Detroit lost a game they should have won and now people are very very angry about that. The Wings got a ton of scoring chances, but didn't capitalize on enough and the Predators took advantage of some mistakes to sneak out of their own building with a win. Crumple this one up.
I don't remember the last time I saw a 100% power play game, but that's what we saw. Fortunately, that was only on three penalties for the entire game. There's nothing to complain about reffing-wise in this one. We ask for consistency and that's what we got. There was a lot of minor stuff let go (and an elbow by Erat missed), but it's up to the Red Wings to adjust to the reffing. Actually, no, it's up to the Red Wings to score more goals than their opposition when they hold a 40-21 shots advantage.
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Jimmy Howard fought the puck a little bit in this game and, despite some big saves, he couldn't come up big one more time. He had to make incredible saves just before the first two Nashville goals, but Pekka Rinne clearly had a better night. Howard will get a -1 in the head-to-head and a -1 overall. He made big saves, but not enough of them.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 05:15 - Detroit Goal (PP): Tomas Holmstrom (wrist shot) from Ian White and Pavel Datsyuk
The Penalty - Ryan Suter (hooking): This one is probably the best call of the game, as Bert is skating to the net anticipating a Franzen pass. Suter skates into Bert with his stick held parallel and then slows down. It's definitely an obstruction play. Bert will earn a plus for this one.
The Preds kill off most of the power play, but Detroit gets it in with under 40 seconds left in the penalty and goes to work. Lidstrom, Holmstrom, and Franzen combine to beat the blue line stack and establish the zone. The Wings move the puck around the edges of the PK for a time while they set up their umbrella play. Some work by Holmstrom and Franzen low to move it around gives them the exact setup they want. Datsyuk holds on the half-boards and draws Mike Fisher in. Once the Preds' point-covering forward steps too close to return, Datsyuk threads a pass around him to Ian White at the top of the zone for a slapshot through a couple of layers of screen. The slapper gets to the traffic directly in front of the net, as Jack Hillen knocks it down in front of a completely guessing Pekka Rinne. Tomas Holmstrom is there on the doorstep to collect the puck and put it into the open net. This is the prototypical power play setup goal for the Red Wings and they ran the play exactly as they should have. All five players touched the puck in a meaningful manner to create the goal. Franzen and Lidstrom will each pick up half-assists for getting the play set up (Franzen the third and Lidstrom the fourth).
1st Period 10:09 - Nashville Goal: David Legwand (wrist shot) from Craig Smith and Martin Erat
Nashville sets up behind their own net as both teams change before they bring it up ice. Klein feeds Legwand crossing center ice for a dump-in. Kronwall is first on it, but he's immediately hit by Martin Erat. Stuart overskates the play here while Abdelkader comes in to become the third man behind the Detroit net trying to deal with Martin Erat. The Preds' forward gets the puck around the pressure to Craig Smith cutting into th ehole in coverage while Legwand sets up camp on the far side for what is essentially a 2-on-0 in front of Howard. Jimmy is able to stretch his pad out and stop the first Legwand attempt, but the rebound comes right back to him to roof it over the goalie and tie the game. Holmstrom and Emmerton will be cleared of their minuses on the play, but Kronwall (turnover), Stuart and Abdelkader (coverage) will all pick up extra minuses. The three of them each fail to prevent Erat from making this pass from behind the net and that is unacceptable. Howard will also be forgiven for this one.
2nd Period 10:03 - Detroit Goal (PP): Henrik Zetterberg (wrist shot) from Jiri Hudler and Todd Bertuzzi
The Penalty - Jerred Smithson (hooking): Kindl makes a pinch into the Nashville zone and Jerrod Smithson lazily hooks him. It's kind of a dumb play by Smithson, but it's also good work by Kindl to draw it. Kindl will earn a plus.
45 seconds into the penalty, the Wings get an offensive zone faceoff. Zetterberg scrambles it to allow Bertuzzi to come in and get it back to Kronwall at the point. Kronner skates to the middle of the ice and throws a wrister at the front. The puck hits. Bouillon out front, but Bertuzzi moves quickly and gets to it before the defense can clear it out. Bert has his back to the net, so he sweeps it to Jiri Hudler coming in from the wing. While Rinne is reacting to Hudler getting it in a scoring position, Happy slides it back across the grain to a waiting Henrik Zetterberg for the easy goal. This was a pretty tic-tac-toe goal for Detroit. Z will pick up half a self-assist for his part in the clean faceoff win while Bertuzzi will earn half a bonus assist for the same thing. Kronwall's toss at the front of the net will also gain him an assist.
2nd Period 11:30 - Detroit Goal: Nicklas Lidstrom (slap shot) from Ian White and Pavel Datsyuk
Less than 90 seconds later, Detroit is back on the boards after an offensive zone faceoff and an officials' review to make sure a previous play was not a Red Wings goal. Datsyuk gets tossed from the circle, but Franzen steps in and wins it back to the point. White briefly threatens to take it to the front of the net before running a give-and-go with Bertuzzi to create more room for White at the blue line. Once there, he and Datsyuk play catch with it to get set before going all the way across to Lidstrom at the far point. TPH collects the pass, waits a beat, and then fires a slapshot from the point just past a screen and through a bewildered Pekka Rinne. Perfect timing on this play is the difference on a shot from the point. Bertuzzi will pick up the third assist here while Franzen will get two assists added. The first one he gets for winning the faceoff and the second he gets for running the screen on Rinne. Brainy, heads-up play by Franzen to help this play happen.
2nd Period 17:22 - Nashville Goal: Jordin Tootoo (wrist shot) from Kevin Klein and Nick Spaling
The Preds get another one back as their aggressive forecheck prevents the Detroit defense from getting the puck out. The Preds send three men in to aggressively hound the puck and outman low. This pays off as Halischuk prevents a pass to Helm and turns it back around behind the net. The two teams fight for every inch on the boards before Halischuck passes to Spaling for an attempt on net which is blocked by Kronwall to the corner. Halischuk recovers and takes up the boards before dumping it back in. Kronwall tries to cut it off before it gets to Spaling, but the puck gets by and Spaling gets to it first to carry around behind the other side of the net. Stuart tries to adjust, but Spaling gets a great pass to Kevin Klein on the back door. Howard is able to stop this shot, but he can't prevent the rebound from kicking directly out to Tootoo coming into the play on the far side for the easy put away while Darren Helm makes the realization that his man got this goal. Nobody is going to get cleared on this one, but the primary mistake is on Kronwall for losing Spaling clealy behind the net. This will earn Kronner an extra minus. Stuart and Helm will each also pick up minuses. Stuart has to block the pass from Spaling to Klein and Helm has to pick up his man coming late. None of those things happen. Again, this is a good save followed by a goal on a rebound. I'm not going to fault Howard at all on this.
3rd Period 15:36 - Nashville Goal (PP): Shea Weber (slap shot) from Ryan Suter and Martin Erat
The Penalty - Jimmy Howard (hooking): Howard loses a board battle with the puck and hooks Colin Wilson to take a penalty. Yes, Jimmy Howard will get a minus for taking a bad penalty.
Nashville controls on the faceoff and sets up with passes around the perimeter between Weber, Suter, and Erat. The Wings' defensive corps plays their passive box style while the PP unit plays grab-ass. Finally, Suter and Weber switch off position with Suter taking the middle of the ice. Weber gets set up for a one-timer from the top-left of the zone and blasts it through traffice and past Howard to tie it. The only adjustment here will be a minus to Pavel Datsyuk for losing the faceoff cleanly to Fisher.
3rd Period 18:24 - Nashville Goal: Shea Weber (wrist shot) from Jordin Tootoo
Late in the third, Nashville wins it on the flukiest fluke that ever fluked. A Predators dump-in comes to the stick of Howard to clear up the boards. Weber picks the puck off at the blue line and throws a weak, stupid wrister which bounces off the ice about five feet in front of Howard and goes over him. The stick of Spaling is in the area, but the puck doesn't touch another person on the deflection as it goes in. Despite the lucky nature of this one, I think everybody on the ice for Detroit could have played this better by keeping it in the Nashville zone earlier to begin with. No adjustment on this play.
-1.5 to Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl: They made me legitimately afraid every time they were on the ice together. It wasn't one being scarier than the other; it was a true case that they both had terrible games.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom and +0.5 to Ian White: Lids had a hell of a defensive game in this one. He consistently ended counter-attacks and made people disappear around him. His defensive partner made a lot of very good plays happen in the offensive side of the ice and played well against tough opposition in his own end.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, and Jiri Hudler. The Wings' most-dangerous line created a lot of great chances and did a very good job of limiting those by the opposition.
I wanted to give Datsyuk a bonus plus, but I'm so mad that he missed a wide-open net that I'm not going to.
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