The Wings went into Toronto on Saturday looking to keep a leg up on the Wild Card race and potentially sweep a leg out from under the Leafs' own race. After a shaky start, the Wings found their legs and their system to win a 4-2 game.
Neither team scored a power play goal in a game where the refs generally let the teams play and were rewarded with somewhat cleaner overall back-and-forth play than we've seen the last few games. Toronto was 0/2 and Detroit 0/3. Hilariously, even with the lead, the Wings overcame a shooting deficit to outshoot the Leafs 28-27.
CSSI Methodology Explanation here
Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 27 shots to earn the victory for the Wings, giving up a screened slapper and a redirect goal. He also got saved on what would have been an amazingly soft goal in the third period, but I'm not going to hold that against him given the big saves he did manage to put up, especially in the second period.
1st Period 10:57 - Toronto Goal: Cody Franson (slap shot) from Jake Gardiner and Jay McClement
Toronto gets the first one off a faceoff win after an icing play. The icing happens as Jurco tries to dump the puck to center so the Wings can finish a change. He gets too much on it and Gardiner doesn't get to it before it hits the line, so the faceoff comes deep. McClement beats Helm clean as he draws it straight back, but not very hard. Andersson races up to challenge it, but Gardiner gets to it first and sends it to the far point for Franson. Lashoff ties up Bodie in the shooting lane to eliminate the stick, but the two players end up acting as the screen Franson needs for his shot to find the net high to the blocker side on Howard. DeKeyser and Andersson will be cleared as they're innocent on this play. Lashoff will keep his minus as part of the screen. Jurco will get an extra half-minus for the icing and Helm will get a full extra minus for the faceoff loss.
2nd Period 03:05 - Detroit Goal (SH): Darren Helm (backhand) from Joakim Andersson
Detroit pulls even with a shorthanded goal shortly after Helm gets stopped on a breakaway, as they follow up and get another great chance in front. Tyler Bozak enters the Wings' zone on the wing and is pinched off as DeKeyser holds him to the outside and Andersson pressures from behind, forcing him to try to go back to the point. Kessel is there to help as he tries to sweep it out to Gardiner to make space, but so is Helm. The speedster blocks the Kessel pass and heads up ice on a rush that Bernier stops. The puck and Helm fly to the corner as everybody collapses back. Phaneuf takes Helm out, but Andersson is there to pressure Gardiner, which slows him up a little bit. As Gardiner turns to make the pass up ice, Helm gets his stick in and disrupts it. The puck rolls slowly just behind Andersson skating back above the dot. Joker turns and slaps the puck back to the front where Helm is going. Helm knocks it down out of mid-air and moves around Bernier, who is frozen expecting the puck to get in on him. Helmer backhands it over the outstretched goalie and ties it. This is great PK work by the forwards. Helm will get two pluses (one for the initial steal and another for breaking up the Gardiner pass). Andersson will get a plus and a half (pinching off the zone entry and following up the rush).
2nd Period 04:37 - Detroit Goal: Gustav Nyquist (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Jakub Kindl
Just 90 seconds after the Helm shorty, Detroit gets a break and goes up 2-1 on a good rush, lucky bounce, and smart finish by Nyquist. The Leafs ice it after the expiration of their power play. After an initial faceoff win for the Wings, Toroto gets it out on a soft dump out of the zone. Smith goes to get it and is chased deep by Lupul, outletting to Kindl on the open side to allow the Wings to start transition. Kindl hits Franzen going up the right wing side picking up speed. A quick move gets him across the blue line in the middle of the ice with both Nyquist and Legwand following him in a conga line. Franzen shoots the puck from well above the slot which bounces off Cody Franson and then Dion Phaneuf and lands directly at the feet of Nyquist in the slot. Goose does't hesitate as he rips it into the net. This is a good pass by Kindl to get the Wings out of the zone with speed which will earn Kindl a half-plus. Franzen pushing the middle and driving back the defense will also earn Mule a half-plus.
2nd Period 07:57 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (tip in) from Jakub Kindl and Daniel Alfredsson
The Wings get some great puck movement and a rare tip-in goal as Kindl blasts one from up top that Helm screens and tips past Bernier. The Wings push the Leafs deep and go change as Helm comes on to pressure. Gleason tries a pass up the middle that doesn't connect with anybody until it ends up on Quincey's stick for a quick turn to DeKeyser who outlets it to Andersson up the middle across the Leafs' blue line. Joker feeds Helm on the right wing side and Helm nearly scores as he cuts back across Franson to get to the middle. Bernier stops it and Andersson barely misses the put-back at the side, but he is the first man to get to it in the corner and is able to hold off the pressure while he makes a lane to throw a backhand pass to Alfredsson high in the middle. Lupul is in position on Alfie, but in trying to block a shot, he gives up the lane to pass to Kindl on the wing. Kindl is able to step into this pass at the top of the circle and blasts it on net with Helm directly in front. Bernier is trying to peek around Helm as the puck is tipped into his net. Although he changes, I'm going to give DeKeyser a plus for the great, sharp outlet pass to Andersson to gain the zone. Joker will get a half-plus for the good forechecking and good pass. Quincey also helps make this happen with the quick turn to DeKeyser even though he changes. Quincey will get a half-plus.
2nd Period 18:57 - Toronto Goal: Joffrey Lupul (wrist shot) from Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner
The Leafs kill a four-minute penalty and get a goal back on a terrible defensive breakdown by the Wings. Detroit struggles to get the puck out on a long shift, finally dumping it high to center to relieve the pressure and get at least a couple people off. Miller challenges Gardiner at the Toronto blue line and almost creates a turnover, but Reilly swoops in to pick it up and carry it up the right wing with speed being chased by Helm coming off the bench. As Gardiner crosses into the zone, Lupul just barely keeps his toe on the blue line to keep the play onside. Helm tries a stick-lift on Rielly, but misses and ends up taking out his feet instead. As Rielly goes down, he sweeps the puck to the front of the net where it meets Lupul at the top of the crease. Lupul sweeps it into the net and the game gets a bit closer. Andersson and Miller will be cleared on this goal, as Miller actually took his guy out of the play at the other blue line and Andersson had nothing to do with it. Helm will get a penalty minus on this play. If Lupul doesn't score, he's headed to the box anyway. Quincey and Smith will each pick up a coverage minus for letting the pass connect to Lupul for the goal
3rd Period 08:38 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (breakaway perfection) from Danny DeKeyser
The Wings get an insurance marker at 4-on-4 as Helm finishes a breakaway beautifully. The Leafs gain possession on a zone-clear turnover, but thanks to them trying to change and Helm watching up ice, they don't turn the puck up ice for about 20 seconds. Finally, Franson brings it to the blue line and feeds Raymond coming up the left wing with speed. DeKeyser watches him effectively, keeping him to the outside up the wing and even following him around the net all the way around to the top of the opposite circle where he passes off to Franson at the left side point. Franson collects it and tries to shoot, but the split-second delay in gathering the puck puts Helm in perfect position to block it. Helm is already moving toward Franson when the puck goes off his skate to the middle where DeKeyser is looping on his defensive position. Without hesitating, DeKeyser immediately pushes the puck up ice. Helm reaches back to deflect it up to himself with a step on the defenseman. This time, he freezes Bernier with a shoulder fake and brings it around to his stick side where he slides it in behind him for the dagger. This is a great defensive play by DeKeyser who will get a plus and a half. Helm will also pick up a plus for the good block and immediate recognition of the scoring chance.
3rd Period Goal-Saved Adjustment - Brendan Smith (16:37): On a neutral zone turnover by the Leafs, Kronwall collects the puck and is pushed back by Kessel forechecking. Krowall plays a little casually with the puck and ends up having his outlet pass blocked by Kessel. As Kessel tries to control it, Nyquist comes in and jabs the puck away from him. The puck rolls in on Howard who is content to freeze it, but it takes a weird bounce over his stick and through his legs. The puck is on its way into the net when Smith races in from watching the back post and sweeps it away from the goal line before it can cross. Smith will get a goal-saved plus on this one for bailing out both Howard and Kronwall.
1st Period 14:48 - David Legwand & Phil Kessel (roughing): The Leafs get a chance that ends with the puck out of play and both teams scrumming in the corner. The refs take Legwand and Kessel for being mean to each other. No adjustment.
2nd Period 02:09 - Riley Sheahan (holding): Sheahan gets caught chasing in the offensive zone and uses a free hand on Kadri, who does a great job to subtly sell what is a valid penalty. Sheahan will get a minus.
2nd Period 14:23 - David Bolland (interference & roughing): Darren Helm is pushing hard after an icing to get the puck deep so the Wings can change. After he dumps it, he gets a step on Bolland and gets held up for his trouble. Bolland sits and Helm gets a plus. After the play, Bolland takes another one because he's mad at Helm. While this is a dumb play by Bolland, Helm will get another half-plus for not taking an even-up call.
3rd Period 06:38 - Tomas Tatar & Phil Kessel (roughing): The Wings again take Kessel off the ice on matching roughing calls. Again no adjustment.
3rd Period 11:30 - James van Riemsdyk (hooking): JVR comes off the bench behind Jurco, who has a step on a bad pass aimed his way and a lane to create an odd-man rush. van Riemsdyk answers by hooking Jurco down. This is a good hustle to get into position by Jurco, who will get a plus.
3rd Period 18:24 - Darren Helm (tripping): Kadri breaks into the Detroit zone with speed threatening to push the corner when Helm tries a sweep check that misses and gets the skates. Helm will get a minus.
+1 to Brendan Smith: He played 22:29, mostly against the Leafs' top line and did a very good job driving the puck the right way. I was very comfortable with him playing as the go-to outlet passer in the corner of his own zone.
+1.5 to Kyle Quincey: A strong performance by Quincey as the physical presence on his pairing with DeKeyser (who ended up a +4.5 in this game). Quincey kept players to the outside, didn't turn the puck over, and used the body effectively to help the wings regain possession when they didn't have it.
+2 to Riley Sheahan & +1 to Tomas Jurco: The Kid Line started a majority of their shifts in the defensive zone and kept the possession numbers close despite this disadvantage. I thought they played defensively well. This adjusts them all up to positive numbers. I thought Sheahan had a very good game at center against Kadri's line, even with the one penalty.
Krowall cost himself a bonus plus on a few little mistakes. The biggest of them was the play that ended up with the Smith goal-saved plus. This was Joakim Andersson's best game of the season.
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Screener's Assist Totals
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