The Red Wings started off the last third of the season after the Olympic break with a game in Montreal in which the team tried their very best to emulate the Canadian national team. Unfortunately, 1-0 is a very hard score to finish and the Wings took until the last minute of overtime to get the win they deserved.
The refs worked this game like they had somewhere else to be. Fortunately, it the game wasn't exactly a free-for-all as far as uncalled penalties, but the standard was bad in this one. Detroit scored on the only power play chance they got while Montreal went 0-for-2. Shots were 30-20 in favor of Detroit.
Jimmy Howard wasn't tested to an extreme level, but he played a good game in terms of controlling his rebounds and cutting down angles. I thought there were times when he didn't look comfortable looking through traffic, but the defense covered up those times.
1st Period 14:01 - Detroit Goal (PP): Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Daniel Alfredsson
The Wings get on the board first with their first power play goal in what felt like weeks after a great setup pass finds its way out front. The play starts as Tomas Plekanec gets a shorthanded rush up the left wing where he blasts a shot off Howard's chest that bounces all the way out to center where Franzen picks it up and moves to the middle lane with Bert joining on his left and Datsyuk already at the blue line on the right. Franzen passes off to Datsyuk as they cross over so he can get low to the zone while Bert sets up in front of the net. Plekanec pressures Pavel up high, but is beaten by a spinning pass off to the left half-boards where Alfredsson picks it up. Alfie holds as Franzen crosses from one side to the other and eventually moves down to the corner. While this happens, Alfredsson presses to the faceoff dot to bring out the D before passing off to Mule down low. While Bert tracks the play as he holds his position in front and Alfredsson slides to the slot, Franzen takes the puck behind the net. Just as Mule hits the center point to draw Tinordi off Bertuzzi in order to defend the wrap-around, Franzen tosses a pass right onto Bertuzzi's stick. Budaj had just come off this post as well, giving Bert room to slide it past him. This is a great power play setup which gets the defense moving on the strength of a lot of pressure. No adjustment here, but this is pretty much how a power play should work with this unit on the ice.
3rd Period 19:31 Montreal Goal: Brian Gionta (backhand) from Daniel Briere and Andrei Markov
With Budaj pulled late, the Habs pull even on a scramble which ends when the Habs' captain backhand roofs a shot to the far side of the net. Budaj steps off with about 75 seconds to go and Drew Miller gets a clear that wastes a few good seconds before they get it back in with just under 60 to go. The dump-in takes a bit of a weird bounce and Kronwall has to adjust to it by tipping it past the stick of Gionta instead of controlling it. This lets Briere dump it behind the net where the full forecheck can get set. Kronwall gets pinched off a couple times trying to escape the corner behind Howard's right while three players keep his outlets blocked off. Eventually, Galchenyuk uses a pick to get it to the opposite corner where he goes to the point with it. Subban and Galchenyuk play a little give-and-go to get the Norris winner to the middle of the ice for a one-timer. Howard stops it, but the rebound sits in front while everybody scrambles for it. Eventually Gionta gets it off to the side of the net with a very severe angle and is unable to put it past the scrambling Howard (with Tatar sealing the near post for him). The puck bounces behind the net where Datsyuk sweeps in to pick it up. Markov is right there on the edge of the trapezoid to pinch in as Briere hooks him before he can escape. The puck gets behind Datsyuk where Briere throws it to the front of the net. The puck rolls through everybody on the right side of Howard's crease and ends up low in the opposite faceoff circle where Gionta picks it up. In one smooth motion, Gionta controls on his backhand and shovels the puck on the net where it gets over the right shoulder as Howard tries sliding post-to-post in order to square up. Just like that it's tied. I'm going to clear Jurco on this goal, as he's doing everything correctly and doesn't make a mistake leading up to the goal. He actually makes two very good reads on this play to limit better chances than the one that ties it. Datsyuk is the victim of a hook just before this goal, but I'm not going to clear out his minus. I feel Galchenyuk escaping to get to the point with Subban is partially on him. Tatar's only sin is that he doesn't completely jump in behind the net as though he were playing center and prevent Briere from throwing the puck out front. I'm going to halve Tatar's minus, letting him keep the half on the pass, but I'm also going to give him a half goal-saved plus. I'm fairly convinced his kneepad keeps Gionta from scoring this goal earlier while Howard is sprawling after the Subban shot and he seals the near post. I can't be entirely sure that it's not Howard's glove that stops this puck though and I don't have a better angle on the replay. Ericsson will keep his minus, as the play goes on around him but never quite through him in a meaningful way (which is why he isn't getting an extra minus). Kronwall gets outmanned on the turnover in the corner, but he tries a dump up the boards which is too soft. After that, he loses his man in Gionta on the goal, as he's the closest and either has to get the puck or has to block the shot before it gets off. Kronwall is going to pull and extra minus.
Overtime 04:32 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Danny DeKeyser
With time running down in overtime after both teams exchanged good chances at 3-on-3, the Wings get a 4-on-4 gamewinner with some clever net-crashing that gets it behind Budaj for the winner. With 45 seconds left, the Wings go for a change while Kronwall holds the puck behind his own net. Nyquist swoops on as Kronwall steps out, receiving a pass on the right wing side in his own zone as Franzen crosses over from that spot to the far left wing side. As Nyquist crosses the center stripe fighting to get around Gionta, DeKeyser crosses over from the left side to the right behind Nyquist just as Franzen gets there to take DK's spot as a trailer. The gap that Gorges leaves behind Gionta is just enough for Nyquist to gain the blue line and step to the middle to create enough room to complete a drop pass to Dekeyser entering the lane behind him as Franzen goes to the front of the net from the left wing side. Gionta turns to face DeKeyser, but can't do anything about the shot that goes through him. Franzen arrives at the net-front just as the puck gets there and gets his stick on the DeKeyser shot, changing the direction enough to prevent Budaj from effectively playing a rebound. This pays off as the puck kicks directly off Budaj's pad and onto the stick of Nyquist, who is just finishing his loop to the back post he started the minute he dropped it off to DeKeyser in the first place. Gorges is still spun around from Franzen skating right by him and Subban is just standing there looking for the puck when Nyquist slides it into the open net for the game-winner. This is a very well-designed play which layers the attack effectively while keeping the team defensively sound. I'm going to give Nyquist a plus for creating the controlled zone entry while Franzen gets a half-plus for creating havoc in front of the net to set Nyquist up for the winner. Kronwall will get the plus back that he loses to Ericsson as he changes behind the play as well.
1st Period 11:14 - Niklas Kronwall (holding): Montreal gets some zone time and pressure after a transition play gets Montreal into the zone and the defenders get caught running around. Kronner grabs Pacioretty and will get a minus, but I'm going to give Ericsson a half-minus on this play as well. He's in the same boat as far as running around and helps contribute to this play developing.
1st Period 13:00 - PK Subban (roughing): Subban gets one penalty for the price of two as Darren Helm gets the puck out against him twice. The second call was weak, as Helm poked it around him and threatened to go and somehow Subban got a roughing when Helm fell over him, but I'm going to give Helm a plus for the good work. I think the call was a makeup for the ref not calling interference earlier on a similar play at the blue line.
2nd Period 18:28 - Brian Lashoff (hooking): Rene Bourque drives the outside lane entering the Wings' zone and Lashoff gets caught flat-footed, hooking Bourque as he goes by. This will earn Lashoff a minus. Easy call.
Overtime 01:51 - Tomas Tatar (hooking) and PK Subban (diving): With the Canadiens putting pressure on in the offensive zone, Subban tries to step around Tatar at the point. He succeeds enough to get Tatar to put his stick into the midsection, but since he had spent the entire shift up to that point not cheating, his better instincts got a hold of him and he sold the hook with a dive, joining Tatar in the sin bin. By all rights, I should go ahead and give Tatar a minus for this, but I'm not going to. Tatar was the victim of more than one hook/hold as bad as this one and I think giving him a minus would be shitty. No adjustment.
+1 to Niklas Kronwall, Kyle Quincey, and Danny DeKeyser: Kronwall wasn't as bad as a -2 in this game. In fact, I thought the defense played well overall. Quincey had a downright decent game and DeKeyser played an incredibly smart and smooth 24 minutes.
+1 to Tomas Tatar, +0.5 to Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco: The most exciting line of the night for the Wings played well at both ends of the ice. Tatar was the standout of the trio, playing a supremely impressive physical game.
+1 to Drew Miller, Joakim Andersson, and Darren Helm: The penalty killing star forwards for the Wings also played well at even-strength, but they really shined when shorthanded.
Most of the team played pretty well, but I thought they missed a few opportunities to drive the middle better. Abdelkader had a solid but unspectacular game while Franzen did well in his first game back. Datsyuk certainly didn't look like himself in this game and it showed in his usage.
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