Detroit finally earned a pretty clean win against the Panthers by storming into Sunrise and falling down 1-0 after the first period (woo!) Thankfully, the Wings responded well and took over the rest of the game, winning 3-1 in a game that was closer than it should have been.
The refs were not good again. Two of the penalties in this one were just awful calls and the stripes let guys get away with stuff they probably shouldn't have. Fortunately, this helped the Wings more, although I don't think it did to the extent where they could be blamed for Florida losing this one. Detroit went 1/7 on the power play and Florida 0/3. Shots were 33-24 in favor of the Wings.
Jimmy Howard gave up a goal on just the second Panthers' shot of the game and then didn't allow another for the other 22 they put on him, including the 16 they fired his way in the third period when the Wings were protecting a 2-1 lead (not to mention the 2 great kick saves he made when it was 1-1 mere seconds before it became that 2-1 lead). He didn't make circus saves like the showboat jerkhole on the other end, but he was solid and deserved this victory.
1st Period 19:34 - Florida Goal: Scottie Upshall (wrist shot) from Tomas Kopecky and Mike Weaver
Immediately after the end of a power play, Florida gets on the boards when they spring Upshall out of the box for a breakaway, which he finishes 5-hole on Howard. After a scramble low, the Wings get it back to the point where Jurco escapes Goc along the boards to backhand it to DeKeyser just as the time expires. From the point, DeKeyser wrists it to the traffic in front where Sheahan and Jurco have an out-man situation on Kulikov with Jurco cycling down to help as well. Unfortunately, the DK wrister doesn't get through Mike Weaver at the dot and the puck bounces off him all the way to Kopecky standing high in the zone. Without missing a beat, Kopecky turns and fires the puck up ice where he catches Upshall behind the defense. The rest of the Wings watch helplessly as Upshall feints a deke before quickly snapping it under Howard. Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco will be cleared. Sheahan is also playing net-front, but this is a non-issue if he finishes the golden opportunity that Datsyuk had set up for him earlier on the power play. Datsyuk has to recognize the end of the power play and back off. This is going to earn Datsyuk an extra minus. DeKeyser's shot selection will earn him a turnover minus. The aggression in trying to get this shot through is only smart if it works. When it doesn't work, it leads to shit like this.
2nd Period 06:30 - Detroit Goal (PP): Daniel Alfredsson (wrist shot) from Justin Abdelkader and Niklas Kronwall
Detroit finally pulls even on the power play as a blast from the point is kicked out to Alfie on the side of the net for the alley-dunk touchdown homerun. 25 seconds before the goal, the Red Wings get back into the zone following a clear and get set up. After Alfie picks up a cleared rebound in the right-wing corner and feeds it back to Kronwall, the Wings transition from the two-high setup to the traditional umbrella. Alfredsson gets the pass back and feeds it to Zetterberg at the top of the left circle. The pass is hot and Jesse Winchester gets on Z to drive him up the boards. Fortunately, Alfredsson has crossed over from center and receives the pass to keep it in the zone despite pressure Matthias. This gives Z enough room to set up the point and receive the pass back from the half-boards. Z fakes a slapper and passes point-to-point where Kronwall one-times it through traffic. Thomas stops it with Abdelkader on the doorstep, but Abby chops the rebound over to Alfie coming into the back-door area to receive the pass and put it into the open net. There's good battle here by Alfredsson to keep moving around on the play and working hard to both get open and create openings for his teammates. Alfie will get a half-plus. Additionally, Abdelkader will pick up a half-screener's assist. He's in front of Thomas when the rebound bounces out and it's likely that this is partially caused by Abby's butt.
2nd Period 13:22 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (wrist shot) unassisted
On one end, Jimmy Howard makes two great saves. Nyquist picks up the loose puck and flies up the wing before snapping it high over "I don't think so" Tim Thomas. The play starts as Brendan Smith misses a puck along the boards after a dump into the Wings' zone. This allows Shawn Matthias to get the puck and skate below the net fending off Smith while everybody gets setup (and the Wings complete the change behind the play). Matthias holds off Smith as he skates to the left-wing corner before dumping it to Gomez dragging Zetterberg along with him up the same corner. Gomez shakes off Z with a quick reversal and he throws the puck at the front of the net where Lashoff and Winchester are battling for position. Winchester redirects the pass on net, but Howard gets his left leg pad on the puck. The rebound bounces out front where Matthias outraces Smith to the puck to throw a backhand back on net. This time Howard uses the right leg pad to kick the puck back out. As the puck rolls out into the slot, Gustav Nyquist is the only one near it as he sweeps in to pick it up and head up ice with a very tired Darren Helm joining. Nyquist uses Helm as a screen to get to center ice and pick up speed skating in on Kulikov and Weaver. Helm goes off to change as Nyquist's zone entry is guaranteed up the left wing side. Weaver turns to keep Goose from cutting into the middle of the ice, but he's not quick enough to keep him all the way outside. Nyquist gets to the outside edge of the faceoff dot and snaps the puck high to the short side on Thomas for what turns out to be the game-winner. Justin Abdelkader will give his plus back to Helm, who changes just before the goal. I'm going to take away Brendan Smith's plus on this play. If not for Howard, Smith is looking at more than one extra minus for mistakes leading up to the two saves Jimmy had to make just prior to Nyquist's goal. Zetterberg losing coverage on Gomez will also mean his plus will be halved. Other than that, I thought it was clever play to get Nyquist speed up through center and kind of a weak goal for Thomas to give up, but I love the snipe from a confident Nyquist.
3rd Period 19:40 - Detroit Goal (EN): Brian Lashoff (wrist shot) from Darren Helm and Niklas Kronwall
Lashoff salts it away with an empty netter after he gets out of the box at the perfect time to pick up a puck that was dumped down ice to the open net and put it in. After 30 seconds and a clear by the Wings on the Florida PP, Tim Thomas leaves the net and turns it into a 6-on-4 advantage. Helm is able to help them waste another 20 seconds before they re-enter the zone and get set up before changing. The next 25 seconds are killed by Glendening, Andersson, DeKeyser and Quincey before a clear gets the other unit back out. Florida tries to get it back in by a weird cross-ice slap pass from Bjugstad which Kronwall picks off and dumps up the ice instead of taking a shot at the empty net while shorthanded for some reason. Florida gets back in, but lose the puck as Miller and Kronwall combine to take the puck off Kulikov's stick and dump it back down to stymie another rush. This time, with just 10 seconds left in the power play, Scott Gomez jumps across the blue line with speed, letting the puck roll to the corner where Fleischmann gets it and pushes it around the boards to Jovanovski at the far-side half-boards. Jovo pushes it down to Gomez coming out of the corner. Instead of using the room he has to push to the middle, Gomez tosses it to Upshall at the point with four seconds left on the penalty. Upshall fakes a slapper and passes off to Kulilkov above the circle on the left side. The collapsed PKers give him room to skate to the dot and fire a low slapper into traffic. Here, Ericsson does a good job of bodying off Fleischmann to the middle while not screening his own goalie. The puck hits Howard's pad and bounces back out in the direction from where it came. Here, it bounces off Ericsson's skate and into the scrum at the front of the net. Miller pokes it away from Fleischmann as Kronwall boxes out the top of the crease and Helm clears out Gomez on the back door. The puck kicks off Howard's pad again and lays there for Helm to pick up with a lane up the middle of the ice. Two seconds after the penalty has expired, the puck flies down to the other end and misses the Florida net by about four inches. The play isn't icing because Lashoff is the only person anywhere near this puck and he gets the puck as it bounces off the end boards, depositing it into the open net for his first of the season. Holy shit this is a long writeup for an empty-netter. Aside from the guys on the ice, I think Glendening and Andersson deserve a half-plus each for their good PK hustle when they're on the kill. In the order of bonuses, I'm going to give a half to Ericsson and Miller (Riggy keeps good positioning while Miller is robbed of a full plus thanks to him letting Kulikov get too much room to take a shot as the PP expires). Next up, Kronwall will get a full bonus plus for s series of strong plays through two PKing shifts culminating in this goal. Helm will get a plus and a half for his two shifts worth of dominant PKing.
1st Period 06:02 - Scott Gomez (tripping): The Wings get the first power play of the game as Gomez gets a bit trip-happy on Gustav Nyquist trying to keep a puck in the zone. This is good board work by Nyquist to protect the puck against two forecheckers and clear the zone. Plus for Nyquist.
1st Period 09:26 - Henrik Zetterberg (interference): Detroit gets caught running around a bit in their own end before getting a clear thanks to Zetterberg. As Z turns, Scottie Upshall puts a free hand on Z's back and pretends to swim around him. For some reason, this gets Zetterberg sent to the. No adjustment. This is a bad call.
1st Period 17:28 - Scottie Upshall (slashing): Detroit wins a faceoff and starts the cycle in the zone. Quincey gets it up top and punches it in deep while Upshall charges at him to challenge. FS-D never shows a replay of this, but the Panthers feed has it. As Upshall skates into Quincey, he drops his stick during contact. Somehow the refs give him a penalty for slashing Quincey. I have no idea how this call is made. No adjustment. This is a pretty bad call.
2nd Period 05:36 - Brian Campbell (tripping): Daniel Alfredsson patiently waits in the Florida zone for a good passing opportunity to Helm. Campbell is caught by surprise and hauls Helm down in a panic. Helm and Alfredsson will each get a plus for making this play happen.
2nd Period 14:01 - Tomas Kopecky (hooking and unsportsmanlike): On a forecheck shortly after the Nyquist goal, Kopecky earns himself a minor for hooking Niklas Kronwall behind the Wings' net. He then responds by angrily shooting the puck near the ref and earning himself another two. The play is black-and-white here and Kopecky obviously leverages his stick against Kronwall to knock him off balance and steal the puck. It's more on the moron for making a dumb play, but Kronwall will get a half-plus for the always-cromulent good positioning.
3rd Period 05:02 - Daniel Alfredsson (interference): Going for a loose puck in the Florida zone, Alfredsson loses a positioning battle against Kulikov and pushes him over before the puck gets there to create a chance. Minus for Alfredsson. Good, easy call for the refs to make here.
3nd Period 05:30 - Jonathan Hurberdeau (tripping): Helm is defending on the PK when a shot comes in that bounces around in front and gets to Helm with a chance to potentially turn up ice. To stop this, Huberdeau chops Helm's feet out from under him. This will earn Helm a half-plus. It's more on Huberdeau, but Helm does a good job to establish position.
3rd Period 12:59 - Scott Gomez (high sticking): Luke Glendening dumps the puck in along the Florida blue line and then takes a check from Gomez, who follows up his immediate check by smashing Glendening in the face with his stick. I'm going to give Glendening a half-plus. I'm convinced how much he pisses people off contributed to Gomez making such a stupid decision.
3rd Period 17:34 - Brian Lashoff (cross checking): Late in the third, the Panthers get a man advantage as Jonathan Huberdeau steps around a Brendan Smith step-up and then outraces Pavel Datsyuk for the loose puck in the Wings' zone. Datsyuk is able to separate Huberdeau from the puck, but Nick Bjugstad races in from the center lane drive and is able to turn in from the corner between Lashoff and Alfredsson, firing a shot on net from the low circle. Howard stops the shot, but looks behind him and falls over, losing the puck to the side of the net. Smelling blood, Huberdeau immediately pushes to the net-front, shoving his way between Datsyuk and the goal while threatening to find the loose puck for a goal. Lashoff responds immediately by racing to the net-front and cross-checking his man to clear him out. This earns Lashoff a penalty, but the minuses here are going to go to Datsyuk and Smith. Lashoff races in to do what he has to do in regards to a very difficult-to-move man getting beneficial position on his teammates.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall: In 26 minutes, Kronwall played a very solid game limiting opposition chances. He also put four shots on net an was the most-dangerous Wings' defenseman on the ice.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk: Pavs struggled in this game and will still finish with an overall -2, but he wasn't bad enough to be a -3 overall. He made some very good defensive plays.
-2 to Jonathan Ericsson: Like Datsyuk didn't deserve to be so far minus, Ericsson didn't deserve to be a plus. Somehow the stats guy in Florida didn't count any giveaways. Fortunately, I was counting and my number was 3. He was pretty brutal in this game.
+1 to Kyle Quincey: Q played well on the power play and in front of his own net/dealing with rushes. H estruggled at times to clear the zone, but so did everybody, and he didn't have any egregious turnovers.
I thought Sheahan struggled in this one.
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