Detroit finished game #20 on the season the day before Thanksgiving, earning points 24 and 25. This was Detroit's third win in a row and their seventh in their last nine games. Meanwhile, Calgary continued their slide toward eventual seller status. Despite a six-game losing streak earlier in the season, the Red Wings appear to be getting their game sorted out in preparation for a 2nd quarter run.
Sometimes one team or another gets a late start in a game and then starts pouring it on late. Well, if you consider the referees a third team on the ice, that's exactly what they did in this game. Brian Pochmara and Mike Hasenfranz called three penalties in the first two periods and then called 5 during a four-minute stretch in the third period (seven in the period overall). Detroit's power play was the story of this game though, potting three goals on four opportunities and really scoring four of their goals off the man advantage, as the Filppula marker happened three seconds after the expiration of a penalty. On the other side of the ledger, Calgary went 1-for-4 and looked very dangerous with the league's third-best road power play unit.
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Jimmy Howard struggled with the puck in this game and gave up a soft goal. This would be a forgettable performance for him were it not for two fantastic saves. He was matched on the other side of the ice by a goalie who had to make eight more saves, but who also gave up an unforgivable softie. Still, I think Kiprusoff was tested much more thoroughly and was unlucky on two third period bounces. I'm going to give Howard a -1 in head-to-head for this game. On the overall score, Howard will earn an even rating. The bad goal and puck-handling problems count against him just about as evenly as his big saves work for him. I don't think he was the reason the Red Wings won, but I also don't think he would have been at fault for a loss necessarily either.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 06:14 - Detroit Goal (PP): Tomas Holmstrom (tip in) from Nicklas Lidstrom and Jiri Hudler
The Penalty - Derek Smith (cross-checking): Wings are setting up the cycle in the corner when Smith gives Helm a bit of a chop in the back. The call was a tad weak and Helm didn't do anything to draw it, so no adjustment.
The Wings carry through the neutral zone on the PP with Z on the puck in the middle flanked by Homer to his right and Filppula to his left. Z waits until the defense collapses on him high before going to Filppula down the boards. Flip carries the play behind the net and banks it off the boards to Hudler at the point. Hudler goes to Lidstrom while the Flames' PKers all try to adjust to the complete cycle around the zone. This gives Lidstrom a shooting lane which he uses. The puck is initially destined wide, but Tomas Holmstrom does what he does best and tips it past Kiprusoff. Filppula will pick up the third assist while Zetterberg will get a half-assist for the zone entry
2nd Period 00:44 - Calgary Goal: Jarome Iginla (wrist shot) from Alex Tanguay and Chris Butler
The Wings win an offensive zone faceoff and cycle from the point behind the net to Danny Cleary. Cleary skates to the corner to come up the boards while being chased by Butler. Looking at the replay, I can't tell if Cleary takes a dive here or just catches a weird spot on the ice when he's leaning forward, but he falls down before a Butler stick check even touches him. This allows Butler to grab the puck and head up ice 3-on-2 with Tanguay in the middle and Iginla on the far end. Ian White forces Butler to pass as he crosses into the Red Wings zone. Here, Lidstrom steps up on Tanguay as he receives the pass, but he doesn't get there on time to prevent the immediate pass to Iginla who is wide open and skating in on net from the right-middle lane. Iggy fires the puck past Howard before the Wings' goalie can square to him. First off, I'm going to clear the minuses for Filppula and Zetterberg. Z is behind the net ready for a pass to continue the cycle and Flip is making a cut through the middle of the Flames' zone when Cleary loses the puck cleanly. Speaking of Cleary, he's going to get an extra minus for the turnover which springs the Flames. Lidstrom will also pick up an extra minus on the coverage. When White steps in on Butler to force him off the puck, the play turns into a 2-on-1 with Lidstrom. It's Lidstrom's job to prevent the pass to Iginla and he fails at it. When the puck goes to Tanguay, Jimmy is square to him and both White and Filppula are in a position to prevent him from being able to make a breakaway move. Lidstrom tries to do too much and gets burned for it. White played this like he should have, but will still keep his minus for not preventing the play from developing.
2nd Period 02:56 - Calgary Goal: Brendan Morrison (slap shot) from Tim Jackman
The Wings again are battling in the Calgary zone when some bad shit happens. Val Filppula gets a good feed from Zetterberg in the dot, but sees his shot blocked to the opposite half-boards. Stuart is first on it with a step-up, but he gets his dump-in on the boards blocked by Tim Jackman. Filppula is covering at the point, but Jackman is able to poke it past Stuart and past Filppula to spring Morrison skating out of the zone. Tom Kostopoulos joins the rush with Cleary backchecking hard to cut off the cross-ice pass. Kindl is the lone d-man back, but he also plays it like a true 2-on-1. This gives Morrison room to bring it up the wing and fire a slapper through Howard from the top of the faceoff circle. It's a good shot, but Howard needs to stop it without a screen there. This is a bad goal for Howard. As a result, the official minuses for Kindl, Stuart, Filppula, Cleary, and Zetterberg will all be cleared. However, Kindl will earn back a full minus while Stuart and Filppula will each earn back a half-minus for their coverages. Stu and Flip can't let the puck get through them to spring this rush, regardless of the goal outcome. Kindl also has plenty of time to read the play and realize that Cleary has the angle to Kostopoulos cut off. This should cause Kindl to take a more aggressive angle on Morrison to prevent this shot.
Penalty Adjustment: 4:41 into the 2nd, The Flames come into the Wings' zone with numbers. Jiri Hudler is behind his coverage from the get-go and isn't in good position to make a defensive play on Jarome Iginla skating through the middle behind the play. Backlund finds Iginla and Hudler hooks him for it. Hudler will get a minus.
2nd Period 07:38 - Detroit Goal: Ian White (slap shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen
A couple of really good defensive plays by Datsyuk create a turnover and a rush the other way. Datsyuk brings it in on the wing and tries to feather a pass to Bertuzzi charging the net. The puck gets blocked and runs to Franzen in the opposite faceoff dot. Franzen tries a spin-shot which gets blocked. Morrison picks up the puck, but pressure again by Datsyuk makes him try to flip it out of the zone. The puck hits Franzen and bounces to Datsyuk skating toward the blue line. With everybody moving the wrong direction, Datsyuk feathers a pass across the top of the zone to hit Ian White on the far point. White carries to the half-boards and throws a low wrister on net which catches Kiprusoff leaning around Giordano and unable to adjust to the puck which goes through both Giordano and Kipper to tie it. It's a bit of a soft goal by Kiprusoff, but Pavel Datsyuk is going to earn a bonus plus for the little things he did on this play, from forechecking to allow a change, to getting his stick on an outlet pass, to forcing the Morrison turnover. This was a very good shift by Pavel.
Penalty Adjustment: Late in the 2nd, Cory Emmerton stickhandles a bit too much inside his own blue line and gets pressured by an aggressive Calgary forecheck. Emmerton tries to chip it up and out of the zone, but he clears the glass and goes to the box. Minus for Emmerton.
3rd Period 02:42 - Detroit Goal (PP): Tomas Holmstrom (backhand) from Pavel Datsyuk and Ian White
The Penalty - Chris Butler (hooking):Directly off a faceoff in the Flames' zone, Danny Cleary charges hard at the net and gets the inside lane on Chris Butler, who hooks him to prevent a scoring chance. Good hustle by Cleary draws this penalty, so Cleary will get a plus.
An Ian White slap shot from the point rebounds off of Kiprusoff out front. Both Homer and Datsyuk fight for it, but Pavel sweeps it to the corner where Franzen collects. The Wings reset the formation while Franzen skates up the zone and goes to Lidstrom to shift to the umbrella formation with Franzen cycling from the high wing into the middle of the ice. Franzen does this and receives the pass back from Lidstrom. This forces the Calgary defense to collapse on him in the high slot to prevent a scoring chance. Franzen passes back up to Lidstrom who goes to White on the opposite side. White goes to Datsyuk at the half-boards while Franzen sets up the overload to that side. While Datsyuk carries a bit lower, Franzen sets back up in the slot. Having to respect the pass to the Mule in the middle pulls Bouwmeester and Hannan too far in front. This gives Datsyuk the lane to throw a puck at the front where Holmstrom is camped. Homer gets the puck and sweeps it around on his backhand past Kiprusoff. Lidstrom will pick up the third assist on the play while Franzen will get a half-assist (fourth) as well as a full non-touch assist. Franzen's play all over the zone causes havoc for the PKers and draws them out of position.
3rd Period 05:06 - Calgary Goal (PP): Olli Jokinen (wrist shot) from Troy Brodie and Jay Bouwmeester
The Penalty - Justin Abdelkader (holding): Paul Byron blocks a clearing attempt in the Wings zone and Abdelkader realizes he's caught a bit up ice, so he grabs Byron to slow him down. The ref sees this and whistles Abby for the infraction. This will be a minus for Abelkader
On the power play, Jokinen spins on the half-boards with the puck while Helm skates low to harass him. Helm gets his stick parallel on Jokinen and gets it pulled out of his hands for his trouble. While Stuart tries to pin Jokinen, he turns and passes to Bouwmeester at the point, who puts a half-slap pass on Troy Brodie's stick at the top of the opposite circle. While the play adjusts to that side, Brodie goes back across the grain (and through the lane that Helm would be covering if he had a stick) to Jokinen, who one-times it under Brad Stuart and in. Looking back at this, Helm needs to hold his stick better on the PK. While Jokinen has something to do with the stick coming out of Helm's hands, I would say that at best Jokinen got away with something very marginal. I'm putting the blame on Helm here and will give him a minus for this.
Penalty Adjustment (x2)
8:22 - Jakub Kindl (hooking): Kindl gets his stick in on Brendan Morrison at the Wings' blue line. Morrison sells the hook badly and takes an even-up call, but Kindl will get a minus for putting himself in position to get the penalty.
10:00 - Danny Cleary (hooking): The dive that Alex Tanguay takes to sell the hook by Cleary is probably worse than the one Morrison got called for, but it's still a case of having his stick where it doesn't belong. Cleary will also get a minus.
3rd Period 12:39 - Detroit Goal (PP): Pavel Datsyuk (wrist shot) from Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg
The Penalties - Mark Giordano (tripping) & Curtis Glencross (cross-checking): The Glencross-check isn't a forced minor, so there's no adjustment on that, but Darren Helm makes a very strong cut to the middle and forces Giordano to haul him down when he knows he's beaten. Helm will get a plus.
On the 5-on-3, Zetterberg and Datsyuk combine for a very good zone entry which almost results in a goal as Z tries to hit Homer all alone on the back door with a cross-crease pass. This pass is blocked and runs back up to Lidstrom at the point. Lidstrom collects and goes to Datsyuk on the side where he skates lower and tries to throw a pass across the front of Kiprusoff but under the coverage of Bouwmeester and Holmstrom. Bouwmeester blocks the pass with his skate. Fortunately, that block ends up deflecting the puck right through Kiprusoff and into the net. No adjustment.
3rd Period 13:53 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (backhand) from Jiri Hudler and Ian White
The Glencross penalty ends as the Wings are playing shooting gallery from the point. After a couple of good opportunities from the point, Hudler winds up for a slapper and instead passes to Filppula in the circle. Before Glencross can get back in the play, Flip makes an outside-inside move to draw Chris Butler out of position. Filppula throws a backhander from the slot which deflects off Butler's stick and beats Kiprusoff to the glove-side top corner. Bertuzzi will pick up a screener's assist on this, as Kipper is leaning to his stick side when the puck comes off Filppula's stick and heads to the glove side.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, and Ian White: These three were the Wings' best players on the night at even-strength. They turned transition all night and made the puck go the right way.
+1 to Darren Helm and Drew Miller: Despite the PK gaffe by Helm which earned him a minus, these two were good enough on the PK to warrant bonus consideration. I also really liked their five-on-five play.
-1 to Valtteri Filppula: The guy scored a goal, sure, but he downright struggled with the puck. He was only credited with one giveaway, but I counted two more, plus a time where he passed up a great shooting opportunity and it cost the Wings the offensive zone.
Kronwall played more minutes than anybody, but they were mostly unspectacular. No shots on goal, only one attempt missed and no hits registered. He was quietly solid, but didn't do enough to earn bonus consideration. Jonathan Ericsson played well in his own zone and even did well joining the rush. Maybe next time he'll hit the fucking net, the big mook.
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