After earning a point to clinch the playoffs on Wednesday, the Wings put up a stinker against the Canes, losing 2-1 on two first-period defensive failures and 60 minutes worth of bad passes, wasted opportunities, and half-skating.
The refs let a ton of stuff go, giving each team just two power plays. Both teams scored once with the man advantage. Detroit outshot Carolina 29-19
Two goals on 19 shots just isn't going to do it. Neither goal was soft or anything, but I thought Howard maybe could have prevented both. I'm not that worried about this one from a goaltending standpoint. The defense let Howard down both times and the offense did even worse.
1st Period 08:15 - Carolina Goal (PP): Elias Lindholm (wrist shot) from Andrei Loktionov and Jay Harrison
The Canes get on the board early as Lindholm gets free right in front of the goal and puts it in off the far post. The Wings get it out early, but Carolina regains with a speedy dump-in where they overload to Lashoff's side to turn the puck back over and get it back up to the point. Three passes later, Skinner gets a beautiful shot at the empty net that he just fails to score on. Lindholm recovers off the glass and resets the play back to Harrison up top. Harrison sets up the umbrella and passes off to Loktionov at the boards. Here, the puck-carrier takes it to the corner being chased by Miller with Lashoff in the shooting lane. As Loktionov gets to the bottom of this lane, he passes off to Lindholm low at the side of the net. Lindholm quickly pulls the puck around to the front of the net behind Lashoff and roofs it over an outstretched Howard who is caught by surprise a little thanks to the quick turn. I'm going to give both Lashoff and Miller a minus on this PK. Every part of the play that turns dangerous happens on Miller's side of the ice and Lashoff blows the coverage on Lindholm.
1st Period 18:24 - Carolina Goal: Jiri Tlusty (wrist shot) from Eric Staal and Justin Faulk
Carolina makes it 2-0 on a harmless turnover and listless backcheck by the Wings that earns Tlusty the rebound goal. The play starts as Legwand gets a puck just across the Carolina blue line and instead of getting it deep so the defense can finish the change they're making, he drops it back between his legs for Miller skating up through center. Unfortunately, Loktionov is in the position he should be and he breaks up the entry. The puck bounces off Miller and to Faulk at the top of the circle in the zone. Faulk doesn't wait long to chip it back out of the zone into the path of Staal turning the other way. Kronwall is there to watch Staal along the edges of the right wing while Smith watches the center lane (occupied by Tlusty). The next level of players is made up of Franzen just off the bench and Glendening backchecking hard. This is essentially a 3-on-4 rush as Staal hits the top outside of the circle and fires a low hard shot on Howard. Jimmy stops it, but kicks the rebound right out front on the other side. By this time, Tlusty has completely skated through Smith and has no trouble finding the wide open net. I hate a lot of things about this goal. One thing I don't hate is Abdelkader, who had just come on. I'm going to give Legwand back the Abdelkader minus as a line change adjustment. I'm also going to give Legwand a minus for the turnover on a bad decision at the offensive blue line. Kronwall will have his minus halved. He's just coming on, so he can't get to Staal before the puck gets to the blue line. I do think that he has a chance to more-aggressively attack and potentially deflect the initial shot attempt. Franzen and Glendening are playing their positions as they should and will be cleared. Smith will pick up an extra minus for misplaying Tlusty and allowing this one. Smith steps up on his man above the slot and this lets Tlusty by.
Goal-Saved Adjustment - 2nd Period 09:23: Jakub Kindl: Tomas Jurco fires a backhander on net with Tatar and Quincey joining him. Ward blocks it away to the left faceoff circle and Glendening (who should be covering the point for Quincey) decides to step up on the puck to try and score. Glendening whiffs and the Canes come back 2-on-1 against Kindl. Howard stops the cross-ice pass from Skinner to Boychuk, but the puck bounces out in front of him. Eric Staal is the first player on the loose puck and he tries to loft it over the outstretched Howard, but Kindl is able to pop it out of mid-air before it gets across the line. Kindl will get a plus for saving this goal.
3rd Period 03:43 - Detroit Goal (PP): Riley Sheahan (wrist shot) from Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar
Detroit breaks the shutout on an early third period power play opportunity where all three forwards crash in on the crease and finally push it through. Carolina clears it and then cuts off one attempted rush, forcing the Wings back again. This time, it takes two passes to go from DeKesyer to Alfredsson to Tatar, which earns the Wings a clean zone entry as it catches two PKers behind the puck. Tatar pulls up to allow them to get set up and plays catch with Jurco a couple times to draw the PKers up. Jurco catches Hainsey cheating up on him a bit and throws the puck to Sheahan at the front of the net. Sheahan initially tips it in on Ward and then backs to the top-middle of the crease to establish body position. Ward can't control the puck and it sits loose in the crease for long enough for Sheahan to jam it home. I'm going to give Tatar a half-plus for creating this zone entry/setup with his speed and puckhandling.
1st Period 07:36 - Detroit Bench (too many men): Carolina clears the zone near a Red Wings' line change. DeKeyser is fresh off the bench and plays it (because his man already got off). DK has his dump-back-in attempt blocked and the puck comes back through the mess of players and the refs blow it dead. This one isn't a good call. It looks like it should be, but if the refs are paying attention, the guys coming in don't get involved and are in the acceptable changing area. No adjustment.
2nd Period 06:21 - Ron Hainsey (tripping): The Wings finally earn a power play as a good rush creates the third scoring chance of the period that's cut short by an obstruction/interference/tripping by a defender. This one actually gets called as Hainsey takes down Helm, who tries to stop short on him and ends up getting his leg taken out by the sliding defenseman. Helm will get the plus here.
2nd Period 14:05 - Kyle Quincey (high sticking) and Jeff Skinner (roughing): Q gets beaten positionally and hit pretty hard in the corner, bringing his stick up into the face. This is going to earn Quincey a minus, but I'm going to give him back a plus for taking the even-up punch that gets Skinner sent as well. I just want to record that the high-stick here is worth a minus.
3rd Period 02:58 - Jay Harrison (slashing): Datsyuk gets a break in on net and draws a penalty on a love-tap from Harrison. Datsyuk will get a plus for the fantastic job of splitting the defense and shaming the refs into calling the same penalty they should have called in the 2nd when Jurco took even more of a shot on his own breakaway.
3rd Period 15:24 - Detroit Bench (too many men): This time the too many men call is good. How fucking stupid. The problem here is that there are three defensemen on the ice in Kronwall, DeKeyser, and Smith. Honestly, they're all three partially at fault here. Krowall had just been on with Kindl for a minute-long shift and probably should have changed, but both Smith and DeKeyser have to recognize as well. I'm going to give all three a half-minus.
-1 to Kyle Quincey and Danny DeKeyser: Quincey was the victim of what seemed to be a gameplan to dump the puck to his corner and create turnovers because it happened a lot. DeKeyser turned the puck over way too often in his own zone.
-1.5 to Johan Franzen, -1 to Justin Abdelkader: Both were bad again. Franzen was worse.
The Kid Line had a good number of chances, but they've got to finish.
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