Division Hate Week continued for the Detroit Red Wings as they faced off against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night for the first time in Detroit. The Blues won the first two meetings in St. Louis by one goal and looked well on their way to winning this one until Detroit turned it on, caught up, and overtook them in the third thanks to some incredible play.
This game felt like the Wings were skating 5-on-7 with how goofy the reffing standard was. Detroit took two penalties early on plays that weren't called later. It's fortunate that the game didn't get out of hand. The Red Wings' PK struggled again in this game though, giving up two markers on four chances. The Detroit power play did finally break out of their three-game slump with a 1-4 performance on the night. This one was headed to a huge differential in shots before Detroit put up a 13-3 advantage in the third period to eke out a 32-31 overall advantage.
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Jimmy Howard is absolutely the star of this game with his 29-save performance. He found himself down 2-0 midway through the game and completely shut the door to keep his team in it. Of the 31 shots he faced, it felt like a a large percentage of them were high-quality chances. I counted four big saves, including one Hasekian head save on a St. Louis rush. Howard will get a +1 for the head-to-head rating and a +2.5 overall. This was by far Howard's best game of the season.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 06:51 - St. Louis Goal (PP): Matt D'Agostini (slap shot) from Kevin Shattenkirk and Jason Arnott
The Penalty - Darren Helm (holding the stick): This is a good penalty call, as Helm ties up the stick of Jason Arnott at the boards in the Wings' zone. I'm going to give Helm his minus, but want to make it a point to say that what is a penalty in the first five minutes of the game is also a penalty in the next 55. Shitty reffing doesn't excuse Helm on this play though.
St. Louis takes the first minute of the power play to get set up in the Detroit zone, but are eventually able to do so on a zone entry by D'Agostini and a loose puck recovery behind the net by Berglund after a big hit on Ian White frees it up. St. Louis pokes around the upper edges of the PK box to get people moving around and even tries a slap-pass from one point to the opposite circle which misses. Jason Arnott picks up the rebound and goes back to Shattenkirk at the top of the zone. The Wings' PKers are still adjusting to this movement when Shattenkirk fires a half-slapper at the D'Agostini/White traffic in front. The Blues' forward gets his stick on the puck and tips it over Howard for the first goal. This is a prototypical power play goal. No adjustment.
Goal-Saved Adjustment: With only 18 seconds left in the first, a puck gets through Jimmy Howard in the crease as the pressure on the net collapses in. Fortunately, Nick Lidstrom is there to keep the puck out of the net. Lidstrom will get credit for a goal saved on this play.
2nd Period 13:08 - St. Louis Goal (PP): Alexander Steen (intent to blow) from Jason Arnott and Kevin Shattenkirk
The Penalty - Henrik Zetterberg (tripping): Off a defensive zone 4-on-4 faceoff, Zetterberg gets his stick caught up between Jason Arnott's legs while they battle for position. If Z is moving his feet on this play, the trip doesn't happen. Zetterberg will get a minus.
St. Louis scores on the 4-on-3 advantage to make it 2-0. Arnott beats Datsyuk on the faceoff to set up control. The Blues' D-Men pass back and forth a few times to set up an eventual one-timer from Arnott at the top of the left circle. Howard stops the shot and has the puck underneath him, but the ref gives Steen time to dig it out of the pads and put it into the net. The only adjustment on this play will come in the form of a minus to Datsyuk for losing the faceoff cleanly.
Penalty Adjustment: 15:57 into the 2nd period, Nick Lidstrom goes to the box for tripping David Backes on a great chance by the Blues forward. This one is actually on Henrik Zetterberg and Ian White, who both let Backes get behind them to get a chance crossing in front of the net. Lidstrom does bring his man down, but he also very likely prevents a goal by doing this. Zetterberg and White will get the minuses on this play, not Lidstrom.
2nd Period 18:57 - Detroit Goal (PP): Nicklas Lidstrom (slap shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Ian White
The Penalty - Matt D'Agostini (interference): The Blues lose a power play thanks to D'Agostini playing too aggressive in the zone. He pushes Kronwall over in front of the net and takes a penalty for it. Bonehead move, but no adjustment.
The two teams kill off the 45 seconds of 4-on-4 allowing Detroit to go to work with the man advantage. Datsyuk carries in with 54 seconds remaining on the PP and circles the zone to allow the unit to get set up. Datsyuk goes to Lidstrom, who goes to White at the point for a shot that's blocked out front and knocked to the corner. Zetterberg hustles hard to get to the loose puck in a battle with Chris Porter. Porter holds Zetterberg up to allow Roman Polak to pick it up. Fortunately, Datsyuk is there to intercept the pass attempt from Polak to Shattenkirk behind the net. Datsyuk carries out front and puts a hard backhand shot on net which is stopped, the rebound collected by Scott Nichol and skated to the corner. Datsyuk hounds him there and keeps him pinned waiting for help. Both Shattenkirk and Franzen arrive to make this a four-man board battle in the corner. The Wings are able to come up with it thanks to good stick work by Datsyuk and Franzen to make a turn to beat pressure by two players. This frees Datsyuk up for enough room to turn back into the play and view his options. From here, he goes to Lidstrom at the point for a pass to Ian White on the far uncovered side for a slap shot which deflects out front and wide. The puck rings off the boards back to Lidstrom at the top of the zone. Lidstrom doesn't waste time settling the puck, opting instead for an immediate one-timer that Brian Elliot never sees go through him. Franzen will pick up the screener's assist on this play for his work standing in Elliott's way. The hustle of the forwards on puck retrieval really makes this play happen. As a result, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen will each earn a bonus plus.
3rd Period 11:19 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (tip in) from Ian White and Todd Bertuzzi
Detroit lets the game clock in the third roll past the ten minute mark before putting the tying goal in the net off a great tip-in. Detroit comes out of their own zone with Nicklas Lidstrom using a fancy spin pass to break the one-man forechecking pressure put on by Evgeny Grachev with a pass to Datsyuk cutting up the middle of the ice. As the Blues' trap box collapses inward to deal with this, Datsyuk hits Bertuzzi standing at the St. Louis blue line to gain the zone. Bert stops the pass up there to leave it for Ian White skating in with momentum as Datsyuk drives the middle lane. White gets to the top of the circle before throwing a seeing-eye shot at the front of the net which is tipped in at the low slot by Pavel Datsyuk standing between Patrik Berglund and Alex Pietrangelo. Nick LIdstrom will get the third assist on this play. This one just goes to show that good things happen throwing the puck on net.
3rd Period 12:15 - Detroit Goal: Niklas Kronwall (wrist shot) from Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg
Less than a minute later, the game-winner comes off a screened shot from the point. A good shift by the third line keeps momentum going on the next shift before the a puck played with a high stick brings the 2nd line out. Zetterberg wins the blue line faceoff for a dump-in by Stuart. Zetterberg and Filppula go to the corner to retrieve the puck against the Blues' defense. Filppula fakes out Roman Polak against the boards by faking an attempt to go deeper with the puck while David Backes drives Henrik Zetterberg to the ground away from the play. Z manages to leave the puck for FIlppula, who dives under the play as it develops to take three players out of the equation temporarily. Flip comes out with it and jams it up the boards to Kronwall around Chris Stewart. Kronwall takes to steps across the blue line to create an open shooting lane and throws a low heavy wrister through traffic and in for the game-winner. Jiri Hudler is in front battling with Carlo Colaiacovo on the goal when it goes through Elliott. Hudler will get the screener's assist on this play. I also feel the work by Zetterberg and Filppula qualified each for a bonus half-plus.
1st Period 08:57 - Henrik Zetterberg (boarding): Midway through the first, the Wings' 2nd line gets the puck in with Zetterberg forechecking into the corner on Pietrangelo. They go into the boards together, but Pietrangelo catches an edge and hits the boards. This is enough to call Z for boarding, but a later play where an actual boarding happens isn't. Bullshit call.
2nd Period 08:57 - B.J. Crombeen (roughing): Not a drawn call, just Crombeen being a dipshit.
2nd Period 11:27 - David Backes & Danny Cleary (roughing): Backes runs the goalie and Cleary defends him. No adjustment.
3rd Period 02:25 - Matt D'Agostini (tripping): Drew Miller is backchecking through center ice when D'Agostini sticks a skate in front of his foot to bring him down. No idea what he's thinking here.
3rd Period 03:28 - Kevin Shattenkirk & Johan Franzen (roughing): A net-front scrum out front on a Wings power play leads to tempers getting up between Johan Franzen and some stupid joke who plays for the Blues. Both players go to the box to calm down.
3rd Period 17:04 - Jason Arnott (high sticking): St. Louis' comeback attempt is hurt when Jason Arnott foolishly high-sticks a guy late in the game. Another dumb move by the blues.
+2 to Pavel Datsyuk: He was a man possessed tonight as he took the puck away, move it it up ice, and even laid big checks. What an incredible game by Datsyuk.
-1 to Jonathan Ericsson: For a guy struggling to prove to people that he should still be in the lineup, this was a stinker of a game for Ericsson. Bad turnovers are going to have to stop immediately.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg: The Wings' 2nd line was tasked with harder defensive minutes and Zetterberg shined very well in such a high-paced game.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom: The poise and confidence shown by Lidstrom continues to impress. I don't think he'll play another four years like the Versus guys were talking about, but I'd like to see it happen.
It was so hard for Detroit to build momentum with the calls made earlier and the WIngs' play suffered through it. Commodore outplayed his defensive partner, but not by a wide enough margin to earn a bonus. Joakim Andersson did look a little outclassed in this game, but he got the basics down well and stayed within his limits. I don't expect fourth liners to wow me every game and he at least didn't piss me off.
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