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Detroit Red Wings Game Analysis, After-Action Report for Saturday Dec 6th: Detroit Red Wings 3 – New York Rangers 2

The Red Wings went into Saturday night with an opportunity to show last season’s Eastern Conference Champions that they’re not as easy to beat as the Rangers might think. They also had a chance to earn Mike Babcock his 500th career win. After a bad start, the Wings clawed back and accomplished both of these things, winning 3-2 in exciting fashion.

Box Score Here

The refereeing in this game was absolute garbage. This was the kind of game where the refs were afraid to make the right call all night just because it felt like piling on and then when they finally worked up the courage to do so, it was because they fell for an awful disrespectful flop. Between flurries of calls being made, the referees let both sides get away with the kind of stuff that was called at other times. Amazingly, neither team scored on ten total power play opportunities. New York had seven of those. Despite that, shots were 34-29 in favor of Detroit.

Jimmy Howard allowed a goal on a third chance given to a guy who was left alone on his doorstep and allowed a breakaway goal by one of the best goalscorers in the league for the last decade. Other than being understandably beaten twice, he was incredible in this game. He kept the Wings in during the numerous defensive breakdowns and really helped seal the deal in this game. Cam Talbot is whatever. I don’t care about that guy.

Guide to plus/minus adjustments

The Goals

1st Period 09:31 – New York Goal: Kevin Klein (backhand) from Kevin Hayes and Carl Hagelin
New York gets on the boards first as a D-Man plays good net front. After a dump-in that Smith can’t get past the point and then a won board battle that once again ends up in a blocked pass, the Rangers’ forecheck earns possession as they outman Weiss along the boards to get it toward the middle of the ice for a shot that gets blocked wide. New York regains and resets with a pass across the ice and pass to the point. Hagelin dumps it back deep from the point where the puck gets past Kindl and onto the stick of Hayes in good position to come out from behind the net. Sheahan takes away the initial centering pass, but Hayes spins and throws it to the front on the backhand from just below the circle. Klein jumps down from the slot to the net-front and collects the puck in his feet. Klein spins to put it around Howard on the backhand. Kindl’s skate blocks the first shot, but he gets another opportunity and slams it in. Jurco will be cleared here. Aside from him being tripped to allow this entire play to develop, he’s not at fault for what goes on here. Weiss and Sheahan will each keep their minuses for having the puck go through them, but neither makes a bad mistake here. The mistakes on this play belong to the defenders. Smith will get a minus for his two failures to clear the zone and a half-minus on not doing a better job of being at the far post on time (he came down from the point-coverage spot a bit slower than he should have). Kindl will get a half-minus for letting Hayes get out cleanly with the Hagelin dump an a full minus for playing the net-front like a germophobic bouncer.

1st Period 14:48 – New York Goal: Rick Nash (wrist shot) from Derick Brassard
Nash makes it 2-0 on his way to pick some cherries at the far end of the ice from the action. The Zetterberg line gets a keep-in by DeKeyser which leads to a shot on net that hits Franzen in front. As the puck bounces to the secondary layer of players who all happen to be Rangers in the slot, Brassard gets the loose puck and shovels it up ice on the backhand, hitting Rick Nash in stride through center behind the entire defense. Nash backs Howard into his own crease and then snaps it over the glove. I’m going to clear Nyquist and Franzen on this one as it’s neither of their fault. I’m going to let Zetterberg keep his minus because I think his shot selection on this play is bad. A lower shot gives Franzen an opportunity to control a rebound with his stick and use his body to fend off players while he pushes it around Talbot. Bouncing it off Mule’s midsection helps lead to this play. DeKeyser will earn an extra half-minus for letting anybody get behind him, as he’s the last man back here. DK isn’t in position where he absolutely ought to be holding the line and has plenty of time to recognize that Nash is getting behind the defense. Quincey is going to earn a full minus on this one. I understand why he comes to the high slot with Nyquist coming out from behind the Rangers’ net, but he stays there far too long and that’s what lets Nash get through. As soon as Zetterberg gets the puck, Quincey needs to abandon that position in favor of getting back to his point.

2nd Period 14:14 – Detroit Goal: Riley Sheahan (backhand) from Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen
Sheahan breaks the Talbot shutout with a spin-o-rama backhand from out front after good hustle by his line. The Wings catch a break as a centering pass to Klein at the top of the circle ends with a snapped twig for the Rangers’ defenseman. Sheahan picks up the loose puck and hits Franzen in stride skating up ice one-on-one while Klein does a fly-by at the Rangers’ bench and picks up a new stick (I’m impressed with how fast that went too). Mule enters the zone but is kept out of the home plate area by Hunwick, who finally forces him off at the faceoff dot on the left wing side. Mule turns towards the boards to drag Hunwick over while Sheahan goes to the net and Weiss follows up. As Hunwick pushes Franzen into the boards, Mule leaves the puck in position for Weiss to skate right into. Weiss does so and immediately centers the puck to Sheahan in front having taken advantage of Kreider turning his back on him momentarily to back out from his path to the far post. With just enough space, Sheahan takes the pass and spin-shots the puck into the net through Talbot. I’m going to give back the pluses to Ericsson and Kronwall lost when Quincey and DeKeyser stepped on behind the play. Also, Franzen will get a half-plus on this play. It may be lucky that Klein’s stick broke, but Franzen recognizing the opportunity and pushing the play, combined with his smart stop-and-drop play to Weiss makes this one happen.

2nd Period 15:15 – Detroit Goal: Luke Glendening (not-backhand) from Joakim Andersson and Drew Miller
1:01 later, the fourth line ties it up on a crease-crashing rush that frees up a puck for Glendening at the doorstep to knock home. The immediate play after the Sheahan goal starts in the Rangers’ end, but comes back to the Detroit side of the ice on a missed pass and then a dump-in for Hagelin. Quincey separates Hagelin from the puck, but a clearing attempt by Glendening and Andersson doesn’t get out. Instead the puck is skied back to the front of the net where the Rangers threaten to reestablish their cycle. Hagelin dumps to the corner for Stempniak, who tries walking up the boards to be met by Miller at the half-wall watching and then tries to cut inside only to have the puck knocked off his stick by Quincey shadowing him. As Stempniak tries to recover the puck he lost, he loses his balance and falls. Miller picks it up the boards and heads up ice on a 3-on-2 rush with Quincey joining in the middle lane and Andersson on the far side. As soon as Miller enters the zone, Quincey peels off and Glendening takes his place in the middle lane. Hunwick watches Miller along the boards but gets caught up a bit as Miller positions himself for a shot to draw him closer before moving it back to try and get around him. Hunwick doesn’t let this happen, but it gives Miller a bit of space and it gives Andersson time to get to the net front. With one hand on his stick at the bottom of the circle and Hunwick hanging on him, Miller shoves the puck on the sharp angle towards Talbot just as Andersson gets there to try and jam it in. Talbot holds strong, but both Klein and Hayes add to a mess in front of the net that keeps anybody from getting to it until Glendening sneaks in late and finds the puck lying to Talbot’s right for the easy knock-in. I’m going to give Quincey a plus on this play for both the defensive work in his own zone and for learning his lesson about peeling off when he should later. Miller will get a plus for helping take it from Stempniak and for his good moves to create problems for Hunwick. Andersson will get a half-plus for the good crease-crashing work.

3rd Period 07:40 – Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Tomas Tatar and Danny DeKeyser
Helm earns the game-winner on a quick turn through center that gets him into a prime shooting spot in transition. After a Rangers chance misses the net and a Tatar/Helm rush just misses a feed, Zuccarello gets it in the corner and looks up ice. Zuccarello doesn’t see a good outlet before Tatar comes to pressure him, so he dumps it high out of the zone. Boyle skates up on it to pressure, but DeKeyser collects the puck easily and pushes it back up ice to Tatar exiting the zone on the right wing side. Tatar cuts across the ice as he circles to re-enter the zone and sees Helm breaking on the right wing side with nobody in position to stop him. Tatar throws the puck back into the zone trying to hit Helm. In a stroke of beautiful luck, Derick Brassard gets his stick on this pass and tips it perfectly to Helm behind him. Staal does get in position to keep it from being a true breakaway, but he can’t stop the play as Helm collects the puck on the inside hash marks of the faceoff dot and fires it perfectly to the far post for the game-winner. Tatar will earn a plus for both the forecheck and the pass. It might have been a little lucky that Brassard tipped it to Helm, but you’ve got to ask for luck to get it and Tatar had the right idea all along. Helm’s hustle all along this play makes it happen like it does as well and Helm will get a half-plus.

The Penalties

1st Period 02:53 – Carl Hagelin (high sticking) against Brendan Smith: Hagelin earns a double-minor for chopping Smith hard across the face with his stick on a broken zone entry. Usually a high stick is just a dumb play by one guy, but I’m going to give Smith a half-plus on this one because a great pass break-up is what led to Hagelin flailing around with his stick like that.

1st Period 09:45 – Niklas Kronwall (hooking) against Mats Zuccarello: The Rangers get their first power play as Kronwall eliminates Zuccarello’s stick on a chase for a loose puck and somehow that makes the guy fall down. No adjustment. Bad call.

2nd Period 00:35 – Mats Zuccarello (interference) against Darren Helm: Detroit gets it into the offensive zone on the opening faceoff and create a series of turnovers which eventually leads to a scoring chance for Helm. As Helm goes to retrieve a blocked shot, Zuccarello and McDonagh combine to get in his way more than they try to make a play on the puck. Helm will get a plus.

2nd Period 08:58 – Gustav Nyquist (slashing) against Derick Brassard: After an icing faceoff in the Wings’ end, a turned over clearing attempt leads to a scoring chance for Brassard which earns Nyquist a penalty for a tap on the player in all alone on Howard. Nyquist gets his stick on the hands and makes this a good call. This will earn Nyquist a minus. However, Ericsson will also earn a minus for the pass that doesn’t get out and the coverage which allows Brassard to get that open in the first place. Riggy is lucky this wasn’t a goal.

2nd Period 19:07 – Brendan Smith (holding the stick) against Lee Stempniak: Smith gets hooked by Stempniak trying to get the puck out of the zone, leading to a turnover. As Stempniak turns to get involved in the play, he sells up on Smith holding his stick and the ref calls just one penalty. I’m not going to make an adjustment on this play. Smith does temporarily hold the stick, but the context at play here makes it inappropriate to give him punishment for essentially trying not to fall down after being hooked.

3rd Period 09:13 – Detroit Bench (too many men): The Wings catch a bad break as Miller is hobbling off behind the play and Nyquist is jumping on. By the time the puck comes to Goose, he’s under the assumption that Miller is off, but the hobbling prevents that. I’m not going to make an adjustment on this play. Nyquist can’t know about this and Miller is stung. This is a penalty which could have easily just been let go.

3rd Period 10:26 – Kyle Quincey (high sticking) against Derick Brassard: Quincey takes a four-minute penalty at a crucial time as he slaps Brassard across the face trying to prevent a zone entry. Quincey will earn a minus and a half for this. Just awful timing to take such a dumb penalty.

3rd Period 12:37 – Jonathan Ericsson (high sticking) against Martin St. Louis: After the Wings kill off one 5-on-3, they’re forced to endure another one of nearly two minutes’ length as St. Louis feels Ericsson’s stick touch his chest and flops his head back like Paul Reubens doing his death scene in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ This is a despicable dive by St. Louis and will earn no adjustment.

Total Adjustments

Player GP Official +/- Adjusted +/- G+ Cov- Turn- Plty- Plty+ Chg+ Chg- PP+Lost PK-Clear GA-Clear GSaved+ Adj Diff
Joakim Andersson 1 1 1.5 0.5 0.5
Henrik Zetterberg 1 -1 -1 0
Stephen Weiss 1 0 0
Johan Franzen 1 1.5 0.5 1 1.5
Tomas Tatar 1 1 2 1 1
Riley Sheahan 1 0 0
Tomas Jurco 1 -1 -1 -1 1 0
Gustav Nyquist 1 -1 0 1 1
Darren Helm 1 1 2.5 0.5 1 1.5
Pavel Datsyuk 1 1 1 0
Luke Glendening 1 1 1 0
Drew Miller 1 1 2 1 1
Niklas Kronwall 1 1 2 1 1
Jonathan Ericsson 1 0 -1 1 0
Brendan Smith 1 -1 -2 -0.5 -1 0.5 -1
Danny DeKeyser 1 -1.5 -0.5 -1 -1.5
Kyle Quincey 1 2 0 1 -1 -1.5 -1 -2
Jakub Kindl 1 -1 -2.5 -1 -0.5 -1.5

Player Screener’s Assists
Justin Abdelkader 5
Luke Glendening 2.5
Johan Franzen 2
Darren Helm 1.5
Drew Miller 1.5
Riley Sheahan 1
Tomas Jurco 1
Stephen Weiss 1
Joakim Andersson 0.5

Full Season Chart Here

Possession Metrics

Even-strength Corsi numbers provided thanks to NHL.com via War-On-Ice.com.

Name Pos Corsi Rel% Corsi% Corsi+/- CorsiFor CorsiAgn CorsiFor60 CorsiAgn60
Jimmy.Howard G 61.04 17 47 30 72.35 46.18
Tomas.Tatar L 28.08 80 15 20 5 120.3 30.08
Pavel.Datsyuk CL 23.98 76.92 14 20 6 110.94 33.28
Darren.Helm CL 24.56 78.26 13 18 5 107.37 29.83
Jonathan.Ericsson D 16.33 71.43 12 20 8 71.01 28.4
Niklas.Kronwall D 16.33 71.43 12 20 8 81.08 32.43
Danny.Dekeyser D 4.38 64 7 16 9 67.72 38.1
Kyle.Quincey D -7.16 56.67 4 17 13 75.84 57.99
Johan.Franzen L 0.09 61.11 4 11 7 72.13 45.9
Henrik.Zetterberg CL -5.36 57.14 3 12 9 54.41 40.81
Riley.Sheahan C -6.05 56.25 2 9 7 55.81 43.41
Jakub.Kindl D -7.16 55.56 2 10 8 66.6 53.28
Drew.Miller LR -3.21 58.33 2 7 5 71.69 51.21
Joakim.Andersson CL -8.65 53.85 1 7 6 67.02 57.45
Tomas.Jurco RL -14.41 50 0 9 9 48.04 48.04
Gustav.Nyquist RL -16.04 50 0 12 12 52.05 52.05
Luke.Glendening C -17.94 47.06 -1 8 9 65.75 73.97
Stephen.Weiss C -21.66 44.44 -2 8 10 50.13 62.66
Brendan.Smith D -25.23 44 -3 11 14 69.05 87.88

Some of these paces were absolutely ridiculous in this game, but that’s also a case of slighly less than usual 5-on-5 time. Still, after the first period, the Wings rocked this game. Reffing keeps the Rangers in it during the third. Rick Nash may have scored a goal for the shot quality debate, but he got caved in by Datsyuk’s line for most of this game. Zetterberg’s group sowed their numbers against the Martin St. Louis line mostly. Sheahan saw Hagelin and Stempniak mostly.

Name Pos Off ZS % OffZoneStart NeuZoneStart DefZoneStart
Riley.Sheahan C 100 6 4 0
Jakub.Kindl D 100 6 2 0
Drew.Miller LR 100 1 3 0
Joakim.Andersson CL 100 1 3 0
Stephen.Weiss C 100 6 4 0
Brendan.Smith D 100 7 2 0
Tomas.Tatar L 85.71 6 4 1
Pavel.Datsyuk CL 85.71 6 4 1
Darren.Helm CL 85.71 6 4 1
Johan.Franzen L 80 8 3 2
Jimmy.Howard G 76 19 12 6
Jonathan.Ericsson D 75 6 5 2
Niklas.Kronwall D 75 6 5 2
Tomas.Jurco RL 66.67 4 2 2
Danny.Dekeyser D 63.64 7 5 4
Kyle.Quincey D 60 6 5 4
Henrik.Zetterberg CL 54.55 6 1 5
Gustav.Nyquist RL 54.55 6 1 5
Luke.Glendening C 50 1 3 1

If you look at Howard’s zone starts and see that the Wings had three times as many offensive starts as defensive ones, it’s not hard to see why not even Glendening was below 50%.

Check out more from war-on-ice.com, including the visualized shift chart here.

Final Say

This game shouldn’t have been as close as it ended, but I’m not mad at the Wings for that. It’s just kind of luck that it happened that way. The fourth line was absolutely incredible in this one.

Corsi Timeline from Hockeystats.ca

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