The Red Wings restarted their 2014-15 campaign after being off forever. They didn't play a superb game, but they got the job done with a 3-0 victory.
The refs let a lot of stuff go in this one, but I don't think it hurt the flow of the game. The Wings were 1-for-2 on the power play while Colorado was obviously an 0'fer (on three tries). The Avs led the shots through two, but Detroit had a strong third period, outshooting the Avs 29-28.
Petr Mrazek was incredible in this one. He's still scary with how active he is, but the defense did a really good job of helping him clear out the pucks he struggled to control and he helped the breakout with good puck-handling. Semyon Varlamov played well too, but I don't care about him.
2nd Period 13:25 - Detroit Goal (PP): Justin Abdelkader (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist
The Wings get a power play goal as Abby gets two chances right in front and is able to jam it past Varlamov on the 2nd attempt. The Wings get setup in the zone on a few good passes which lead to Nyquist getting it into a good area, but passing it off to Zetterberg low. Brad Stuart runs off Z, who has to retreat to the half-wall to keep possession. As the players adjust to the puck moving over, Abdelkader comes out from the net-front position to take up a spot at the side of the cage. For some reason, Nate Guenin starts to fear the backdoor play and he retreats off Abdelkader to take up crease-top positioning on the far side. Zetterberg passes to Abdelkader, who now has room to back to the front of the net and shoot the puck. Varlamov stops it, but nobody is particularly close and Abby gets another shot, which he buries. No adjustment on this play. The power play did its job and took advantage of a really dumb defensive play by the Avs' PK.
3rd Period 17:24 - Detroit Goal (EN): Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Tomas Tatar and Pavel Datsyuk
Detroit makes Colorado pay for pulling the goalie early as Darren Helm gets plenty of space to find the empty net with 2:36 left. About ten seconds after Colorado pulls Varlamov, the Wings get their first chance to attack the empty net as Datsyuk rips it off the boards and heads up ice, passing off to Tatar only to have it broken up. The Avs recover, but have a zone entry broken up by Kronwall. Colorado once again recovers at center and pushes it to MacKinnon on the left wing side for a controlled entry surrounded by three Wings. MacKinnon has Ericsson turning with his back to the play, so he tries to get fancy and dangle around him to the middle, but he pulls it over to where Datsyuk can reach it. Pavel first lifts MacKinnon's stick and then sweeps it away from him right to Tatar coming in from the right side coverage. Tatar makes the simple play to angle it off the boards out of the zone the same way it comes in, having it slowed down by the stick of a diving Brad Stuart. Helm is already turning up ice as this happens and he's the first on it with room to walk it to the top of the right circle in the Avs' zone before putting it into the empty net. I'm going to give Datsyuk a plus and a half for his defensive work on this play breaking up two zone entries. Kronwall will get a half plus for the zone entry disruption and Tatar will get a half-plus for the smart clear after Datsyuk gets him the puck.
3rd Period 19:45 - Detroit Goal (EN): Luke Glendening (wrist shot) from Kyle Quincey
Glendening goes way downtown to rub it in on Roy for keeping the goalie out. After the first empty-netter, Colorado leaves the goal unprotected and gets a few decent chances. Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader also get a few chances of their own. After a few more chances in the Detroit zone which are prevented from materializing due to strong positional play, Drew Miller get it out with 50 seconds to go. The Avs swarm on Miller and lock him up in the officials' crease before outmanning the Wings' players to get the puck away. Everberg and O'Reilly muscle it into the corner of the Wings' zone before heading back up to the point to finish the zone setup. A Jan Hejda one-timer from the top of the zine with just under 25 seconds goes through traffic and just wide. O'Reily is able to take it from DeKeyser behind the net and attempts to feed it into the crease for a jam-in by Landeskog right on the doorstep. Fortunately, Quincey is there to slap Landeskog's stick away at just the right moment and bump it up to Glendening in the slot. Glenny turns with the puck and just brings it on his forehand right as Holden and MacKinnon converge on him. With no easy outlet, Glendening goes for broke with a skyhook puck from the high slot. Glenny's aim is right on as it skids down the ice and into the empty net for his 7th of the year. This was good bend-don't-break defense by the Wings. I'm going to give Quincey a plus for turning a dangerous entry into a cycle with a hit on Everberg and then for denying Landeskog a shot attempt on the feed from O'Reilly.
1st Period 12:05 - Stephen Weiss (holding) against Matt Duchene: The Wings take the first penalty of the game as Weiss is backchecking on Duchene and the young Av sells a hold pretty hard. Despite the acting, Weiss is using a free hand here. That's going to be a penalty. Minus for Weiss.
1st Period 18:34 - Brendan Smith (hooking) on Dennis Everberg: Smith dangles high in the Avs' zone to get himself a good shooting lane and then immediately loses the puck and has to hook his man to prevent a clear breakaway. Infuriating play here. Minus for Smith.
2nd Period 12:47 - Jan Hejda (interference) against Darren Helm: Detroit gets a power play as Hejda steps into Helm's path to help out his defensive partner against Helm's forecheck. I'm going to give Helm a half-plus. This is pretty dumb by Hejda, but it doesn't develop like that if Helm isn't burning through the zone like that.
2nd Period 15:23 - Kyle Quincey (high sticking) against Gabriel Landeskog: Q and Landeskog are skating hard into the Wings' zone and Q gets his stick into the air, clipping the Avs' captain. Quincey will get a minus. Easy call here.
2nd Period 18:12 - Marc-Andre Cliche (puck over glass): Automatic penalty. No ajustment.
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The dominant third period spent protecting a lead was a great turnaround from the first two. The fourth line didn't fare great and Datsyuk was slightly behind, but he actually won his head-to-head matchup against O'Reilly's line. Zetterberg was a win against Duchene and Tomas Jurco was imposing his will in this game.
I didn't think the faceoffs favored the Wings this heavily, but they did. I guess that's a case of the eye test telling me the Wings were losing all their draws though (they were -5 overall)
They relied a bit too heavily on goaltending in this one, but the Wings ended up putting up a pretty good performance after shaking off the rust of the long layover. Tomas Tatar made a lot of mistakes in this game and Brendan Smith looked like the inferior defenseman on his pairing with Alexey Marchenko. Jurco was incredible and I thought Zetterberg did some great things. Ericsson's inability to clear a puck on the penalty kill was really frustrating when put up against how well he played at even strength.
Corsi Timeline from Hockeystats.ca