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Key Play Breakdown: another bad pass & pinch leads to a goal against the Red Wings

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings continue to flounder around looking for their first win of the season and also continue to make too many mistakes that end up in the back of their net. We’ve got another of those for you from their latest loss. This one another offensive chance that short-circuits into a high-risk decision that becomes a goal against:

The Setup

Detroit wins a faceoff in their own end and Hronek pulls it behind his own net to set up a sky-high dump out of the zone to Andreas Athanasiou all the way at the Montreal blue line. AA runs the hook-and-ladder play as he gloves it to his stick and bumps it to Tyler Bertuzzi entering the zone with speed and supported on his left by Frans Nielsen. Bertuzzi feeds to Nielsen, who goes back to Athanasiou to allow for the space Nielsen and Bertuzzi are creating by skating into the zone.

The pass from Nielsen is behind Athanasiou, who has to reach back to take control, which gives Artturi Lehkonen time to catch up and cut off AA’s momentum. The speedy forward tries to beat Lehknonen by turning to shield the puck with his body, but Lehknonen reads it well, spins AA one way, and then attacks the other direction to knock the puck away up ice in front of his man, joined by Jonathan Drouin who is also quick to turn after hustling back to check.

Drouin has made the turn before both Niklas Kronwall and Filip Hronek do and Lehkonen collects the puck at the Wings’ blue line near the boards to find Drouin still alone through the middle for a breakaway chance. As Drouin tries to drag it across a Jimmy Howard poke-check, Hronek taps him with his blade, apparently causing Drouin to lose control of the puck, his stick, and his ability to stop himself from immediately raising his hands to ask for a penalty.

He does earn the penalty shot though.

The Finish

I don’t care about the penalty shot, but here you go:

The Blame Game

Tyler Bertuzzi is the only one I’m absolving here as the player who did nothing wrong. Originally I was pretty upset with AA for the high-risk play that turned the puck over at the opponent’s blue line on a rush up ice (one of the worst situations for a turnover), but the more I watched this play, the more I realized that the Frans Nielsen pass that was behind him really handcuffed him. I’d like to see AA recognize that the opportunity was lost by that point and make a safer play and I’m not completely absolving him of blame here, but I’m not heaping it all on him either.

One day I hope to stop featuring Frans Nielsen in these writeups when I have to do one for a goal AGAINST the Wings. Today is not that day. This is a bad pass by the veteran that kills another rush.

To finish things out, either Hronek OR Kronwall would be ok making the jump in on this play looking to be the trailing defenseman getting open in the middle for a chance, but both of them can’t be that guy and they both realize it at the exact same time (which is too late). Take your pick on which one of those two should have stayed back, but for my money I’d prefer the less-capable skater who was already on the outside have stayed back (that would be Kronwall in case you’re confused). This leaves me plenty of room to blame Hronek for bothering touching Drouin with his stick, knowing that the refs would call any contact.