Following a night of mostly positives, the Red Wings squeak out a hard-fought road victory against the Blackhawks in Chicago's home opener. Going deeper into the stats will reveal how things went down. If you're still unfamiliar with the Common Sense Scoring Index, you can read the refresher on what differences there will be between official NHL stats and the adjusted stats I'm keeping here.
A few more minuses to give out this time. As always, the updated chart is here:
We'll start this one off with goaltending, since it's the shortest:
Chris Osgood was tested much more in this game than Jimmy Howard was the previous one. He gave up two goals and one of them was soft. The Bryan Bickell goal might or might not have deflected off Ruslan Salei's skate laces, but Osgood was not challenging the shot enough and absolutely should have had that. To his credit, Osgood did make three big saves over the course of the game and 23 more very good saves. His rating for this game is +2
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump.
1st Period 12:59 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (tip-in) from Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi
The play starts at the other end of the ice, where Bertuzzi hands off his backcheck responsibility to a hole in the ice left by both Stuart and Filppula chasing the puck carrier, leaving Bickell low to receive a pass and get a great chance on Osgood. Osgood makes a solid save and kicks the rebound to Filppula, who finds Bertuzzi coming out of the zone. Bert crosses with Franzen at the blue line and heads for the net. Meanwhile, Filppula sneaks in the back unnoticed as Kane hands him off to Boynton, who is standing in no-man's land and unable to block the pass. Filppula redirects Franzen's pass behind Turco. A couple scoring changes on this play: First, Osgood gets an assist for bailing Stuart out and directing the rebound to Filppula for the breakout. Second, Stuart loses his plus on the play for needing to be bailed out.
1st Period 19:57 - Chicago Goal (PPG): Brent Seabrook (wrist shot) from Marian Hossa and Troy Brouwer
First off, this was a Hawks power play goal scored while Ruslan Salei was in the box for hooking. This was a bad penalty, where Salei got caught flat-footed and was beaten by Stalberg, which forced him to take a penalty. While shorthanded, Stuart gets outmanned in the corner. The puck gets to Hossa on the wall, who finds Seabrook sneaking in from the point behind Dan Cleary. Cleary was not in good position to stop the cross-ice pass, but there was a ton of ice for him to be covering. This was a good power play goal by the Hawks and the only minus here goes to Salei for putting the Wings a man down.
2nd Period 1:12 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Brad Stuart and Brian Rafalski
Franzen carries the puck in with speed, putting the Hawks defenders on their heels, then gets it high to Rafalski while Chicago's defense scrambles to set up. Rafalski gets it cross-ice to Stuart, who shoots intentionally wide and finds Bertuzzi crashing the net with good body position on Hjalmarsson. Bertuzzi banks it in off Turco, who doesn't get back to cover the angle quick enough. Franzen gets an assist for carrying the load into the zone with speed and forcing the Blackhawks defense to scramble for position. If the play happens slower, the room isn't there for Bertuzzi to score.
2nd Period 1:49 - Chicago Goal: Brian BIckell (wrist shot) from Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane
The Wings fail to clear the zone twice as the puck ends up behind the net with Franzen and Bertuzzi pressuring Kane. Kane finds Dave Bolland in the corner, who hits Bryan Bickell in the high slot. Bickell gets off a wrister that beats Osgood on the low side. The goal was soft, so I'm tempted to remove the line's minuses (except for Bertuzzi, who played the wrong lane on blocking the Bolland pass, but that whole line had chances to clear the puck on which they failed. No scoring changes.
3rd Period 6:01 - Detroit Goal (PPG): Valtteri Filppula (wrist shot) from Jiri Hudler and Nicklas Lidstrom
This power play goal by the Wings came after the expiration of a 5-on-3. Technically, it was on a power play that Jiri Hudler earned while Detroit was already a man up, but they were a man up because of Drew Miller's hard work, so Miller will get a bonus plus in this situation and Hudler will get a bonus half-plus. This is something of a broken play (which is fitting because it coincided with something of a broken feed for me). Lidstrom gets it to Hudler, who finds Filppula streaking up-ice while Chicago is trying to change penalty killers. John Scott falls down, letting the puck-carrier by; Filppula tries to pass cross-ice to Franzen, but the puck deflects off a sprawled-out Hjalmarsson through Turco's legs for the eventual game-winner. I can't, in good conscience, give Filppula a full goal on this play. He clearly got lucky when his intended pass bounced off the defenseman. Filppula credited with a half-goal.
-0.5 for Nick Lidstrom: The Nicklas Lidstrom who played tonight was a little bit frightening. Usually, when he makes an error it's chalked up to "oh well, he IS human", but there were enough of them tonight that would have been bad for any top-pairing defenseman let alone a perennial Norris contender.
+1 for Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi, and Valtteri Filppula: Together as a line, these three kept the Red Wings in the game and made them the winners tonight. They changed momentum to Detroit's favor several times and played key shifts that kept Chicago from taking over the game.
+0.5 for Darren Helm: Helm won 55% of his faceoffs and very effectively killed more penalty time than any other Red Wings forward. He had several fantastic clears and forechecked very well.