The Red Wings bounced back from two bad performances to play an excellent road game against a similarly-struggling team on their way to a 5-1 victory. Depth scoring finally woke up for Detroit, who got three of five goals (including the game-winner) from bottom-six players.
The reffing standard in this game was fairly loose. Both teams got away with stuff that could have been called. Fans of both teams will probably remember the other side getting away with more. At least this time I thought that all the penalties which were called were actual penalties.
Petr Mrazek stopped 26 of 27 shots to earn a win in his first career NHL start. As the other guy gave up five goals and wasn't tested five times more than Mrazek was, this is an easy head-to-head to call a win for Detroit. Overall, I think the Wings did a pretty good job of helping keep traffic away from their goalie as best they could (with a few exceptions), and a very good job clearing what rebounds he gave out. I also felt Mrazek helped to continue or stop the flow of play when appropriate. Overall performance and game management for Mrazek tonight will earn him a +2 overall rating.
1st Period 05:14 - Detroit Goal: Dan Cleary (wrist shot) from Tomas Tatar and Justin Abdelkader
Some good movement on the forecheck by the third line frees Danny Cleary behind a defender to get a shot off and then get to his own rebound to find the back of the net. This play starts on a good zone clear/outlet by Ian White, who will earn the third assist and a bonus half-plus. Cleary is the outlet target, who does enough work to earn a self-assist and a bonus half-plus. Tomas Tatar will also get a bonus assist. The amount of movement he does in the scoring box area creates a good scoring opportunity and draws the defense out, which allows Cleary to get behind them to the rebound.
1st Period 11:50 - Detroit Goal: Jakub Kindl (wrist shot) from Cory Emmerton and Drew Miller
Great patience play by Kindl to create a lane ends in a goal on a seeing-eye wrister from up top. This is fantastic work by the crew to aggressively forecheck even after a faceoff loss. Kyle Quincey will pick up the third assist for a good step-up to get it to Miller to start the play around to its final conclusion. Jordin Tootoo will get the screener's assist as he causes Elliott to have to peek around the screen he's creating with Jackman in front.
2nd Period 15:45 - St. Louis Goal (PP): Alex Pietrangelo (wrist shot) from Alex Steen and Kevin Shattenkirk
The Blues move the puck around the PP diamond to set up a blast from the point which gets to Pietrangelo standing to the side of the net for the rebound goal. Pavel Datsyuk (minus) and Brian Lashoff (minus) share the blame on this one. Lashoff lets Backes establish position in front of the net and push him off to Quincey's side of the ice, isolating the back door. Datsyuk is caught covering an area too much and a man not enough. He needs to pick up Pietrangelo here.
2nd Period 17:33 - Detroit Goal: Cory Emmerton (wrist shot) from Jordin Tootoo and Drew Miller
Quick transition for the Wings' fourth line finds Cory Emmerton uncovered in front of the net to pick up a rebound and slide it past Elliott. The play starts as the Blues clear their own zone and Kyle Quincey makes a smart step-up to force them to lose possession. Quincey will get a bonus plus while Emmerton gets a bonus half-plus for covering smartly to allow Quincey to do this. Brian Lashoff makes a smart outlet bounce to center. Lashoff will get the third assist. Tootoo will get a half bonus assist for recognizing the opportunity to tip it into an area for Miller to race to get. Both Tootoo and Miller get a bonus half-plus for smart, simple play.
2nd Period 19:04 - Detroit Goal: Damien Brunner (wrist shot) from Jonathan Ericsson and Henrik Zetterberg
Zetterberg wins a faceoff and Brunner gets to a loose puck in the slot to fire home the Wings' fourth goal. I'm not going to make an adjustment on this one. I think everybody did the right thing and the Wings got a little lucky that Alex Pietrangelo completely screwed up his attempt to get the puck out of danger by poking it straight to Brunner.
3rd Period 13:35 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (backhand) unassisted
Alex Pietrangelo does the Wings another favor. This time, with a chance to perhaps drive 1-on-1 to the net, he instead throws a pass that Andy McDonald can't control. Valtteri Filppula recognizes the chance immediately and gets a breakaway, converting on a nifty backhand-forehand move. Filppula jumping immediately on the chance will earn him a bonus half-plus.
Penalty Adjustments (pluses and minuses only)
1st Period 17:33 - David Backes (holding): Jakub Kindl will get a plus here for doing a fantastic job of eliminating positioning for David Backes in front of the Red Wings net and causing him to take a bad penalty.
2nd Period 13:02 - Justin Abdelkader (hooking): Quincey can't get a clear and Abdelkader turns it over, forcing him to hook Tarasenko to prevent a scoring change. Quincey will get a half-minus and Abdelkader a full minus.
2nd Period 14:10 - Bench Minor (too many men): While at 4-on-4, the Wings have offensive zone possession. It's time for the D-men to change, except they do it way too early. Both men come on while only Kronwall comes off. Kindl and Quincey are the guilty party here and both will get a half-minus.
3rd Period 12:38 - Johan Franzen (spearing): I get that he's mad about being boarded, but that kind of retaliation is over-the-top. Franzen will get a minus.
+0.5 to Pavel Datsyuk: Aside from the coverage miscue, Datsyuk had a superb defensive game and deserved to be in the plus overall for his game.
+1 to Johan Franzen: I don't like him taking stupid penalties, but I like him when he's angry because he backchecks to create transition and uses his body to make space for his teammates.
+0.5 to Justin Abdelkader: I really liked Abby's play in his own zone in this game.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall: This is the game I'd like to see more of. This could have been an even higher rating if not for a couple of turnovers.
There were a number of defensive zone turnovers which led to potential scoring chances, but overall, they did a great job as a unit to limit those chances by getting in front of shots and covering for one another in front of the net.