The Wings welcomed the feral dogs into the Joe Louis Arena tonight and let them tear up the furniture in the first period, jumping out to a 3-0 lead early. While Detroit was able to fight back the rest of the game, the damage had been done and a man named Lauri topped the evening off with an empty-netter to seal the game at 4-2.
Four days off didn't help much, but the Wings are professionals; getting started on time is a must. Defensive miscues and only two periods of goaltending is not going to win you many games against defensively sound teams. This one hurt; let's roll right into the CSSI
Chris Osgood started the game with a stink that would wear on the team the entire game. Of the three goals he gave up, 2.5 of them were bad. I don't know if the Wings would have won the game with competent goaltending in the first, but I do know that I sure as hell would have loved the opportunity to find out. To his credit, Osgood played very well in the 2nd and 3rd periods, stonewalling many good scoring opportunities that the Coyotes only had because the Wings had to take extra chances to make up the three-goal deficit. The scoring here is a bit of a conundrum for me. I counted four big saves on the night by Osgood, but only one of them was before he had given up the three-goal lead. I don't want to get in the guessing game of how many big saves he would have had to have made without the bad start, but I can't in good conscience give Osgood a plus rating on this night. As a result, I'm only crediting him with the one big save he made that he didn't indirectly force upon himself. His rating on the night is -1.5. I'll gladly listen in the comments to anybody who feels this is unfair.
Scoring and plus/minus after the jump.The Goals
1st Period 7:00 - Phoenix Goal: Radim Vrbata (backhand) from Petr Prucha
Detroit's fourth line forechecks in Phoenix's zone. Eaves and Miller lose the puck at the faceoff dot, where Prucha takes a swipe to try to clear. Helm tries to tip the puck to Kindl, but the young defenseman is not in good position to receive it; this sends Vrbata off to the races with a step on Kindl. Jakub hooks Vrbata, but not significantly enough to keep him from doing whatever he wants on the breakaway. Chris Osgood rolls over for him but completely misses any semblance of a poke check and Vrbata has an easy goal. Osgood credited with half a bad goal. I generally won't blame a goalie for giving up a goal on a breakaway, but his move here was so off-base and ridiculous that I feel half-blame goes to him. Salei will not get a minus; he was the only Wings player on the ice who didn't mishandle the puck or his assignment.
1st Period 8:55 - Phoenix Goal (PP): Keith Yandle (wrist shot) from Ray Whitney and Ed Jovanoski
Phoenix is on the power play here because of a hook by Mike Modano. His victim took a dive, but that doesn't excuse Modano having his stick in there in the first place. After most of a good kill, the Phoenix power play gets the penalty killers chasing around a bit. Jovanoski moves to the middle on the blue line and passes to Whitney on the boards. Whitney immediately recognizes Yandle going low on the far side and gets him the puck at the bottom of the left faceoff dot. Here, Kronwall has a moment of indecision as to whether to challenge Yandle or cover Doan in front. Meanwhile, Osgood falls for a deke that doesn't happen and drops into his butterfly with Yandle still holding the puck. As soon as Osgood drops, Yandle takes advantage of the extra space above his glove. This is a bad goal for Osgood. While Doan in front and Stempniak on the back door were options for Yandle, it's Osgood's responsibility to stay on the shooter and charge his defense with stopping those passes for the easy tip in. Osgood gave up the near side and the top shelf. Kronwall's indecision earns him a half-minus on this power play goal against and Modano's hooking penalty gets him a minus.
1st Period 11:56 - Phoenix Goal (SH): Lauri Korpikoski unassisted
At the end of a mostly ineffective power play for Detroit, Zetterberg shoots from the point and has the puck blocked to the side. Lauri Korpikoski picks up the puck and carries up ice into the Detroit zone covered by Lidstrom. Proving there's no such thing as a bad decision to shoot, Korpikoski releases a wrister from ten feet inside the blue line that beats Osgood on the short side. Replay shows the puck may have been tipped, but Osgood is not square to this shot. Osgood gets another bad goal. I am not wiping any minuses here for the bad goal because the entire power play unit was not doing its job. Their job is to score and they failed on that; the minuses remain.
2nd Period 13:05 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (tip in) from Jiri Hudler and Nicklas Lidstrom
Detroit is on this power play because Ilya Bryzgalov handles the puck outside of the goalie's trapezoid behind the goal line. You could argue that Franzen's forechecking forced the error, but I don't think that was the case more than Bryzgalov making a mental error on his own. The first half of the power play creates some good chances early, but is eventually knocked off stride. The Wings get the puck back into the zone while switching units. Filppula takes a shot on goal designed to be tipped in front by Kronwall. This play doesn't work and the puck comes around to the top of the far side where Lidstrom controls. Nick feints inside and dishes off to Hudler at the half-boards. During this play, Kronwall and Franzen have switched places so Franzen is in front. The Mule puts his stick on the ice wide of the net as a target for Hudler. Jiri finds Franzen's stick with a quick pass for a deflection off Bryzgalov's leg and in. Everybody did something right on this play, but nobody did anything exceptional, so there is no scoring change.
3rd Period 3:56 - Detroit Goal: Tomas Holmstrom (tip in) from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg
A dump-in by Tomas Holmstrom is played well as Datsyuk pressures Jovanoski into turning the puck over with a bad pass that goes over Derek Morris' stick. Holmstrom collects the turnover and passes to Zetterberg skating into the slot. Hank outmuscles two Phoenix back checkers and finds Datsyuk all alone on the back door. Bryzgalov stones Datsyuk's attempt (and the next two) before Holmstrom steps in from behind the net to bounce it in off the goaltender's skate. Holmstrom, Zetterberg, and Datsyuk each earn extra half-pluses on the play. Holmstrom's dump-and-forecheck, as well as the pass to Z was fantastic. Zetterberg's out-muscling two defenders was herculean, and Datsyuk forced the original turnover and kept hammering away at the puck after being stopped point-blank by Bryzgalov.
3rd Period 19:02 - Phoenix Goal (EN): Lauri Korpikoski (slap shot) unassisted
With Detroit's net empty for the extra skater and Phoenix having recently burned their timeout after a costly icing, Kronwall receives the puck high and gets cute; the mis-handle costs the Wings the zone. Kronwall feeds Franzen going back in but he's stopped high and Phoenix re-clears, where the puck ends up back on Kronwall's stick. Nik Jr. tries lazily dumping it across to Lidstrom on the backhand, but misplays it again where Lauri Korpikoski picks it up and scores into the empty net. Kronwall earns an extra minus for his two mistakes on this play. Franzen will keep his minus for failing to get the puck deep on the carry back in. Nobody else receives a minus on this play.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk: Pavs was an absolute marvel of a man on the ice. He controlled all three zones and definitely deserves a better fate than the minus-1 rating he got on the official scoresheet.
-1 to Tomas Holmstrom: On the other side, Holmstrom played very well on the second Detroit goal, but he took two offensive zone penalties and was not particularly effective the rest of the night. The first penalty was something of a weak call, considering what had been going on in front of the net that entire play; the second penalty was a ridiculously bad decision and a momentum killer. For that, Homer gets punished.
+1 to Ruslan Salei: 2:18 into the third period, when Detroit's comeback was still teetering on the brink, Phoenix's Derek Morris released a slapshot intentionally wide of Osgood which ricocheted off the end boards and right to Kyle Turris out front. Salei quickly and very deftly canceled out Turris' stick and saved a goal.
+0.5 to Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves: These two led the Wings PK again and were not on the ice for the lone Phoenix man advantage tally. Helm drew a couple of penalties himself and I thought Eaves was the strongest even-strength forechecker for the fourth line which played well. Miller misses out for just not being as good as his two linemates.
-0.5 to Jiri Hudler: If you followed along the game thread, one of my biggest pet peeves of the night was Wings skaters who did not have their stick in position to receive passes or rebounds. Looking back, Hudler was guilty of this more often than anybody else by a margin of at least 2. This is not an adjustment from the Russian league issue, it's a fundamental flaw in the way he played this game. This needs to be corrected.
Detroit has a day to stew over this and get their heads on right, as Nashville comes to town on Saturday. I watched part of the third period in their loss to St. Louis; After seeing Jordin Tootoo get the gate for a five-minute charging major which may also be a blindside headshot to Carlo Colaiacovo, I wouldn't be surprised to see the little shit-stirrer suspended. Anything that keeps him from trying to end Franzen's career is fine by me.