Pity point or not, the Wings have lost five straight games. This one was by far the most infuriating because I felt the Wings were playing against two teams.
Despite good jump in the early going, the Wings got themselves in penalty trouble and never got the chance to reassert their game (nor did they create that chance for themselves). While outshooting Minnesota 37-27, they only had three power play chances (0-fer) to the Wild's 8 (1-fer).
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Jimmy Howard had an outstanding game and the guts not to flop when the Wild's players approached him (for all the good getting diving penalties would have done him anyway...) I don't care about Harding's numbers, Howard was under more stress and played a better game. He'll get a +1 in the head-to-head and a +2 in the overall game rating.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 06:00 - Detroit Goal: Nicklas Lidstrom (tip in) from Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk
With 12 seconds left in the first Wings PP of the game, Franzen brings it across the blue line in the center of the ice. His pass to Datsyuk on the right wing is blocked high into the air where it's controlled by Zetterberg. Two Wild PKers try to force Z out of the zone, but he's able to bounce a puck off the boards deeper. The puck goes into the no-man's land between Franzen going low and Lidstrom staying high. Due to some great hustle work by Lidstrom to force Spurgeon to back off, he's able to sweep it from the dot to Franzen's stick in the corner. Lidstrom cycles around into the low slot while Franzen passes to Datsyuk coming into the corner. With Datsyuk now taking Franzen's spot, the Mule also steps out front to get open for a chance. Datsyuk's pass goes through Franzen and to Zetterberg on the far side at the top of the circle. Zetterberg throws a half-slap pass at Lidstrom's stick which he deflects from between the circles to the top of the far side.This is essentially a power play goal, so I'm going to erase everybody's plus on this play. Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Stuart, Zetterberg, and Franzen lose their pluses. However, Zetterberg will earn a plus back for the keep-in under pressure. Franzen will also earn the third assist on this play for helping to set it all up. Lidstrom's hustle for the loose puck will earn him a half-assist.
3rd Period 19:00 - Minnesota Goal: Mikko Koivu (tip in) from Justin Falk and Devin Setoguchi
The Wild get it deep with their goalie pulled against a tired Detroit group. They fight for it on the bench-side boards with Zetterberg getting a clearing attempt blocked by Clutterbuck. He and Stuart go into the low corner to battle along the boards while Franzen and Datsyuk keep position. Clutterbuck is able to push it up the boards to Setoguchi, who gets a pass to Falk at the point. From here, Falk has a lane to throw a wrister at traffic out front. He takes this opportunity and Mikko Koivu gets his stick on the puck to tip it past Howard. I'm going to give Howard a goal forgiven on this one. For the defenders, I'm going to clear only Kronwall's minus and I'm going to give Zetterberg an extra half-minus on the turnover to Clutterbuck.
Overtime 01:33 - Minnesota Goal (PP): Devin Setoguchi (wrist shot) from Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
On the 4-on-3 power play, Minnesota gets setup and moves into a diamond formation with Setoguchi in front of the net and Bouchard on the point in the faceoff circle to Howard's right. Heatley and Koivu switch off as Bouchard throws a pass across for a one-timer by Koivu that's blocked out to the corner. Kronwall chases with Koivu as Setoguchi runs into Howard. Before getting to the puck, Koivu surprises Kronner by short-stopping on him and delivering a surprise shot aimed directly at Kronwall's chin. This blow knocks Kronwall to the ice and gives Koivu the space he needs to pick up the puck he should have been going for in the first place. Now, he skates into the faceoff dot and fires on net with Setoguchi out front. Howard is able to stop the initial shot, but the net-front player gets the puck and puts home the rebound for the dirtiest game-winner since Brett Hull won the cup. I'd like to give a million minuses to both refs who ignored two instances of interference and a blatant head shot to allow this goal scored on a power play given by a weak interference call to stand. Since I can't do that, I'll live with no adjustment.
1st Period 03:59 - Marek Zidlicky (tripping): Two minutes prior to the Wings' first goal, the Wings are buzzing and Zetterberg is in the corner turning Marek Zidlicky around. The Wild player doesn't have good body position and takes Zetterberg down. The hustle here will earn Zetterberg a plus.
1st Period 06:52 - Drew Miller (interference): Rubbing a guy off on the boards just slightly after his pass left the guy's stick gets Miller sent to the box. As pointed out by NMJ in the comments, this is a bad play regardless of a bad reffing standard. Miller gets a minus.
1st Period 09:40 - Valtteri Filppula (tripping): Filppula skates in on Justin Falk trying to steal the puck with a stick sweep. Unfortunately, Flip misses and takes out the skates. This tripping will earn Filppula a minus.
2nd Period 10:51 - Tomas Holmstrom (goalie interference) and Justin Falk (roughing): It's a weak call and a dive by Harding. The retaliation penalty to even it up helps the non-adjustment too.
2nd Period 12:51 - Todd Bertuzzi (cross-checking): Bertuzzi gets a good chance at the front of the net. While Josh Harding covers, the refs blow the whistle and Marco Scandella gives Bert a mean face. Not wanting to be outdone, Bertuzzi chops him in the grill with a cross-check and goes to the box. I've seen worse not called in previous games, but not in this particular game. Bertuzzi will get a minus for it.
2nd Period 15:06 - Red Wings' Bench (too many men): Later, after Bert gets out of the box for a the cross-check, the Wings get a decent rush up ice with Filppula carrying to gain the zone. Cleary drives the net to draw the defense low and Flip tries to hit a streaking Bertuzzi coming into the zone. Unfortunately, Bert isn't ready for the pass and it goes to Kindl, who had not finished the line change and the Wings go shorthanded again. I'm going to give Bertuzzi another minus and I'm going to give a half-minus to Kindl for not recognizing that he shouldn't have played the puck.
3rd Period 04:09 - Todd Bertuzzi (slashing): The puck comes up the boards and Bertuzzi blatantly chops the stick of Setoguchi, breaking it and going to the box. This has been the standard for calls forever now and he should know better. Minus for Bertuzzi.
3rd Period 04:44 - Drew Miller (charging): If the Dany Heatley interference gets whistled, maybe Miller doesn't crash the goalie trying to get around him. Harding sells it well though. Still, it's just kind of a dumb play by Miller, who will get a minus.
3rd Period 11:51 - Marco Scandella (holding): Miller carries up the wing with speed into the Minnesota zone and threatens to turn the corner and create a chance. To prevent this, Marco Scandella grabs Miller and goes to the box for it. Miller will get a plus.
3rd Period 14:47 - Nate Prosser (slashing): The Wild try to move the puck up ice while on a line change, but Brad Stuart pokes the puck off Setoguchi's stick and springs Abdelkader the other way. Nate Prosser skates hard off the bench and gives Abby a chop which has absolutely zero effect on his shot. Still, it's a great play and Brad Stuart will earn the plus for springing this break.
3rd Period 15:32 - Tomas Holmstrom (tripping): Homer is lazy with his stick and brings down Spurgeon while on the PP. I'm going to halve Holmstrom's penalty minus because I think it's time that a goalie gets called for sliding ten feet out of his crease to take out Holmstrom's legs.
Overtime 01:09 - Johan Franzen (goalie interference): Another weak call, especially considering what happened on the game-winner that came on the power play to create this one. Still, Mule Should know by now that he's not getting the benefit of the doubt. He tries to skate in front of Harding, who is way outside of his crease. Spurgeon runs him into the goalie and Mule gets a call for it. Franzen will get a half-minus.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk, Brad Stuart, and Niklas Kronwall: The iron three for much of the Wild's two-man advantage did an excellent job of limiting chances and earning a standing ovation for their work. I also thought all three had very good games.
+1 to Darren Helm and Drew Miller: While the three above had one great kill, Helm and Miller did the rest of the heavy lifting and feet-moving.
-1 to Johan Franzen: 0 shots on goal and 0 attempts directed at the net which were either blocked or missed. Unacceptable. I liked him blowing up Koivu early in the game, but that doesn't make up for him going mostly invisible for the rest.
+1 To Nicklas Lidstrom: He was the Wings' best defenseman by a mile at 5-on-5 in this game.
I liked what I saw from Gustav Nyquist. I definitely think he's NHL ready and would like to see more of him on Thursday.
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