The Red Wings fell out of a playoff spot on Saturday night thanks to a Dallas win that tied the two team in both points and games played, but left Dallas with the tiebreaker. On Sunday, Detroit played in Nashville to put the pressure back on Dallas to keep winning; they came out of the game with a 3-0 win and a tentative grasp on the 8th seed in the West.
Both teams got two power play chances in this game and Nashville was awarded a penalty shot. Special teams failed to score for both teams. Overall, the reffing standard in this game was trash. This was a very poorly-called game. Detroit outshot Nashville 32-22.
Jimmy Howard had to make nine fewer saves than Pekka Rinne, who had to make a number of big saves to keep Nashville in the game through the last two periods. Still, I'm comfortable giving Howard the head-to-head win on the strength of the shorthanded breakaway save and the penalty shot "save" (he played his man perfectly, despite that guy losing the puck). Overall, I'm going to give Howard a +2 rating. Timeliness of saves was huge here, as this game was very close for a very long time.
2nd Period 06:23 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (wrist shot) from Danny DeKeyser and Pavel Datsyuk
The Wings keep the puck in high in the zone. Datsyuk feeds it to DeKeyser who sees there's no traffic in front and instead goes for the Lidstrom Special wide shot. This play works out as it comes out from behind the net on the other side for Zetterberg to slide it in. Jakub Kindl will get the third assist and a bonus plus. The Preds are set for a zone clear when Kindl makes a great read to step up on Taylor Beck and get body position; then Kindl makes the pass to Datsyuk which breaks the high-zone pressure. Zetterberg will also earn a half-plus. He kills a Nashville zone entry at the Wings' blue line earlier on this play to turn it into a Wings' zone entry.
3rd Period 17:01 - Detroit Goal: Johan Franzen (backhand) from Valtteri Filppula and Danny Cleary
The Wings battle in the corner of the Preds' zone. Nashville gets the puck but a turnover caused by the pressure leads it right to Franzen's stick going the right way with Weber out of position. Franzen wastes no time backhanding it through. Filppula's going to get a half-plus for winning the faceoff & ragging enough to get the Preds running around a bit, but this play is more about a Mueller turnover than it is about the Wings forcing the issue.
3rd Period 18:41 - Detroit Goal (EN): Justin Abdelkader (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk
The Wings get possession on a dump-in and have enough time to break the pressure and spring Abdelkader in the neutral zone. Abby skates it in calmly and deposits it into the net to salt away the game. Ericsson will get the third assist. I can't believe the confidence he has to gather this puck and then pass it into the middle of his own zone with the Predators pressing. I'm glad he did it. Zetterberg and Datsyuk will each pick up a bonus half-plus for their work on this play. Abdelkader will get a self-assist and a bonus plus. He drives the Preds back into their own zone and is part of the back-pressure which causes the turnover which allows the team to break him up ice in the first place.
Penalty Adjustments (pluses and minuses only)
1st Period 10:33 - Johan Franzen (interference): Franzen slams into Legwand to knock him down in the Wings' crease. Minus for Franzen on an easy-to-call penalty.
1st Period 14:40 - Carlo Colaiacovo (tripping): I want to explain the non-adjustment on this because Cola's stick definitely brings down Kostitsyn. The fact is that it's a sweep check that gets the puck. This is not supposed to be a penalty and how easily Kostitsyn goes down probably should have turned it into a power play the other way.
2nd Period 07:47 - Kevin Klein (slashing): Val Filppula earns a plus on this play, as he keeps it in and creates an in-zone odd-man situation which causes Klein to molest him. The refs call one of the three things he did wrong chasing down Flip and the Wings go to the PP.
2nd Period 15:40 - Taylor Beck (slashing): Filppula earns another plus as he rushes past two Preds players and takes a chop on the hands for his speed and trouble.
3rd Period 06:26 - Jakub Kindl (hooking): Kindl lets Bobby "Don't call me Rhett" Butler behind him and then lets the pass to Butler through him to break the Preds' forward in alone. Kindl hooks his man and gives him a penalty shot as a result. Despite Howard preventing a goal, Kindl will get a minus.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk & Henrik Zetterberg: The standard-bearers for the Wings, these guys dominated possession to the point where even their official plus/minus didn't do their performances justice.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall: Defensively stalwart at even strength and very strong on the PK.
+1 to Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson: The pressure these two created in the offensive zone was phenomenal. I was very impressed with these two.
+0.5 to Danny DeKeyser: per the comments below, DeKeyser had an impressive game where he made smart passes and was positionally excellent.
Brunner only got one attempt on net, but he tried six shots. He also turned the puck over at the blue line twice in this one. He's still trying hard, but he also got burned on a shorthanded breakaway where he had to be bailed out. Colaiacovo's punishment for a relatively unimpressive game is to remain Even on a night where the Wings fairly well outplayed the Predators. He's got a good pass, but he isn't good enough with his stick to make up for his skating.
Three games behind on the numbers chart now. No promises about when I'll get it updated. Hopefully before Wednesday. Sorry.