The Red Wings welcomed Minnesota to town for Gustav Nyquist bobblehead night with a four-game winning streak on the line. By the end of things, Detroit went into the All-Star Break on a 5-game streak, but the way we got there was a bit scary. Oh well. Points are points.
The reffing in this game sucked, as the Wild were able to do things that the Red Wings got penalties for. Minny went 2/5 on the PP while Detroit only had two chances themselves, getting one goal. Shots ended up 36-24 in favor of the Wild.
Petr Mrazek was heavily tested in this one and ended up surrendering one more goal than I wish he would have, but at least he was the only goalie to play for the Wings.
1st Period 09:09 - Detroit Goal: Teemu Pulkkinen (cannon) from Stephen Weiss and Brendan Smith
Pulk gets his first career NHL goal on a nice pass to set him up in the slot for the famous one-timer that he crushes past Dubnyk. The Wings change with Ouellet behind his own net, passing out to Smith to his left. Smith moves up and throws a diagonal pass to Weiss on the right wing side joined by Andersson staying to the left and Pulkkinen cutting across from the left to the middle. As Weiss hits the outside of the circle, he backhands a pass to the middle where Pulkkinen has tons of room to wind up the one-timer and fire it in. Smith and Weiss will each get a half-plus for great passing to drive the trnasition here.
1st Period 13:22 - Minnesota Goal (PP): Mikko Koivu (wrist shot) from Ryan Suter
Minny ties it as Koivu finds a five-hole from the dot after outwaiting Mrazek. Sheahan loses the faceoff as Koivu kicks it back to Suter. Suter walks to the high slot area to draw the coverage over while Parise drags Kronwall down low. This works when Suter hits Koivu with a pass in the circle with plenty of space inside the dot. Kronwall comes out to challenge, but Koivu uses the time to outwait Mrazek into going down and then shifting to a point where Koivu could slide it through his legs. I don't like this goal by Mrazek, but it's a good play by the Wild PP. Sheahan will get a half-minus for the faceoff loss that leads to this goal.
1st Period 14:30 - Detroit Goal: Jonathan Ericsson (slap shot) from Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg
The Wings waste less than a minute retaking the lead as Riggy finds a shooting lane and blasts it in past a screened Dubnyk. After a bit of a scary shift in their own zone, the Zetterberg line moves it up ice and into the zone where tehy start the cycle in the right side corner. Zetterberg fights off his man and gets it to Nyquist, who uses Abdelkader to make space to escape behind the net and to the corner. Goose feeds it to Ericsson at the top of the zone for a fake slapper pass back down to Goose coming up to the side wall. As the defenders collapes to Nyquist, he feeds it back up top for Ericsson, who has changed his angle slightly and steps into the puck for blast from the top that Dubnyk never sees through Abdelkader planted in front of him. Nyquist will get a plus on this play for his work on the cycle while Zetterberg and Ericsson will get a half plus each for smart positioning. Abdelkader will get a screener's assist.
2nd Period 03:41 - Detroit Goal (PP): Gustav Nyquist (tip-in) from Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg
Detroit makes the Wild pay for their penalty as Nyquist tips a Kronwall slapper in past Dubnyk. Hank skates it in on the drop pass from Kronwall and takes it to the right wing corner before turning back up ice and going to Kronwall at the point while Nyquist cuts from the half-wall to the near post. Suter is slow to come off the wall to watch Nyquist as Kronwall blasts it. With nobody to bother him, Nyquist tips it under the glove and it's 3-1. No adjustment here. This was a bad PK by Minnesota. I like Z's zone entry, but he shouldn't have been allowed to do that in the first place.
2nd Period 07:25 - Detroit Goal: Xavier Ouellet (slap shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader
The Wings make it 4-1 as Ouellet steps up aggressively on a loose puck and gets a fortunate bounce to go his way. Have to ask for luck to get it. Zetterberg does some nice defensive work to eliminate a Wild chance and start the Red Wings up the ice in a rush. Abby gets it in one-on-one, but delays it back to the right side point before dumping it behind the net for a zone setup. Nyquist lifts the stick of Folin behind the net to allow the puck to roll to Zetterberg in the left side corner. Before anybody can get on him, Zetterberg throws it diagonally back to where Abdelkader is jumping in. Dubnyk deflects the pass attempt, but it goes right to the high slot where Xavier Ouellet immediately decides to jump forward on it and shoot it at the net. The positioning isn't perfect, but Ouellet gets a one-kneed slapper on net that bounces in off Fontaine's skate. Zetterberg will get a plus that drives the transition on this play.
3rd Period 06:01 - Minnesota Goal (PP): Zach Parise (wrist shot) from Jason Pominville and Tomas Vanek
Minny gets another power play marker as Parise finds the puck all alone on the back door for an easy put-away. Minny gets back in on a quick-passing zone entry that involves a lot of passing around the edges to set things up. Finally, Vanek shoves to the short side before throwing a shot on net that Mrazek blocks down. Pominville is first on it while all four defensemen watch the puck, giving him space to sweep it on the backhand to Parise on the back door for the easy goal. I'm going to give a minus to Smith for blowing the far post coverage and a half-minus to Kronwall for letting Pominville make the pass.
3rd Period 10:01 - Minnesota Goal: Tomas Vanek (backhand) from Ryan Suter and Ryan Carter
Minny pulls within one as they run the fourth line ragged before Vanek gets room to walk right in and pot it. The Wild pull it into the zone just onside, which ends up giving the Wild three straight opportunities for good scoring chances before a lost board battle gets it back to Vanek below the goal line for a dump pack up the boards that Suter beats out Andersson to with an aggressive jump up the boards that gives him space to find Vanek circling across the top of the circle before he finds a lane to the front that he takes just before roofing it over a downturned Mrazek. Nobody is getting cleared on this play, as it's in the zone long enough to go through everybody's coverage. Miller and Ericsson will each pick up a coverage minus here, as one of them should have taken Vanek before he was allowed to walk in and score this goal.
3rd Period 13:21 - Minnesota Goal: Zach Parise (wrist shot) unassisted
Minny ties it as Jonathan Ericsson turns the puck over right in front of the net for Parise to finish. Open-and-shut case this one was. Minuses cleared for Smith, Sheahan Miller, and Glendening. Ericsson will get a turnover minus and a coverage minus for both of those things on this sequence.
1st Period 13:15 - Teemu Pulkkinen (goaltender interference): Pulkkinen crashes the crease too aggressively and gets sent to the box for it. Minus for Pulkkinen. Have to be more aware of the crease here.
1st Period 18:40 - Brendan Smith (hooking) against Jason Pominville: Smith gets his stick parallel at center ice and goes to the box. This should be evened-out penalties, as Parise also skates directly into Smith, knocking him down on this play, but whatever. That doesn't excuse Smith hooking his man. Minus for Smith.
2nd Period 01:58 - Kyle Brodziak (interference) against Gustav Nyquist: Dubnyk mishandles the puck behind his own net and Detroit almost gets it out front for the goal. Brodziak comes in and wipes Nyquist out by clipping him, bringing him down hard. Nyquist and Abdelkader will each get a half-plus for this play.
2nd Period 04:28 - Luke Glendening (cross-checking) against Charlie Coyle: Glendening chases Coyle up the boards in the Wings' zone and chops him pretty hard in the back at just the wrong time (as if there's a good time to chop a guy in the back). Coyle goes down awkwardly and Glendening sits. This is a bad penalty to take. Glendening will earn a minus for a poor decision here.
2nd Period 10:15 - Henrik Zetterberg (high sticking) against Matt Cooke: The Wild are putting on a lot of pressure in the Wings' zone chasing down the puck. Zetterberg finally gets a clear, but he's in an awkward position and gets his stick up on Cooke while recovering his positioning. Zetterberg will get a minus.
3rd Period 04:53 - Jonathan Ericsson (high sticking) against Matt Cooke: Riggy gets the lumber up on Cooke and goes to the box. Minus for Ericsson.
3rd Period 06:47 - Justin Fontaine (hooking) against Pavel Datsyuk: Pavel gets a good net-front feed from Tatar that causes two Wild defenders to converge on Pavs. Datsyuk fights them off and threatens to keep the puck int he zone, drawing a penalty on Fontaine. Datsyuk will get a plus.
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In a game like this where your coach decides to put a shutdown line against the opposition's top offensive line, you need your top two lines to dominate. Unfortunately, only one line really did that. This game was a festival of play that didn't fit the eye test though.
Interesting to see how Smith and Ouellet got used zone-start wise compared to the other pairings.
There are wins in this game that don't teach you anything the same as there are losses which do that. The narrative thing to say is that Detroit either took their feet off the gas pedal or that Minnesota dug deep. I guess in that realm, it's both a credit to the Wild for not quitting and a shot against them for Detroit not taking them seriously enough and still winning.
Corsi Timeline from Hockeystats.ca