Detroit Red Wings Game Analysis, After-Action Report for Thursday Jan 15th: Detroit Red Wings 3 - St. Louis Blues 2 (OT)
The Wings finished their six-game road trip that started out in Western Canada by taking eight out of a possible twelve points as a buzzer-beating Pavel Datsyuk goal sealed a 3-2 win for the Wings in overtime.
I didn't like a goaltender interference call which cost the Wings a power play goal in the third period, but it's bang-bang and not reviewable, so in the end I'm more upset with Justin Abdelkader for making it as easy to call as it was. The rest of the night I thought was reffed fairly well. Detroit went 0-for-4 on the man advantage while St. Louis went 1-for-3. Shots were brutal early but normalized out to a 27-24 advantage to the Blues.
Petr Mrazek was less-scary than usual while making some really high-quality saves that didn't look circus quality because his positioning was pretty good. He was beaten two times by pucks tipped right in front of him. That's tough to defend. Brian Elliott allowed a last-minute short-side goal to lose so that was his night.
Guide to plus/minus adjustments
2nd Period 18:04 - Detroit Goal: Joakim Andersson (backhand) from Drew Miller and Luke Glendening
The 4th line breaks the goose egg on a wonderful shift that ends up with a short-side jam in for Andersson's first of the year. After winning a defensive zone faceoff and getting up ice to dump it in, a forecheck by the three forwards turns the puck over. Via constant cycling, movement, and puck pursuit, Detroit is able to keep the puck while getting several looks towards the net. Finally, after a little shoulder-fake move by Smith at the top of the zone gets a shot through traffic, things really break down for St. Louis. Miller gets the puck in the corner and dumps it around to a pinching Ouellet, who punches it back down low for Miller. As Drew takes it to the corner, Andersson takes up the net-front and Glendening pushes that way too, giving Miller space down low. As Andersson finds separation in front, Miller throws it from behind the line to the net-front. Elliott's pad stops the puck, but Andersson is there to immediately backhand the rebound back in and then jam the puck home. This is a great shift by the entire five-man group here as the puck enters the zone 44 seconds before it enters the net. Miller, Andersson, and Glendening will each get a full plus while Smith and Ouellet will get a half-plus each.
2nd Period 19:04 - Detroit Goal: Tomas Tatar (backhand) from Jonathan Ericsson and Riley Sheahan
Tommy Taters makes it 2-0 one minute later as he picks up a rebound at the net-front while 4-on-4 and dumps it into the net. The Blues hand the puck over in the offensive zone to give Tatar and Sheahan space to move it up ice. Sheahan takes a pass through center to bring it in on the left wing side as Tats takes the opposite wing. Sheahan takes to the near corner with Tatar crossing over to get below him while Shattenkirk holds him off. Sheahan spins away from Shattenkirk and loses his glove in the process, but is able to keep body position to retain control of the puck as it rolls up the half-wall. Next, Sheahan recovers and dumps it off to Ericsson as he glides to the point, giving Riggy a lane to head down the wall before chucking the puck on net with Tatar in front. Elliott stops it, but neither he nor Bouwmeester are in position to prevent Tatar from jamming the rebound in. Sheahan will get a half-plus for the strong work in the zone to set this up.
3rd Period 03:58 - St. Louis Goal (PP): David Backes (tip in) from Jay Bouwmeester and Kevin Shattenkirk
The Blues get on the board late into a power play as Backes tips it under Mrazek from right in front. St. Louis gets it in on a good stretch pass to Tarasenko, who holds off the defenders until the PP gets setup. A good play by Oshie behind the net frees the puck to come back up top for Shattenkirk, who feeds it across to Bouwmeester quickly. Bouwmeester steps toward the circle and wrists one at the front of the net that Backes tips under Mrazek. This is good movement by the power play. Danny DeKeyser is inches out of position an it's a goal against. I don't think it's worthwhile to give a minus on this one though. No adjustment.
3rd Period 19:13 - St. Louis Goal: Alex Steen (tip in) from Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko
St. Louis ties it late as they get an odd-man zone entry despite the Wings trying to protect a one-goal lead. Jonathan Ericsson gets a clear with one minute left and the Blues head back to regroup while Detroit gets their defense changed. Steen builds speed from behind his own blue line as the Wings stick all five of their skaters close to their own blue line. Steen passes to Tarasenko standing at the Detroit blue line with his back to Mrazek. As the defenders pull in on Tarasenko, he passes off to the left wing side where Pietrangelo is skating parallel to Steen. This movement gets these two blues into the zone at full-speed with only Kyle Quincey back on that side to defend. Pietrangelo feathers a pass through Quincey and Steen tips it through Mrazek to tie it. The only minus I'm going to clear is Zetterberg, who is covering Backes on the right side and isn't going to make a difference on this play if he doesn't leave that position early enough to leave Backes wide open for a goal anyway. Datsyuk has a couple passes go through his area, so he'll keep his minus. Abdelkader will get an extra half-minus. He originally worries about the pass back to Steen and that pulls him off the board coverage just enough to allow Pietrangelo to get by him. Quincey will get a full minus for letting this pass connect right through him. All things considered, laying out would have been the right call. Danny DeKeyser will also pick up a coverage minus on this play as he takes himself out of the play by lunging forward at Tarasenko after the pass to him, which is what sets up this odd-man. Tarasenko is no threat to an immediate danger entry with his back facing the Red Wings' goal, but DK treats him like one.
Overtime 04:57 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (wrist shot) from Kyle Quincey and Danny DeKeyser
Detroit avoids the shootout as Datsyuk blasts one in right before the buzzer sounds and damn it feels good. After an icing faceoff in the Blues zone that Detroit controls, the puck is poked out past the blue line with under 13 seconds left to go. Z gets it at center and goes cross-ice to DeKeyser for a zone re-entry with just under 9 seconds left. DK enters on the right wing while Z pushes the middle lane. After hitting the outside of the circle, DK backhands it up to the top of the zone where Quincey collects and drifts to the right point with it while Hank takes up a net-front position and all four Blues defenders watch from below the tops of the circles. Quincey surveys for a half-second before finding Datsyuk open at the top of the left circle. Tarasenko is already too late to go out and cover this pass, so Datsyuk is able to take control of the puck and fire it into the short side for the winner. I love the defensemen taking advantage of the Blues' defense collapsing into prevent. I'm going to award Quincey and DeKeyser each a plus for their work on this play. Q helps prevent the zone clear from behind transition and then deKeyser recognizes the ability to get very aggressive on his entry.
1st Period 02:46 - Brendan Smith and Steve Ott (roughing): Ott nails Ouellet and Smith comes over to challenge him to a fight. They don't end up throwing down, but they do get matching roughing calls. No adjustment, but I'm not terribly happy with Smith's decision-making on this.
1st Period 04:20 - Jay Bouwmeester (tripping) against Darren Helm: At 4-on-4, Helm gets into the zone on a long pass by Datsyuk and then spends about 15 seconds dragging Bouwmeester all over the zone with him until J-Bow finally slips up and brings Helm down. Plus for Helm for a very good shift.
1st Period 05:25 - Stephen Weiss (cross-checking) against Carl Gunnarsson: The Wings lose their power play as Weiss loses the puck and then knocks over Gunnarsson trying to get it back. It's a soft call, but it's easy to make based on what went on and it was only made necessary by Weiss losing the puck, so Weiss will earn a minus.
1st Period 13:55 - Tomas Tatar (hugging aggressively) against Carl Gunnarsson: Tats hugs a guy to the ice and that's pretty illegal so it's two minutes for that. Tatar gets a minus.
2nd Period 14:35 - Barret Jackman (holding) against Darren Helm: Again, Helm causes trouble in the offensive zone and draws a call. Helm will get a plus as Jackman gets in trouble for being too nice.
2nd Period 18:18 - TJ Oshie (diving) and Henrik Zetterberg (interference): Both guys offset on a faceoff in the Blues' zone as Zetterberg steps a little bit into Oshie's way and Oshie goes down dramatically. No adjustment.
3rd Period 00:26 - Alex Steen (hooking) against Pavel Datsyuk: Just at the end of a 4-on-4, the Wings get another power play as Datsyuk takes a pass from Ericsson and changes gears to get to the middle, scaring Steen into hooking him. Datsyuk will get a plus.
3rd Period 02:03 - Henrik Zetterberg (tripping) against David Backes: St. Louis gets a power play as Z can't get a pass at the top of the zone and Backes beats him out. Z reads the impending odd-man rush and brings Backes down. Minus for Zetterberg.
3rd Period 11:51 - Maxim Lapierre (holding) against Pavel Datsyuk: The top line gets into the corner of the Blues' zone and Lapierre can't get it around Zetterberg and Datsyuk. As the puck is lost, Lapierre reaches out to prevent a good opportunity. Datsyuk and Zetterberg will each get a half-plus for making this one happen.
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Even-strength Corsi numbers provided thanks to NHL.com via War-On-Ice.com.
Vladimir Tarasenko was the best Blues player on the ice and that showed in his matchup against Detroit's Kid line. However, as far as quality of competition, the Helm-Weiss-Pulkkinen line probably struggled the most by the eye test, even though Helm was one of Detroit's best skaters and Weiss played fairly well. The top line ran all over the SOB Line for St. Louis and drew some penalties, but they couldn't get the job done on the power play.
Part of the Datsyuk line's success was how they led in zone starts and part of how the third line struggled was the same. Faceoff wins were even for both teams.
Check out more from war-on-ice.com, including the visualized shift chart here.
For as bad as the Wings looked in the first half of this game, I think the eye test suggested that this game really was a coin flip thanks to them playing well in the second half (minus the two goals they allowed during that time. This is one of those games were win or lose, you can argue that the Wings deserved the outcome.
Corsi Timeline from Hockeystats.ca