The Red Wings won, but I'm still on vacation, so you get the short version of the intro!
Both teams got four power plays, including lengthy 5-on-3 chances. The difference was that Detroit got a goal on theirs and Carolina didn't. The Wings also outshot the Canes 47-27.
Gustavsson wasn't really a difference-maker, but he was good enough to get the win. Fairly solid on rebound control and kind of scary handling the puck; pretty standard Monster performance.
1st Period 00:17 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (wrist shot) from Jonathan Ericsson and Henrik Zetterberg
This isn't really supposed to happen, guys. 17 seconds into the game, the Wings score. The play starts on a dump-around the zone. Nyquist chases down Faulk to the corner, forcing him to try an outlet to Tlusty at the half-boards. The pass isn't good or well-controlled, as Tlusty kicks it too far to collect it on his stick and Zetterberg sneaks in to steal. With body position, Z drives to the middle, creating havoc on the defenders. While four D-Men converge on Z, Nyquist goes to the net-front and Ericsson jumps up on the play. Hank feeds Riggy for a shot which is blocked out front, but ends up right on Nyquist's stick. Gustav slides it under Justin Peters as he recovers from going down for the Ericsson shot. Both Nyquist and Zetterberg will get a bonus plus on this play.
2nd Period 02:37 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Justin Abdelkader
The lead goes to 2-0 off a turnover and some great net-front battling leading to a rebound goal. The Canes are exiting their own zone when a pass misses, allowing Abdelkader to turn and regain possession. Abby drags Riley Nash from the low circle to the corner and back up to the half-boards before giving him the slip and getting to the middle of the ice. During this, Miller establishes net-front position which traps Ryan Murphy behind him and unable to help on Abdelkader. This leaves a good opening for a shot, which Abby takes. Peters makes the stop, but kicks the rebound to Darren Helm for the rebound goal. The quick-turn and moves from Abdelkader will earn him a plus. The room made by Miller will earn him a plus as well.
2nd Period 05:49 - Carolina Goal: Brett Bellemore (slapshot) from Radek Dvorak and Drayson Bowman
It turns out that there was a player on the opposite team's roster who had never scored an NHL goal before and in typical Red Wings' fashion, Detroit solved that problem for him. A dump-in off Gustavsson is picked up by Quincey, who is immediately pressured and goes off the boards to the point. Malhotra gets there before Abdelkader and is able to push it down to Bowman in the corner. Bowman carries to the half-boards and across the top of the circle with Quincey tracking him before dropping it to Bellemore jumping into the play. A quick give-and-go with Dvorak gets Bellemore around Tatar and into shooting position where he one-times the return pass into the net. The turnover here is off a pass that's the right decision by Quincey (Bowman was all over him), but the pass was off and Abdelkader didn't pin the boards. Nobody will be cleared here. Datsyuk doesn't have his stick in the lane back to Bellemore and Smith crosses Gustavsson's line of vision just before the goal. The biggest mistakes here are Quincey, and Tatar. Tatar steps just to the inside on Bowman and loses his lane to Bellemore (which is his primary job). Tatar will get a coverage minus. Quincey will get a minus (half coverage/half turnover). Datsyuk will get a half-minus for not having his stick in the proper lane. Abdelkader will get a half-minus on the turnover to Malhotra.
2nd Period 12:51 - Carolina Goal: Andrej Sekera (snap shot) from Eric Staal
Aaaaaand it's tied. After a good shift by Datsyuk's line, the Canes turn it up ice after a clear-and-dump. Staal picks the dump off the half-boards and gets it to Sekera moving up ice with Skinner and Ruutu on the wings. Detroit has three men back, but the 3-on-3 turns ugly as Sekera dekes Bertuzzi at the blue line and gets an easy path to the slot for a wrister past Gustavsson. I'm going to clear Tomas Tatar on this, as he had just stepped on behind the play for Cleary. Datsyuk will also be cleared, as he's busy forcing the play up top. I'm going to give Smith an extra half-minus. He has Bert back covering and can have Datsyuk push back, if he misses, but has a good chance to step up on Sekera at center ice, but doesn't go for it. Bertuzzi will get a full minus for getting walked so badly by an on-rushing D-man. Kronwall will keep his minus. He's just a tiny bit too late to get over.
3rd Period 08:29 - Detroit Goal (PP): Niklas Kronwall (deflection) from Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg
On a 5-on-3, the Wings retake the lead thanks to asking for a lucky bounce and getting one. Z gains the zone and escapes the pressure on the boards by feathering a pass to Franzen low in the zone. Mule drives to the front of the net to scare the defenders before passing it to Kronwall for a great chance from the low slot. Peters stops it, but Jordan Staal accidentally kicks in the rebound and Kronwall gets credit. No adjustment here for the 5-on-3 goal.
3rd Period 15:58 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (backhand) from Henrik Zetterberg
It's going to be a bit harder to sent Nyquist back down after he pots the game-winner on a breakaway. Carolina drives up ice through the Wings running a 1-2-2. Ericsson forces the play to the outside where a pass attempt to Ruutu in the slot is broken up by a Johan Franzen backcheck. Zetterberg is coming back at the same time and gets to the loose puck first, bouncing it off the boards and out of the zone past a pinching Jiri Tlusty, who is oddly the last man back. Nyquist picks up the puck behind the defense and heads in on Peters alone, deking him into opening his 5-hole before sliding it through him. The backchecking work of Franzen and Zetterberg makes this play happen and each will get a plus.
3rd Period 19:44 - Carolina Goal (SH): Andrej Sekera (backhand) from Jordan Staal
This is the first shorthanded goal the Wings have allowed all season. On the PP, Tatar tries to get fancy and go cross-ice above the circles to Kindl. Jordan Staal knocks it down and heads up ice with Nathan Gerbe joining him on a 2-on-1 rush against Kronwall. Kindl pesters Staal while Kronwall watches the passing lane. Staal tries the cross-ice, only to see it go off Kronwall's skate and into Gustavsson. Monster kicks it out right to Tatar coming back, but he mishandles it. Sekera is pressing hard behind the play and is able to sweep in and take control of the puck before backhanding it into the net. Datsyuk and Bertuzzi will be cleared on this play as victims of a bad turnover. Kronwall will keep his minus. He's trying hard, but can't prevent this play. Kindl would probably do well to just haul down Jordan Staal with 20 seconds left in the game and break up the odd-man, but I'm not going to punish him extra for that. He'll keep his minus. Tatar turns the puck over twice on this play leading to the goal and will get two turnover minuses for it.
1st Period 11:27 - Eric Staal (tripping): Johan Franzen busts into the zone and fights through a few checks before being brought down by Staal. Plus for Franzen.
1st Period 13:21 - Johan Franzen (interference): Well that didn't take long. Franzen gets a minus for being unable to win a board battle on the power play and interfering with Ron Hainsey as he threatens to clear the zone.
2nd Period 17:38 - Kyle Quincey (interference): Kyle gets to Malhotra on the boards just before the puck gets there and prevents his man from making a play on the puck. Quincey's not happy, but it's a good call. Minus for Quincey.
2nd Period 18:02 - Jonathan Ericsson (holding): On a Carolina zone entry with a man advantage, Riggy loses body position on his man and hauls him down with a free hand, earning a penalty. Minus for Ericsson.
3rd Period 03:06 - Niklas Kronwall (puck over glass): Automatic penalty, automatic minus for Kronwall.
3rd Period 06:44 - Riley Nash (hooking): Gustav Nyquist draws a penalty in the offensive zone corner as he dipsy-doodles Riley Nash, drawing a hook. Nyquist will get a plus.
3rd Period 06:44 - Tim Gleason (slashing): This one is a stick-slash as the Canes are scrambling on the delayed Riley Nash call. It's caused by good puck movement, but it's not a drawn call. No adjustment.
3rd Period 18:30 - Jeff Skinner (hooking): Henrik Zetterberg shows fantastic puck control in the Carolina zone late in the game. He's obstructed so many times, the ref finally has to call something. Zetterberg will get a plus.
+2 to Pavel Datsyuk: Pavel was good at even strength and he was even better on the penalty kill. The work he did on the Carolina 5-on-3 was just beautiful.
+1 to Tomas Tatar: He wasn't great in this one, but he certainly wasn't bad enough to be a -5 overall.
+1.5 to Justin Abdelkader: Great hustle and drive in this game for Abdelkader. He gave the Canes fits on the forecheck.
+1.5 to Niklas Kronwall: Big minutes against tough competition and Kronwall kept his opponents quiet with solid positioning and good passing.
+1 to Jakub Kindl: Six shots on goal for Kindl (same as Kronwall) and good play stepping up in Lashoff's absence.
Smith and Quincey were not as terrifying together as I feared, but there were still too many mistakes. I'm starting to think that they should switch roles, as Smith is a much better skater, but Quincey is always the guy chasing back loose pucks. I think they'd work transition way better if they were to take advantage of Smith's skating and puck-handling to cover back while Quincey works a bit harder to get shots through traffic.
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