Ugly boring game that the Wings didn't deserve to win and didn't. Exactly the kind of game the Wild made themselves famous for. Giving up an early goal and watching them go into the trap for two periods was exactly what I was hoping on a Friday night.
The Wings kept the Wild's vaunted power play (never thought I'd type that) off the board, but only technically, as the first goal was put in after the expiration of a penalty, but before the player (Zetterberg) could get back in the play. The Wings were able to put one up on the slightly-less-vaunted but still good for 9th-best penalty kill by Minnesota with a 1-for-4 performance, but did blow an excellent 5-on-3 opportunity in the 2nd period.
Bad game for Jimmy Howard, as he gave up a weak goal to Cal Clutterbuck (no, seriously, he leads the team in goals) and gave up the game-tying goal late in the third after kicking a rebound to the middle of the ice. He wasn't tested often, facing 27 shots - 16 of which came after the 2nd period ended. I only counted two big saves, which are wiped out by the 2 weak goals he allowed. His rating on the night was even.
Scoring and plus/minus adjustments after the jump
1st Period 8:16 - Minnesota Goal: Brent Burns (wrist shot) from Martin Havlat and Casey Wellman [ed: who?]
This goal was scored seconds after the expiration of a penalty to Henrik Zetterberg, who had taken an offensive zone hooking call. Not a very strong call, but he got the stick parallel at the hands while he was only holding his own stick with one hand. Lots of things Zetterberg could have done to not take that call. The Wild carry the puck into the zone with 10 seconds left on the power play and are kept to the edges well as the time ticks off. Eventually, Havlat takes a shot on Howard from the edge of the faceoff circle that Howard kicks to the far boards. The puck comes off the boards directly to Burns' stick. With three people (including 2 Red Wings) screening Howard, Burns puts it in. Since this is essentially a power play goal, only Zetterberg will keep his minus. Abdelkader, Cleary, Rafalski, and Ericsson will not keep theirs.
2nd Period 1:25 - Minnesota Goal: Cal Clutterbuck (snap shot) from Nick Schultz and Greg Zanon
An errant pass in the Wings' zone on a breakout forces Zetterberg to turn the puck over at center ice. Zanon collects the puck and sends to Schultz. Schultz immediately turns and finds Clutterbuck skating between the Wings' D men. The puck goes off Clutterbuck's stick and behind Howard's net. With a step on the D, Clutterbuck picks the puck up behind the net and throws it at Howard's feet, where it deflects into the net. Howard absolutely has to have his near-side post covered well enough to keep this from happening and this is a soft goal. Stuart's errant pass and bad angle on Clutterbuck gets him an extra half-minus on the play. Datsyuk will not get a minus. When the pass goes from Schultz to Clutterbuck, Datsyuk is actually covering two different passing options at center ice. Franzen is slightly less to blame, but I would have liked to have seen him pressure Zanon more. Mule will only get a half-minus.
2nd Period 19:26 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Justin Abdelkader and Patrick Eaves
After most of a period where Minnesota successfully choked off the Wings' offense, the fourth line comes up big with this one. The play starts back in Detroit's end with what could have been a disaster, as Helm passes the puck in the middle of the Wings' zone to Nick Lidstrom as a forechecker bears down on him. Lidstrom recognizes the pressure and immediately snaps a pass back to Eaves to carry out. Eaves gains center ice and dumps in for Helm to chase with is speed. Darren lifts the stick of Marek Zidlicky and ties up his man to allow Eaves to pick up the puck behind his net. Eaves gets it over to Abdelkader on the other side; Abby releases a no-look backhand across the crease to a waiting Darren Helm for the open net goal and his first of the season. Helm will get an extra half-plus for the stick lift that led to Detroit regaining possession in the zone and Listrom's pass to Eaves back in Detroit's defensive zone is good for a half-assist, due to the difficult nature of the play he made.
3rd Period 2:17 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (snap shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom
This goal comes with Minnesota's Matt Cullen in the box for a neutral zone hook. It's kind of a weak call, but it's also a dumb move by Cullen. Filppula wasn't so much working hard to draw this penalty as much as Cullen just had a lapse into retardation. After an offensive zone faceoff win by Datsyuk that almost ends up in a breakaway shorthanded goal for Mikku Koivu, the Wings pull their heads out of their asses and move the puck up ice to gain the zone with all three forwards spread wide. Holmstrom feeds Datsyuk cross ice before Pavs and Franzen play catch a couple of times to get the PKers moving. Franzen steps out from behind the net and tries to feed Homer in front of the net for a tip-in, but his pass deflects off of Greg Zanon and past Jose Theodore on the short side. This is a great bounce for Franzen, but there is no scoring adjustment on this play.
3rd Period 4:55 - Detroit Goal: Patrick Eaves (wrap-around) from Brian Rafalski and Justin Abdelkader
Abdelkader wins an offensive zone draw to start this play. He collects the puck himself out of the air and passes to Rafalski; under pressure, Raffi throws the puck low to Eaves, who is screening Theodore in front of the net. The Minnesota netminder makes the first save and blocks off Eaves' shot at the goalmouth down low. Undeterred, Eaves skates around behind the net and forces home a beautiful wrap-around goal. Eaves will receive a half-plus for the first screen on Theodore, forcing the netminder to take himself out of the play to give himself the wrap-around opportunity.
3rd Period 18:27 - Minnesota Goal: Mikko Koivu (wrist shot) from Nick Schultz and Andrew Brunette
The Wings are trying to protect their lead late and keep making simple plays. Kronwall dumps the puck out high to start a line change. The Wild move up ice and Filppula challenges Brunette at center ice. Without a second forward in the play to back him up, Brunette kicks the puck to Schultz coming through the zone with speed. Schultz skates wide into the Wings zone and puts a weak backhander on Howard, who kicks the rebound directly up the middle of the ice for Mikku Koivu to put home the easy rebound. This is Howard's 2nd bad goal of the night. The bad rebound mitigates a lot of things here, so bear with me. I like Filppula stepping up aggressively in the neutral zone while the Wings are playing prevent. When Cleary goes low to challenge Schultz, Flip is left to cover the point. The gamble doesn't pay off completely for Filppula, but I'm only going to give him a half-minus on the play. Cleary picked up Schultz as he was supposed to and kept him to the outside like he was supposed to. Buckets will not get a minus. Bertuzzi is also tasked with covering the point and had his lane blocked as it should be, so Bert will not get a minus. Stuart picks up Miettinen going to the front of the net and ties up his man like he should have. I feel like he could have done a bit more to help with the shot and rebound, but will only give Stuart a half-minus. Lidstrom is the lost coverage on this play. He either needs to pick up Koivu going to the front or pick off the pass, but gets caught in no-man's land in a dead area on the ice. Nick will keep his full minus on the play.
Overtime 4:18 - Minnesota Goal: John Madden [ed: BOOM!] (backhand) from Martin Havlat and Marek Zidlicky
Where have we seen this before? Red Wings dominate the overtime period and lose; it's like a bad dream that used to recur a lot more frequently. You have it again and hope it's not back for good this time. The Wild do some pretty good work here, so I'm not going to make any scoring adjustments. Zidlicky runs Zetterberg around on the boards, but keeps far enough away from the glass so Z can't pinch him off. Meanwhile, Havlat is fighting Stuart for net-front presence and does a couple of little bumps to move Stuart just enough at exactly the right time. Zidlicky makes a shot-pass to Havlat, who deflects the puck on net behind him. Howard saves the initial redirect, but Madden is there to pick up the rebound and put it behind a sprawling Howard. Madden is able to get behind Lidstrom for the rebound because Nick is blocking off the passing lane higher in the zone to keep Madden from short-stopping on him for a one-timer. This is just the right combination of plays at the right time by the Wild to earn the game-winner.
-1 to Nick Lidstrom: The tripping penalty he took 8:33 into the third period was just lazy stickwork and he was fortunate to be bailed out by his teammates on the penalty kill.
+1 to Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves, and Justin Abdelkader: The fourth line drew another penalty and once again were often times the Wings' best line on the ice.
-1 to Johan Franzen: Yeah, he scored a goal, but anytime in my notes, I have written in large capital letters "SKATE FRANZEN, YOU DICK!", that's good for a minus. He did not look particularly interested through two periods of play.
+1 To Jonathan Ericsson: I wish I had the power of individual replay on non-goals because I'd love to show you this one if you didn't see it or your brain has a certain type of damage that keeps you from seeing the good things that Jonathan Ericsson does, but trust me on this play at 9:31 of the third period. The Wild are on a power play and a shot on Jimmy Howard rebounds back out in front, leading to a scrum for the puck at the side of the net. While Howard is in the rummage sale, Ericsson is actually covering the front of the net. Good thing he's playing head's up, because the puck comes right out front on it's way to Andrew Brunette's stick and a night of kicked puppies for all when Ericsson intercepts and clears. It's not the only good play he had, but it was the most goal-savingest.
-1 to Pavel Datsyuk: Not happy with his skating tonight or either of his neutral zone turnovers.
Non-bonus honorable mentions to both Salei and Kronwall. They were invisible tonight, but in a good way. Neither stepped up enough to get the bonus ratings, but they were good. I like our d-corps. There, I said it. Yeah, I'm bold. Also Valtteri Filppula managed to draw two hooking penalties, despite not really earning either. Maybe the refs just want to protect that pretty face of his? Finally, I want to credit Zetterberg with a stick tie-up that might have saved a goal in the first period (Howard was in decent position, but it could have gone either way), but I can't give him a plus because he didn't play well for such long stretches. I've said in the past that I don't put a lot of stock in individual Corsi ratings, preferring the team ratings, but Zetterberg was a minus-3 on the night while Ruslan Salei was a plus-20. That tells me enough to say that Z doesn't deserve a bonus plus on the night at least.
Would have been nice (but not fair) if Brent Burns had been suspended for three games instead of two, damnit. Sunday, we see the Flames. Iginla's still with them... for now.