The Red Wings came off a well-deserved break to welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning and their GM Steve Yzerman to Detroit for the first time since The Captain left the nest to take over his own team. The Yzerbolts have struggled with consistency this season, but are a well-run, well-coached, and respectable team who gave the Wings a good run after falling down 2-0 to Detroit in the first period.
Aside from Todd Bertuzzi getting a penalty for mouthing off to one, the refs weren't terribly noticeable in this game, and that's a good thing. Both teams scored one goal on the power play: Tampa doing it in four chances while Detroit went 1-for-5 (with a late double-minor almost turning disastrous for the Wings several times in the third). The Wings had as many shots (23) in the first two periods as the Lightning were able to muster all game, but the ice wasn't tilted perhaps as obviously as it looked.
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Through two periods, Jimmy Howard was easily outplayed by Dwayne Roloson, who had seen significantly more lumber and had let in an even number of goals. Despite that Roli had the heavier shot load, I felt that he looked a lot shakier than his counterpart on the other end. Jimmy came up absolutely huge on a bevy of shorthanded Lightning chances late in the third and that made all the difference. Howard will get a +1 in the head-to-head rating and a +1 in the overall goalie rating.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 04:58 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (wrist shot) from Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen
This play starts with a rare faceoff loss by Pavel Datsyuk in the Tampa Bay zone. Franzen chases Hedman behind his own net and forces him to try to dump it up the boards. Ian White is there to prevent the clearing attempt. White grabs it and throws it to Datsyuk turning back into the middle of the ice. A step up by Eric Brewer prevents a shot from Datsyuk, but Franzen swoops in to pick it up and put a shot on net as Bertuzzi crosses the front. Roloson stops the Franzen shot, but Bert gets the rebound and pokes it back to Datsyuk in the middle of the ice while the Lightning are chasing their own asses. Datsyuk snipes it past Roloson to open the scoring. On this play, Ian White will pick up a third assist as well as a half-plus for the keep-in. Franzen will also get a half-plus for his forechecking work to force the play and the turnover.
1st Period 11:04 - Detroit Goal: Jonathan Ericsson (wrist shot) from Valtteri Filppula
Martin St Louis brings the puck into the Detroit end along the boards, but he's set upon by a backchecking Datsyuk, who lifts his stick off the puck. While those two glide deeper into the zone, Filppula races Stamkos to the boards and immediately picks off Stamkos' attempt to get it by him. Now with the puck and some room, Flip carries up ice, unsing his speed to force Pavel Kubina back. Filppula dumps and retrieves it himself, again beating Kubina around on the boards. As he emerges from behind the net on the far side of Roloson, Filppula tries to hit Henrik Zetterberg with a cross-ice pass, but Kubina gets his stick on it. Instead, the puck deflects to Jonathan Ericsson, who had come off the bench and recognized that his man was behind him by a full step. Big E collects the loose puck and flings it past Roloson for his first goal of the season. Even though it might technically be a 2nd, Datsyuk will pick up a third assist for separating St Louis from the puck. Pavs will also pick up a plus (which he didn't get because of a chance in favor of Zetterberg. However, Z will keep his plus on this play as he was involved in it. In fact, Z will also pick up a non-touch assist on the play for being in good position to draw the Tampa defense low like he was supposed to and to make room for Ericsson stepping up in the middle). The final bonus adjustment will be an extra plus for Filppula for great work on the boards throughout this play.
Penalty Adjustment: 18:37 into the first, the Wings earn a penalty with some great in-zone work.This is another example of a team being forced to take one because of the work of an entire line. Despite Zetterberg breaking his stick on a faceoff, Detroit is able to keep the puck in the zone and get two very high-quality scoring chances. FInally, off a rebound out front, Steven Stamkos takes a cross-checking penalty. The whole line is going to get adjustments here with full pluses to Kronwall, Filppula, and Hudler. Ericsson and Zetterberg will each receive a half-plus for being less involved than their teammates in the play, but still important.
Penalty Adjustment: 4:39 into the 2nd, after driving into the offensive zone very well and trying to create chances, Todd Bertuzzi gets himself sent to the box for chirping at the referee. This is dumb by Bertuzzi, who will get a minus.
2nd Period 09:35 - Tampa Bay Goal: Martin St Louis (wrist shot) from Teddy Purcell and Marc-Andre Bergeron
The Penalty - Jonathan Ericsson (tripping): The Bolts get a chance in Detroit's end which ends when Dana Tyrell gets tripped up in front of the net. Ericsson goes to the box, but the replay clearly shows that Ian White is the culprit on this trip. If the play goes uncalled, this is nothing, but White will pick up a minus for this.
The Wings kill off the first minute, but 1:10 into the PP, things fall apart for the PK. Lidstrom blocks a Stamkos dump-in attempt and tries to sweep it out of the zone. St Louis is there ti pick it up and keep it in. The Lightning cycle and set up a point shot by Bergeron which goes wide. St Louis just misses the rebound at the half-boards, but Bergeron beats Drew Miller to the loose puck and sweeps it low into the corner for Purcell. While Detroit tries to adjust to this quick puck movement, Purcelll threads a pss to St Louis cutting through the middle to receive the pass for a one-timer through Howard. The biggest mistake here is by Lidstrom on both the failed clear and the failed attempt to block the pass from Purcell to St Louis. Lidstrom will pick up a minus. Drew Miller will also get a half-minus for not picking off the pass to the goal-scorer.
2nd Period 19:46 - Tampa Bay Goal: Steven Stamkos (slap shot) from Matt Gilroy and Vincent Lecavalier
As the 2nd period winds down, the Lightning get one last rush up ice. Brett Clark carries across Detroit's blue line and drops it to Vinny Lecavalier. Vinny keeps up the rush before dropping to Stamkos on the half-boards. Here, Stamkos goes back across the collapsing grain of the Red Wings defense to Matt Gilroy at the opposite point. While Lecavalier cuts across in front of the net to distract Kronwall, Gilroy waits until the defense turns before going right back to Stamkos now just a couple feet in front of the red line at the side of the net. The additional minus on this play will go to Bertuzzi, who is responsible for Stamkos here, but does not cover the return pass.
Penalty Adjustment: On the very first shift of the third period, Fabian Brunnstrom runs into Dwayne Roloson, who sells the call a little but, but not enough to make up for the fact that Brunnstrom has to be more careful. This will be a minus for Fabian.
3rd Period 04:22 - Detroit Goal (PP): Tomas Holmstrom (tip in) from Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk
The Penalty - Eric Brewer (hooking): This penalty is created when Pavel Datsyuk splits the Lightning defense in the middle of the ice by dangling Brett Clark at center to create a chance. This is actually a good penalty for Brewer to take, but Datsyuk will get a plus for earning it.
The goal takes all of nine seconds to score as all five Wings get a touch on this play. Datsyuk wins the faceoff and heads to the top of the zone where he plays catch with Ian White as the Wings set up with a very high umbrella. Seeing that Nate Thompson is giving him too much room, Datsyuk skates up the boards with the puck, doing another give-and-go with Franzen to keep the PKers distracted. Through this, Brett Clark picks up Nick Lidstrom sneaking in the back door too late. By the time Clark recognizes his coverage, the puck is on Lidstrom's stick. Now pulling Clark out, Lidstrom one-time redirects the pass back across to Tomas Holmstrom standing on the back door for the easy tip-in. This is as good as you'll see for tic-tac-toe puck movement. Franzen and White will each pick up assists (third and fourth) while Datsyuk will get a bonus assist for being the focal point of the play as it happened.
Penalty Adjustment: Midway through the third, Detroit gets a good chance going through center as Hudler makes a bounce-pass off the boards to spring Filppula and create an odd-man rush. Unfortunately, he's careless with his stick on the follow up to join the play and he whacks Teddy Purcell in the face. Hudler will get a minus.
3rd Period 13:14 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Jakub Kindl and Jonathan Ericsson
The Wings kill off the Hudler penalty and tack on an insurance goal for good measure. After a good clear leads to a 3-on-2 which gets broken up, the Wings regather the puck off the stick of Steve Downie in their own zone. Ericsson picks up a puck thanks to Kindl running a pick to make up for a bit of hesitation which could have cost Kindl. E goes back to Kindl, who heads all the way up ice with the puck. Helm skates into the zone side-by-side with Kindl on the same side of the ice where Bertuzzi has established a spot at the blue line for an outlet and Cleary is cutting on the far side. This forces the recently-changed Tampa Bay defense to back off and allow them to have the blue line cleanly. Brewer and Moore collapse on Kindl, giving him just enough space to slide a pass to Helm before Hedman can get over. Helm gets off a low shot from deep in the faceoff circle which beats Roloson. It's a good play by all involved, but no adjustment here.
Penalty Adjustment: at 14:45, Todd Bertuzzi is again making a good press low in the offensive zone. This time, he takes a whack to the face by Vinny Lecavalier and draws a double-minor. This is more of a bad play by Vinny, but Bertuzzi is working hard fighting off multiple players for the puck and winning. Bertuzzi will earn a half-plus for his work here.
2nd Period 10:28 - Nate Thompson (slashing): Thompson gets tied up with Franzen in the Wings' zone and slashes the Mule's stick trying to keep him from making a play. Dumb play by Thompson, but not a drawn penalty.
+2 to Pavel Datsyuk: Pavel was easily Detroit's best skater in this game. He was all over the ice and the scoresheet. Four takeaways was nothing compared to the fact that he went 22-9 in the faceoff dot.
+1.5 to Niklas Kronwall: He got nothing on the scoreboard tonight, but he played an excellent defensive game against Stamkos, Purcell, and Malone. He led the team in total ice time, PK time, and blocked shots (6).
+0.5 to Brad Stuart: Just behind Kronner in ice time and blocked shot categories, I felt he was also an additional half-plus behind him for number of good plays. Still, Stuart had a good game.
+1 to Darren Helm and Danny Cleary, +0.5 to Johan Franzen: I lump all three of these players together because they each did about the same job with several excellent 5-on-5 backchecking jobs to prevent scoring opportunities. Helm and Cleary pick up the extra halves for their work on the PK.
Valtteri Filppula also had a hell of a game, but his adjustments showed well enough so that he didn't need bonus hits. Tomas Holmstrom made the game's most egregious giveaway in his own end, but he also worked his tail off in the offensive zone. I leaned more towards giving him a half-minus for the game, but decided against it. Nick Lidstrom played some big minutes against some big competition but only came out looking decent overall. He did not wow in this game. Zetterberg is another player whose adjustments do a good job telling his story without needing bonus ratings.
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