Detroit ended their hockey sabbatical on Friday night by welcoming the hapless and terrible Columbus Blue Jackets into town to test their undefeated record against. Despite some early rust and some mid-period doldrums, the Wings pulled this one off in relatively easy fashion.
The shot counter was much closer than it should have been, especially considering 0 of Columbus' 32 shots came off the stick of Rick Nash. Overall, Detroit was outshot at even strength by 5. Fortunately, the power play was able to keep up their momentum, scoring on 3 of 5 opportunities. The penalty kill did falter in giving up one goal in four Columbus chances. All in all, I thought the reffing was pretty terrible.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment: 3:24 into the first period, Tomas Holmstrom goes to the box for boarding Aaron Johnson. This was a very easy call and a bad penalty for Homer to take. I would not be surprised if Homer got a call from Brendan Shanahan on this one. Homer gets a minus.
1st Period 09:03 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (snap shot) from Valtteri Filppula
The Penalty: RJ Umberger (holding) - Adjustment: Datsyuk pressures Umberger on the forecheck, lifting his stick and stealing it. Umberger responds by giving him a hug. It's an awww moment and one that will earn Datsyuk a half-plus. Umberger's kind of dumb to hold here, but Datsyuk definitely has a part in forcing it.
On the power play, once the Wings get it set up in the zone, Franzen gets it to Kronwall at the point for a shot through traffic. As Cleary is wrestled to the ice, the puck squirts to the weak side. Hudler chases down Pahlsson behind the net and gets the body on him to prevent a clear up ice. Franzen gets the puck at the top of the faceoff circle and runs a bit of a give-and-go with Filppula (who tries to go skate-to-stick, but gets bodied off by Tyutin). The puck goes back to Franzen at the dot and he fires it far side top shelf past Steve Mason who never sees the shot thanks to a Cleary screen. I'm going to give Hudler a half non-touch assist for his play on Pahlsson and Franzen a half self-assist for the give-and-go with Filppula. Cleary will earn a full screener's assist.
1st Period 14:21 - Detroit Goal (PP): Johan Franzen (snap shot) from Valtteri Filppula
The Penalty: Derek Mackenzie (slashing) - Adjustment: This is a chintzy stick-slash. No adjustment.
Filppula ties up Pahlsson on an offensive zone PP draw, allowing Franzen to pick it up and circle around the dot before trying to pass cross-crease to Cleary. Fedor Tyutin blocks the initial pass attempt right back to Mule. He tries again and sees this one go off the skate of Aaron Johnson past Mason. No adjustment.
1st Period 15:18 - Columbus Goal: Derick Brassard (wrist shot) from Aaron Johnson and Rick Nash
The Blue Jackets bring it up ice against a freshly changed Wings' unit. Umberger passes to Brassard in the neutral zone, who drops it to Nash coming across the blue line. While Brassard goes to the front of the net, Nash moves across the top of the zone and drops it to Johnson, who steps into a big coverage hole to skate to the top of the circle and throw the puck through a Kronwall block attempt. The puck gets through Howard and goes off the post, but Brassard is there to swipe it away before he can pounce on it and roof it over Howard. Abdelkader will pick up an extra coverage minus for blowing the coverage on Johnson to allow him to get the shot off. Kronwall will also get an extra coverage minus for screening his own goalie on the shot and not preventing Brassard from putting home the rebound. Datsyuk and Franzen will each have their minuses cleared while Stuart's minus will be halved. There's a bit of a miscommunication between Stuart and Abdelkader coming into the zone which allows Columbus to gain the blue line a bit too easily.
2nd Period 00:27 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (wrist shot) from Tomas Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg
The Wings start the 2nd period wasting the last few seconds of a power play. Rick Nash carries into the Detroit zone and passes to Brassard, who flubs the handle allowing Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Holmstrom to move up ice. Datsyuk gains the zone and skates across the stripe while Homer goes net-front and Zetterberg follows. Pavel sets it to White who skates into a slapper from the point. The puck bounces off Mason and out past the screen. Zetterberg picks up the rebound and tries a second shot from the side which Mason stops. Holmstrom battles in front of the net to push the puck out into the high slot where Datsyuk is standing to put it past the sprawled-out goalie. Ian White will get the third assist.
3rd Period 01:52 - Columbus Goal (PP): Aaron Johnson (slap shot) from Vinny Prospal and Antoine Vermette
The Penalty: Nicklas Lidstrom (hooking) - Adjustment: Nash tries rushing in on Lidstrom, who ties him up. Unfortunately, Nash is very good at getting away with holding the stick and Lidstrom should know this. The Wings' captain does have his stick in a bad position and will get a half-minus for taking the penalty.
The Blue Jackets move the puck around the penalty-killing unit of Emmerton-Miller-Kronwall-Ericsson. At one point, Ericsson moves all the way up ice to help Emmerton challenge Vermette and Clitsome at the point. Unfortunately, the pressure is broken and Vermette gets to to Vinny Prospal on the 2nd level. As Kronwall goes to challenge Vermette, Miller is forced to take up his position covering the guy in front of the net. This leaves a wide-open lane for Aaron Johnson to receive the pass and step into one from close range to beat Howard. Ericsson and Emmerton will each pick up a coverage minus for blowing the pressure at the top of the zone which ended up leaving Johnson uncovered.
3rd Period 07:46 - Detroit Goal (PP): Nicklas Lidstrom (slap shot) from Valtteri Filppula and Tomas Holmstrom
The Penalty: Fedor Tyutin (interference) and Aaron Johnson (delay-of-game) - Adjustment:Off a faceoff in the BJ's end, Helm gets his feet moving very early and forces Tyutin to step in front of him and take the first of two Columbus penalties. Johnson clears a puck over the glass early in the ensuing PP. Helm will get a plus.
After squandering the 5-on-3, Lidstrom ends the power play with a slap shot goal from the slot. The scoring play happens when Zetterberg fires a one-timer from the same location. Mason makes the stop, but Homer feeds it over to Filppula coming in on the weak side. Flip has his shot blocked, but he picks up his own rebound and carries around behind the net. He passes to Lidstrom inside the faceoff circle and the Wings' PP continues to reset. Lidstrom goes back to Filppula coming up into the circle before receiving the pass back once he's gotten to the high slot. Thanks to Zetterberg drawing Vermette from the center lane and creating a shooting area, Lidstrom is able to tee it up from the high slot and blast it past a screened Mason. Homer will get the screener's assist on this play while Filppula will pick up a bonus assist for moving the play along. Lidstrom will also get a self-assist for his part of the give-and-go. Zetterberg will pick up a half-non-touch assist on the play.
Penalty Adjustment: 11:54 of the 3rd Period Johan Franzen goes to the box for cross-checking Brassard. This is an easy call and a bad penalty. Franzen will get a minus.
3rd Period 18:33 - Detroit Goal (EN): Valtteri Filppula (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Nicklas Lidstrom
The Blue Jackets pull their goalie late in the game down by two trying to tie it. Grant Clitsome tries carrying the puck while being pressured by Filppula up ice. As they cross the blue line, Clitsome tries to go to Brassard, but Lidstrom's stick is there to tip it out to Filppula to bring it up ice on a 2-on-1 against an empty net. Filppula tries to earn Franzen a hat trick, but Tyutin slides out to prevent him from getting the shot off cleanly. Franzen tries sweeping it towards the net. The puck is on its way wide when Filppula gently guides it home for the empty-netter. Lidstrom will get a bonus plus for breaking up the zone entry so beautifully. Filppula will get a half-plus for his dogged pursuit in the neutral zone.
1st Period 18:14 - Derick Brassard (slashing): This is another chintzy stick-slash.
2nd Period 2:23 - Derek Dorsett and Jonathan Ericsson (fighting): it was an entertaining fight, but not worthy of an adjustment.
2nd Period 8:19 - Johan Franzen (hooking): Franzen stick-checks Radek Martinek, who falls down like Helm gave him another Kronwalling. This is a weak call and there will be no adjustment.
3rd Period 19:04 - Kris Russell & Todd Bertuzzi (interference, roughing): Russell takes a dirty run at Bert, who gets mad and tries to twist his face off. No adjustments here.
+0.5 to Jiri Hudler: Aside from the two hits, I really liked him standing up for his teammates with the MMA takedown of Rick Nash in the 2nd period after Nash took a run at Brad Stuart.
+1 to Darren Helm: Again probably the best defensive player of the game. He's eventually going to start potting the shorthanded chances he creates. Until then, I'll remain happy with the idea that him playing with the puck in the offensive zone on the penalty kill means that it's not near his own net.
-0.5 to Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader: Two awful defensive zone turnovers for each player led to this. Their overall play was decent, but those turnovers were unforgivable.
+1 to Ian White and Nicklas Lidstrom: These two spend most of their night against Rick Nash's line and kept that trio of forwards to only 3 of Columbus' 32 shots. The forwards helped, but this was greatly on this defensive pairing.
+1 to Valtteri Filppula: Despite Franzen's two goals, Flip was the one driving play, both on the PP and at 5-on-5. I'm not sure how they ended up at a negative Corsi rate, but I can say that he was definitely more dangerous than his competition and an official +1 just doesn't do him justice.
Honorable Mentions: Datsyuk was Datsyukian, and also somewhat off. Cleary did a good job with net-front, but I honestly don't remember seeing him in his own zone at all. I thought the rest of the Wings' D did a fairly good job, but nothing bonus-worthy.
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