The Wings ended their losing streak on Rivalry Night Wednesday with what can probably be described as half of a good game. After blowing a 3-0 lead and continuing through much of the follow-up time being outplayed, Tyler Bertuzzi netted the game-winner, seen here:
After a faceoff win outside their own blue line, the Wings regroup and dump the puck in on a safe play by Ericsson to push up ice where Rasmussen tips it to prevent icing and get the forecheck established with his linemates Glendening and Bertuzzi. The three-net-front-guys line is able to create a turnover by Jay Bouwmeester and Glendening feeds a pass to Dennis Cholowski at the top-middle of the zone to give Detroit space to establish possession and get all of those forwards to their favored position right by the crease.
Cholowski is challenged at the point by Robert Thomas and does a neat little spin-o-rama that would have made Tyler’s uncle proud:
Detroit almost scores after this with a shot from Bertuzzi taking up the spot Cholowski just left and floating a wrister that Glendening tips. The puck bounces off Allen to the corner where Glendening gets to it first and dumps it behind the net to allow Bertuzzi to chase down Thomas and take the puck away. With help from Rasmussen, he escapes behind the net and starts to realize a bit of room to make a play.
From here, Rasmussen heads to the net-front along with Glendening while Bert goes behind the net; Tyler feeds it to the net-front where Jordan Schmaltz knocks it down to keep it from Glendening’s stick, but neither he nor Jay Bouwmeester can stop Michael Rasmussen from getting to the loose puck. Rasmussen’s put-back attempt bounces harmlessly wide of the crease but ends up directly behind all of the Blues’ nearby defenders and on the stick of Tyler Bertuzzi coming out from behind the other side of the net. It’s an easy put-away goal:
Credit Where Credit is Due
Jonathan Ericson - Starting with the least credit, Ericsson making a safe play up the ice for a dump-in was appropriate and then just kind of not being in the way from there helps.
Luke Glendening - Hard to say he’s the second least-involved player here considering the level of credit for every skater other than Ericsson is very high. Glendening is a key portion of this forecheck and creating net-front havoc in front of Allen. He makes up his mind to attack aggressively and takes good angles, makes a good pass to Cholowski after the Wings win possession on the initial forecheck, and nearly scores on a redirect from a Bertuzzi shot ten seconds before the goal.
Michael Rasmussen - He does a number of little things that support the forecheck and help the Wings get the space to not only gain possession of a puck they dumped in but also gain positioning to transition from puck retrieval to being able to address the need to turn the puck towards the Blues’ goal. I really like his support of Glendening’s initial forecheck and then he earns himself the assist on the goal just after helping Bertuzzi make space on the puck-retrieval forecheck.
Dennis Cholowski - Ok, other than the spin-o-rama, he’s not terribly involved in this play, but it’s just such a good spin-o-rama and it’s a big key in that transition from retrieval to creating scoring chances, something the Wings have struggled with of-late.
Tyler Bertuzzi - Winning the final board battle and smartly following up his own pass in a way that had him in perfect position to pot it into a wide-open net but also to be able to race back in coverage if the puck ends up on a Blues’ stick was just good hockey sense out of Lil’ Bert.