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Key Play Breakdown: Glendening from Cholowski opens the scoring in Detroit’s comeback

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Detroit Red Wings v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Red Wings didn’t start so hot in New Jersey with a bunch of pre-programmed excuses already built in (matinee game, travel difficulties, road game, New Jersey upset about their last loss to Detroit, etc.), but found a way to overcome those to finish the game with a victory.

In reality, any of the three goals for Detroit (and New Jersey’s first) would be good candidates here, but I liked the Glendening goal from Cholowski:

The Setup

Late in the 2nd period, Detroit comes off an ineffective power play and puts a line of Bertuzz-Glendening-De La Rose out to replace Larkin, Mantha, and Frk. New Jersey counters with the Taylor Hall line trying to take advantage of the momentum from the successful kill and they get a controlled zone entry after building speed through center on the way to Detroit’s end. Brett Seney bolts in and leaves for Hall at the point while he continues up the center to drag the defenders down low. Glendening, who had been tracking Seney back, stays with the puck as Hall pulls up and tries to shake his man with a spin move.

It.... doesn’t work

This gets Glendening with the puck up ice on the right wing side supported by Tyler Bertuzzi and trailed by De La Rose. New Jersey gets numbers back effectively, but Bertuzzi and Glendening get into the zone thanks to the transition.

From here, the play almost breaks down on a little puck-bobbling across the blue line, but Glendening makes space for Bertuzzi to recover possession by skating in front of Will Butcher. With Bratt coming back on Bertuzzi the same way Glendening had just done on Taylor Hall, the young Wings’ forward lobs a backhander towards the net to relieve the pressure building on that side.

The Finish

The puck floats in on Kincaid, who blockers it to the corner where Dennis Cholowski finds it after sneaking in on the back end. Cholowski quickly turns away from a backchecking Seney and gets facing towards the middle just in time to see Luke Glendening with space in the left faceoff circle. Cholowski wastes no time on the pass and Glendening has space to take the puck, turn towards the net, and fire a wrister past the Devils’ goalie to open the scoring.

Credit where Credit is Due

I’ll start by saying that New Jersey’s defense here shoulders a lot of blame for a preventable goal, but that can be said every time somebody scores. Kincaid might be better served to catch the soft Bertuzzi dump, Seney doesn’t effectively play the angle on Cholowski on the puck recovery, and Yakovlev gets totally lost in coverage, never effectively covering a key area of the ice. Butcher should be up challenging Glendening sooner too.

I also want to point out that it’s kind of funny there are three different times when a backchecker is approaching a puck controlled along the boards and all three of those go right for Detroit:

  1. Glendening’s angle on Hall and the subtle little shove he gives him to knock him off the puck starts the play the right way for the Wings.
  2. Bertuzzi feels the same pressure from Bratt and gets rid of it in just about the safest manner possible
  3. Cholowski tries the same spin move as Hall, except he’s deeper in the zone and the gap/angle by Seney isn’t nearly as good as Glendening’s, causing him to lose his man and giving space for the pass that finds the open man for the goal.

Outside of that, it’s pretty obvious that Glendening and Cholowski are the stars of this play with a well-earned assist from Bertuzzi for smartly dumping it in rather than succumbing to the pressure. I generally like De La Rose earlier in the shift, but he’s not really involved meaningfully here other than decent positioning to not give New Jersey the opportunity to ignore him and play defensively different. The same applies to Nik Kronwall, who basically isn’t within the camera purview for the entire play (and that is appropriate for the role he should be playing on this sequence)