Detroit was in Los Angeles on Monday to take on the Kings after a busy trade deadline day that saw the Wings stand pat and Los Angeles add Dustin Penner from Edmonton. By the time the final horn sounded, Detroit would skate out of the Staples Center 7-4 winners on the strength of three third period goals on their first three shots of the period. Ultimately, the Wings would be outshot 39-27 on the night, but that stat doesn't matter much when your guys get nearly twice as many through.
Both teams got four power play opportunities in this one, but Detroit would win this battle by scoring two power play goals to the Kings' one. The refs were inconsistent with what would be a penalty at any given time, but at least they evened out the calls because, hey, what's a hockey game if both teams don't get the same number of power play opportunities?
I don't know if I want to call Jimmy Howard's performance in this game the best sub-0.900 save percentage game or the worst four-goal victory I've ever seen. He seemed to be fighting the puck early on, but shut the door in several key spots on the night and made some saves that could have been considered game-changing. Still, his puck-handling led to a few too many turnovers. He made Three big saves and didn't give up any bad goals, but I'm going to adjust his rating to +2.5 for his puck-handling gaffes.
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Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump.The Goals
1st Period 04:09 - Los Angeles Goal (PP): Michal Handzus (wrist shot) from Jarret Stoll and Anze Kopitar
Early in the first period, Los Angeles gets a power play on a confusing call on Darren Helm. After an initial clear, LA gets the puck into the zone and cycles around the boards to move the penalty killers. Finally, Stoll gets it at the point and fires a slap shot just wide, but the puck bounces off the boards back out front. Handzus is there to lift the rebound over Jimmy's leg pad as he sprawls to make a save. The call to Helm is weak and this is just one of those bounces. No adjustment.
1st Period 06:36 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (wrist shot) unassisted
This play starts behind the Red Wings net, as Smyth tries to find Kopitar going to the front of the net. The pass doesn't connect and ends up on Quick's stick at the other end. Quick moves it to Scuderi, who feels immediate pressure from Draper and throws a cross-ice pass Jack Johnson's way. The pass doesn't connect and the other forechecker, Helm picks it up. Helm ends up skating higher in the zone, taking two defenders with him before throwing it to Miller at the side of the net for an attempted stuff-in. Quick stops the attempt, but Helm gets on Kopitar before he can clear and forces the puck back behind the net. Draper again pressures the D-men while Johnson chips it to Scuderi for an attempted outlet. Wayne Simmonds can't handle the pass that Scuderi now makes, as Lidstrom steps up on him and Miller ends up picking it up with his momentum carrying him to the side of the net. Draper sets a good pick on Kopitar to give the puck carrier some room around the edge. Miller throws it at Quick from slightly behind him in the corner and gets the benefit of a goal-scorer's bounce off Quick's pads and in. This is perhaps the most helped-out unassisted goal I've seen all season. Both Draper and Helm will get an assist and a bonus plus for their great work forechecking to make this play happen. I'm about 50/50 on blaming both Scuderi, Johnson, and Simmonds for mishandles, but it's a lot more common for a guy to mishandle the puck when he's under extreme pressure. Lidstrom's step up on Simmonds isn't as fantastic as the work done by both Draper and Helm, but it's worth a half-assist and bonus half-plus for the Wings' captain for helping keep it in the zone. Finally, Miller will get a half-assist on his own goal for the great first attmept going off Quick's pads to stay in the zone.
1st Period 07:07 - Detroit Goal: Danny Cleary (tip in) from Jiri Hudler
Just over 30 seconds later, Detroit takes advantage of another Kings mistake. LA mishandles the puck, giving the Wings' forwards the opportunity to pressure them into turning it over in the neutral zone. Jonathan Ericsson steps up on Justin Williams as he tries to pick it up in the neutral zone, forcing him to try a deflection pass that misses Kopitar and instead goes to Kronwall, who tries to go to Cleary through the middle. The pass is knocked down, but Cleary swipes at the puck and knocks it back in Kronwall's direction. Kronner steps up on Doughty at center, who tries to go to Ponikarovsky, but the pressured pass isn't good and the puck bounces off the Kings' player to Cleary back on the King's side of center. Cleary finds Hudler coming in on the Wing to enter the zone. Hudler takes it to the half boards and lets Cleary drive the net before firing a highly-deflectable shot that Cleary gets his stick on and tips under Quick. I think Kronwall's step up in the neutral zone is good for a half-assist and half-plus to force the turnover and make the play go the other way. Ericsson's step-up on Williams is good for a half-plus as it's a good defensive play to force the issue and the turnover. Cleary's pass to Hudler will get Danny an assist. I also feel that the forechecking done by Cleary and Datsyuk deserves recongition in the form of a half-plus for both Pavel and Danny.
1st Period 18:48 - Detroit Goal (PP): Nicklas Lidstrom (slap shot) from Mike Modano and Henrik Zetterberg
Detroit is on a power play here for the Kings' second high-sticking of the period, as Jarret Stoll gets his lumber up on Valtteri Filppula. After losing the first minute of power play time, the Wings carry in with Zetterberg on the left wing side gaining the blue line and threading a pass to Modano on the opposite wing flying into the zone. Modano gets it to his forehand on his off-wing and fires a shot that Quick stops, but kicks the rebound back to Mikey Mo. Modano lets his momentum carry him behind the net where he tries to center to Zetterberg open in the slot. This attempt also gets stopped, but Mo wins a race with Dustin Brown to get to the loose puck. He taps it out of Brown's reach right into a Lidstrom one-timer that finds its way through both a Bertuzzi and Holmstrom screen, as the two forwards crashed the net while Modano stick-handled behind the net. The puck hits the post behind Quick and bounces back out onto Quick's skate before bouncing back into the net. For the penalty, I often don't award bonus ratings for being the recipient of a high stick, but Filppula made a move that forced Stoll to make a mistake and he'll get a plus for it. Both Bertuzzi and Holmstrom will get screeners' assists on this play, as Quick never saw the shot. I'm also going to give Modano a plus for using his speed to confuse and disorient the penalty killers.
Penalty Adjustment (x2): 3:23 into the second period, Kopitar and brown get it into the Detroit zone while Lidstrom slows them up legally. Kopitar is set to pick the puck back up on the other side when Hudler gets a little too excited and hits him before he gets there. If Hudler lays the body a half-second later, this is a good defensive play. Unfortunately, he didn't and it wasn't. Minus for Hudler. Later in the period, the Kings are working the cycle around the Detroit boards when Wayne Simmonds gives Salei enough of a head fake to cause Ruslan to hold him up. Salei will get a minus.
2nd Period 19:18 - Detroit Goal (PP): Pavel Datsyuk (snap shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall
After killing of the Salei penalty, Detroit earns a power play of their own, as Pavel Datsyuk dekes Jarret Stoll twice while coming through center ice and forces the forward to hook him. On the power play, the first unit creates good movement in the zone, but eventually a misfired pass leads to a Los Angeles clear. Kronwall picks it up at center ice and gets it to Zetterberg, who carries it in to the center of the zone 1-on-4. Michal Handzus sweeps the puck off Z's stick, but fails to clear the zone as Datsyuk comes in behind and takes it past the sprawling penalty killer. Datsyuk carries it as he skates low into the left side of the slot. He freezes the D to make them respect the passing options to Zetterberg, Holmstrom, and Kronwall before snapping it over Quick's glove. Datsyuk will earn a plus for drawing the call that put Detroit on the man advantage here.
3rd Period 02:01 - Detroit Goal (SH): Darren Helm (wrist shot) unassisted
Jiri Hudler takes a hooking call straight off the faceoff to start the third period. I thought this call was weak and will not give Hudler a minus for it. The Wings kill off more than 1:40 of the penalty kill before Justin Williams picks up a rebound off a Jack Johnson shot. Williams carries it up the boards, but Stuart and Helm converge on him with each of them playing the right angle to force him to try to poke an outlet pass to Doughty at the point. Helm gets a stick on that pass and it rolls to the no-man's land between the speedy PKer and Doughty. In the split second of indecision this causes for Doughty, Helm pokes the puck past him and goes off to the races. Johnson keeps him from moving into the middle of the ice, but he has plenty of angle to force Quick to respect a deke. Helm gives a very subtle head fake before firing it through Quick's five hole. Helm will get a bonus plus for creating this goal, but Stuart's positioning on Williams helps limit his options and leads to what happens. Stuart will get a bonus half-plus.
3rd Period 05:53 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (wrist shot) from Kris Draper and Darren Helm
Following a dump-in, Draper and Helm fight along the boards behind Quick's net with Johnson and Kopitar. Johnson manages to sweep it up the boards to a waiting Brad Richardson. Unfortunately for him the waiting Brad Richardson waits too long to make a move on the puck and by the time it's on his stick, Kronwalls in his grill laying the body. Drew Miller sweeps in and chips the puck off the blue line past Richardson and onto Helm's stick. Helm kicks it skate-to-stick and moves toward the middle of the ice off the boards. He fakes one shot with Scuderi on him and then re-gathers the puck and fires another one that bounces off Jack Johnson tied up in front of the net with Draper. The puck bounces up off Johnson and towards the slot where Scuderi tries to gain control, but ends up kicking it back into the air. Drew Miller rushes in from his position high in the zone to meet Scuderi as this happens and he manages to bat the puck into the net while it hangs eight inches off the ice. Kronwall will get a bonus plus for the step-up that leads to the keep-in and eventual goal. Draper will get a bonus half-plus for playing the net-front so well. Miller will get a half-assist on his own goal for helping to keep the play alive.
Penalty Adjustment: 8:15 into the third period, the Kings are trying to create some offense for themselves as Jakub Kindl lays the body on Kyle Clifford in the corner to Howard's left. Clifford takes exception to being hit and kicks Kindl's skate out from under him as he moves to retrieve the puck. Kindl will get a plus.
3rd Period 10:22 - Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (slap shot) from Jakub Kindl and Todd Bertuzzi
Shortly after the expiration of the Clifford penalty, the Wings capitalize on some good puck movement in the Los Angeles end. Hudler carries the puck beneath the Los Angeles goal as penalty time runs out. He passes to Kindl at the point as the Wings' unit shifts around. Kindl goes back to Hudler at the half-boards before Hudler goes to Bertuzzi at the side of the net and cuts across the middle to set up shop at the other side. Bertuzzi tries to go to Salei on the opposite point, but the pass it blocked of a Kings' skate and straight to Kindl. While the defense adjusts to Kindl, he threads a pass through the box of defenders to Hudler all alone on the back door with enough time to settle the puck down and fire a half-slapper in past Bernier. Clifford is a little slow to get back, but for all intents and purposes, this is a goal scored on a continuation of a man advantage and pluses won't be automatic here. However, I feel that Hudler deserves a plus and an assist. If you track his movement in the zone on this shift, he goes from the half-boards to Bernier's right to the low corner on the left, where he receives a pass that's too hot to one-time. He carries from the low left corner back around the net and up to the half-boards on the right before getting a pass back and going off to Bertuzzi to disappear back into the quiet corner to the left where he ultimately receives the pass that he turns into the goal. This is the play we've been waiting for Hudler to do consistently. It's very difficult to track him when he moves around like this. Also, Kindl's vision with the pass to Hudler is fantastic. Jakub will get a bonus half-assist. Finally, Holmstrom will get a half-assist. He's not screening, but he's annoying both Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene right in front and is probably the reason neither defenseman got his stick on the cross-ice pass by Kindl. Bertuzzi, Holmstrom, Salei, and Kindl will not get pluses.
3rd Period 12:26 - Los Angeles Goal: Dustin Brown (wrist shot) from Anze Kopitar and Brad Richardson
With the game in hand, Detroit takes their collective foot of the gas and allow things to get ugly. Brad Richardson picks up a deflected puck high in his own end and outmuscles Abdelkader to get it through the neutral zone with Brown on his wing. Stuart pokes it off Richardson's stick, but he again manages to keep Abdelkader away from it Stuart takes a leaning stab at it and Hudler doesn't prevent Kopitar from getting into the play, where he pokes the puck forward to Dustin Brown, who at some point stopped being covered by Jonathan Ericsson. Brown turns and fires from four feet and beats Howard. Pavel Datsyuk is the only Wing who doesn't make an error on this play. In fact, he likely stopped an even better opportunity on a rush by stopping the outlet pass that Richardson eventually picks up and carries in. Datsyuk will not get a minus. Abdelkader, Hudler, and Stuart are all guilty of wanting to pay a little too stick-fancy without focusing on their body position and get burned for it. Ericsson gets caught watching the puck for a half-second and doesn't realize that Brown stepped out from behind him and into a good position. For all of these mistakes, the four players, Abdelkader, Hudler, Stuart, and Ericsson will each pick up an extra half-minus.
3rd Period 18:55 - Los Angeles Goal: Wayne Simmonds (tip-in) from Alexei Ponikarovsky and Drew Doughty
The Kings dump the puck in and then retrieve, as Howard throws the puck up the boards to Wayne Simmonds, as the skaters in front of Howard take up a defensive shell position. Simmonds goes to Handzus lower in the zone and he immediately goes to Ponikarovsky back high to take it to the point. Ponikarovsky passes across the blue line to Mitchell, who goes to Doughty at the half-boards. Doughty draws Salei high into the zone and then makes a clever backhand pass to himself to shed the coverage. Doughty goes to Ponikarovsky at the low corner (after he's come in from the opposite point to take up position here). Ponikarovsky spins with it and throws it to the front where Wayne Simmonds tips it in past Howard while Kindl wonders how the hell to clear the front of the net. This is an excellent passing and movement play by the Kings, partially allowed by the Wings' refusal to keep their feet moving and fight for positioning. This is pretty well a complete team defensive breakdown and there will be no adjustment.
3rd Period 19:39 - Los Angeles Goal: Brad Richardson (tip-in) from Matt Greene
Less than a minute later, but also with less than a minute to go in the game, the Kings score again, as they dump the puck in to Howard. Jimmy throws it back up the boards, but it goes past Draper where Greene picks it up at the point. Draper is slow to react and Greene gets a shot off that Richardson tips in front of Howard. The puck bounces off the ice and over Howard's pad for the last goal of the game. Draper will get an extra minus for failing to control the Howard pass and for failing to get a stick in front of the Greene slapper. Coasting into the play and letting it get by him onto Richardson's stick, earns Helm a half-minus. Drew Miller will have his minus cleared, since he was covering the point he should have been covering.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson: Only Kronwall played more minutes than Ericsson in this game and the much-maligned defender used the most of his time. He used the body well and kept a cool head under pressure. It's a bit unfortunate for him that the entire team took the last ten minutes of the third off, as those minutes turned him from an official +2 to an even rating.
+0.5 to Jakub Kindl: Two games in a row the youngster has impressed. He showed a few glimpses of why he's still a rookie, but overall, he played very well.
+0.5 to Nicklas Lidstrom: It was good to see Lidstrom's positioning back to perfect after two straight games where he made noticeable mistakes. He did a great job clearing pucks from in front of Howard.
Honorable Mentions: The Matt Greene high-sticking call in the first period might have been the worst penalty call of the game, so there was no adjustment on it. Niklas Kronwall played a very solid game and by this point, he's already an adjusted +4.5. It's hard to say he doesn't deserve that rating. Brad Stuart still struggles with picking up the puck through that facemask he's wearing, but avoided a minus out of this one with some very good net-front defense.
Wednesday, it's on to Anaheim to take on the Ducks, a team that's easy to hate.