Whenever Detroit and Chicago plays these days, you're guaranteed to get an emotionally-charged game and this one didn't disappoint. Chicago needed two points more than Detroit and somehow, as if by divine providence, they were able to pull it out, despite all of the things mysteriously working in their favor. Marian Hossa scored the game-winning overtime goal on what was his ninth shot attempt on goal. Fortunately for him, Henrik Zetterberg wasn't on the ice to prevent that.
If you're getting tired of me complaining about the refereeing in this part of these, take heart; I'm just as tired of writing about how the refs screwed up a game as I'm sure you are of reading it. Six penalties (not including the game misconduct) in the first period, none in the second, and then five in the third. What is a hold one place is not a hold in another. A stick-check suddenly turns into a hook and interference is ignored as good defensive play. It's maddening to watch referees become the stars of professional hockey games. For the stats, Chicago's PP went 2-for-5 and Detroit's 1-for-4. Chicago also outshot Detroit 41-35.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jumpThe Goals
1st Period 2:54 - Chicago Goal: Jonathan Toews (wrist shot) from Troy Brouwer and Chris Campoli
After a pass from Campoli to Brouwer to gain the offensive zone, Brian Rafalski steps up at the top of the zone and blocks a dump-in attempt. The puck flies high off Rafalski's stick and stays just inside the zone for Troy Brouwer. Helm skates the wrong way around Brouwer trying to set up an odd man rush and doesn't get there to lift the stick before Brouwer turns and throws it on net. MacDonald stops it, but Toews is there from rushing to get the blocked dump-in attempt. The young Blackhawks captain slaps at it and punches it over MacDonald to open the scoring. This is a two-man mistake for the Wings. Helm will get an extra minus for going the long way around Brouwer instead of making sure to clear the zone. Salei will also get an extra minus for losing track of Jonathan Toews in front of his own net. This is all it took for the goal, so Eaves, Rafalski, and Draper will have their minuses cleared.
Penalty Adjustment: about two and a half minutes after the goal, with Detroit ratcheting up the intensity, Todd Bertuzzi ratchets it up too far and gets himself a five-minute elbowing major and a game misconduct for a hit on Ryan Johnson. The angles I've seen over and over suggest that this was a very stupid decision by Bertuzzi. I don't think he got his elbow on Johnson, but rather his armpit, as Bertuzzi turned his back into this contact and raised his arm. Still, I'm actually glad to see the refs take the cautionary side here. This was an incredibly stupid play by Bertuzzi. I don't think he's headhunting here, but all things considered, I wouldn't be surprised to see a suspension. He has no business raising his arm on this hit in the first place. Bertuzzi will get two minuses.
1st Period 7:36 -Detroit Goal: Nicklas Lidstrom (slap shot) from Valtteri Filppula and Brian Rafalski
40 seconds into the Bertuzzi major, Darren Helm blocks a pass attempt up the boards by Hossa and moves his feet to get position on the Hawks' winger. Hossa slashes Helm's stick and gets sent to the box for it. Helm will draw a plus here. On the four-on-four, Jonathan Toews threatens to beat Filppula at the top of the zone and go on a breakaway, but Flip uses a good stick-lock to pry the Toews' stick out of his hands to nullify the break. Lidstrom gathers in his own zone and goes forward to Rafalski moving up ice with Filppula and Franzen in tow. The Wings' numbers force the Hawks to back off the blue line, allowing Raffi to carry it in through the middle and rag it a little while he waits for Franzen to get to the net and for Filppula to cut into the middle while he skates from one point to the other. Bryan Bickell overcommits on his backcheck and skates toward Rafalski, giving him the hole in the coverage he wanted. Rafalski goes to Filppula cutting into the slot, but seeing his lane blocked, Flip pokes it back to the blue line. Lidstrom gets it there and unleashes a slapshot through a Johan Franzen screen to tie it. This is a smart four-on-four play by Rafalski and will get him a bonus plus. Franzen will also get the screener's assist. I like Filppula getting Toews' stick away from him to prevent the breakaway, but I don't like him losing body position and the puck, so I'm not going to adjust Filppula's numbers here.
1st Period 13:18 - Chicago Goal (PP): Brent Seabrook (wrist shot) from Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa
Chicago is on a power play here because Darren Helm is forechecking hard in the offensive zone when he makes a diving poke to prevent Leddy from getting the puck. Helm gets the puck, but Leddy falls over his stick. It's my understanding that Helm getting the puck here should nullify the trip, but the refs disagree. Still, I'm not giving Helm a minus for this. On the power play, Toews wins the faceoff clean back to Keith. The puck moves from the point, to Kane at the half-boards before sliding to Hossa down low. While Kronwall moves to pressure Hossa, Kane moves farther down the lane to receive the pass back. Toews goes to the front of the net to draw Draper in and open room for a pass on the far back door to Seabrook. Nobody gets the puck on its way across and Seabrook has an easy shot into the open net. I'm going to give Filppula a half-minus for losing this faceoff cleanly.
Penalty Adjustment: Almost immediately after the expiration of a Tomas Kopecky delay-of-game penalty for putting the puck out of play from his own zone which warranted no adjustment, the Wings go back on a power play after Tomas Holmstrom does some excellent board work to keep the puck away from both Kopecky and Ryan Johnson. In the process, Holmstrom forces Ryan Johnson to trip him up. Holmstrom will get a plus.
3rd Period 2:25 - Detroit Goal (PP): Henrik Zetterberg (tip in) from Jiri Hudler and Brian Rafalski
With Niklas Hjalmarsson in the box for high-sticking Draper on a play that won't draw an adjustment, the Wings' PP goes to work to tie it up. An errant pass from Hudler clears the zone for Chicago, but some great quick thinking by MacDonald has him pass back up to Zetterberg at the Chicago blue line while the PKers change up. Z dishes to Cleary streaking at the net for a shot that Crawford fights to deflect just wide and to the corner. Hudler picks it up and plays catch with Rafalski before going to Zetterberg at the side of the net. Z tries to feed Lidstrom sneaking in on the back door for a wide-open net, but instead the puck deflects off Campoli's skate and into the net. This was an obvious pass attempt that turned into a happy accident for Zetterberg. I'm going to halve Z's goal, but give him an assist-and-a-half on the play. The pass to Cleary and the pass attempt to Lidstrom combining for those assist points. Joey MacDonald is going to pull his first assist of the season for this pass back up ice as well. Cleary will get a half-assist for the shot attempt and for helping to tie up his defenseman in front of the net.
Penalty Adjustment: 8:50 into the Period, while defending a rush by Viktor Stalberg, Jonathan Ericsson uses his free hand to hold the player up. Based on the reffing standard, this is a weak call, but he should know better. I'm going to give Ericsson a half-minus.
Overtime 0:51 - Chicago Goal (PP): Marian Hossa (slap shot) from Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith
Chicago gets a power play here on a horribly chintzy call on Zetterberg only a few minutes removed from a painfully obvious interference by Keith that gets let go. The penatly carries over though the final seven seconds of regulation and brings it to 4-on-3 for the OT. After a clear off a good Kronwall play, the Hawks bring it back in and move it around the three-man unit to force them to contract into a much smaller area. Finally, after Hossa and Keith have switched off at the points (which are now about five feet below the tops of the circles), Kane goes from low corner to opposite point for Hossa to collect, carry in a step, and fire a slap shot over MacDonald's shoulder. No adjustment.
+2 to Darren Helm: Helm was all over the place again in a great way. He led all Wings forwards in short-handed ice time by nearly a full minute (and wasn't at fault for either of the two Blackhawks power play goals). He did an especially fantastic job pressuring the puck on a third period PK in which he forced the Hawks to ice the puck.
-0.5 to Ruslan Salei: Too many defensive zone turnovers and miscues. The first was a bad period for him. He played better later in the game, but not enough.
+1 to Valtteri Filppula: He was very good defensively in this game. He played the 2nd-most shorthanded minutes among Wings forwards and did a very good job in the faceoff circle. He also had four shot attempts and three takeaways (officially credited with one). He's starting to heat up his game at the right time.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg and Danny Cleary: I thought these two did a very good job defensively on Toews and Kane. Hank went 61% on faceoffs while Cleary threw four big checks and consistently pressured the puck on the boards against two very slippery forwards.
-0.5 to Jiri Hudler: I'm fed up with watching him get the puck in the slot and pass to the half-boards. He needs to step up.
-1 to Johan Franzen: For a guy who played just under 18 minutes, I sure didn't notice him a lot. Franzen has the ability to absolutely take over games. I'd like to see him do that again soon.
+0.5 to Jonathan Ericsson: He wasn't brilliant, but he was good. Two solid performances in a row. Let's see if he can make a streak of it.
+1 to Nicklas LIdstrom: Nick played excellent defense in this game and just about nearly singlehandedly defeated the concept of individual corsi ratings being meaningful for a single game. Nick's rating was -9 on this night, but I can safely say that there was not a single quality chance for Chicago that had anything to do with how Lidstrom played defense. In fact, I counted five chances he eliminated before they became chances.
Honorable Mentions: For penalty non-adjustments, we'll start with the Frolik call in the first. After the Hossa slashing expired, but while the Bertuzzi major is still on the board, Justin Abdelkader beats Michael Frolik to a puck in the corner of the Wings' zone and Frolik hooks him. Abby got caught a bit off-balance and Frolik wasn't in full control of his stick, as Jonathan Ericsson was busy hooking him at the time. I'm not going to adjust this play, as Ericsson could have just as easily ended up in the box. The Kronwall and Kruger matching penalties were called by separate refs at the same time. I'd like to think that the Kruger penatly got added after Kyle Rehman asked Brad Watson if he was seriously calling Kronwall for a slash there. As for non-adjustments for players, Nik Kronwall had such an up-and-down game. I had four total adjustments on him for various turnovers/great defensive plays and they ended up even. part of me wants to give him a half-minus for that fact alone. Justin Abdelkader threw the body well and, in most cases, that might be good enough for a bonus plus, but I just wanted a little bit more out of him in this one.