The Red Wings finished off the 2014 calendar year by completing the 2014-15 series sweep of the New Jersey Devils after beating the 3-1. Darren Helm scored twice and, despite the Devils scoring first, this game was hardly close.
We got a lot of hooking calls in this game and not much else. Neither team scored on the power play, as Detroit had four chances to New Jersey's three opportunities. Shots were 28-13 in favor of the Wings.
Jimmy Howard only faced 13 shots, allowing a goal on the very best of them. He wasn't badly tested in this game, but he got the job done. Cory Schneider faced more than twice as many, but allowed three times as many goals. Hahahaha that loser.
2nd Period 15:37 - New Jersey Goal: Joe Whitney (wrist shot) from Tim Sestito
Joe Whitney breaks the scoreless tie as he picks up a turnover and snaps it over Howard's shoulder from the scoring area. A faceoff comes into the Wings' zone as Brendan Smith plays a puck going over his head and Ouellet touches up to prevent a rush up ice. Glendening wings it and Ouellet feeds to Smith around behind the net. The first outlet pass up to Weiss along the boards is knocked back, so Smith goes back and gets it again. This time Smith dodges away from Whitney and skates to the corner where his up-ice pass is cut off. He tries to feed it out into the middle for both Miller and Glendening, but Sestito is right there and is able to reach back behind him and knock the puck to the dot. Whitney is the first person onto the loose puck as he gathers it and quickly snaps it into the net. I'm going to clear Glendening and Ouellet completely here and halve the minuses for Weiss and Miller. Each of them will keep a half because while a bad pass did come their way, they didn't break up the breakup effetively enough to prevent this. Smith will get a turnover minus for the bad decision. Back around behind the net to Ouellet was the right choice.
2nd Period 17:56 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wraparound) from Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen
Helm ties it with a little help from Steve Bernier as he wraps the puck around and it ends up getting poked in past Schneider on the near post. This goal comes at 17:56 off a dump-in at 17:16. I'm not going to describe 40 econds worth of forechecking and cycling, but take my word for it that it's some really good work by the forwards. Eventually, Franzen holds off Henrique in the corner while Nyquist comes in to take the puck toward hte middle while Helm plays net-front. Nyquist gets taken down while trying to spin away from Zidlicky, but is able to slide the puck toward the net while he's doing it. Helm lifts Merrill's stick just as it gets there and Schneider goes down into the butterfly at the near post to seal off Helm. Helm gets it at the side of the net and immediately starts leaning around to get a wraparound attempt at the far post. As Helm gets there, Bernier meets him in the crease and in the process of trying to knock it out of the crease, Bernier accidentally pokes it in above Schneider's pad. I'm going to give Helm, Nyquist, and Franzen each a plus on this sequence as their good hustle and cycling helps make it happen.
3rd Period 14:59 - Detroit Goal: Henrik Zetterberg (tip in) from Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk
Detroit takes the lead late on a net-front tip-in from the captain. Detroit gets a neutral zone faceoff and Datsyuk rushes it into the New Jersey zone along the left wing boards until he's cut off at the corner by Gomez with support by Larsson and then Jagr. Datsyuk is able to fight off Gomez and head back up o the half-wall where Jagr comes to pinch down on him. This gives Datsyuk a lane to slide it up to Kronwall at the point movnig to the center of the ice. Kronner takes it a couple steps off the boards to change the angle and throws the puck at the traffic out front. As Zeterberg turns back from the corner board position, he gets his stick on the Kronwall shot, bouncing it down off the ice and past Schneider's left shoulder to the far side. Datsyuk's good board battling will earn him a half-plus, as will Kronwall's smooth move at the top to make a lane for the shot.
3rd Period 15:37 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist
Helm gets another one as he steals a puck at his own blue line and outraces the defense to wrist one past Schneider as he gets hauled down. The play starts as the Devils get it up ice after a soring change. Henrique carries it in in what looks like a 3-on-3 rush, but Helm pesters him immediately as he crosses the Wings' blue line and ends the effective part of the rush. THe Devils recover, but can't get a good chance as a shot drifts harmlessly to the coerner where Smith pushes t up to Franzen at the point. Here, Franzen gets stepped up on by Zidlicky with support from Whitney. As the two combine to push it below Franzen, Nyquist comes in to help out and shove it right back up the boards. Franzen tips it into Zidlicky's skates, which works out perfectly as Helm already has his momentum pointed up ice when he realizes that all he has to do is play the puck out of the defender's skate and go on a rush. Helm successfully pulls this off, but it's not a clean break. Gelinas recognizes and immediately starts heading back to cut Helm off. Unfortunately for Gelinas, he's not fast enough to catch up to Helm completely and he loses the angle to keep him to the outside. Helm cuts into the middle by the time he reaches the top of the circle on the left wing side. Gelinas hooks him as he makes this cut and the ref's arm goes up to call it, but it won't be necessary. Helm drags across the crease on his backhand before going back to his forehand and putting it into the net. Helm will earn a plus with Franzen and Nyquist each getting a half-plus.
1st Period 11:15 - Jaromir Jagr (holding) against Niklas Kronwall: The Wings get the first power play of the game as they start playing in the Devils' zone like they're already on a man advantage. Jagr takes the penalty that always seems to come out of these situations as he grabs on for dear life. I'm going to give half-pluses to Datsyuk, Kronwall, Zetterberg, and Abdelkader. Great team effort on this one.
1st Period 13:56 - Jaromir Jagr (hooking) against Brendan Smith: Smitty gets body position and an angle on Jagr just inside the Devils' blue line and Jagr puts his stick across Smith's chest to slow him down. Smith will get a plus for drawing this one.
2nd Period 02:16 - Jonathan Ericsson (hooking) against Jaromir Jagr: New Jersey gets their first power play of the evening off a lost faceoff in the defensive zone. Ericsson reaches out to slow down his man as the Devils start their zone setup. Riggy will get a minus for an obvious hook, but Datsyuk will also get a half-minus for the lost faceoff leading directly to this.
2nd Period 06:37 - Dainius Zubrus (hooking) against Riley Sheahan: The Kid line gets in and forechecks hard to draw another call. This one is on Zubrus as he hooks Sheahan to prevent the puck from getting to the front of the net. Sheahan and Jurco will each get a plus for the work on this.
2nd Period 11:52 - Xavier Ouellet (hooking) against Adam Henrique: The Devils get a number of good scoring chances which end up in Ouellet having to take a hooking call on Henrique in front of the net to keep him from getting to the third loose puck there on the sequence. Ouellet will get a minus for losing positioning on his man.
3rd Period 06:59 - Tomas Jurco (hooking) against Jon Merrill: yet another hooking call in this game. This time it's Jurco with the parallel lumber. It's a good call by the standards of this game, so Jurco will get a minus.
3rd Period 17:47 - Adam Henrique (holding) against Gustav Nyquist: The refs decide to call a late penalty as Nyquist threatens to push around Henrique behind the New Jersey net and gets held up. Henrique sits and Nyquist gets a plus.
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All hail Corsi monster Jimmy Howard. You can see on his stat line how well the entire team did at suppressing the Devils. 27.6 CA/60 at even strength is a very strong number, led by the super-suppressing of Riley Sheahan's line out there mostly against Cammalleri-Zajac-Sislo. Datsyuk and Zetterberg's line got tasked with the tough Jaromir Jagr assignment and came away smelling rosy thanks to the help that Ericsson and Kronwall provided. Player of the game Darren Helm saw and beat out the Ruutu-Henrique-Bernier line with help from the Smith-Ouellet pairing.
Babcock went back to more of a heavy zone usage rather than a strict matchup usage, which helps make up for the fourth line being slightly negative (while also helping bolster Kronwall and Ericsson's performance.
The Devils are not a good team this year so I'm trying not to get too high on what really should be an expected high-quality performance out of the Red Wings, but their defense did a fantastic job at controlling the gaps on the Devils' zone entries. Kronwall was especially very good at keeping shots from getting through as he backed up keeping coverage on his guys. Ouellet was strong and poised, DeKeyser didn't turn the puck over in the defensive zone, and Quincey had a wonderful performance. The forwards often found trouble getting out of the cycle and into shooting lanes, but they did a good job being patient, which paid off as it should have.
Corsi Timeline from Hockeystats.ca