Turns out that it's always easier to score two goals when you're down by three than when you do a fairly good job of controlling play for an entire first period and come away with nothing. Not counting the third period in the Dallas meltdown (a game in which the Stars led 3-1 at one point), the Wings have not had a two-goal lead in their last four. Playing from behind is tiring. I liked the first period effort, but they couldn't match that intensity in the 2nd period and that cost Detroit this game.
Special teams: Detroit 1-for 3, Philadelphia 0-for-2. I'd love to complain about the fact that Philadelphia, the 4th-most penalized team in the league only took three penalties, but the reffing was pretty good. The Wings just didn't move their feet. Further evidence may be found in the shot count (32-27 Philadelphia) and the giveaway/takeaway ratio (Philly 1:1, Detroit 5:3). Let's get to the minuses...
Jimmy Howard started the game and, again, didn't play very well. He gave up all three Philadelphia goals and I'm calling one soft. He did make three big saves, but considering that the soft goal was the game-winner, he's going to get an even rating. Chris Osgood played the third period and saved all five shots he faced. Unfortunately, of those five shots, two of them were of the variety that called for big saves and Osgood was up to the task, so he'll get a +2 rating. I'm going to split games played into thirds for this game to more accurately reflect on the tracking chart each goalie's rating.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jumpThe Goals
Penalty Adjustment: Early in the first period, as the WIngs hold all the momentum for the game, Darren Helm forces Danny Briere to trip him in Philly's zone to put the Wings on a power play that will turn into a 5-on-3 advantage when Claude Giroux bats the puck into the left field gap for a double and a
playing-the-wrong delay-of-game penalty. Unfortunately, Detroit's power play can't score with the two-man advantage. Even worse, when it's back to 5-on-4, Johan Franzen takes a holding penalty for dragging his man down in front looking for a loose puck. Helm gets a plus for drawing his and Franzen gets a minus for taking one.
2nd Period 00:51 - Philadelphia Goal: James van Riemsdyk (snap shot) from Andreas Nodl and Mike Richards
Bad luck goal here as the Flyers carry the puck in and cycle around the boards deep. van Riemsdyk gets it on the corner to Howard's left and tosses a puck at the net while Nodl goes to the front. The puck ramps up off Filppula's stick and into the net for the Flyers' first goal. Bertuzzi and Lidstrom will be cleared of minuses for patrolling exactly where they should be. Hudler will get an extra half-minus. As the puck comes around the boards to Nodl, he has a chance to skate harder and force the play more and instead he floats to the boards. I don't know if that makes a difference or not, but watching a guy coast in your own end when he could have hustled pisses me off. Filppula's shitty stick-work also gets him a bonus minus. Accidental or not, don't tip the puck into your own net.
2nd Period 5:32 - Philadelphia Goal: Daniel Carcillo (tip in) from Andrej Meszaros and Matt Carle
Goal #2 comes off a simple dump-in by Philadelphia's 4th line that turns into disaster. FIrst, Kronwall whiffs on the puck going around his own net. Fortunately, Filppula is there. Unfortunately, Flip thinks it's a good idea to get fancy in his own end and ends up turning it over in the face of the forecheck, leading to a shot on goal that's stopped. Carcillo gets the rebound and tries to out-wait Jimmy Howard, but the Wings' goalie blocks off the net. The puck comes back high when Matt Carle passes to Meszaros at the point for a slap shot that deflects off Jiri Hudler, gets past Niklas Kronwall screening his own goalie and kicking feebly at it, and then deflects off Carcillo and into the net. Both Kronwall and Filppula will get extra minuses. This is a simple dump-in that they both screwed up. Salei was the only one really trying to clean up the mess, but there were too many Flyers going to the front of the net. I'm going to halve Ruslan's minus. Bertuzzi and Hudler each keep theirs because they were close enough to the play to stop it and failed to do so.
2nd Period 14:24 - Philadelphia Goal: Scott Hartnell (wrist shot) from Sean O'Donnell and Daniel Briere
Philadelphia dumps the puck in where Briere gets it on the side boards and throws it across the ice looking for a tip from either Leino or Hartnell; the puck misses everybody, but bounces to Sean O'Donnell in front of Mursak. The Flyers' D-Man pokes it past Mursak to Hartnell in front. As Jimmy Howard goes down to block the low part of the ice while Hartnell's back is still turned, the former Predator spins to face the net and, finding Howard giving up the entire top shelf, accepts the invitation to score with a roofed-in shot. If the hints were too subtle to this point, Howard was down too early here, making this a bad goal. Ordinarily, I'd clear minuses for a bad goal given up, but right before Briere gets to this puck, the replay shows all five Red Wings clearly in the shot and not a one of them is moving his feet. So, instead of clearing all five minuses, I'm going to halve those given to Abdelkader, Helm, Mursak, and Rafalski. Ericsson is going to keep a full minus for not picking up Hartnell. [Note: as of the time of writing this, the official NHL.com game summary has Miller on the ice instead of Helm. I'm going to assume this is going to be changed and will reflect the official plus/minus score on the tracking chart accordingly]
3rd Period 00:51 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (snap shot) from Johan Franzen
After Chris Osgood shuts the door on a very good Philadelphia chance to start the third period, the Wings win a faceoff, but lose control in the zone, allowing Meszaros to throw a puck in wide looking for a redirect. Fortunately, two Flyers get crossed up and the puck rings around the boards out of the zone. Hudler takes a bad angle on the puck and it gets by him, which turns out to be very fortunate, as it goes to Franzen, who fires a pass from Philadelphia's bench area across to Filppula coming through center ice with speed. Flip dangles Meszaros with a pretty toe-drag move before firing it past Leighton. Filppula moving through center ice to capitalize on this chance and Franzen's vision get them each a bonus half-plus. I'm torn about what to do with Hudler here, as he made a very obvious and dumb mistake in not getting to the puck as it went around the boards because he took a bad angle and lost his balance, but the mistake paid off and allowed the play to happen as it did. Part of me wants to halve his plus on the play. Let me know what you think in the comments. I'm going with no at this point, but I need some extra convincing one way or the other.
3rd Period 12:28 - Detroit Goal (PP): Henrik Zetterberg (backhand) from Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom
Detroit's PP comes after Osgood handles the puck inside the trapezoid (he has two this season - as far as I know, no other goaltender has one. I'm probably wrong, but I don't care. That's been a rule for-damn-ever, Ozzie). On the Philly PP, Leino bowls over Osgood and earns himself two minutes for interference. The power play moves the puck very efficiently with Lidstrom and Rafalski moving around up top before Lidstrom passes to Z on the second level, who goes across to Franzen. Franzen goes back to Lidstrom now as Homer screens and Z goes to the middle to try a redirect of a Lidstrom slapper. The initial chance is stopped, but Zetterberg gets the puck and backhands it off Boucher's face and into the goal. The puck movement here really is impressive and as a result, I'm giving assists to Rafalski and Franzen, as well as a bonus half-assist to Zetterberg on his own goal.
-1 to Jonathan Ericsson, Tomas Holmstrom, and Henrik Zetterberg: Each of these players had a turnover in the Detroit zone leading straight to a scoring chance. In the instance for which Homer is guilty, he's also responsible for Stuart taking a puck off the back of his head. Part of it was Philadelphia's good forecheck, but there's never an excuse for the turnovers committed here.
-1 to Niklas Kronwall: He made a couple good plays in the third, especially one where he might have saved a goal. That's great for him, but those players are the difference between him getting a -2 and getting this rating. He was downright awful in this game with his turnovers, ill-timed pinches, and bad decisions in the offensive and defensive zones.
+1 to Brad Stuart: Stu also had a play where he saved a likely goal. He gets a plus because he also didn't have multiple plays that made me want to scream obscenities, like Kronwall did.
+1 to Nick Lidstrom: I do not worry when he's the guy back on a 2-on-1 (which is good, because that's happened three times in the last two games). The guy is as solid as can be; it's going to be extremely sad if his relatively poor official plus/minus rating costs him a Norris trophy because his teammates keep fucking it up for him.
-1 to Drew Miller: We have two lines worth of guys that would be considered fourth-liners right now and if I had to sit somebody in favor of a returning forward, Miller is my current choice. I don't expect him to put up points, but he's in a funk as far as doing whatever it is that he does to bring value to the club.
-0.5 to Todd Bertuzzi: the goal drought is getting ridiculous, but that's not why he's getting a half minus. I saw him actively avoid contact in his own zone on a race to the puck. He got bailed out, but it was a chicken-shit play for a guy that size.
Honorable Mentions: Yes, Filppula did have a fantastic third period - that only makes me wonder where the hell he was for the first two. His game evened out, making him not worthy of any additional adjustments. Darren Helm was decent again, but I'm on a moratorium for giving him more bonus pluses for being so close with no finish until he pots another one.
Five game road trip coming up starting Tuesday in Edmonton. I'll be expecting the third period Wings to show up all game for that one.