In one game against Boston without Jimmy Howard and Pavel Datsyuk, the Red Wings nearly eliminated their goal deficit on the season thanks to a 6-1 drubbing of the conference leaders.
The Wings gave the Bruins three power play chances in a generally well-reffed game, two of which were in something of a tight first period. Fortunately, the resurgent Detroit PK got the job done, making Boston's power play look very bad. On the other side of the special teams battle, the Wings got one well-timed goal on four chances. Overall, the Wings outshot Boston 28-17. Yep, 17 shots allowed.
Jonas Gustavsson had himself a very good game for it being a rather easy night for him shots-wise. Boston got some good chances on their low number of attempts and he was saved by a crossbar in the 2nd period, but he was good on the angles, good moving post-to-post, and (mostly) good with rebound control. In this one, he was Jonas Good-Stuff-son. Hahahahaha that joke sucks.
1st Period 11:49 - Detroit Goal: Justin Abdelkader (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen
Immediately after a PK, the Wings get an odd-man rush and a crease-crashing finish to go ahead 1-0. The play starts as Franzen steps back into the zone out of the box just in time to pick up a loose puck created when Soderberg digs a puck out of a six-man scrum behind the net and threatens to come out front. Abdelkader prevents him from controlling the puck and Mule gets it to turn up ice with Abby and Helm joining. Franzen enters the zone on the right wing side while Helm goes straight up the middle and Abby trails behind Helm. Mule makes a move to walk around Bergeron and put a shot on net, but Bergeron swings his stick around in a panic and is able to slash Franzen's stick in two. Fortunately, the puck is already on its way across the ice; it goes through twin 43s as Helm drags Bartkowski across the crease and Abdelkader steps right into the free puck to put it cleanly in the net on the far side. Franzen is going to get a penalty plus on this. The ref is ready to call the slash when the goal disrupts it. I'm also going to give Abdelkader a bonus plus for his work on freeing the puck at the end of the PK and a half-plus to Helm. Additionally, Franzen will get another bonus half-plus on the play, as it's more than just drawing a penalty that makes this play work. His quick turn and surehandedness entering the zone/walking Hamilton is a great play.
2nd Period 06:05 - Detroit Goal: Tomas Tatar (wraparound) from Brian Lashoff and Joakim Andersson
The Wings make it 2-0 after about six minutes of high-paced action ending in a rush that starts at the Detroit blue line and ends just inside the Boston goal line thanks to strong skating and puck-handling from Tomas Tatar. The play starts on a dump on net that Gustavsson hands off to Tatar before the Boston forecheck can get in on them. Tatar goes to Kindl in the corner, who passes up to Andersson just inside the Wings' blue line. Here, Andersson makes a terrifying pass across the inside of his own blue line to Lashoff which is nearly picked off by Reilly Smith. Lashoff circles back around to break the pressure and hands back up to Tatar at center. Chris Kelly steps up on his man at center, but Tatar deftly steps around him and builds up speed coming through center. Joakim Andersson is standing at the right side boards on the Boston blue line, which forces Bartkowski to give Tatar room to enter the zone with speed. Drew Miller drives the front of the net as Tatar comes in on the right side, slightly stumbling, but with enough space to get up and quickly turn behind the net (Bartkowski is unable to chase because the speed at which Tatar enters the zone gives him the option of driving the net-front which Bartkowski must defend). Miller's drive to the net-front takes McQuaid too far away from the far post and Smith doesn't get back to seal that off before Tatar rips across behind the back of the net and tucks in the wrap-around. The effort by Tatar will earn him a plus and a half. He makes the play happen on both ends of the ice on this rush and it pays off. I think Miller is very smart to gain body position and drive McQuaid too far to one side of the net to prevent the wrap. Miller will earn a half-plus.
2nd Period 08:47 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (snap shot) from Gustav Nyquist and Niklas Kronwall
Mere seconds after missing a wide-open net, the Wings put up their third goal on a snapper from right out front. Franzen gains the zone on a reset zone rush which makes room on the right side of the 1-2-2 defense thanks to good movement through center. Mule enters on the right wing and cuts to the high slot while switching places with Nyquist cutting over from the center. Zetterberg drives to the net from the left wing on this entry as well. Once in the middle, Franzen rips a wrister just wide which is collected in the corner off the boards by Nyquist, who immediately goes back to Ericsson up top to reset. Riggy goes cross-point to Kronwall, who winds up for a slapper to freeze the defense and instead slap-passes it to Nyquist on the back door with a ton of net to shoot at. Goose misses the short side corner and the puck goes all the way back to Kronwall at the point. Kronner collects and goes back to Franzen, utilizing a half-boards give-and go play to break the pressure from the D. From the half-boards, Kronwall goes to Nyquist in the corner after he followed up his miss by skating around behind the net to take up this position. Kronner cuts across the middle of the ice after the pass to take Krejci away from the play and leave Nyquist to a 1-on-1 against Hamilton (Chara's playing net-front and Iginla is watching Zetterberg in the high slot). Nyquist gives Hamilton a shake and threatens to go to the front of the net before firing a pass to Zetterberg just above the left faceoff dot after Iginla overskates his coverage. Z immediately goes Brett Hull on the pass by one-time snapping it high over Rask while going down to one knee. There's a lot of win on this play. First, I'm going to give Kronwall two bonus pluses. About 40 seconds before this goal is scored, he makes a brilliant outlet to Zetterberg which sets the tone of this entire play (the momentum of the entry drives Boston too far back to adjust when they get the clear that leaves the Wings with enough room to reset and regain the zone again). Couple this with the keep-in and wise position switch which gives him the secondary assist and you've got a great play. Franzen will also earn a plus for his drive to the middle as well as the passing play with Kronwall just prior to the goal. Nyquist and Zetterberg will get a half-plus each. Their constant movement drives Boston defenders away from their marks and by the time this goal is scored, the B's team on ice looks like a lepers circus.
2nd Period 10:01 - Detroit Goal (PP): Niklas Kronwall (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg
The enforcer power play makes an appearance for the Wings, scoring after a dirty play by Adam McQuaid. The Wings fail a zone entry here as a pass from Kronwall to Abdelkader on the left boards just misses, allowing Loui Eriksson to get to the loose puck. Abby follows up by chasing Eriksson to the corner and forcing him to try a backhand dump to clear the zone. Eriksson doesn't get much on it and Kronwall is able to keep it in. Under pressure, Kronwall dumps it off to the far side and hits Zetterberg in stride re-entering the zone after backing off to cover in case Eriksson was able to get it to Kelly, who was attempting a breakout. Z sets up at the right half-boards and lets the power play take their positions, eventually playing a small give-and-go with Alfredsson on the point. As Alfie cycles to the middle of the ice and Z heads up to the point, Chara chases Hank up to the point trying to aggressively pinch off the play. This is broken when Franzen skates across from the far side to the top of the near-side circle to receive a pass from Z. This effectively creates a low 3-on-2 as Abdelkader camps at the net-front and Franzen skates it to the dot. both Eriksson and Boychuk collapse towards Franzen to cut off shooting angles, leaving Mule a lane to go across the ice to Kronwall stepping up on the play. Krowall wastes no time snapping a shot into the open net from the opposite circle. This play is made by a turnover by Loui Eriksson, but Zetterberg will get a plus. His coverage on Kelly is good and allows him to re-enter the zone smartly to drive back the defenders. Then his pass to Franzen to catch Chara playing too aggressively really makes this play happen. Kronwall will get a half-plus for the smart play in dumping to an open point knowing Z is on his way into the zone to pick up the puck after Kelly pressures him.
3rd Period 08:38 - Detroit Goal: Drew Miller (wrist shot) from Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar
It's 5-0 and Miller time. Tatar scrambles a faceoff after Andersson is tossed and Miller is able to undercut Chara to get to the loose puck first, going back to Andersson at the half-boards. Thanks to Boychuk falling down, Jester is able to feed it to Tatar behind the entire defense just to the side of Rask and cutting into the net-front area. Rask stays with Tatar as he fakes taking the puck all the way around before coming back to the forehand and trying to go near-side on him. Campbell is able to sweep the rebound behind the net just before Andersson can put it home past a sprawling goalie, but the follow on by Andersson forces a weak dump up the boards on which the Wings regain possession when Tatar cuts off Lucic and feeds it back to Kindl at the point. Kindl steps around Lucic and goes back to Tatar, who takes a step forward, but loses the puck as Campbell gets on him. Tatar ties up Campbell's stick just long enough for Kindl to gamble and poke the puck through before he can clear the zone (Lucic changes behind the play, so I'm not sure it would have become a breakaway if Kindl misses here, but it's possible). Tatar re-collects at the outside top of the circle and fires a pass to Andersson standing between the hash marks in front. Somehow Boychuk gets his stick on the attempted redirect into the net, but this really only delays the inevitable, as the puck deflects to Miller standing on the doorstep and no longer covered by Boychuk. Miller sweeps it on net and the puck squeaks through Rask for the goal. Tatar and Miller do much of the work to keep this play alive and each will get a plus. Kindl's gamble is great because it works and leads directly to this goal, so he'll get a plus.
3rd Period 17:07 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (Torey Krug) from Johan Franzen and Jonathan Ericsson
It's just silly now, as Boston is gifting us goals. After a little pressure from the Bruins, Lashoff gets a loose puck to the side of his own net and tries going off the boards to get out of the zone. Boychuk tries to keep it in at the point, but misses it, giving Franzen a chance to step behind him and get it. Franzen is slightly slowed by Boychuk on his way to the puck and Soderberg tries to take advantage of this by pinching him off at the boards just past the center stripe. Mule calmly dumps the puck to the center of the ice, where Nyquist steps into it in stride and skates in through the middle joined by Zetterberg on the far right to create a 2-on-1 against Torey Krug. Goose goes almost all the way to the point in the low circle closest to the net with Rask tracking him before making an attempted pass to Zetterberg cutting to the back door through the opposite side circle. Instead, Nyquist hits a diving Krug with the puck and the biscuit deflects in behind Rask for Nyquist's third goal of the season. This is nearly a complete breakdown by the Bruins, but it comes off smart plays by Nyquist, Lashoff, and Franzen, each of whom will receive a half-plus.
3rd Period 17:35 - Boston Goal: Jarome Iginla (wrist shot) from Matt Bartkowski and Reilly Smith
The Bruins break the shutout 28 seconds later on kind of a soft play. An attempt by Reilly Smith to break Iginla in behind the defense is broken up by Lashoff calmly pushing the intercepted pass back out to center. Unfortunately, neither Andersson nor Tatar can collect it cleanly at center, which allows Bartkowski to step up on the play and gain the offensive zone for the Bruins. Bartkowski double-pumps on his way into the zone before firing a shot on net from the top of the circle. Gustavsson gives up a rebound right out to the slot Lashoff crosses down on Jarome Iginla's stick as he drives the center lane, but it's ever-so-slightly too late as Iginla gets enough on the rebound to put it just inside the far side post. I'm not worried enough about a goal that makes it 6-1 to punish anybody more-severely than the minus they get for having been scored on. I'm going to let everybody keep his minus on this play, as each of them did have a chance to prevent this goal, but in the context of common sense, this goal is meaningless. No adjustment.
1st Period 06:19 - Brendan Smith (interference): Smith takes a step into a guy's path as the puck gets by him into the Wings' zone. Minus for Smith. This should get called 100% of the time. Simply can't do it.
1st Period 09:38 - Johan Franzen (high sticking): Mule busts into the Boston zone and somehow high-sticks Chara. Minus for Franzen. You know what they say about controlling your stick.
1st Period 12:54 - Daniel Cleary (tripping) and Carl Soderberg (interference): Two guys act a bit too much chasing down a loose puck in the Boston zone. Weird call here, but no adjustment.
1st Period 14:42 - Johnny Boychuk (hooking): Brendan Smith picks up a loose puck off a Boston turnover and turns it into a scoring chance on a give-and-go with Zetterberg. Boychuck hooks him as a result, earning Smith a plus.
2nd Period 09:10 - Adam McQuaid (elbowing): McQuaid tries to spark his team or whatever by getting rough with Tatar, hitting him in the back of the head. No adjustment. This is just a dirtbag play by McQuaid.
2nd Period 14:41 - Brad Marchand (high sticking): Brendan Smith plays good defense on Marchand in the corner of the Wings zone and gets high-sticked, slew-footed, and eventually punched for his efforts. Marchand goes only for a high-stick. Smith will get a plus on this play.
3rd Period 10:00 - Henrik Zetterbeg (interference): Loui Eriksson threatens to break past Jonathan Ericsson and Henrik Zetterberg, getting sandwiched between the two before he can complete it. Z takes the call, but this one's more on Ericsson for bein gtoo far up ice. Full minus to Ericsson, half-minus to Zetterberg.
3rd Period 13:33 - Adam McQuaid (roughing): On a puck frozen by Rask in the Boston crease, both Miller and Andersson are standing around while two Bruins try to draw them into penalties. Both men hold their ground and let the Bruins take the only calls, McQuaid being the one who goes for the rough. I'm going to give both Miller and Andersson a plus here. It would have been really easy for either to take an even up and both held firm. Great discipline.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall: Big part of the PK for the Wings in ways that I don't think showed up elsewhere for them.
+1 to Darren Helm: The only of the Wings' four most-prolific PKing forwards who didn't end up higher in the adjustments by the time I got here. He played very well in this game.
For the forwards, it's basically a punishment to not be in the positive in this game. Samuelsson, Cleary, Weiss, and Alfredsson each get the honors there. Nobody was bad in this game, but none of them deserved any bonus pluses. Miller, Andersson, and Abdelkader played well on the PK and all three defensive pairings held their own. Good game.
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