Detroit continued their playoff push on Thursday with a tough test against the Penguins that they... passed? Hell I don't know. This game was weird and had significant periods of ugliness, but I don't care because the Wings won the game thanks to scoring 60% of their goals off Penguins defensemen.
There were 11 total power plays in this game: six for Detroit and five for Pittsburgh. Both teams scored one time with the man advantage. Even with all those calls, I think the refs got tired of calling penalties. This game was chippy. Shots were 43-30 in favor of the Penguins.
Jimmy Howard allowed four goals, but had a brilliant night between the pipes giving his team a chance to win. He didn't get a chance to facewash Crosby again though, so that was bad.
1st Period 07:21 - Detroit Goal: Daniel Alfredsson (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Danny DeKeyser
Detroit gets an early goal off a counter attack as Franzen makes a good drop pass inside the Pittsburgh zone and then ties up both defensemen, making space for Alfie to step into the slot and snipe it top corner on Fleury. After a long shift, the Wings take control of a puck at center and move it back through their own zone to reset. DeKeyser feeds Franzen up the middle and the Penguins' change gives him room to pick up steam all the way into the offensive zone through the middle lane. As the two D-men collapse on Franzen gaining the zone, he drops it off to Alfredsson skating up the left wing. Neither defenseman releases Franzen as he continues to skate in on net and nobody moves over to prevent Alfredsson from walking into the slot and snapping it over the glove for the game's first goal. Franzen will get a bonus plus on this play. He's part of the backcheck to recover the puck to reset the rush and does a good job making space here.
2nd Period 04:34 - Detroit Goal (PP): Gustav Nyquist (Rob Scuderi) from Daniel Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall
The Wings make it 2-0 on a bounce-in goal from the side of the net by Nyquist. After a clear, the Wings regain the zone on a left wing overload that gives Bertuzzi the puck at the point while Franzen goes down the boards and Nyquist sets up low to the far side. Bert is pressured and feeds it off to Kronwall gaining the zone. Kronner immediately pushes it over to Alfredsson to relieve the PK pressure at the opposite point. Alfie collects and addresses the zone before winding up for a slapper that becomes a pass to Nyquist down low. Franzen crashes the far side and kind of pushes Scuderi, who goes down partially to block the pass to Franzen. Scuderi succeeds here in that he keeps the puck off Franzen's stick by deflecting it into his own net. No adjustment. They played this one like you write it up and got a bit lucky. I think the Bert and Kronwall passes at the top of the zone were key plays, but not bonus-worthy.
2nd Period 15:17 - Pittsburgh Goal: Lee Stempniak (tip in) from Chris Kunitz and Robert Bortuzzo
The Pens get on the board by getting traffic to the front and taking advantage of a tip-in. The Penguins get it into the zone and start a board battle in the left wing corner that ends when Kunitz starts coming off the wall with it. Legwand ties up the stick and the puck rolls to the front where Miller waits to try and clear it, but he doesn't get enough on it and Kunitz is able to recover and bump it back to Bortuzzo at the opposite side point. As the defense ranges out to control the gap, Bortuzzo moves closer to the wall before feeding it back to Kunitz joining him at the top of the zone. Kunitz is able to get a wrist shot through the high level and has the puck tipped by Stempniak tied up with Kronwall in front. Howard has no chance as the puck slides by him. Bertuzzi will be cleared and DeKeyser halved. Bert is covering his point this whole play and DK has a lot to watch out for when he misses a swipe on the loose puck that Miller mishandles during the only time that DeKeyser is involved here. Miller will get a turnover minus and Legwand a coverage minus while Kronwall will get a half-minus for not effectively tying up Stempniak. Miller's mishandle followed by Legwand not aggressively attacking Kunitz as he skates to the top of the zone is more to blame than the defenseman having to fight off a net-front guy.
2nd Period 15:42 - Pittsburgh Goal: Evgeni Malkin (wrist shot) from James Neal and Jussi Jokinen
Shortly after scoring the first, Pittsburgh ties it off a faceoff in the Detroit zone as Malkin puts it into the crease from behind the net and it banks in off Howard. Jokinen beats Legwand on a faceoff and Malkin sweeps around from the inside position to pick it up and get low in the circle away from Howard. Quincey has to chase Neal around the scrum at the dot while DeKeyser backs off to watch Malkin low. Malkin throws it to Neal going to the back door and he gets two good scoring chances before his momentum pulls him out of the play. Unfortunately, the second chance leaves the puck behind the net for Malkin to get to first after winning the race following up his own play. From here, Malkin banks it in. Alfredsson and Franzen will be cleared. Legwand will earn a minus for the clean faceoff loss. Both Quincey and DeKeyser will also earn coverage minuses for not winning races or tying up sticks better.
2nd Period 17:58 - Pittsburgh Goal (PP): Evgeni Malkin (slap shot) from James Neal and Jussi Jokinen
The Wings give up a 5-on-3 chance and find themselves trailing shortly after as Malkin blasts it through a screen into the net. Glendening actually wins the faceoff, but Kunitz rushes in to get there before Quincey can (Q has to play farther back due to the nature of the 5-on-3 defense so this isn't really a turnover as much as it's just a bad disadvantage). Jokinen feeds Malkin for a one timer that Howard stops, but Neal angles off Kronwall to retrieve it along the boards and get it back to Malkin. From here, Malkin walks to the middle to let Kunitz set the screen and blasts it in. No adjustment. This is what happens on two-man disadvantages.
3rd Period 09:59 - Detroit Goal: Tomas Tatar (redirect) from Riley Sheahan and Danny DeKeyser
Detroit ties it up on a 4-on-4 rush as Sheahan throws a pretty centering pass that Tatar redirects over the outstretched glove of Fleury. After failing to get it up ice and then missing a pass back to re-cycle, the Wings finally move the puck in the right direction as Tatar has to make a clever play to avoid Malkin behind his own icing line. As he turns and gets to his own blue line on the right side, he dumps it off to Riley Sheahan jumping up the left wing with more space than he anticipated thanks to Maatta and Scuderi running into each other at center. This sets up the opportunity as Sheahan takes a bit of a longer path up the wing to let Tatar drive the center lane. This pays off when Sheahan saucers it over the stick of a diving Rob Scuderi to find Tatar on the back door. The only adjustment here is that Kronwall and DeKeyser will get back the pluses lost to Kindl and Quincey as they change behind this rush.
3rd Period 12:17 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (bounce-in) unassisted
Two minutes later the Wings have the lead again on another bounce-in goal as Bert throws a blind shot from the half-wall and gets it into the net. The Wings go for a dump-and-chase with Glendening tipping it in and then getting in on Maatta as he gets to it, blocking the initial D-to-D outlet in the corner. Bortuzzo is able to come in and pull it away from the two-man scrum, but Miller takes a good angle to cut him off behind the net, forcing him to try a dump up the boards with the puck. Bertuzzi is the first player there at the half-boards and he throws it at the front before Goc can get in on him. Glendening is in position at the front of the net, but the puck is all set to go wide until it bounces in behind Fleury off the knee of Olli Maatta. I'm going to give Glendening and Miller a bonus plus for their forechecking work to create this turnover.
3rd Period 14:17 - Pittsburgh Goal: Craig Adams (wrist shot) from Brandon Sutter and Brian Gibbons
ANOTHER two minutes later it's tied again as the Penguins' forecheck defeats the Wings' third pair for a pass from behind the net to the front. Detroit dumps it deep to force Pittsburgh to skate all the way down ice with it, and that's just what they do when Gibbons pushes the middle and creates a forecheck. Lashoff and Kindl help push the puck to the half-wall and Glendening helps move it to the corner for Kindl, but both Sutter and Gibbons collapse on Kindl, who tries to establish body position only to knock himself over and lose the puck. Lashoff recognizes Adams alone in front as Sutter goes from the corner to the office behind the net, so he backs off to cover this pass while Kindl gets up to recover. Unfortunately, half a second after making a good read, Lashoff blows that coverage to try and meet Sutter at the far post while Glendening is chasing him from behind. This opens a lane to Adams in front as soon as Sutter clears the post on his journey. Howard has no chance at the guy uncovered just atop his crease and it's tied. Bertuzzi will be cleared and Tatar halved. It's not Tatar's job to cover Adams here, but he's close enough that if he recognizes the goof-ups by his defense, he might be able to help. Lashoff will get a minus for blowing the coverage and Kindl will get a minus for turning the puck over. Glendening will get a half-minus. Instead of chasing behind the net, he should pick up Adams to let Lashoff take the man at the far post when he gets there.
Overtime 04:59 - Detroit Goal: Daniel Alfredsson (wrist shot) from Gustav Nyquist and Kyle Quincey
I love this sport. With 20 seconds left in the game, Nyquist enters the offensive zone on the right side and is pinched off by two defenders, turning it over to Malkin as he tries to outlet to the point. Malkin gives it to Kunitz on the opposite side wing as the Penguins rush up ice to take advantage of the numbers. As Scuderi follows Kunitz in and then makes a line for the net-front to clear out a bit of space, Quincey watches Kunitz and Nyquist adjusts from the far post coverage to the middle of the ice where Kunitz's pass is intended to hit Malkin in stride. Instead, Quincey gets his stick on the Kunitz pass, knocking it high into the air. Malkin leaps to get the airborne puck, but is only able to knock it down before landing and running into Nyquist, who is strong enough to stay on his feet while Malkin lands on him and falls over. This gives Nyquist the chance to poke the puck forward to Alfredsson having just come off the bench and playing the high opposite point defense. Alfie punches it forward as he races up the right wing side in an odd-man rush with Nyquist joining in the middle and Quincey on the right. Maatta has to back off the entire way here, so Alfie is able to recover the puck at the top of the faceoff circle while Maatta watches the passing lane(s). Alfie gets to the dot and fires a shot five-hole that Fleury stops. As he plays it, Fleury punches the rebound out front hard where it meets an aggressively backchecking Rob Scuderi. Scuds has no chance to stop the inevitable as the puck bounces off his chest and into the net with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. The Red Wings win off their third goal deflected in off a defenseman. Quincey will get a bonus plus for the good defensive work deflecting the Kunitz pass. Nyquist makes a good play to get it up ice after the play on Malkin, but the bonus he would get is lost in the fact that his turnover 18 seconds prior is what led to the Pittsburgh odd man rush in the first place. He'll keep his plus, but won't get a bonus.
1st Period 03:31 - David Legwand (tripping): Legwand brings down Malkin on a poke check attempt at the Penguins blue line. Legwand will get a minus.
2nd Period 03:47 - Matt Niskanen (boarding): Tatar has the puck behind the net on a forecheck as Niskanen bumps him into the boards, going to the box. I think this is a bit of a soft call. No adjustment.
2nd Period 05:19 - James Neal (cross-checking): In the Wings' zone, Neal blasts Glendening with a cross-check across the neck because he's a dirtbag. Glendening will get a half-plus. It's mostly on Neal for being a dumb angry jerk, but it's no coincidence that Glendening keeps finding himself at the heart of plays like these. Just prior to the penalty, they bump into each other and Neal comes away from that angry enough to retaliate with this cheap shot.
2nd Period 08:43 - Chris Kunitz (holding): The game gets a little chippy midway through the 2nd and Kunitz goes for taking down Smith behind the play in the neutral zone. Smith will get a half-plus here for the same reason Glendening got one earlier. The yank by Kunitz is retaliatory in nature because Smith stole the puck from him and then took a stride into his path.
2nd Period 10:06 - Todd Bertuzzi (interference): Bert takes the Wings off the power play by bumping Maatta in front of the net, who falls down. This one is soft too, but Bert earns it by doing a lot of this stuff before the refs finally call one. Minus for Bertuzzi.
2nd Period 10:37 - Jussi Jokinen (cross checking): Sheahan beats Jokinen along the boards at 4-on-4 in the Pittsburgh zone and gets nailed in the back with multiple cross-checks for his trouble. Sheahan will get a half-plus for doing the good work to piss Jokinen off.
2nd Period 16:42 - Tomas Tatar (holding): Tatar fails to take the body in the neutral zone and ends up having to battle behind the net. Sutter gets good position on him and draws a holding call. Tatar will get a minus. Easy call here.
2nd Period 17:48 - Landon Ferraro (delay of game puck over glass): Minus for Ferraro.
3rd Period 04:51 - Evgeni Malkin (Holding): Malkin corkscrews DeKeyser down as they chase into the boards in the Wings' zone. DK does a good job to earn body position on this play and create the opportunity for Malkin to make a dumb play. Half-plus for DeKeyser.
3rd Period 08:34 - Brendan Smith (hooking): Detroit gives up another power play opportunity by failing to get the puck up ice and turning it over, leading to a hook along the half wall. Smith will get a minus, but so will Alfredsson. His turnover leads to this continuation.
3rd Period 08:54 - James Neal (interference): Neal kills the Penguins' power play just 20 seconds in as he moves an unbroken stick away from the player (Glendening) who lost it. No adjustment, as you probably shouldn't try to draw penalties by dropping your stick on the PK like Glendening did here.
3rd Period 16:16 - David Legwand (butt ending, game misconduct): Legwand battles Malkin in front of the Detroit net with both players taking a few liberties. As the play moves to center, Legwand gets the last shot in as he butt-ends Malkin in the groin, getting himself kicked out of the game and giving the Penguins a power play that could have cost the Wings majorly in the playoff race. I'm going to give Legwand two minuses for a penalty this stupid and egregious.
+1 to Brendan Smith, Niklas Kronwall, and Danny DeKeyser: All three defensmen played well in this game and all three won the possession battle. DeKeyser had a very good play at the end of regulation to eliminate a last-second scoring chance. Smith moved the puck effectively, and Kronwall made heady plays.
+2.5 to Kyle Quincey: This will tie Quincey with DeKesyer for top adjusted rating among the defensemen and Quincey absolutely deserves that. Q played 2:54 of the PK on the Legwand major and did a vast majority of the defensive legwork on that, as the Penguins consistently played to his side and saw him make good plays to eliminate chances. This really was a fantastic game by Quincey.
+1 to Drew Miller & Todd Bertuzzi, +1.5 to Luke Glendening: This line spent more time out against Crosby's line than anybody and did an excellent job in not only keeping Crosby off the scoreboard, but outright winning the possession battle.
-1 to Landon Ferraro: Two failed clears on the penalty kill is not going to do it for Babcock's squad. Have to be better in even strength opportunities too.
Lashoff played 2:52 of the Legwand major and it was the easiest I've seen a guy have it in that situation. The puck rarely came to him. He played the position well, but wasn't tested. Overall I thought he struggled elsewhere. Tatar keeps trying to get a bit too fancy instead of making the simple play and he's committing some bad turnovers as a result.
David Legwand ended this game an adjusted -6. Just thought you should know that.
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