Dominating performance by the Red Wings over the Predators on Saturday night to lift them to their fifth straight win and third win in four days. The Predators did not seem ready for a Red Wings squad which poured on shots from all over and generally stymied them right up until the game was out of hand. The lone dark spot for the game was on a third period penalty kill when Patrick Eaves took a slap shot to the ear and had to be stretchered off the ice. Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery for Eaves.
Detroit capitalized on one of two of their power play opportunities while holding Nashville 0-for-3. The refs generally let the teams play until late or unless somebody was tripped. Overall, it was an entertaining game with good flow. Of course, that's really easy to say being a fan of the team which outshot the other team 37-19.
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Jimmy Howard had times in the first two periods where he looked bored, but he still had to come up big on some tough opportunities. The netminder on the other end was under significantly more pressure, but he also didn't play as sharp. Rinne made a few good saves, but he looked to be struggling with the puck. I'm going to award Howard a +1 in the head-to-head. For the overall rating, Howard will also get a +1. He was better in this game than the previous day against the Bruins, but he wasn't challenged enough to deserve more.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 13:23 - Detroit Goal (PP): Valtteri Filppula (backhand) from Todd Bertuzzi and Henrik Zetterberg
The Penalty - Mike Fisher (tripping): Fisher and Abdelkader go into a corner in the Red Wings' zone after a puck. Fisher loses his balance and takes Abby down. This is more a mistake by Fisher than anything Abby forced. No Adjustment.
Zetterberg wins an offensive zone faceoff weakly to the top of the circle. Fortunately, Jiri Hudler hustles to poke it back to Kronwall at the point so the Wings can set up a right-side overload. Kronwall goes to Filppula at the half-boards, who threatens the coverage by skating to the middle. This freezes the PKers and opens up an easy lane to Zetterberg standing parallel to the goal on that side. As Kevin Klein steps off his coverage of Bertuzzi to challenge Z, the center throws it to Bert in front for a backhand attempt which goes off the far side post and bounces out in front. While Rinne is still trying to pick up all the pieces of his ass, Filppula sweeps in, collects the puck, and roofs it in for the game's first goal. Filppula will earn a self-assist for his part in setting up this play while Kronwall will earn a third assist. Hudler's hustle to the loose puck on the faceoff is a good recognition play which will earn him a half-plus.
Goal Saved Adjustment: 14:24 into the first, the Predators almost tie the game when Matt Halischuk gets a puck behind Jimmy Howard. Fortunately, Brad Stuart is there to sweep the puck off the goal line. Saving another goal will earn Brad Stuart a plus.
Penalty Adjustment: 18:13 into the first, Franzen wins a board battle in the Nashville zone and threatens to step around Patric Hornqvist, who sticks his leg out at the last second to bring the Mule down. Franzen will get a plus for his hustle and legwork.
2nd Period 01:31 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (wrist shot) from Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula
Early in the 2nd period, the Wings lose the puck at center ice on a pass in their own zone that barely misses. However, the Wings get into a good defensive position while Nashville is trying to get set for transition. Francis Bouillon tries to go cross-ice from his blue line to the opposite offensive blueline where Kostitsyn waits, but Valtteri Filppula gets his stick on the pass and turns it back up ice. Flip gets angled off by three defenders, skates to the half-boards, and dumps it behind the Nashville net. Here, Jiri Hudler beats Klein to the puck and outmaneuvers him on the boards to feed Henrik Zetterberg behind the other side of the net. For some reason, Colin Wilson tries to chase Z back there, giving Zetterberg the opportunity to step out front and threaten a wraparound opportunity. Rinne goes down to hold the post, but Z keeps the puck patiently while escaping Wilson. While the Preds goalie continues to flop around like an idiot, Zetterberg backs the puck into the circle and fires it over him for the Wings' 2nd goal. This goal is created primarily through the good neutral zone work by Filppula, who will earn a bonus plus for his pass interception.
2nd Period 08:34 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (tip in) from Jiri Hudler and Jakub Kindl
Jordin Tootoo picks up a long rebound coming out of the Nashville zone and skates in on Brad Stuart. He tries to put a shot on net to see if he can get to his rebound, but Stuart takes all the mustard off the shot and then takes his man. The puck rolls in weakly on Howard, who waffleboards it safely to Kindl on the side. Kindl turns it to Hudler on the boards at the top of the zone and immediately jumps into the rush with Zetterberg. Hudler lets the two of them pass him coming into the middle and then hits Filppula cutting behind them. As Zetterberg and Kindl hit the center stripe, they split out to opposite wings and take the forwards playing up on the neutral zone box with them. This gives Filppula a lane to carry through the middle into the offensive zone. Here, Flip passes off to Z on the wing before taking a run down at the net to carry the defense with him. While Hudler comes in to play the late man with his stick cocked for a one-timer, Z finds a hole between the high man covering Hudler (Craig Smith) and the low man on the far side (Bouillon) who has collapsed too low. Kindl receives the pass skating toward the middle of the zone. While Bouillon skates to challenge, Kindl throws a shot into the slot where he finds the stick of Jiri Hudler, now slicing through the zone after letting his momentum carry him. The puck takes one deflection off Hudler's stick and then another off of Filppula's to find its way under Rinne. Without both deflections, I don't feel this goal goes in, so I'm not going to adjust for scoring on that. I will give Zetterberg a third assist on the play though. I'm also going to give Filppula a self-assist and Hudler a bonus assist. Also, in this fun assist-fest, I'm going to give one to Jimmy Howard for starting this rush with what is a save-pass to Kindl to start the play the other way. The final adjustment is going to be a bonus half-plus to Brad Stuart. His defensive play on Tootoo creates a situation which allows the Wings to turn the puck back up ice much faster than the Nashville defense would have liked to have. Their defensive neutral zone box was not as high in the zone as they otherwise like to be and that's because the Wings were able to turn the puck quickly.
3rd Period 04:03 - Detroit Goal: Danny Cleary (snap shot) from Darren Helm
Nashville ends their own transition game in the defensive zone as Jordin Tootoo throws a puck away across his own blueline to nobody. Brad Stuart steps up and dumps it back in for them to retrieve. Danny Cleary comes into the zone to pressure the puck carrier Jonathan Blum. Blum reverses to Weber behind his own net, while Darren Helm steps up to pressure. Weber makes a pass to Mike Fisher that doesn't connect cleanly. The time it takes Fisher to collect the puck off the boards is all the time Helm needs to sneak up on him, lift his stick, and steal the puck. Helm is already headed toward the middle of the ice with the puck when he goes back across the grain to Cleary standing in the faceoff circle. Cleary snaps a one-timer past Rinne before the goalie can get over to stop it. This play is all Darren Helm, who will earn a bonus plus for the steal leading to the goal.
3rd Period 05:34 - Nashville Goal: Jack Hillen (tip-in) from Colin Wilson and Martin Erat
90 seconds after the Wings made it 4-0, Nashville breaks the shutout. The Preds are pressuring in Detroit's end when Patrick Eaves wipes Erat off on the boards behind the net, allowing Ericsson to come in and pick up the loose puck. Ericsson's pass attempt to Cleary gets blocked by David Legwand and Colin Wilson comes in to pick it up. The Preds reset the cycle with Erat getting it to the top of the zone and dumping it back in to Wilson in the corner. From here, Wilson steps up the boards and throws a cross-ice pass to Jack Hillen coming in from his spot on the point to tip it in the back door. The main blown coverage here is on Darren Helm, who will pick up an extra minus. Ericsson is standing on the near post facing the boards to prevent the puck from being cycled back around behind the net to David Legwand without chasing him back there and Helm is supposed to be in position to prevent the D-man from sneaking in on the back door. However, Ericsson will also pick up an extra minus for turning over his clearing attempt to Legwand. Kronwall will keep his minus for not preventing the pass from Wilson. Eaves and Cleary will not receive minuses.
Penalty Adjustment: 15:58 into the third, Val Filppula decides that his two goals are worth a little diva behavior and instead of chasing a loose puck behind the Nashville net, he wants to give Roman Josi a chop on the leg to bring the kid down. Of course, I'm kidding about the lazy diva part, but I am serious about Filppula getting a minus for taking this penalty.
1st Period 03:28 - Johan Franzen (hooking): The Preds are coming out of their own zone. As Mike Fisher cuts across behind Franzen, the Mule swings his stick at the puck. The stick gets kicked up to Fisher's midsection, but Mule doesn't actually use it to impede Fisher. The move Fisher makes immediately following this to start up ice makes it look like a hook that isn't. No adjustment here.
3rd Period 13:20 - Ian White (cross-checking): Put simply, I've used more force in opening pickle jars than Ian White put on the back of Mike Fisher to draw this "cross-checking" penalty. Considering the shit that Shea Weber gets away with, this is a ridiculously soft call.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson: He's currently sitting at a -1 for a game that he played much better than that rating indicates. This adjustment brings him back to even and credits the good defensive minutes he spent against Nashville's tougher competition.
+1.5 to Nicklas Lidstrom and Valtteri Filppula: These two were outstanding in this game. Lidstrom led all skaters in corsi (+17) while Filppula's two goals only tell the offensive side of how dominant he was in this game. Many thought his defensive game might suffer as he moved from center to wing, but he's stepped into a role with Zetterberg very similar to how Z played with Pavel wherein they both shared the centerman's job and did so well enough that their coverage was even better instead of being confused.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall: Kronner blocked four Nashville attempts and logged more successful PK time than anybody else on the team. Pavel's backchecking and defensive zone coverage ensured that chances with him on the ice were at the bare minimum.
+0.5 to Darren Helm: He had one fantastic play that led straight to a goal and one bad play which led straight to a goal against. While those two balanced out, I feel that Helm had enough of a positive impact on this game to warrant extra consideration.
Hudler, Stuart, and Zetterbeg were all very impressive in this game, but didn't get bonus adjustments because the adjustments they got in the the categories above already covered pretty well how they played. The same goes for Jakub Kindl, and Danny Cleary. I continue to be impressed with the defensive zone play of Ian White.
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