Fresh off a dominating 6-2 victory over the Southeast's best team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Wings took a hop, a skip, and then a jump over to Sunrise Florida to meet with the division's basement-dweller. For the second game in two nights, the Wings jumped out to an early two-goal lead before getting into a bit of penalty trouble and seeing the game tied. This one was a bit scarier though, as Detroit twice had two-goal leads and still got caught up on halfway through the third before Todd Bertuzzi would put them up for good on his second goal of the night to bookend Detroit's scoring.
Tonight was back to frowns for the Wings' special teams units, as they were held scoreless on their three chances while giving up one out of four while shorthanded. The one they did give up was on the shortest power play of the night, as Florida took a mere five seconds from the faceoff to put the puck in the net. In another bit of less-than-great news, Detroit managed to get outshot again, this time by a 32-30 margin. It's not so horrible though, as trailing teams tend to outshoot the guys who are winning and Detroit did enter the third period up by a goal and with a one-shot advantage on the shot clock.
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Joey MacDonald spelled Jimmy Howard tonight and played at a career backup level. He wasn't bad by any means, but he did give up one goal to his three big saves for an average +2 rating. Of his three big saves, the largest came on a Stephen Weiss slap shot late in the game with Detroit protecting a one-goal lead. He came out well to challenge the shooter and, just like Osgood made a career doing, gave him a look on the glove side before flashing the leather and snatching up the slap shot that came at him.
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Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 1:21 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (snap shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Brian Rafalski
The Wings' forecheck pressures Florida as they leave their own zone, creating a turnover. An Ericsson pass to a flat-footed Franzen at the blue line is pushed immediately back to Rafalski, who threads a beautiful pass up ice to Zettterberg coming into the zone. Z is forced wide, but stays close to the net, finally skating behind the red line and then threading a backhand pass to a wide-open Bertuzzi to open the scoring. Franzen will get a half-assist for recognizing that there was not a good way into the zone for him and passing it back to Rafalski to reset the rush.
Penalty Adjustment : on the next shift after the goal, Helm draws one with speed coming into the zone. He makes a move to get around McCabe and the Florida d-man in his first game back from a broken jaw (sounds familiar?) gets his stick caught between Helm's legs for a penalty. Helm gets a plus.
1st Period 06:29 - Detroit Goal: Danny Cleary (tip in) from Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler
Trapped in their own zone, the Wings breakout starts behind the net with Datsyuk getting it on the half-boards to pass to Hudler up ice. Hudler is cut off and goes back to Datsyuk. This action gives the Panthers a false sense of security about whether hey can change lines and when they try, Datsyuk fires up ice to a streaking Cleary for a breakaway. Vokoun stops the first shot, but, Cleary taps home the rebound as he's being taken down from behind. Cleary's dedication to the play is good for a bonus plus, while the Datsyuk outlet will get him a bonus half-assist. Also, immediately after making the pass, Hudler steps off the ice in favor of Franzen. By now, the play is already developing into what will turn into the goal. Hudler will get the plus instead of Franzen.
Penalty Adjustment: Later in the period, Ericsson has the puck in his own end and faces off against two forecheckers. He ends up losing the puck and takes down Chris Higgins for his first penalty of the period. His second penalty comes only 27 seconds after the expiration of his first, but I'm only giving Ericsson one minus for the two, since I don't feel the standard of the second was upheld very well throughout this game. Hudler was the victim of an uncalled hold much worse than what they gave to Ericsson at 12:04 of the period.
1st Period 16:53 - Florida Goal: Radek Dvorak (snap shot) from Mike Weaver and Marty Reasoner
Kronwall lets a puck get through him at the point and Dvorak heads off to the races with the d-man in tow. Salei gets back hard enough to prevent Dvorak from getting the opportunity to take the puck to the middle, but the great-grandson of the famous keyboard magnate (not true) has enough room to shoot from the boards. Dvorak throws it at MacDonald's five-hole and the puck trickles in through him. This is a bad goal where only Kronwall will keep his minus. Salei, Abdelkader, Holmstrom, and Miller all have their minuses cleared.
2nd Period 03:29 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (snap shot) unassisted
Forcing the play around the end opposite a forechecking Patrick Eaves, Kenndal McArdle tries to clear the puck out of the zone and accidentally earns himself a spot on Pavel Datsyuk's ever-growing career highlight reel, as the Magician picks the puck off and skates up the middle. Even while being hooked by Dennis Wideman, Datsyuk uses the same feint-to-backhand-roof-it-stick-side move that worked the previous night in Tampa for a great goal. I'm going to give Eaves an assist here, but I almost feel I shouldn't. Immediately after the turnover, Eaves runs a pick on Keaton Ellerby to prevent him from getting to Datsyuk. It's a pretty egregious non-call by the refs to not blow this play dead and send Eaves to the box. Oh well. The steal by Datsyuk will get him a bonus plus.
Penalty Adjustment: about midway through the second, Darren Helm gets the puck in the Florida end and tries an inside-outside move on Bryan Allen that would have worked beautifully had Allen not stuck his knee out. Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond brought up a good point on the broadcast that a play like this isn't exactly Helm's fault for trying it, but he likely needs to learn that it's a dangerous play for him to be making and it's sometimes going to result in a guy stupidly sticking out his knee like that. Helm gets the plus for drawing the penalty, but I would have rather preferred that entire play not happened.
2nd Period 19:42 - Florida Goal (PP): Dennis Wideman (slap shot) from Stephen Weiss
Florida gets a power play on a Salei slash out front. Helm loses the faceoff cleanly to Weiss where Wideman picks it up and fires a slap shot low through traffic. Macdonald doesn't see it as the puck finds its way into the net on his stick side. Helm will get a minus for losing the faceoff as cleanly as he does. If he can't win it, the next best thing is to not lose it that badly. Salei will only get a half-minus here, as I feel his penalty is slightly mitigated by circumstance. His initial coverage is Stephen Weiss floating through the slot with Helm behind him. He moves in to slash the stick of Skille as he cuts across the net and looks for his own rebound off MacDonald. I felt MacDonald was in good enough position to stop the rebound, but shutting off his ability to get to it was as close to a "good penalty" as Salei could have gotten.
Penalty Adjustment: 6:25 into the third period, Justin Abdelkader puts the Wings a man short. He's trying to catch a Florida defenseman coming across the middle with his head down, but he gets his stick up on him. I do not like Abdelkader taking this penalty one bit. I like that he's trying to hit people, but he's got to do a better job of keeping the lumber down. Abdelkader will get a minus.
3rd Period 09:36 - Florida Goal: Stephen Weiss (slap shot) from David Booth and Jack Skille
After a Detroit defensive zone faceoff win doesn't get cleared (thanks to an unfortunate bounce off a ref), Skille and Booth fight along the boards for control with Stuart, who gets it and tries to go between his own legs to Draper standing behind him to start the rush up ice. Unfortunately, Draper misses the puck and it comes straight to Weiss all alone in the slot for a one-timer past MacDonald. Stuart and Draper will each get an extra minus. Stu's turnover is bad, but Draper has something to say about that by not getting his stick on the puck for the second time in the play. Datsyuk and Lidstrom are in their defensive assignments and will not get minuses. Cleary has a brief chance at the play, but doesn't get there in time. Cleary will have his minus halved.
3rd Period 12:28 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (slap shot) from Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg
Weiss mishandles an Ellerby pass in Detroit's zone while the Panthers look to create a scoring chance. Ericsson, playing up in Bertuzzi's spot to cover Weiss, pokes it to Zetterberg and they rush up ice in a three-man line. Zetterberg goes to Franzen on the wing as they enter while he and Ericsson go to the front of the net. Franzen uses the space made available between the collapsing defenders and the forwards still coming back to hold the puck for Todd Bertuzzi coming up on the rush uncovered. A quick backhand across to the top of the faceoff circle meets a Bertuzzi one-timer that's past Vokoun before the netminder can even react. Jonathan Ericsson will get a half-plus and half-assist for this play. The work in the defensive zone to help the rush start and the decision to crash the net like he should have to make room for Bertuzzi to come in and shoot are both excellent.
Penalty Adjustment: 17:25 into the third, Bertuzzi lays a shoulder into Rostislav Olesz to steal the puck and spring Zetterberg up ice. Cory Stillman, who is looking for a bit of immediate revenge on Bert, gets turned around and ends up flailing at Zetterberg to slow him down, which he does by means of tripping the guy. Zetterberg will get a plus for making a good move and keeping his feet moving, while Bertuzzi will get a plus for the hit that broke up the Panthers play and got Z the puck in the first place.
+1 to Ruslan Salei: The solidly quiet defender who's going to be welcoming a 2nd daughter any day now had a good game in his own zone.
-1 to Jonathan Ericsson: he made the one good play late as a primarily offensive move, but he was brutal in his own end with the turnovers.
+0.5 to Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Nicklas Lidstrom: the standard-bearers for the Wings did their job again. If you can look at what Datsyuk did at 9:20 into the 2nd period and tell me that's not a takeaway, you can keep score for the Panthers. Lidstrom broke up an excellent chance in the first period brought on by a Holmstrom giveaway, and Zetterberg single-handedly prevented an odd-man rush in the second with an excellent pass interception in the offensive zone.
-0.5 to Tomas Holmstrom: Remember that turnover I talked about two seconds ago, where Lidstrom bailed him out? He went across his own blue line inside the zone. That's only a good play when it works.
Honorable Mentions: Jiri Hudler might have deserved a half-minus for going 2-for-9 in the faceoff circle, except he made up for it with another night of good play. Patrick Eaves would have gotten himself a plus for delivering five hits and playing well on the PK, but a bad turnover in the 2nd period that led to an odd-man rush and Joey MacDonald getting roughed up canceled that for him. The effort wasn't a full 60 minutes, but many of the guys who screwed up got their just punishments in the goal summaries and those who didn't had their mistakes canceled out by equally good play.