The Wings came off their post-Western-road-trip break with two new toys to try out on their lineup, welcoming the New York Rangers into town. By the end of the day, the Wings were able to squeak out a 2-1 victory on the strength of their goalie's play.
Nobody liked the reffing. It was pretty bad. If the same standard that appeared late in the third had been going on all game, this would have been a very different game to begin with. Detroit went 1-for-2 on the power play and the Rangers put up a 1-for-3. It feels like the Wings have allowed a power play goal in 90% of their games lately, doesn't it? New York outshot Detroit 40-31.
Jimmy Howard made some huge saves and had his defense there to help him out when he let up a rebound. All in all, the defense owes more to Howard than vice-versa though. This was a stolen game for the Wings and a heck of a good goaltending duel, considering some of the stops Cam Talbot made.
1st Period 06:12 - Detroit Goal: Justin Abdelkader (tip-in) from Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson
The Wings strike first as Jonathan Ericsson of all people intercepts a bad clearing attempt and Henrik Zetterberg is able to feed Abby in front for an easy tip-in. After a long shift in their own zone, the fourth line is able to get a clear and tip the puck deep for a change. Zetterberg chases in off the bench to pressure McDonagh in the corner as Abdelkader gets to Girardi and pinches off the easy outlet up the boards. McDonagh responds by trying to backhand it up to the far wing side. This turns into a bad idea as Jonathan Ericsson comes off the bench and tries to blast a one-timer off the turnover. Riggy dubs the shot, but it turns out ok as the puck rolls down to the right side hash marks just as Zetterberg gets there. Hank pulls it in and curls it down to the bottom of the circle with McDonagh chasing before throwing it around Talbot and in off Justin Abdelkader, who has beaten Girardi to the crease by a good foot. Zetterberg's forecheck and pass will earn him a plus while Abdelkader's help gets him a half-plus. Ericsson makes a very good read to step up on a very bad pass and although he screws up on what he intended, Ericsson will get a half-plus for helping make this play happen.
1st Period 17:02 - New York Goal (PP): Dan Girardi (tip-in) from Rick Nash and Derick Brassard
The Rangers tie it late into a power play as a net-front scramble has a puck lay out for Girardi to poke in past a downed Jimmy Howard. The Rangers get set up as Zuccarello carries in with speed, leading to a passing play around the perimeter culminating in a point shot from Boyle. Boyle's shot gets blocked in the slot as Zuccarello jumps over it. The Rangers' forward turns and is able to make a diving play to poke the puck past Quincey jumping up to clear it. The puck bounces off to Nash at the bottom of the right circle as Girardi battles in front and Quincey races to get back to the far post on Brassard while Zuccarello hangs out in the slot area. With all the bodies scrambling, Nash throws the puck to the front of the net where it hits Kyle Quincey's skate and bounces to Howard's left side (as he moves to his right on the backdoor pass). Before DeKeyser can get turned and eliminate his stick, Girardi is able to lunge at the loose puck to jam it in. I'm going to give Quincey a minus here as he got beaten to the loose puck, gave up positioning in front of the net, and had the puck go off his skate as a result. DeKeyser will get a half-minus for letting Girardi get farther away from him than he should have.
Overtime 01:09 - Detroit Goal (PP): Marek Zidlicky (wrist shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg
Zidlicky welcomes himself to Detroit by scoring a game-winning overtime power play goal that he definitely wouldn't have scored if he shot left. After an early delay in getting out of their own zone, Datsyuk and Zetterberg create a zone entry for the Wings in the 4-on-3 power play. From there, Hank misses a shot wide on the rush, but Zidlicky keeps it in and they start a cycle that nearly creates a net-front tip-in for Datsyuk. After recovering again and keeping the passing going for several more touches, Hank feeds Zidlicky cross-ice for a one timer that Talbot gets over to stop. Girardi is the first on it, but Zidlicky follows up and, along with Datsyuk, is able to keep Girardi from getting it out. Hagelin comes in to help, but Zidlicky plays strong and blocks him off low, allowing Datsyuk to play it up the boards around both New York PKers where Zidlicky can reset it back out to Kronwall at the point. Kronner and Zetterberg play catch a couple times to re-establish the diamond. On the 2nd pass to Hank, he gets a lane to pass it around McDonagh to Datsyuk on the doorstep. Pavel has his back facing Talbot as he picks it up wide on his forehand. Talbot goes down to protect the near post as Datsyuk pulls it back around for a forehand attempt that he nearly pulls far enough to slide through Talbot as he moves to adjust. As the puck bounces off Talbot, Hagelin gets in to tie Datsyuk up, but neither Girardi nor McDonagh can get the puck out from in front of the crease before Zidlicky pops in from the left side. The Wings' new defenseman chops at the puck, knocking it into the air where it comes down on Talbot's back and then rolls down the jersey and into the net for the game-winner. Zidlicky will get a plus. He makes two good plays to keep the puck in or recover it. Datsyuk will earn a half-plus for good play to retrieve the puck in the scrum off the first Zidlicky shot.
1st Period 11:03 - Stephen Weiss (interference) against Keith Yandle: Weiss goes off for stepping into Yandle's way on a rush outside of the Rangers' zone. Yandle takes a flop, but Weiss definitely interferes with him. Weiss will get a minus.
1st Period 15:06 - Marek Zidlicky (holding) against Jesper Fast: The Rangers get a good shift after Brendan Smith breaks his stick, but Detroit stays in the lanes well. As New York cycles around, Fast skates in, holds Zidlicky's stick, and takes a fall. It's embarrassing that this wasn't called a dive. No adjustment.
3rd Period 05:57 - Keith Yandle (hooking) against Tomas Tatar: Jurco springs Tats into the zone for a good 1-on-1 rush that Tatar forces on Yandle to draw a hook. Tatar will get a plus and Jurco a half-plus for the outlet.
3rd Period 12:59 - Danny DeKeyser (holding) against Martin St. Louis: Another dive by the Rangers and the Wings go shorthanded again. This is the same net-front battle that's been going on all game long except that crazy-eyed hobbit dipshit has the temerity to take a fall. No adjustment.
3rd Period 17:56 - Derick Brassard (slashing) and Justin Abdelkader (hooking): The refs take Abdelkader for hooking after Brassard turns to slash and then takes a dive. No adjustment.
3rd Period 19:13 - Derek Stepan (holding) against Gustav Nyquist: Goose takes Stepan for a ride around the Rangers' zone and Stepan uses a free hand after getting beaten around the corner. Nyquist will earn a plus.
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Way too many turnovers in their own zone for the Wings led to far too many chances. It's interesting how much zone starts matched up to players' rankings on the Corsi plus/minus chart. Babcock spent the first 40 minutes giving the fourth line punishing duties and then switched off for the third. As a result, instead of one line getting caved with two doing well and the third struggling, the things switched up to where the 4th line climbed up from god-awful to pretty bad and everybody else suffered.
Shutdown line deployment for the fourth while Babs used his offensive players in closer proximity to the net they were supposed to be putting pucks into. Not a bad plan. Just didn't work out too well.
It wasn't really pretty, but I'll take it. I thought Cole showed some good signs of being the kind of guy we wanted out of him. I was really impressed with Jurco in this one and I liked Tatar in the offensive zone (although he was almost disastrous with turnovers in his own end. Nyquist needs to find some confidence soon and I wish Sheahan would shoot more.
Corsi Timeline from Hockeystats.ca