snow-angels to cover it, but doesn't get down before Drew Miller and Colin Wilson charge in and help the puck into the net. I'm going to give Dekeyser's plus back to Smith on this play, as Brendan makes two very good plays to keep the pressure and the puck on the Wings' sticks, including a pinch which allows Datsyuk to try the pass to Z at the point which leads to the line change trouble. I'm also going to give Miller's plus to Bertuzzi on the change, as well as giving pluses to Datsyuk and Kronwall for their play before the line change to help create this. Zetterberg gets a bonus plus for the same reason.
3rd Period 12:07 - Nashville Goal: Colin Wilson (backhand) from Seth Jones and Mike Fisher
37 seconds later, the Preds get what will be the game-winner on another 3-on-2 rush where Jones finds Wilson as the trailing rusher with a step on Cleary. Howard tries to get acrobatic instead of squaring to the shot and lets the puck in off his glove for what I think is his fourth regrettable goal of the night. The puck comes out of the corner in the Nashville zone away from Cleary, Abdelkader and Miller as Wilson defeats a pinch from Quincey at the half-wall with a pass to Seth Jones in the middle picking up speed. DeKeyser ranges over to watch Jones while Quincey gets back in the middle as the Predators come in 3-on-2. Jones angles from the right wing side to the left faceoff circle while Hornqvist drives the middle with Quincey and Cleary tries to catch up to Wilson trailing the middle 15 feet behind. Jones curls and feeds it to Wilson in stride just above the slot and moving quickly. Wilson goes forehand-backhand to bring it around a sprawling Quincey who recognizes this pass and attempts to cancel the Wilson-to-Hornqvist lane in front of the net. This 2-on-0 set below the hashmarks somewhat freezes Howard, how doesn't square to Wilson and therefore isn't able to cleanly stop the backhand roof shot. This one is a bit of a clusterfuck as, thanks to the cameras, it took me five minutes to figure out where the hell Justin Abdelakder was during the crucial transition. All three forwards are on the corner here and Quincey still decides to pinch. I'm only going to clear the minuses for Cleary and Miller, who are battling here (I don't expect Cleary to get back on Wilson and neither should the Wings, the problem here is that Abdelkader also pinches in from his position at center and is beaten). DeKeyser does what he can, but is victimized here. I'm going to halve DeKeyser's minus. I think he should give Jones more room instead of challenging him where he does, but that's not that big an issue all things considered. Abdelkader will get a minus for the bad pinch and Quincey will get two minuses. The initial pinch causes the odd-man rush and then the decision to stop and try to block the pass back across to Wilson leaves Hornqvist all alone, which makes it harder for Jimmy to make the save. Amazingly in all this, I still think Howard should have made a better play, but there's a lot of screwup here by his teammates.
3rd Period 14:52 - Detroit Goal (PP): Patrick Eaves (snap shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall
Eaves first takes away Mazanec's stick as he stays strong on a sweep check attempt while he pushes out from behind the Nashville net, then makes good on what he's done by one-timing a cross-ice pass from Zetterberg into the net. Datsyuk wins the draw and Zetterberg outraces Hendricks to keep the puck in the zone, fighting off PKers as he circles around the zone from the center at the blue line down the right wing side and eventually in the opposite corner. Here he gets double-teamed, but is able to dump it a bit deeper where Eaves gets in on Ekholm to steal it and walk around behind the net thanks to a bit of space made by Bertuzzi and Datsyuk. Mazanec tries to sweep-check Eaves on the far side post, but loses his stick in the process while Eaves regains possession and gets it to Z in the corner going up the boards. Hank feeds it to Kronwall at the point with tons of space to set up the high umbrella look. Kronner slides to the middle and goes back to Zetterberg circling around to the top of the faceoff circle with Hendricks in tow. While Bert stands at the net-front and Datsyuk positions himself at the top of the opposite circle, Eaves is positioned below Datsyuk at the faceoff dot. This creates a lane that Fisher can't completely block off and Gaustad is standing too high to block (because he's worried about Datsyuk instead). Hank finds the space to Eaves on the back door for a quick one-timer into the net. Zetterberg will get a plus as he does the brunt of the grinding work it takes to make this play happen.
3rd Period 19:41 - Nashville Goal (PP)(EN): Roman Josi (snap shot) from Matt Cullen
While shorthanded, the Wings pull their goalie to skate 5-on-5, but turn the puck over in the neutral zone trying to get back in and establish a cycle. Josi fights his way to the center stripe and mails the puck in from long distance, making sure that it would not have been icing even if he had missed. This turnover happens with Zetterberg trying to muscle his way around two Predators instead of cycling back to Smith. Helm tries to change direction planning for the dump-in to get to Josi on time, but with no luck. The only adjustment I'm going to make here is to give Zetterberg a half-minus. He makes a mistake trying to power the puck through here and it costs them, although playing 5-on-5 with an empty net is very tough.
1st Period 12:20 - Drew Miller (high sticking): A double-minor for Miller as he's fighting to lift Eric Nystrom's stick and instead gets his nose. It's a hockey play, but Miller has to control his stick and will get a minus.
2nd Period 04:52 - Kyle Quincey (tripping): Quincey goes for bringing down Colin Wilson in front of the Detroit net. He's trying to tie up his stick, but does it too well and takes out his feet as well. Quincey will get a minus.
2nd Period 11:48 - Matt Cullen (tripping): Cullen takes down Tatar in the corner of the Predators' zone, heading to the penalty box. Tatar will get a plus. He steals at his own blue line and single-handedly gains the zone for Detroit before getting yanked down.
2nd Period 17:39 - Justin Abdelkader & Mike Fisher (fighting): Abdelkader tries to punch Mike Fisher a bunch while Mike Fisher tries to take Justin Abdelkader's clothes off for a little while just prior to taking him down. No adjustment.
3rd Period 12:29 - Gustav Nyquist (tripping): Nyquist gets pushed into the boards by Ellis on a shot that's not cross enough to be cross-checking and not violent enough to be boarding. Nyquist tries to battle back as Ellis skates away with the puck, but only manages to yank his feet out from under him, going to the box for it. Nyquist will get a minus.
3rd Period 14:25 - Mike Fisher (hooking): Brendan Smith jumps up on a play to create a short-handed scoring chance, which is prevented by Fisher hooking him on the backcheck. Smith will get a plus for the jump-in, but DeKeyser and Cleary will also get half-pluses. DK gets his stick on the puck to spring Cleary, who waits patiently for the play to develop before hitting Smith with the cross-ice pass at the top of the zone.
3rd Period 17:54 - Todd Bertuzzi (tripping): In a play that is very Todd Bertuzzi, he takes an offensive zone penalty at just about the worst possible time with some bad stick-work when he trips Shea Weber just after a faceoff. Weber goes down a lot easier than he should on this play, but Bert absolutely does corkscrew him. Minus for Bertuzzi.
+1 to Justin Abdelkader and Patrick Eaves: Along with Helm, this was a consistently dominant line for the Wings. Good work by this group.
-1 to Todd Bertuzzi: Bert dragged his linemates down, missed the net, turned the puck over, and generally did not play well.
Tatar had a pretty decent game and Jurco a fairly forgettable one, but neither deserved a true adjustment for it.
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