As the Wings make their push to the playoffs, they find themselves on the outside looking in needing to earn points. Unfortunately, this game saw them facing a superior Blackhawks squad which played a solid system to take advantage of the skill offset. Detroit kept it close for a while, but the Hawks took it easily 4-1.
I thought the reffing standard for this game was soft on the calls that were made for both sides and that the reffing was more score-dependent than it should have been. Of course this meant the Wings got more power play opportunities, so it's not exactly like I'm complaining. That's just what I felt about the reffing. On special teams, both teams scored one power play goal, but Chicago also got a shorty. Shots were 30-20 in favor of the Hawks.
Jimmy Howard gave the Wings a chance to win in this game, but they simply couldn't do that for him. The only two goals Chicago needed were scored with heavy traffic blocking his vision and the daggers in the third were scored on breakaways. The Wings were badly outplayed through this game.
2nd Period 08:44 - Chicago Goal (PP): Nick Leddy (slap shot) from Marian Hossa and Ben Smith
The Hawks get the first goal of the game on their third power play chance as Leddy gets a slapper through traffic which finds a hole through a screened Howard. The Wings get a clear with 40 seconds left in the power play and Chicago has to regroup using a dump-in entry. Emmerton pushes it from the the outside hash marks to the low corner boards for Lashoff, but he doesn't have time to make a play before the pressure is on, instead trying to tie up the puck along the boards. Quincey watches high, but the three Chicago forecheckers win the puck as Hossa feeds to to Leddy up high and then keeps his position to slow Emmerton down coming out to challenge (Abdelkader can't do it because he has to be mindful of Seabrook at the other point. Leddy walks it toward the middle about midway between the blue line and the top of the circle as Ben Smith takes up a net-front position. Howard never sees the Leddy slapper as it passes into his net. I'm going to give both Lashoff and Emmerton a minus on this play. They simply can't lose this board battle so cleanly.
2nd Period 15:10 - Detroit Goal (PP): Gustav Nyquist (wrist shot) from Daniel Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall
Nyquist pulls the Wings even on the power play as he double-deflects a shot off Brent Seabrook into the net. The Wings' top unit comes out after the 2nd group can't break through. ALfredsson makes a good cross-ice pass to break Franzen in, who nearly scores with a push to the middle. The Wings get set up and make a lot of perimeter passes to keep the play moving looking for a scoring opportunity. This chance comes on a couple of Franzen oportunities low which are stopped. Eventually Nyquist digs it out of the corner and resets high to Kronwall, who moves to the middle and feeds it back to Goose at the top of the circle for a one-timer that misses wide but bounces to Alfredsson on the opposite side corner. Alfie addresses as though he's going to shoot and then feeds it out to Nyquist in the slot. Nyquist collects the puck and fires the puck off the defense and in past Crawford. Alfie and Franzen do a good job both gaining the zone and controlling the puck on this power play and both will earn a plus.
2nd Period 19:46 - Chicago Goal: Ben Smith (wrist shot) from Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane
The Hawks get one in the waning moments of the 2nd as they create a wall of traffic for a good Duncan Keith scoring opportunity off which Smith scores. Chicago puts a ton of pressure on starting off a faceoff in the Red Wings' zone that Smith wins cleanly against Sheahan. The crucial part starts as Keith dumps it behind the Wings' net where Kane directs it to Bickell to get away from Kronwall. Sheahan is on him immediately, but he goes back to Kane in the corner with momentum carrying him up the boards. Bickell turns to head to the net-front dragging Sheahan with him as Smith battles Ericsson there as well. Kronwall chases Kane up the wall, but nobody trades off coverage as Keith leaves the point to head down the boards off the drop pass by Kane. This gives Keith space to walk all the way to the inside of the right dot before looking for a hole through a mass of humanity. Howard is able to stop this shot, but the puck bounces in front of him and Ben Smith is the first to get a stick on it, popping it over the pad and into the net. The whole squad ends up chasing here, but one of the two biggest mistakes belong to Sheahan on the cleanly lost faceoff which will earn him a half-minus (only half because there's a lot of cycling between that crucial loss and the eventual goal). The other mistake is on Abdelkader not trading the coverage. Tatar is watching Seabrook like he should be. Abdelkader is responsible for covering Keith, which he doesn't do. This will earn Abby an extra minus. Ericsson will also pull a half-minus. By the time this shot gets through, Ericsson has allowed Smith to completely spin off his coverage and get behind the d-man. Riggy has to box out better than this, even despite the distraction of Keith making his move.
3rd Period 06:33 - Chicago Goal: Marian Hossa (wrist shot) from Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith
Chicago gets a dagger at 4-on-4 as Hossa breaks in behind the defense and snaps it through Howard. At the end of a forecheck, the Wings begin a chance with Duncan Keith controlling behind his own net before throwing a pass to Sharp skating back toward him from the Wings' blue line to the center faceoff dot. As he collects and turns, Hossa is moving up from his own blue line up the right wing side gaining speed. sharp hits him with a pass at the center stripe around. Sheahan just as Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey run into each other at the Detroit blue line. This gives Hossa all the room he needs to streak in low on what is for all intents & purposes a breakaway on Howard. Hossa outwaits Jimmy and snaps it past him. Only Tatar will be cleared here as Sheahan has a chance to block the pass from Sharp but doesn't. The defensive gaffe with Smith and Quincey running into each other will earn each an extra minus. The timing couldn't have been worse as Smith had just come on for DeKeyser and was in the middle of attempting to make the switch-out to covering the far side so Quincey could take the left defensive position when the pass to Hossa was starting, but both guys have to have the on-ice awareness to avoid the skate-tap that slows them both down and leads to this goal.
3rd Period 17:50 - Chicago Goal (SH): Jonathan Toews (backhand) from Marian Hossa and Johan Franzen
The thin strand on which the Wings are trying to climb back into this game snaps as Franzen turns the puck over on a power play and gives up an odd-man rush to two guys who are pretty good at hockey. As Franzen and Kronwall switch off positions to keep the power play cycle alive, Franzen gets too casual with the puck as the last man back and forgets that the Selke-caliber Hossa is right behind him. Hossa lifts Franzen's stick at first and then when Franzen attempts to pass to Kronwall, Hossa kicks this attempt to center ice where he's off to the races behind Mule. Toews joins in as they come through center. Thanks to the angle of the blocked pass, Franzen gets back to get the inside angle on Hossa, stopping him up at the top of the circle, but Hossa waits long enough before pulling up to make sure Franzen overskates the lane to Toews. As the Hawks' captain takes the puck and approaches on the left lane of the slot, Franzen slides down, but can't position himself to prevent Toews from pulling the puck backhand around Howard. In fact, Franzen's stick helps guide the puck into the net behind his goaltender. Alfredsson, Legwand, Nyquist, and Kronwall will be cleared. Alfie is the closest call, as he's watching the opposite point, but a power play that backs off as much as it would have taken for Alfredsson to have made a meaningful impact on this play is an awful power play to begin with. Franzen will pull a turnover minus for giving the puck away and then a coverage minus for guiding the biscuit into his own net. I know I said in the comments of the last post that adjustments this heavy for a single goal are rare and now we have them in two consecutive games, but this is the kind of shit that players simply cannot do in these games.
1st Period 04:32 - Patrick Sharp (hooking): The Wings get a rare power play against Chicago as an up-ice rush leads to a scoring chance and a penalty for Patrick Sharp committing a hook to try and prevent the zone entry which leads to the scoring chance. Drew Miller and Niklas Kronwall will each earn a plus for creating this transition and forcing the hook
1st Period 15:39 - Riley Sheahan (hooking): Sheahan backchecks hard to prevent a scoring chance for Patrick Sharp off the rush. This isn't going to create an adjustment. Sheahan lifts the stick. Bad call.
2nd Period 01:23 - Tomas Tatar (interference): After a good zone entry to set up a chance for the Wings, Tomas Tatar takes a step in front of a guy back in the Red Wings' zone and goes to the box for it. Tatar will get a minus. This isn't a particularly strong call, but it's an easy one to make.
2nd Period 07:02 - Teemu Pulkkinen (tripping): Patrick Kane gains speed up the boards on a rush and pokes it around Pulkkinen, who puts his stick in the way trying for the puck, but he misses and takes Kane down instead. Minus for Pulkkinen. Can't do this.
2nd Period 13:23 - Patrick Kane (tripping): DeKeyser is trying to move the puck up ice fighting through a backcheck when Kane takes him down. DeKeyser will get a plus.
2nd Period - Bryan Bickell (hooking): On the forecheck, Bickell chases Ericsson up the boards and can't get around the big man. As he falls down, he takes Riggy with him with a hook. Bickell is a dummy, which has a lot to do with why this penalty happened. Ericsson will get a half-plus.
3rd Period 05:13 - Andrew Shaw (roughing) and Luke Glendening (interference): Glendening kind of bumps Shaw away from the play and Shaw responds by putting his guy in a headlock. Both players go to the box for this. No adjustment.
3rd Period 16:36 - Duncan Keith (high sticking): Nyquist is trying to split the defense entering the zone and takes the point of a blade to the face for his trouble as Keith's stick rides up and clips him. This one is partially drawn by the angle and speed of Nyquist, so he'll get a half-plus. Mostly, it's about bad stick control, but Keith is caught off guard.
+1 to Luke Glendening: A bright spot for the Wings, Glendening played a very good defensive game for the Wings
-1 to David Legwand: 33% in the faceoff circle and beaten on the possession battle despite more offensive zone faceoff chances. Not a good game.
Jordin Tootoo played hard and aggressive in his very limited minutes. He did exactly what was asked of him and might have been able to earn a plus with a bit more usage. Niklas Kronwall ending up an overall even turned out to be one of those unfortunately fitting outcomes. He had a very good first period, but faded as the game went on.
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