Detroit started their season on Wednesday night by welcoming hated rivals the Buffalo Sabres into the Joe Louis Arena. After all was said and done, the Wings secured a 2-1 victory which could have been a heck of a lot more convincing, but was still a fairly dominant performance against an overmatched team.
The Sabres were awarded seven power play opportunities, including two lengthy 5-on-3 chances. Fortunately, the Wings were able to kill off all of the Sabres' advantages. Detroit was unable to score on their three opportunities (and a penalty shot), but did look dangerous doing so. Overall, Detroit ruled the shot counter 34-20.
Jimmy Howard wasn't terribly challenged on the 20 shots he faced, but he gave the Sabres a goal with a bit of sloppy play that matched the way his teammates were going at that point of the third period.
1st Period 12:05 - Detroit Goal: Mikael Samuelsson (hahaha) from Cory Emmerton and Niklas Kronwall
The Wings get on the board first with what looks like a harmless play that turns into a nice deflection goal. Solid back-checking/step-up work by Alfredsson and Kronwall combine to force an ill-pressured dump in by the Sabres which quickly turns into line changes for both teams and a breakout from behind Detroit's net. Kronwall feeds Emmerton crossing his own blue line. Emmerton side-steps Vanek in the neutral zone and heads for the corner with Miller hanging at the offensive blue line and Samuelsson pushing the center lane. As Henrik Tallinder goes to pinch Emmerton to the boards, he throws a backhand pass at the front of the net where Mikael Samuelsson tips it over Miller's shoulder. I'm going to give Alfredsson, Kronwall, and Franzen each half-pluses on this play. Their work leads to the Wings recovering the puck and being able to turn it up ice.
1st period 12:41 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (backhand) unassisted
36 seconds later, Detroit gets the game-winner off of Pavel Datsyuk's insane backhand shot. Again, the Wings start from behind their own net. This time, Kronwall goes to Datsyuk moving up from his own zone. Datsyuk gets cut off at his own blue line so he outlets to Ericsson moving with speed. Riggy sidesteps Stafford and is so amazed he did it that he kind of loses the puck off his stick when Mike Weber steps up on him at the Buffalo blue line. Riggy bumps Weber and keeps pushing as Rasmus Ristolainen gets to it at the half-boards. The runaway Rig scares Ristolainen into trying to chop it up the boards where it goes straight past Abdelkader and onto Pavel Datsyuk's stick. This is a really bad idea by Ristolainen, as Datsyuk steps into the middle of the ice and uses an Ericsson pick to make room for a backhand top corner snipe past Drew Miller's less-famous brother. In the dumbest thing of the night, the very first screener's assist of the year will go to Jonathan Ericsson because life doesn't always make sense. I'm also going to give Riggy a bonus plus on this play for creating the turnover to Datsyuk.
3rd Period 12:36 - Buffalo Goal: Zemgus Girgensons (backhand) from Brian Flynn
Buffalo breaks the shutout in the third off a Jimmy Howard mistake behind his own net here. The Wings' neutral zone defense creates a dump-in that Howard gets behind his own net with only Flynn coming in to pressure. Smith and Quincey go to their respective positions in the corners to serve as Howard's outlets while Andersson goes to the front of the open Detroit net to cover that angle. Howard holds it too long before deciding to try for Quincey and Flynn is there to block the pass. The blocked puck bounces off Flynn and directly out front where Girgensons collects the loose puck and roofs it over scuttling Howard trying to get back into his net. This is a bad goal for Howard to give up. I'm going to clear everybody's minus on this play because of this. However, Brendan Smith will earn back a half-minus. The timing is lightning-quick here, but I think he needs to react a little bit quicker to try and jump into Girgenson's path when Howard tries to go Quincey's way. I don't think he would have made it, but a quicker response gives him a chance at it at least.
1st Period 03:32 - Henrik Zetterberg (high sticking): Tyler Myers charges in on Zetterberg to pinch off an outlet and gets a face full of Zetterberg's follow-through. This is a bad penalty call. Z had just played the puck and was still recoiling when Myers came in. No adjustment.
1st Period 04:01 - Jonathan Ericsson (delay of game): Ericsson falls down on the PK and puts his hand over the puck, waiting far too long to uncover it. It's a bit of gamesmanship, but Riggy will get a minus for this. He really doesn't have a good reason for falling down here.
1st Period 15:17 - Drew Stafford (boarding): Brendan Smith technically draws this, but I'm sure if he had his choice, he wouldn't want anybody hitting him in the numbers. No adjustment.
1st Period 19:25 - Kyle Quincey (interference): Late in the first, the Sabres are cycling in the Wings' zone when Quincey meets Brian Flynn at the front of the Wings' net, but runs into him a bit harder than he should. Quincey will get a minus.
2nd Period 05:03 - Henrik Zetterberg (tripping): The Wings are putting on good pressure, but Z gets caught up in a bit of trouble as he tries to backcheck. Stafford grabs Hank and creates his own trip. No adjustment.
2nd Period 09:27 - Tyler Myers (high sticking): The Wings head into the zone with speed on a long outlet pass. Miller shoots on Miller while Emmerton drives the front of the net. Myers interferes with him twice, but only gets called when he hits his man in the face with his stick. Emmerton is doing good work driving his defender straight back like this and will get a half-plus.
2nd Period 11:25 - Daniel Cleary (goalie interference): This is a bad call to give Cleary a penalty on this. I can see calling off the goal, but there's certainly not enough interference to warrant a penalty. No adjustment.
2nd Period 12:19 - Thomas Vanek (tripping on breakaway): Emmerton gets a penalty shot after being taken down on a breakaway. Emmerton will get a plus, but Drew Miller will also pull a half-plus for getting the puck to him so well.
2nd Period 16:36 - Mikael Samuelsson (hooking): This one is going to be partially shared by Jakub Kindl, who had a pretty bad turnover to put the Wings in a bad spot in their own zone. Samuelsson still got behind his guy and hooked the man though. Samuelsson will get a minus and Kindl a half.
2nd Period 17:45 - Cory Emmerton (puck over glass): After a good pass block by Emmerton on the PK, he poops all over his good feelings by dumping the puck over the glass, badly. Emmerton will get a minus.
3rd Period 16:02 - Henrik Tallinder (tripping): Take your pick of penalties committed by Tallinder to keep Abdelkader at bay before the whistle finally went. The trip is the one that was called and the Wings went to the power play. Abdelkader will get a plus for earning this one.
+1 to Daniel Alfredsson & Stephen Weiss: These two dominated their opposition in this game, allowing only two shots on goal the entire time they were on the ice at even strength. I thought both had very good jump in both forechecking and backchecking
+1.5 to Pavel Datsyuk +1 to Henrik Zetterberg: These two dominated their competition in this game. Datsyuk was a little better of the two, but the puck was always moving the right way with them on the ice.
+1 to Kyle Quincey: I think this was a solid performance by Quincey, who was tough in front of his own net and moved the puck well through center. The penalty happened, but I didn't think that he warranted ending the game on an overall minus.
+0.5 to Todd Bertuzzi: This was a very good outing for Bertuzzi, who moved the puck well, was skating and using the body effectively, and didn't maddeningly turn it over on blind backhanded spin-o-rama passes.
+1 to Joakim Andersson: All the talk about how he put on weight in the offseason looked true in this game. he was noticeably more physical and seemed to be skating with more confidence. His penalty killing work, especially during the 5-on-3 time was very good as he kept to his lanes, but was also selectively aggressive on the puck-carrier.
Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith were fairly quiet most of the night. Each made some good plays and each made some bad. I think their overall adjustments do well to tell the story. Danny DeKeyser's even rating was also the result of quiet, unspectacular play in the defensive zone. He was decent, but he looked like he was trying to do too much at times. The difference between lazy jerk Franzen and woohoo goal-scoring Franzen was just that his four shots on goal didn't find their way in. I just didn't really notice him despite how dangerous he looked on the first PP unit.
Current Game Chart
Season Totals Chart
Screener's Assist Totals
|Player Name||Screener's Assists Totals|