The Wings went into a game against the Eastern Conference's worst team with a chance to pull two points closer to a playoff berth. After a dominant first period, they took their foot off the gas and... wait, sorry. This sounds like I'm recapping a loss. Detroit won 3-2. If they played like that against a good team they wouldn't have, but I don't care. Woo Wings!
Don Van Massenhoven reffed his final game in this one and even though I liked him as a ref, he should probably only get credited with 2/3rds of this one because he forgot where his whistle was in the third period. Both teams went 1/3 on the power play and Detroit outshot Buffalo 31-23. Woo Wings!
Jimmy Howard had a game. That's really all I have to say about it. I didn't really like either of the Buffalo goals and he wasn't terribly tested. I also worry that he was moving slowly in the third period. Oh well. Woo Wings!
1st Period 05:47 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Luke Glendening and Danny DeKeyser
The Wings dominate the opening part of the game and finally break through on a goal from the fourth line as Helm pots a rebound from in front. Glendening wins a neutral zone faceoff and DeKeyser dumps it in for Helm to chase into the corner on the forecheck. With help from Glendening, the Wings retrieve the puck and are able to start moving out of the corner. Helm gets it above the circle, but is blocked off from getting a shot and run to the half-wall where he passes back to Quincey at the point. Q crosses the puck over to DeKeyser for a shot that's deflected wide, but bounces off the end boards and right back to the middle of the ice where Glendening is making a cut. Glen Danzig kicks it to his stick and tries to jam it through Hackett. The goalie stops it, but Helm is on the doorstep to collect and put it home. Helm and Glendening will each earn a half-plus for good work on puck retrieval for this goal.
1st Period 14:12 - Detroit Goal (PP): Tomas Jurco (tip in) from Danny DeKeyser and Daniel Alfredsson
Jurco tips in a point shot during the power play and it's 2-0 for the good guys. The first unit fails to score and Buffalo clears to force a change. DeKeyser, Tatar, and Jurco combine to get the puck into the zone with speed and set up the perimeter. Jurco drops back to DK, who feeds across to Alfredsson before getting the return pass in the middle of the ice. With all the PPers on the right side of the ice, DeKeyser floats over to that point while Alfredsson and Jurco take up spots on either side of the top of that circle. Tatar hangs out in the slot and Sheahan screens the goalie. DK shoots from this position and Jurco tips it on its way through. Hackett doesn't see it get through him and it's 2-0. I'm going to give Sheahan a screener's assist, but DeKeyser will also get himself a half-plus. This is two games in a row where he's expertly quarterbacked a power play to help create a goal.
1st Period 15:28 - Detroit Goal: Daniel Alfredsson (wrist shot) from Jakub Kindl and Justin Abdelkader
The score goes to 3-0 Wings on a good zone entry and an easy rebound goal for Alfie. The Wings change their forwards while the defensemen play catch near their ow blue line just long enough to get the Datsyuk line on, then move it forward as Alfie comes off the bench to receive a pass and feed it up to Datsyuk surrounded by three Sabres at the blue line. Of course it's Datsyuk, so this play turns into a silky zone entry for the Wings as he drops to Abdelkader on the right wing and then skates in front to help make space. Abby is turned away low in the circle by a stick check, so he circles back and goes to Kindl at the point. With plenty of room up top and traffic moving, Kindl fires a low shot that gets through and bounces off Hackett where the rebound meets Alfredsson heading to that exact spot. Alfie puts it in behind Hackett for what will be the game winner. I'm going to give Datsyuk a half-plus for this zone entry, which is very good and part of what causes the Sabres to over-collapse.
2nd Period 12:28 - Buffalo Goal (PP): Jamie McBain (wrist shot) from Chad Ruhwedel and Ville Leino
Buffalo breaks the shutout on the power play as McBain finds room on the short side after a cross-ice feed. Glendening wins the faceoff, but Lashoff can't get it around Chad Whateverthefuckthisguy'snameis keeps it in and passes to Leino coming up the boards. Leino goes back to Rivendell after drawing Glendening over to him. From the right point, Chad Rudeweevil passes to Jamie McBain at the left faceoff dot. McBain holds it briefly and then snaps it short side on Howard. I'm not happy with Howard , who isn't completely squared to this shot. The low coverage is still evolving to cover here and needs Howard to make this stop. The only defensive miscue I'm unhappy with here is Lashoff's inability to clear the zone. Lashoff will get a half-minus for not getting the puck around Chad Your Wee Doll.
3rd Period 06:40 - Buffalo Goal: Nicolas Deslauriers (wrist shot) from Johan Larsson
Sheahan loses a faceoff and nobody covers the guy right in front (including the cameraman) and it ends up in the back of the net. First, Glendening loses an offensive zone faceoff and the Sabres throw it down ice. I'm not sure why icing isn't called on this play, but I'm just as confused with both DeKeyser and Quincey running Girgensons into the boards and allowing D'Agostini to come in late, collect the loose puck, and get a good wrap-around opportunity that Howard has to hold which leads to this faceoff. The puck drops with neither centerman getting his stick on it and it bounces favorably to Larsson's side. As he makes contact with Sheahan to shield the puck, Larsson also kicks it to the middle of the ice where it gets onto the stick of Deslauriers, who quickly snaps it into the net. Sheahan will get a half-minus for losing the faceoff. Jurco will be cleared as the man on the far side of this faceoff. Tatar will be cleared as the other winger releasing on the draw to cover the far point. Kindl and Lashoff both make the same read off the draw, which causes big trouble. Looking at the replay, Kindl gives Lashoff the play before the draw. As soon as the puck hits the ice, Lashoff immediately steps to the middle of the circle, even brushing by Deslauriers on his way in to try and disrupt the play as he makes contact with Luke Adam. Kindl hesitates a bit before also committing to the middle of the circle, which leaves space for Deslauriers. This makes me think that the coverage responsibility to the front is Kindl's and he blows it being unsure of where he should be going on a play that he had just moments prior read off to his defensive partner. Kindl is going to get a minus for this error. Lashoff will also pull a half-minus. He may be doing his job disrupting Luke Adam, but the puck goes right by him.
1st Period 08:52 - Brendan Smith (hooking): Buffalo gets a power play because Smith lazily hooks a guy. Water continues being wet. World spins. Smith gets a minus.
1st Period 12:59 - John Scott (high sticking): Scott somehow gets his stick high enough in the air to catch Sheahan while trying to prevent transition. No adjustment. Lazy play by Scott.
2nd Period 12:17 - Brendan Smith (high sticking): Smith battles Conacher in front and gets unhappy about a tiny slash. In reaction, Smith cross-checks him in the grill. This is really stupid. Smith will get a minus.
2nd Period 13:28 - Zemgus Girgensons (hooking): Datsyuk skates up ice through the neutral zone, drawing a hooking call as he crosses the blue line and Girgensons puts the hook into his hands. This is a bit soft, but it's a valid call and created by Datsyuk, who will get a plus.
2nd Period 18:54 - David Legwand (interference): Legwand throws a hip check a bit too late on a guy who no longer has the puck and sits for it. Minus for Legwand.
2nd Period 19:44 - Tyler Ennis (hooking): On the power play, Ennis hauls down Kronwall in the corner with what looks like a slew-foot. This is good positioning by Kronwall, but it's more a dumb play by Ennis. Half-plus for Kronwall.
+1 to Johan Franzen: I was annoyed by how unlucky he got, but Franzen played an engaged game and was among the most-dangerous players on the ice for the Wings.
+1 to Gustav Nyquist: Goose didn't find the net in this game, but he drove the puck the right direction in this one.
I'd like to be happier with this game, but it was much closer than it should have been. Brendan Smith takes too many penalties.
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Screener's Assist Totals
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