The Wings had a chance to take a one-point lead in the top wild card spot with a victory, but unfortunately couldn't pull it off. Thankfully, they were able to steal a point from a game where they probably didn't deserve one and are now tied with Toronto in points with fewer games played.
I thought the Wings got away with a bunch of stuff early and the Wild got away with a bunch of stuff late. Reffing in this game was better than it was yesterday, but that's not saying much. Minnesota went 1/3 on the power play and the Wings went 1/2. Shots were 25-16 in favor of the Wild.
Jimmy Howard had three huge saves in this game to keep the Wings from losing the game earlier. He was beaten by a power play slapper being forced to move in his crease, two crease-crashing goals where his defense was running around a bunch, and a good tip in. The only problem I have with one of the goals was a missed opportunity to freeze the puck.
1st Period 13:45 - Detroit Goal (PP): Gustav Nyquist (wrist shot) from Niklas Kronwall and Daniel Alfredsson
The Wings get on the board first as Nyquist continues his hot streak, gathering a rebound and slamming it home. Goose gets a zone entry aided by Andersson and is pinched off at the boards. This forces him to go back to the point to reset. Kronwall and Alfredsson do a give-and-go to set up the umbrella. Alfredsson's pass back to Kronner leads to a one-timer from the top that bounces off Blum in front tied up with Andersson. The puck bounces to Nyquist on the left side and he puts in the rebound. Nice setup and a good job creating the luck it takes to score, but no adjustment here.
1st Period 18:27 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (insane deke) from Tomas Tatar
Nyquist makes it 2-0 on a breakaway earned after Tomas Tatar blocks a shot and sends him on his way through the neutral zone. The Wild set up in the zone and pass around the perimeter looking for a good scoring chance, which they almost get on a bounce off the end boards to the net-front area except for Riley Sheahan tying up Haula to prevent this. The puck bounces back out to Suter at the point, who tries to throw it in front. Tatar is there to block this attempt. As soon as Nyquist picks up on the block, he heads to center ice and is rewarded when Tatar floats a pass to him for a breakaway in which he has time to look back and marvel at how alone he is on the goalie. Goose makes Bryzgalov look bad on the deke and it's a two-goal lead. I'm going to give Sheahan a half-plus on the defense on Haula while Tatar will get a full plus for the block and pass. Nyquist will also earn a half-plus on recognizing the opportunity to make this play.
2nd Period 11:57 - Minnesota Goal (PP): Jason Pominville from Ryan Suter and Mikko Koivu
Minnesota makes it 2-1 as they win a faceoff and set up Pominville for a blast from the top. Glendening loses the faceoff and the Wild sets up with passes up top to get into position. This pays off when Pominville takes a cross-ice pass from Suter in the deep left point and blasts a shot through a screen and over the glove. Glendening will get a minus for losing this draw and chasing a bit deep on Koivu after the loss.
3rd Period 04:33 - Minnesota Goal: Charlie Coyle (wrist shot) from Matt Moulson and Ryan Suter
Minny ties it with heavy pressure as Moulson and Coyle combine to put home a rebound. The Wild dump it in about four minutes into the period and Smith goes back to get it, trying to move it up ice quickly with a backhand pass that gets picked off in the zone. On the turnover, the Wild set up a cycle which leads to a couple good scoring chances, including one that has to be swept away from the net by a quick stick from Miller (while at the same time Koivu is busy breaking Kronwall's stick with a slash in front). Helm gets to it first on the half-wall, but doesn't get the clear as Spurgeon goes point-to-point to find Suter with room to walk to the top of the circle against the scrambling defense. This opens up a lane for a Koivu one timer from the high slot that has to be saved by Howard. The rebound kicks out to Moulson in front being defended by the now-stickless Kronwall who can't prevent the put-back shot that deflects off the goalpost for Coyle standing in the crease to put into the net. It's hard to adjust this goal because the slash by Koivu should have killed the play and directly helped prevent Kronwall from being able to make a defensive play. I think Miller chased around a little bit, but that shouldn't have mattered (especially after the good net-front play to clear a loose puck). I'm going to clear the minuses for Miller, Helm, Glendening, Kronwall, and Smith on principle of a badly missed penalty. Smith is going to earn his minus back for the turnover that helped the Wild keep the zone. I'm also going to give Smith an extra half-minus for not boxing Coyle out of the crease. I do wish that Kronwall had simply tackled Moulson, but I'm not prepared to give him a minus for not taking a penalty (although I would not have given him a penalty for tackling Moulson considering the slashing non-call).
3rd Period 06:18 - Minnesota Goal: Zach Parise (wrist shot) from Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon
The Wings fall behind as the Wild pours even more pressure on and gets yet another crease-crashing goal in the confusion. The Wild gain possession on a tied-up faceoff and move around the top of the zone to the far low corner where Pominville makes a move to the front after DeKeyser whiffs on the puck. The puck rolls to Suter for a good scoring chance that he misses, but the Wild recover and get re-set again as Spurgeon fires a shot intentionally wide for a bounce back to Parise going to the far post. Parise tosses it at the net and the puck bounces up in the air, going in and out of Howard's glove as he reacts to the strange hop. Both Legwand and Lashoff are there, but they can't get it cleared past Suter, who feeds it back over to Spurgeon. From the point here, Spurgeon runs a give-and-go with Pominville to get to the low corner where he chucks it to the net where both Granlund and Parise have inside position on their defensemen. Granlund tips the puck to the far side of Howard and Parise punches it in out of mid air. Alfredsson is the only player who will be cleared here. The Suter chance off the Pominville play out of the corner is partially on him, but he's making a read to prevent a better scoring opportunity caused by Pominville escaping his coverage. Legwand will get an extra half-minus for a lot of chasing done here, especially the net-front coverage on the goal itself. Both Lashoff and DeKeyser have a bad shift consistently losing their men. Both will get turnover minuses and both will get an extra half-minus on coverage.
3rd Period 11:43 - Detroit Goal: Tomas Tatar (wrist shot) from Brendan Smith
The Wings tie it up on a good zone entry and great snipe from Tatar getting to the middle for space. The Wild get the puck up ice with a bit of speed after some aggressive forechecking by the Kid line, but Parise tries a pull-up play at the blue line on Smith that loses him the puck when Tatar smartly skates between the man and the puck to steal it. Tatar turns up ice and has three people collapse on him at center, so he cycles back to Smith jumping across his own blue line with speed. The defense's collapse on Tatar puts them in bad position to cover Smith gaining the blue line in the center with Sheahan on the left wing and Tatar joining on the right with Nyquist just behind both Smith and Tatar on the right side as well. Smith passes off to Tatar just inside the zone, which causes Suter to have to move over and watch him while Spurgeon comes over to take Smith going to the front of the net. Suter takes a bad angle on Tatar, which gives him space to stop-up and let the defenseman go by him, giving him a lane to the middle. From the right side of the slot, Tatar gets a wrister off that beats Bryzgalov top corner on the blocker side. This is a great defensive play by Tatar to turn the puck over and create speed on transition. Tatar will get a plus. The entry move by Smith will get him a half-plus as well.
Overtime 02:15 - Minnesota Goal: Matt Moulson (tip in) from Jonas Brodin and Charlie Coyle
Detroit takes the overtime loss on a puck tipped past Howard out front on a patient play by Brodin entering the zone. The Wings get a forward change while the Wild recover a puck in their own end and move it patiently through center, utilizing the right side room given by the line change. Brodin is watched by Lashoff as he crosses the line and is not allowed to get to the half-wall, but he's not challenged as he waits for the play to develop to the front of the net. This turns disastrous as Moulson heads to the front of the net from the left wing side, cutting in front of Kindl who is responsible for the gap control on him. Brodin throws a puck at the net that Howard has to play straight, but the puck gets there just as Moulson does and the Minnesota forward tips it past Howard for the game-winner. This play happens behind Helm and Miller, who have just come on and have other coverages to consider. Both Helm and Miller will be cleared. It's not an easy assignment for Kindl to pick up Moulson coming in as he watches the net-front, since he both has to establish position and stay close to his check without interfering, but he fails to do this. This is going to earn Kindl a half-minus. I don't like Lashoff backing off so hard on this entry. He's on the ice the entire time and the Wild don't particularly have speed through center. The defense is set that they can adjust to Lashoff pinching to force a decision by Brodin before he hits the blue line. Lashoff will get a coverage minus.
1st Period 11:56 - Charlie Coyle (cross checking): Coyle and Smith battle hard low in the Wings' zone. Smith gets the better of Coyle a few times and gets very lucky not to take a penalty for everything. Coyle eventually gets fed up and cross checks Smith, heading to the box for it. I can't in good conscience give Smith a plus for this. I have no idea how he got away without getting called for a penalty on this shift. No adjustment.
1st Period 14:56 - David Legwand (goaltender interference): Legwand gains the corner on the D and drives to the front of the net, getting cleared out into the goalie as Bryz makes a save. This one is a soft call to make up for the earlier soft call. No adjustment. Legwand is doing exactly what he should be doing when he gets pushed in. This call shouldn't be made.
2nd Period 11:47 - Kyle Quincey (interference): The Wild get a power play off a scoring chance created just after Alfredsson rings the post. Quincey is once again defending the net front on the rush and gets a bit overzealous pushing Coyle out of the way before the puck gets to him. Quincey will get a minus for this.
2nd Period 13:30 - Nino Neiderreiter (hooking): Nino is forechecking in the Detroit end when he puts a hook on Lashoff trying to create a turnover, heading to the box for his indiscretion. Lashoff will get a half-plus for the good body position which helps lead to this.
3rd Period 12:07 - Brian Lashoff (delay of game puck over glass): Easy call to make. Minus for Lashoff.
-2 to Jakub Kind: This defensive pair was bad and Kindl was especially terrible at holding onto the puck. Of all the defensive turnovers, Kindl is the one who wasn't punished heavily enough for them.
-1 to Daniel Alfredsson, David Legwand, and Johan Franzen: This line got brutalized in this game. I expect better. While heavy defensive zone usage makes their job harder, they have to move the puck up ice better and instead they spent a lot of time making up for their own mistakes.
-1 to Joakim Andersson, Cory Emmerton, and Landon Ferraro: This line was given easy zone starts against low line competition and they also lost the possession battle, failing to look dangerous at any point.
We won the season series against the Wild with three points earned to two. Suck it, Minnesota.
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