Time to get caught up on the games I hadn't completed in CSSI yet. This time, we'll look at the Winter Classic, which the Wings dropped 3-2 in a shootout.
Jimmy Howard had a great 65 minutes of play and then left the 5-hole open on two shootout attempts and that's that. Jonathan Bernier had an amazing day at the other end, but both goalies were well-deserved stars of the game.
2nd Period 13:14 - Detroit Goal: Daniel Alfredsson (deflection) from Henrik Zetterberg and Brendan Smith
The Wings strike first on a finished odd-man rush more than halfway through the game. The Wings are able to get a change thanks to some good hustle by Abdelkader to beat out what might become and icing and create a bit of trouble deep before the Leafs can get it out while everybody gets off the bench for the Wings. Mason Raymond gets it at center, but he's challenged and forced to dump it in where Kronwall holds his lane to allow Smith to come in behind and pick up the loose puck. Smith is chased by both Raymond and Lupul and has to dump it up the boards where Gardiner gets it and quickly throws it on net from the blue line. Howard kicks it back to the corner where Smith collects again, this time circling from Howard's right to left behind the net. Raymond again pressures while Kronwall sits at the corner for an outlet and Nyquist is up the boards. Smith is able to bounce it off the half-boards around Kadri pinching there; the puck gets to Nyquist, who is immediately pressured by Franson. Instead of making a fancy move, Nyquist just tips it past the pinching D-man and ends up springing Zetterberg and Alfredsson up ice in a 2-on-1 against Gardiner. Hank takes the left wing side while Alfredsson goes up the middle. Right as Zetterberg gets to the circle, Gardiner makes a bit of a turn to face him which leaves the passing lane to Alfredsson open. Hank slides the puck through this lane and Alfie finishes it. I'm not sure how Nyquist didn't get the second assist here, but I'm not worried about that. I'm going to give Nyquist a bonus plus for the great tip past Franson to spring his men. I like the play of Smith on this sequence, but the bounce off the boards around Kadri is a very dangerous play. Additionally, I'm going to give Abdelkader a half-plus. I think he does good work to set this play up in such a way that breaks up Toronto pressure earlier in the shift and prevents them from transitioning better before he leaves the ice.
2nd period 19:23 - Toronto Goal: James van Riemsdyk (wrist shot) from Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf
Just at the expiration of a power play, JVR pulls the Leafs even on a puck he bats in out of midair at the side of the net. After a faceoff loss by Datsyuk, van Riemsdyk gets a great rebound opportunity in front of the net off a Phaneuf shot from the point. Howard stops it and DeKeyser makes a great play bouncing it off the boards behind the net to break pressure. Unfortunately, Kronwall puts the clearing attempt off a player on the Leafs' bench and the faceoff stays in the zone. This time, Andersson loses the faceoff to Bozak, who goes back to Phaneuf to set up the umbrella play. Phaneuf goes to Kessel on the right side, and he's got enough space to get to the top of the circle and fire the puck on net through traffic. The low shot kicks off Howard's pad to van Riemsdyk at the side of the net. JVR tries the immediate put-away, but Howard stones him as DeKesyer fights for the puck as well. DK gets wood on it, but this just causes the puck to bobble up in the air where JVR bats it into the net. As this isn't a power play goal, but Kindl has had no chance to get back into the play, I'm going to automatically clear the minuses for Kindl, Miller, Andersson, DeKeyser, and Kronwall. This is kind of a luck play, but the clean faceoff loss costs the Wings here. Andersson and Kronwall will get minuses, the former for the lost faceoff leading directly to the goal and the latter for both putting the clearing attempt out of play on the previous play and for not effectively blocking the shooting lane on the Kessel wrister.
3rd Period 04:41 - Toronto Goal: Tyler Bozak (tip in) from Dion Phaneuf
The Leafs take a lead on a deflected point shot from Phaneuf. Tyler Bozak beats Datsyuk cleanly on a faceoff to Howard's right, getting it back to Phaneuf, who crosses over to the point before chucking a wrister at the front of the net. Datsyuk is tied up with Bozak and Quincey is fronting van Riemsdyk, but Bozak gets his stick on the puck at about waist level and tips it past Howard to give the Leafs a lead. Abdelkader, Quincey, and DeKeyser will be cleared on this play. Todd Bertuzzi makes a positioning mistake as he goes to challenge Phaneuf and will get an extra half-minus for this. Not only is his angle a bit too far to the outside, but he also takes his stick out of the shooting lane temporarily, giving Phaneuf room to make this shot. DeKeyser is already headed out to cover the man on the half-wall. It's not Bert's job to prevent that pass nearly as much as it's Bert's job to prevent this shot. Datsyuk will get a minus for losing the faceoff so cleanly and a half-minus for not tying up Bozak better to prevent this.
3rd Period 14:28 - Detroit Goal: Justin Abdelkader (tip-in) from Brendan Smith
This time, the Wings tie it up when a good pinch along the boards leads to a centering pass that's tipped past Bernier. The Wings get a dump in from the right side which gets pushed back behind the Toronto net by Abdelkader on the left wing half-boards. Paul Ranger gets the puck behind the net and is immediately pressured from behind by Bertuzzi and in front by Datsyuk. to break this, Ranger goes up the right-side boards for van Riemsdyk. Unfortunately for the Leafs, the pass is very slow and JVR has no idea that Smith is pinching aggressively. By the time the puck gets there, Smith has stepped around JVR and intercepted the puck in the corner of the zone. Bozak pinches over from the middle, but can't prevent Smith from throwing the puck to the front of the net on the backhand. As Bertuzzi circles around the low slot to the back door and Abdelkader drives in from the left faceoff circle to the near-side net-front, Cody Franson is the only defender there. Franson has his stick in the air when Abdelkader tips the pass from Smith past Bernier to tie the game. I'm going to give Bertuzzi a plus on this play. He plays in the neutral zone well and then does the right thing by planting Ranger immediately after the pass he tries to make. This prevents Ranger from getting in to prevent the centering feed and helps make room. Smith will get a plus for the great pinch-and-pass.
1st Period 06:39 - Justin Abdelkader (cross checking): Abby battles Phaneuf in the corner of the Leafs' zone as Bertuzzi and Bozak help. In part of normal scrum pushing, Phaneuf gets his own feet crossed and falls down. This isn't a cross-check. Abdelkader starts this push with his hand already in contact with Phaneuf and he doesn't use his stick for leverage. No adjustment.
1st Period 11:04 - Joffrey Lupul (cross checking): In the play which earned him a slap-on-the-wrist fine, Lupul gets mad about being taken down by Kindl and retaliates by chopping Eaves across the chin. No adjustment. This isn't a drawn penalty, but it sure is a dirtbag move.
1st Period 16:21 - Dion Phaneuf (holding): On a nothing play that's a race for Abdelkader and Phaneuf to the corner behind Bernier, Phaneuf loses his mind and grabs onto Abby, who does a good job of letting the refs know that Phaneuf is cheating. We'll complete the no adjustment trifecta of the first period. Phaneuf has no reason to do this; it's just a dumb play.
2nd Period 13:36 - Jay McClement (high sticking): McClement pops Z in the face right off a faceoff and sits in shame. No adjustment. Zetterberg winning the faceoff helps, but this is pretty much all McClement.
2nd Period 17:23 - Jakub Kindl (closing hand on puck): Late in the 2nd, Kindl sits for putting his hand over a loose puck in a net-front scramble. The call here is tough, but he certainly does do it. I am going to give Kindl a minus. The hand covering the puck is a convenient excuse for a power play, but Kindl earns it here.
3rd Period 11:45 - James van Riemsdyk (hooking): on a puck that bounces over DeKeyser's stick in the neutral zone, but DK and van Riemsdyk chase back into the Wings' zone. DeKeyser holds good body position here and JVR tries to get fancy with a reach-around stick lift which, if it works, would give him a mini breakaway. Instead, van Riemsdyk goes to the box for hooking DeKeyser, who will get a half-plus for the smart positioning on the play.
-1 to Todd Bertuzzi: Bert was a possession black hole in this game. He was badly outmatched again and consistently turned the puck over.
+1 to Drew Miller: Aside from good PKing, Miller put six shots on goal for the Wings, driving possession very well and just missing on some scoring opportunities.
+1 to Tomas Tatar and Henrik Zetterberg: Both of these guys drove possession incredibly well. Two of the best forwards on the ice
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk: Pavel didn't look as impressive as normal, but he was dragging an anchor on his wing and played huge minutes for the Wings. This adjustment leaves him an overall half-minus, but I think that better suits how he performed than the -1.5 he was at.
+0.5 to Dan Cleary: He was cherry-picking almost the whole game, but he kept the Leafs honest and created some very good scoring opportunities.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser: Big minutes in bigger defensive situations against tougher competition and both players held their own incredibly well. Both calming influences from the back end for the Wings.
Kindl and Lashoff were given very easy assignments and didn't particularly shine. Smith was worth every bit of the +3 overall rating he ended up at. If Nyquist hadn't ended an adjusted +2, he'd have earned extra adjustment as well.
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Screener's Assist Totals
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