The Red Wings came into Buffalo to face a hapless bottom-feeder and generally controlled play, but couldn't find a way to have a game-winner count, letting the Sabres stick around to win the coin flip shootout 3-2.
This was a hero-reffed game. Chris Lee and Graham Skilliter felt that the game wouldn't be right if they weren't there to make sure they got to be a story by the end of the night and the two boobs in stripes got their wish in a game filled with inconsistent calls and another bad goal disallowal. Neither team scored on the power play. Detroit had four chances and Buffalo three. Shots were 30-17 in favor of the Red Wings.
Howard didn't get tested much and when he did, he got left out to dry by his defense. Still I'm too afraid to look at Facebook comments because I just KNOW there are people calling for him to be traded because of a shootout loss.
Guide to plus/minus adjustments
2nd Period 06:55 - Buffalo Goal: Brian Flynn (wrist shot) from Zemgus Girgensons and Tyson Strachan
The Wings give up the first goal of the game on a circus orgy around Jimmy Howard. The Wings kill off a penalty and Datsyuk gets his stick on a pass through center to break up a zone re-entry. Unfortunately, the puck rolls to the Wings' blue line where Girgensons beats Datsyuk to the puck. Despite Smith and Zetterberg both being back in this 2-on-4 rush, Kindl plays it like a 2-on-1, leaving Datsyuk to try and defend Girgensons from almost a full-step behind. Girgensons is able to fight off Datsyuk as he glides to the near post for a weak wrister that Howard stops. Googlebuns picks up his own rebound and goes for a quick wrap-around attempt that Smith stops by blocking his stick behind the goal line. The puck rolls out front as Abdelkader overskates and Kindl weakly tries to tie up Flynn. Howard is down trying to defend against the wrap when Flynn lifts the puck over him. I'm not going to clear any minuses here. Z could have come over and helped Datsyuk if he had realized Kindl would back off. Datsyuk was involved in the play and will keep his minus. Smith keeps his minus for letting the puck get out front (even though he successfully broke up the wraparound and needs his teammates to help do the rest). Abdelkader will get a minus for overskating the puck when he's the free guy there to do exactly that. Kindl will get a coverage minus for failing to help Datsyuk on the entry and another one for failing to effectively cover Flynn.
2nd Period 12:55 - Detroit Goal: Tomas Tatar (wrist shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Riley Sheahan
The Wings even it up on a long shift in the Sabres' zone which spans an entire Detroit line change before the puck finds its way through Neuvirth. This play starts with a zone entry by the top line at 11:05 of the period and culminates 1:50 later in the goal. There is a four-second span where the puck gets out of the Sabres' zone here, but it's on the Wings' side of center for less than one second before it gets back in. As a result, I'm going to give pluses to Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Smith, and DeKeyser, who have all changed by the time this goal is scored. We'll pick it up at 12:30 when Datsyuk gains possession on the zone re-entry and passes off to Sheahan on the left wing before going off for the change. Sheahan bobbles the pass, but recovers in the corner and makes a few aggressive turns to keep the tired Sabres at bay. Tatar comes in to make space and allows Sheahan to get up the boards before dumping it back low for Tatar around an exhausted Tyler Myers. Tatar escapes to the far half-wall with tons of space to make a move as Jurco and Sheahan go to the front. Tatar carries farther up the boards with Myers in tow as Kronwall leaves the point that Tatar is approaching to cut down through the middle of the ice. This makes space for Tatar to get up top where Ericsson crosses over with him to give Tatar even more space as he starts to drift toward the top of the circle from where Sheahan originally passed it. About five feet above the circle, Tatar throws a wrister on net with Jurco and Sheahan spread out at the bottom of each circle and Kronwall playing at the net-front. Neuvirth never sees it through a Gorges screen and it's tied up. This is a wonderful job keeping the pressure on to tire out the Sabres and then taking advantage of them. Sheahan and Tatar will each earn a plus for their work on this play; Kronwall and Ericsson make good aggressive moves to make space here as well and each will earn a half-plus.
3rd Period 04:27 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (magic) from Justin Abdelkader and Brendan Smith
The Wings take an early third period lead off a pretty feed by Abdelkader to set up Datsyuk to do his magic. Buffalo is forechecking aggressively as DeKeyser and Smith combine to get a puck up to Abdelkader at the half-wall under pressure. Abby tries a pass to Datsyuk at the dot to start the breakout, but it's in his feet and bounces up ice. In a fortunate break for the Wings, the follow-through on Abdelkader's pass rides up Torrey Mitchell's stick and clips him. Mitchell goes down and the loose puck bounces off him. Datsyuk keeps playing and picks up the puck, walking around the downed Mitchell into the neutral zone. With Zetterberg on the right wing side against Myers, Gorges recognizes that he has to cover both Abby and Datsyuk. Pavel passes to Abdelkader along the boards and Abby takes it into the Buffalo zone, waiting until Gorges makes a play to challenge him to thread a pass to Datsyuk coming up the right side of the slot area. Myers has already frozen by this point worrying about the cross-ice pass to Zetterberg, which leaves him in no position to challenge Datsyuk. Pavel skates it to the front of the net and puts it over Neuvirth's pad to put the Wings up 2-1. This is a fun play to watch, but the only adjustment to make is to give Smith and DeKeyser back the pluses that Kindl and Lashoff steal from them when the defense changes behind the play. This was more about Mitchell going down and the Buffalo defense playing like garbage.
3rd period 13:08 - Buffalo Goal: Chris Stewart (wrist shot) from Tyler Ennis and Tyson Strachan
The Wings play soft in their own end and Buffalo makes them pay on a turnover. DeKeyser has a pass bounce off his stick behind the net which leads to a centering attempt that doesn't work, but is recovered by Buffalo. Smith recovers a turnover when Mitchell can't control a pass, but under immediate pressure by Ennis, throws the puck to an empty corner where Strachan beats Andersson to the puck to push it back deep. Andersson chases him back up the boards and gets help from Miller, which turns the puck over, but Mitchell pressures Andersson and forces him to throw the puck back behind his own net too hard for DeKeyser to get to on the near side and not hard enough to get around Ennis stepping down from the far post. Once Ennis recovers, nobody is quick enough to get on Stewart cutting to the front at the near post. Stewart gets the shot on and the rebound takes a lucky bounce off Smith's skate into the net. This play goes meaningfully through everybody at one point, so no minuses cleared. DeKeyser will get a turnover minus for not better controlling one pass and being in the wrong location for another. Smith will get a turnover minus for the bad clear to nowhere. Andersson will get a turnover minus for dumping the puck straight to Ennis. Smith and Glendening will each get a half-minus for coverage as one of them should have aggressively attacked Ennis while the other effectively covered Stewart (and it doesn't really matter which one does which, but Smith should be on Ennis and Glendening should be on Stewart).
1st Period 10:56 - Tyson Strachan (holding) against Drew Miller: Drew takes a good line on a forecheck against Strachan, getting around him for a loose puck behind the net. Strachan holds on to slow Miller down and the ref blows his whistle. Plus for Miller.
1st Period 16:29 - Andrej Meszaros (tripping) against Johan Franzen: The Wings get a few good chances on offensive zone pressure which ends when Franzen gets upended threatening to pull the puck off the boards and head to the front of the net. Franzen will get a plus for drawing this one, but I'm also going to give a half-plus to Brian Lashoff for a step-up in the zone which helped keep the puck in and created several of those chances.
2nd Period 01:10 - Joakim Andersson (interference) against Tyler Ennis: Andersson and Ennis are chasing a loose puck into the Wings' zone and Andersson does a bit too much to stay in Ennis' way without trying to make a play on the puck. This will earn Andersson a minus. It's a bit of a weak call, but it certainly counts as interference.
2nd Period 02:37 - Darren Helm (tripping) against Tyler Ennis: Helm puts the Wings down by two men when he trips up Ennis in the neutral zone trying for a power play zone entry. Minus for Helm. Woof!
2nd Period 03:15 - Matt Moulson (interference) against Luke Glendening: Just after a 5-on-3 expires, Glendening earns a clear and heads up ice with the puck, sneaking around Moulson, who steps over to get in his way while holding him up a bit. Glendening will earn a plus for this work.
2nd Period 04:37 - Johan Franzen (tripping) against Tyler Ennis: Ennis draws his third penalty in five minutes as Franzen gets his stick into Ennis' feet along the boards as he threatens to step into the middle. This is very similar to the Meszaros penalty in the first. Franzen will get a minus.
2nd Period 13:49 - Rasmus Ristolainen (cross-checking) against Pavel Datsyuk: Dats is embarrassing the Sabres with his stick-handling in the corner when Ristolainen decides to end that by cross-checking him. This is illegal, so he'll sit. Plus for Datsyuk.
2nd Period 17:34 - Henrik Zetterberg (puck over glass): Hank is trying to get the puck up to Abdelkader off the boards, but screws up and puts it over the glass. Minus to Zetterberg.
Overtime 00:46 - Brian Gionta (hooking) against Pavel Datsyuk: Pavs does good work in OT to ward off Gionta and draw a hooking call as he threatens to get around his man to the net. Datsyuk will get a plus.
|Player||GP||Official +/-||Adjusted +/-||G+||Cov-||Turn-||Plty-||Plty+||Chg+||Chg-||PP+Lost||PK-Clear||GA-Clear||GSaved+||Adj Diff|
Even-strength Corsi numbers provided thanks to NHL.com via War-On-Ice.com.
At even-strength, the Wings had nearly 70% of attempts directed on net. Possession-wise, Detroit did their job. The eyeball test shows that the Wings had a combination of bad luck/timing around rebounds and really hurt themselves with extre mistakes. Where the eyeball test meets the fancystats is in the observation that the Wings had one line working exceptionally well and then three which were essentially indistinguishable nothingness.
Matchup-wise, The tough fourth-line shutdown belonged to the Ennis line (which was essentially a tie). This makes the third line not being more dangerous problematic.
|Name||Pos||Faceoff %||Faceoffs Won||Faceoffs Lost||Off ZS %||OffZoneStart||NeuZoneStart||DefZoneStart|
Same zone start toughness as usual for Babcock here.
Check out more from war-on-ice.com, including the visualized shift chart here.
Looking at just the numbers, this one looks like an unlucky result for the Wings instead of Detroit playing down to an inferior opponent. That's not the case. Detroit should have absolutely crushed this team and they didn't. This only adds to the sting that is knowing a bad call is what separates the Wings from a 2nd point that I'd much rather be complaining about them not deserving as much as they should have
Corsi Timeline from Hockeystats.ca