The Red Wings deserved to lose this game to the Vancouver Canucks after letting themselves fall behind with some horrible defensive lapses in the first period. There are things to build off of in this loss, but this was a game against one of the conference's best teams which also showed areas where the Wings need to improve.
Yes, there was absolutely a goal in this game which should not have been allowed to count. There might have even been two (one by each team). I find it very hard to complain too hard about the refereeing when the Red Wings took zero penalties in a game where they weren't sharp. Unfortunately, the Wings still lost the special teams battle in giving up the shorthanded goal (which shouldn't have counted) and failing to convert on any of their four power play opportunities. The Wings outshot the Canucks 40-25 in trying to come back, but they were skating uphill.
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Jimmy Howard allowed four goals on 25 shots and did not look particularly good. He helped keep his team in it through the first half of the 2nd period and couldn't do much to stop a goal where he was bowled into, but the other three goals were opportunities to make better plays (although they weren't soft). If Howard played this game at the level that Roberto Luongo played it, I feel the Red Wings might have escaped a bad start to earn points. Howard will get a -1 in the head-to-head and a -1 in the overall rating.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 09:36 - Vancouver Goal: Chris Higgins (wrist shot) from Mason Raymond and Kevin Bieksa
Midway through the first period, the Wings get a chance to break out with numbers from their own zone. Kronwall sees a good opportunity to jump up on the rush here and does so in the neutral zone. Zetterberg tries to hit him streaking up the wing, but he can't control the pass and it bounces to Dan Hamhuis. Kronner chases him behind his own net before peeling off to hand forechecking pressure off to Zetterberg. Hamhuis beats the one-man-deep forecheck with a pass back around behind the net to Kevin Bieksa. While Z skates around to pressure him, he surveys the situation and recognizes Mason Raymond in behind the defense. Bieksa's pass hits Raymond in stride at the red line. White skates back hard on the breakaway, but can't do anything to prevent Raymond's attempt at the five-hole. Howard stops this, but he rebound bounces directly to Chris Higgins joining the play in front of Kronwall. Higgins buries the rebound and the Canucks are on the board. There are a number of things to be mad at here and I'll get to them. But first, let's go ahead and clear the minuses for White and Hudler. The fact that White even got far enough over on Raymond is good, considering it was his job to be covering up at the other blue line. Hudler is covering Bieksa's option at the cross-ice pass. I'm going to clear half of Zetterberg's minus. The coverage after the turnover is fine and the turnover is way more on Kronwall, but that pass could have been better. Filppula will keep his minus. He has just come off the bench and is threatening high in the middle of the Vancouver zone but, as far as his position is concerned, he's the d-man until Kronwall gets back to the blue line. He's too far up ice to be covering Raymond. The majority of the blame will fall on Kronwall. Not only does he miss a pass I feel he should have controlled, but he doesn't get back on time to prevent the outlet pass. Then, on top of that, he gets beaten to the rebound by the goal-scorer. These three errors will combine to give Kronwall two extra minuses. He'll get half for the turnover, half for failing to stop the outlet and then a full for not getting back on his man.
1st Period 09:57 - Vancouver Goal: Cody Hodgson (slap shot) from Jannik Hansen and Manny Malhotra
Just 21 seconds later, the score is 2-0. Vancouver controls off the center ice faceoff as Alexander Sulzer is chased behind his own net. The eventual Canucks breakout to Malhotra on the wing at center is held up as Ian White steps up. However, White can't control and Malhotra pokes it up the boards to Hansen on the other side of center. While Helm comes over to pressure Hansen, he threads a pass to Hodgson cutting straight through the middle. Lidstrom races to get over and make a play, but Hodgson has enough room start his wind up and blast it on net from the top of the circles in the slot. Howard is out aggressively challenging, but the shot is well-placed just above the pad on the stick side. Cleared minuses here go to Drew Miller and Danny Cleary. Miller was the point man on the play who had actually kept the Canucks pinned in for a bit. Cleary sees White step up effectively and turns back to offense. By the time he cycles back around, it's too late. Helm will keep a half-minus. He does let the pass to Hodgson get through him, but his primary concern is preventing Hansen from carrying it in cleanly. Ian White will pick up an extra half-minus for what is a turnover at the offensive blue line to Malhotra. Lidstrom will pick up an extra minus for his coverage gaffe. He is standing far too close to the boards when the pass gets to Hodgson. He needs to recognize that Helm has the man on the boards and, as the last man back, it's Lidstrom's job to cover the middle of the ice.
1st Period 13:46 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Ian White and Pavel Datsyuk
The Red Wings control an offensive zone faceoff with Franzen sweeping into the circle to pick up the puck and chuck a backhander at Bertuzzi standing in front with Salo. The puck is blocked behind the net where Franzen wins a race with Edler to get it and bring it out the other side, to spin away from coverage and try another shot at the net. This one misses high and wide, but is recovered by Pavel Datsyuk at the half-boards. Datsyuk feeds it to White at the point, who fires it on net. Bertuzzi tips it directly into an already down-and-out Roberto Luongo, but he's able to poke the rebound back in before Luongo can stop him. The reason Luongo is down in the fist place is because Bertuzzi pushes Salo into his own goaltender and Salo falls on top of him. I'm not going to punish Bertuzzi for getting away with one here, but it's just something to note. Franzen deserves an assist for helping make this play happen. Other than that one, no more adjustments need to be made on this play.
1st Period 15:40 - Vancouver Goal: Alexandre Burrows (tip in) from Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin
Sami Salo collects a puck in the corner of the Vancouver zone and feeds it across to his defensive partner Edler. Edler controls briefly before throwing an outlet pass from his own corner to Henrik Sedin crossing center ice on the far side. Henrik gains the blue line and turns his back to Brad Stuart stepping up on him to shield it and run a very clever pick designed to allow Daniel Sedin to pick it up and move up the boards with it. Stuart prevents them from making this handoff cleanly, but that turns out to benefit the Canucks. Kronwall is expecting to cut off Daniel Sedin here at the boards, but has to make an adjustment when the puck doesn't make it there. Daniel cuts back in to control the loose puck sitting right behind Stu and in front of Kronner. Here, he wastes no time throwing a puck toward the net on the broken play. Alex Burrows is there all alone behind the coverage to tip it past Howard and in for the eventual game-winner. The cleared minus here goes to Miller, who is the high man in the zone. Cleary will keep his minus for not coming back a bit harder to be in the passing lane between Edler and Henrik Sedin. The play of the defensemen here is tough, because they're both doing basically what they should be doing. Stepping up on the play to prevent the Canucks from gaining the zone easily gives them a chance to create blue line turnovers. However, Stuart can play this better and will keep his full minus. I'm going to halve Kronwall's minus though. It's a bit of a fluke that the puck ends up where it does. If Kronwall is in good enough position to play a fluke bounce perfectly, he's definitely NOT going to be in good enough position to have played what would have happened if the pass from Henrik to Daniel had been clean. Darren Helm is the big culprit here. He's drawn low in covering Burrows from the minute Henrik and Daniel pull their crossing play. Unfortunately, he leaves his man uncovered in front, which is a mistake. Helm will pick up an extra minus.
2nd Period 16:20 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (tip in) from Darren Helm and Danny Cleary
The Wings catch Vancouver in a long shift and make them pay on this goal. Hamhuis and Bieksa had already been on the ice for more than a minute by the time Drew Miller dumps it into the Vancouver zone and goes to retrieve. Miller and Cleary do good work to get it to Helm, who shoulder-fakes Henrik Sedin, steps around Bieksa in the corner, and comes around behind the net to feed Drew Miller out in front for a great opportunity. The first and second chances are stopped, but some great grunt-work by Cleary prevents Luongo from freezing the puck. The puck eventually ends up behind the Vancouver net, but Helm hustles again to retrieve it by lifting Hamhuis' stick and feeding it to Stuart at the point. Stu dumps back to Helm as he's pressured by Malhotra. Helm brings it off the boards and turns to the middle while Hamhuis and Sedin converge on him. A backhanded saucer pass to Kronwall at the point breaks this pressure and creates another scoring chance in the form of a slap shot from just above the circle which Luongo fights off. Drew Miller gets to the rebound and tries to put it in the short side, but Lu shrugs that one to the back glass as well. Hamhuis gets to it first and tries to clear up the boards, but Stuart is there for the keep-in. Stu goes to Cleary skating up the boards before jumping in to cycle. Cleary skates across the blue line and resets it back to Helm skating up to take the point spot while Stuart cycles back around behind him on the loop and Cleary takes a line through the middle. A pass from Helm to Cleary barely misses connecting, but Cleary is able to use his momentum and Bieksa's fatigue to win the race to it in the corner. Cleary turns up the boards with Bieksa in tow and finds Helm standing at the top of the circle with nary a Canuck within ten feet of him thanks to the cycle work which forced the D to collapse. The backhand pass is right in the wheelhouse as Helm puts everything he has into the shot. Drew Miller is standing in front to tip it past Luongo and in. From dump-in to goal, this entire play lasted 48 seconds. What a monstrous shift by everybody. Darren Helm is the star here. From his multiple puck retrievals to his hustle and clever passing, Helm deserves one-and-a-half bonus assists as well as two extra pluses. Both Stuart (third) and Kronwall (fourth) will pick up assists. Cleary will also get a bonus assist and Miller will have a self-assist added. Additional bonus pluses go to Miller, Stuart, and Cleary. Miller's comes on the initial forecheck work while Cleary's is a result of keeping the play going when Luongo is trying to cover. Stuart gets his for helping quarterback the pressure from the top of the zone.
Penalty Adjustment: 18:36 into the 2nd period, we get the first penalty of the game as Henrik Zetterberg carries into the zone and makes a move on Bieksa to step around him. Kevin Bieksa gets his stick tied up in Zetterberg and impedes his progress. Letting the stick go doesn't clear him of the wrongdoing. It's a good play by Z to force this penalty. Zetterberg will get a plus.
Third Period 03:30 - Vancouver Goal (SH) Alexander Edler (backhand) from Jannik Hansen
With the Wings on a power play thanks to a Kesler penalty, the Canucks twist the dagger. Zetterberg loses the faceoff, but Vancouver can't clear as Jiri Hudler gets a keep-in despite being hit hard by Hansen at the point. Z gets the puck near the boards five feet above the circle and turns inward to make a play. The coverage on Zetterberg by Edler is strong, as the puck is knocked off Z's stick to Hansen at center. Edler tying up with Zetterberg creates a break for Hansen as he goes backhand-forehand to try and cut across the net mouth and get a scoring chance. Howard stops this while Hansen feels a slight nudge by Zetterberg behind and uses it as an excuse to go bowling for goalies. Unfortunately, Edler is trailing the play and puts it into the uncovered net while Howard tries to untangle himself with Vancouver's worst skater. This one shouldn't have counted, but it did and there will be minuses to be given out. First off, Bertuzzi and Filppula will be cleared of blame. They're never in this play to start with. Hudler will keep his minus. The smarter play with the man advantage the way this one develops is to back into center ice and then re-enter the zone when you've re-established numerical superiority. Lidstrom will also keep his minus for his failure to clear the rebound before Edler got to it. Zetterberg will pick up an extra minus-and-a-half. The turnover at the top of the zone is the bigger problem, but whether Hansen was pushed in sufficiently (he wasn't) is a referee judgment call that I'd rather the ref never have to make. Z's feet aren't moving as he tries to poke it off Hansen's stick. If he keeps striding, he's got an opportunity to either run Hansen off the side of the net or punish him for trying to cut to the middle in a way that doesn't end with his goaltender being run. I mean, then again, he also runs the risk of destroying Jannik Hansen by essentially charging him into the end-boards, but it's a man's game. Can't fault Howard for this one, so he'll get a goal forgiven.
Penalty Adjustment: Late in the third, as Detroit is trying desperately to come back, Val Filppula draws a penalty on Daniel Sedin when he steps around him and Sedin hauls Flip down. Filppula will get a plus
3rd Period 03:15 - Ryan Kesler (roughing): Retaliation for what should have been called a charge on Kronwall. I can't give out a plus for a guy drawing a penalty when he should have taken one as well.
3rd Period 06:38 - Chris Higgins (delay of game): Unforced error, no adjustment.
-0.5 to Jakub Kindl +0.5 to Jonathan Ericsson: Kindl made a particularly egregious turnover which led to a very good scoring chance by the Canucks in the first period and generally didn't play well enough to make up for that. Meanwhile, I felt that his defensive partner was incredibly solid in his ice time, especially along the boards.
+0.5 to Johan Franzen: While his effectiveness was limited, his hustle was good. He was 2nd on the team among forwards in ice time and played well. I want to see more shots from him though.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg: Z played better than his late-game gaffe lets on. He was consistently dangerous and played a lot of minutes. The adjustment will bring him up to a -1 on the night, which I think is fair.
-1 to Todd Bertuzzi: He scored a goal, but found himself replaced on the Datsyuk line by Holmstrom, who had more jump and looked a lot less likely to take a penalty by the time this one was nearing completion. Bert simply did not have a good game.
-1 to Valtteri Filppula: Losing the puck on the boards, the inability to get it to the middle of the ice, overall iffy play. I have confidence he'll snap out of this, but he did not look good in this one.
None, really. Did Emmerton even play in this game?
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