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Key Play Breakdown: Frans Nielsen tips in the game-winner

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Carolina Hurricanes v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Red Wings ended their losing streak the only fitting way they could against the Carolina Hurricanes: by being drastically outshot and still coming out ahead 4-1 somehow.

This game’s key play comes during a second period where the Wings had lost the lead and were continuing being outshot but found a way to notch what would become the game-winner off a tip-in from Frans Nielsen

The Setup

The play starts deep in the Wings’ zone after the Canes clear some Detroit pressure (following a good scoring chance from Nielsen). Faulk tries a two-line pass to Wallmark that is tipped into the Wings’ zone and recovered by Kronwall, who dumps it immediately up the boards to Tyler Bertuzzi in the neutral zone on the left wing side with space to carry back in made by the Canes’ changing lines.

Bertuzzi has time to carry in but doesn’t have immediate support while the Canes get their defenders on and in position. Instead of forcing something, Bertuzzi skates to the corner and buys time for his team to join.

The Finish

Nielsen comes in to help as Bertuzzi gets closed upon by two defenders; Dougie Hamilton is able to dispossess Bert, but the scrappy Winger disrupts Hamilton’s stick and his attempt at a zone clear turns into what is essentially a pass to Kronwall at the point.

With all of the defenders now on this side of the ice, Kronwall crosses it over to Jensen with space to wind up a slapper. As Jensen lets it go, Nielsen is crossing in front of the net. The timing works perfectly and Nielsen tips it in past Mrazek

Credit Where Credit is Due

Frans Nielsen has a pretty good shift here in helping to create the situation that led to the Wings controlling the puck and then helping out in the offensive zone prior to his perfectly-timed trip across the crease and tip-in.

Nik Kronwall was a big part of this from the puck retrieval to the quick, clean pass over to Jensen in what would be the secondary assist. He had a pretty good game in this one and this was one example out of several of the veteran blueliner looking like the Kronner of old (the younger one).

Mostly, Tyler Bertuzzi’s decision on the zone entry and doggedness on the puck helped the Wings take advantage of the difficulty a team can have maintaining good defensive positioning immediately after a line change. Bertuzzi not forcing a play but hustling to make the Canes collapse creates a lot of space that ends up getting used in the creation of this goal.