Detroit started their four game road trip out on the wrong foot, as they were outworked, outplayed, outmuscled, and outcoached by the Blues at the Scottrade Center on Tuesday night. The Wings were able to get the first goal of the game, but blew the momentum of a five-minute power play and lost the game by a much closer score than it could have been.
While the worst call the refs made in the entire game went against the Red Wings (Steen stepping on the puck earned Lidstrom a penalty), I actually believe the Wings were the beneficiary of a poorly-reffed game. They got the five minute major and game misconduct on Chris Stewart right, but they let some pretty blatant stuff go on the Wings while giving St. Louis players penalties that could have been let go. Despite the 15 minutes of power play time, Detroit was outshot by the Blues 37-22
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 06:07 - Detroit Goal: Justin Abdelkader (tip in) from Drew Miller
This play starts with the Red Wings' third line dumping it in and fighting for the puck. Abelkader and Helm battle in the corner to separate it from the Blues' defensemen. The puck gets pushed up the boards, but Kindl steps up on the half-boards to prevent Grachev from getting a clear. The two men tie up and the puck continues up the boards. Here, Drew Miller gets it near the point and throws it at the net. Kris Russell blocks the puck out front and then retrieves it in the near-side corner from which the play had just originated. Helm cuts off his escape up the boards, so he reverses around the net. Abdelkader challenges him before he gets into the trapezoid and he tries to dump it up ice. The puck eludes Roman Polak and is picked up at the far-side half boards by Drew Miller between Polak moving up at him from the low boards and Chris Porter blocking off his outlet to the point. Here, Miller plays a very clever (Datsyukian, if you will) pick off the boards where he brings it between his legs and passed Polak. While Polak, Porter, and Nichol converge on Miller at the half-boards, he calmly dumps it back down behind the net for Abdelkader on the far side. Abby bodies off Russell and steps around him to the other side behind the goal. From here, he tries to feed Miller with a step on his man going to the back door. Elliot gets his stick on the puck, but it comes back in on the goaltender. Miller takes a swipe at it, but is bodied of by Scott Nichol. Fortunately, in trying to secure it for his goaltender, Nichol sweeps it under him and into the net for the goal. It's funny that this is such a simple play which took so much explanation, but that's how it works sometimes. First off, there are two line changes which need to be corrected. Emmerton will lose his plus to Helm and Kronwall will lose his plus to Kindl to correct for players who did have an impact instead of those who did not. Stuart keeps his line change plus because he was in the play at the point when Miller took the puck. Aside from giving him back his plus, I'm also going to award a half non-touch assist to Kindl for his play on the boards to help the Wings keep it in. The real hero of this play is Drew Miller though. He covers the point at one point and then intercepts an outlet at the half-boards on the other side. Then, he's the guy crashing the net and causing havoc for the defensemen in front. I'm going to give Miller a bonus assist for the two touches on the boards plus an additional half non-touch assist for being the man going to the net. On top of that, he'll earn a bonus plus for his troubles.
1st Period 17:19 - St. Louis Goal (PP): Matt D'Agostini (snap shot) from Patrik Berglund and Kevin Shattenkirk
The Penalty - Jonathan Ericsson (interference):The puck comes right through Jason Arnott standing in front where Ericsson pushes him to prevent an opportunity. I would want Ericsson to do this a hundred times, even if it involves him taking a penalty for it a hundred times. This is a good one to take. No adjustment.
On the power play, the Wings win the faceoff, but the Blues win a race to the corner and get it to Shattenkirk at the point. Shattenkirk plays catch with D'Agostini to let the Blues get set up and to move Darren Helm a little out of the way. Shattenkirk throws a wrist-pass to the front of the net where it connects with Patrik Berglund's stick standing all alone out front. Brad Stuart gets on Berglund to keep him from spinning to get a scoring chance while Howard sprawls. Lidstrom comes in from his spot at the side of the diamond to sweep the puck off Berglund's stick, but he unfortunately sweeps it into the slot where D'Agostini beats both Helm and Stuart to it for an easy put-in. This is an example of a penalty kill box being just slightly off and a resulting goal. Brad Stuart is fronting Berglund while also trying to respect that he has to cover Backes on the side of the setup. However, he's too far in front of Berglund to prevent him from getting this puck (and Helm is already in the lane which prevents the pass from going to Backes in the first place. Lidstrom is playing a little aggressively on the option to Steen at the half-boards and also can't prevent the pass from Shattenkirk to Berglund. I'm going to give both Red Wings' defensemen (Stuart & Lidstrom) a half-minus on this play. It's tough when you're outnumbered, but they didn't choose well in their coverages and got burned for it.
2nd Period 10:16 - St. Louis Goal: Alexander Steen (wrist shot) unassisted
The Blues are already playing a good 2nd period when they get a little help from their friends. Cory Emmerton skates to his own blue line and makes a pass to nowhere which ends up on Kris Russell's stick to carry the other way. Russel gains the red and gets it to Sobotka cutting into the zone. Sobotka backs to the half-boards and lets the defense collapse while Russell peels off for a change and D'Agostini steps into the zone at the far point. Sobotka hits him with a pass and he's able to step into the middle of the ice just outside the top of the circles to release a slap shot into a screen out front made up of Emmerton and Arnott. The shot is blocked and while Emmerton ties up with his man, Kindl comes in, picks up the loose puck, and skates it behind his own net to set the breakout. D'Agostini follows up his shot and chases Kindl behind the net to cut off the strong side breakout. This forces Kindl to go around the boards to Franzen at the half-boards to Howard's right. Franzen takes a half-second to control and gets pressured by a pinching Colaiacovo. To beat the pressure, Franzen limp-wrists a shitty backhand directly to Alex Steen cutting in at the blue line. Steen brings it to the top of the dot and fires it past Howard for the game-winner. This is a horrible turnover by Franzen and will earn him an extra minus. Kindl and Filppula will be cleared of their minuses. Kindl actually plays this entire series well, but is betrayed by the mishandle of an easy dump and a terrible clear by Franzen. Filppula had just stepped on the ice for Drew Miller changing on the play and never got a chance to get back into it. Stuart will keep his minus. Although the biggest mistake is elsewhere, Stuart is anticipating a clear a little too much and is already headed up ice and out of his position when the puck is turned over. However, I'm going to give Emmerton an extra half-minus because of this. Emmerton's turnover which started the play coming back is the reason Stuart was on the ice at the end of a long shift. Keeping focus is still Stuart's job, but Emmerton made it more difficult on his teammate.
Goal-Saved Plus: At 18:18, with the Blues on the power play, Matt D'Agostini gets a rebound at the back door and a wide-open net to shoot the puck into. Only a sprawling play by Brad Stuart prevents the goal. This save will earn Brad Stuart a plus.
(Non-Goal) Penalty Adjustments
1st Period 18:14 - David Backes (hooking) Ericsson is fighting Backes hard in his own end, manages to get position on him, and gets a penalty called in his favor. Working hard helps create this, so Ericsson will get a plus.
2nd Period 17:04 - Roman Polak (holding): The Blues are pouring it on against the Wings, but Detroit manages to clear with Drew Miller moving his feet in the neutral zone to escape. Miller beats Roman Polak, who grabs him to slow him down. Polak goes to the box and Miller gets a plus.
3rd Period 02:34 - Vladimir Sobotka (hooking): Datsyuk carries into the Blues' zone and brings two Blues defenders on him while he has the puck. Sobotka gets his stick in on Datsyuk, who keeps his legs moving and forces a takedown. Datsyuk will get a plus.
3rd Period 12:31 - Alexander Steen (tripping): Darren Helm gets the puck away from Steen and a half-step on him that he threatens to turn into speed through center. Steen tries a panic sweep-check that takes out Helm's legs. Helm will get a plus.
3rd Period 15:46 - Mike Commodore (delay of game - puck over glass): Late in the third, Mike Commodore flips a puck out of play from within his own zone. Bad penalty to take and a bad time to take it. Commodore gets a minus.
3rd Period 18:06 - Johan Franzen (slashing): After killing off the Commodore penalty and getting an absolute gift of an icing call, Johan Franzen slashes the stick of Kris Russell on the faceoff and goes to the box, essentially killing the comeback hopes. Franzen gets a minus.
1st Period 11:14 - Chris Stewart (checking from behind): Kronwall is battling for a puck, but this is Stewart's bad decision.
3rd Period 05:03 - Jason Arnott (interference): This is pretty much the same play that Ericsson was cleared for doing earlier. It's a good penalty to take and an iffy call.
3rd Period 19:11 - Nicklas Lidstrom (tripping): Replay clearly shows Steen steps on the puck here.
-1 to Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler, Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Danny Cleary, and Tomas Holmstrom: These are all of the players who had more than four minutes of power play time and helped the team go 0-for-6 in a dismal performance. The Wings' power play hurt the team in this one.
-2 to Danny Cleary: I single him out for additional minuses because he was the Wings' worst player by far. Aside from a turnover directly to the Blues in the slot which made the Franzen turnover to Steen look like a nothing play, Cleary consistently killed his own team's zone time and played poorly in all zones.
+0.5 to Patrick Eaves: He led the team with four shots on goal. I felt Elliot was struggling with rebound control and that more pucks in his direction would have helped. Eaves was on the right track.
Honorable Mentions: None
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