Red Wings Game Analysis, After-Action Report for Thursday February 26th: Detroit Red Wings 3 - San Jose Sharks 2
The Red Wings beat the Sharks 3-2 to salvage the entire road trip and the season I guess. I don't know. I spent about 80% of this game angry and then not so much. I'm working through this right now.
The reffing in this game was just about as atrocious as usual. Detroit went 1-for-5 on the power play while the Sharks put up a 1-for-4 effort. Despite a 14-4 shot advantage in the first for San Jose, Detroit ended up outshooting them 35-22.
Jimmy Howard allowed a screened wrister and a bounce to a goal-scorer on the doorstep to get by him. Other than that, he only made 1 or 2 of the "Thank Jimmeh" variety of saves. Antti Niemi looked like a Vezina candidate except for a trade-bait has-been and got the loss because he came back down to Earth in the third.
Guide to plus/minus adjustments
1st Period 07:06 - San Jose Goal: Matt Irwin (wrist shot) from Joe Thornton and Scott Hannan
San Jose dominates the early goings and gets a shot as a wrister finds its way through the traffic. Sheahan wins a defensive zone draw, but Detroit can't get it out as Ericsson puts up up around the boards and Nyquist loses the handle on it being pinched down on. Pavelski and Karlsson combine to get it back to Hannan at the point with a bit of space to puckhandle before Sheahan comes to challenge him and force him to pass low to Thornton, who skates up into his position as Hannan jumps down the middle lane. Thornton goes cross-ice to Irwin, who stops it and fires it past Nyquist. In the time Irwin fires it, there are six people crowding around Howard in front of the net and he has no chance to see it as it gets by him. I'm not going to clear any minuses as everybody has an opportunity to block a puck at one point on this shift. I am going to give Nyquist an extra minus (half-turnover and half-coverage). He loses the puck and then fails to get in Irwin's lane on the shot up high.
2nd Period 03:53 - Detroit Goal (PP): Teemu Pulkkinen (snap shot) from Riley Sheahan and Stephen Weiss
Detroit ties it on their power play in the 2nd as Pulkkinen finds a loose puck at the side of the net from a Sheahan feed and slams it home. Sheahan wins the power play faceoff and Weiss sets up Helm for what is almost a goal in the first 9 seconds of the man advantage. This is stopped, and the Wings have to reset the zone after Kindl bobbles it at the blue line, but they're able to do that without the puck ever crossing center red. After setting up, Weiss gets two shots from the right faceoff circle that are blocked by the stick of Vlasic with the 2nd one breaking the D-Man's stick. This gives Weiss space to walk down closer just below the dot and try another shot with Helm screening in front. This one is also blocked, but it goes tot he middle where Sheahan waits. The puck doesn't bounce perfectly to him and he's set-upon by Pavelski, so instead of shooting, Sheahan backhands it to the back door where Pulkkinen is wide open for the easy finish. I'm going to give Sheahan a half-plus for a few really smart plays on this power play to keep the puck moving right for the Wings.
2nd Period 06:51 - San Jose Goal (PP): Patrick Marleau (wrist shot) from Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture
The tie game doesn't last long as SanJo gets a good bounce and Marleau finishes from the doorstep. The opening faceoff on the power play is eventually won back to the point by the Sharks and then moved to the opposite side for Couture to skate to the outside of the dot and attempt to shoot it. Glendening gets his stick in and deflects this puck to the end boards. As Kronwall was fronting Pavelski on the shot, he's now boxed out as the puck bounces off the end boards and right by the near post. Pavelski tips the puck as it gets by and bounces right to Marleau's stick on the doorstep. Marleau snaps it in while DeKeyser is still trying to recover from originally going to cover the far post. No adjustment on this play. The Wings are a victim of two unlucky bounces here. Sometimes shit happens.
3rd Period 13:32 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (backhand) from Tomas Tatar and Danny DeKeyser
Detroit ties it on what Chris Osgood describes as an "innocent backhander" in front. Couture pushes into Datsyuk on a faceoff in the Sharks' zone, so Datsyuk reaches around him and pokes it behind the San Jose net where Helm outraces Vlasic and steals the puck, barely losing it as he spins to bring it out front. Tatar gets it at the dot off Helm's stick and whips a shot that Niemi stops. Burns gets it and puts it up the boards, but DeKeyser keeps it in with a play that almost finds Datsyuk for a back-door tip-in. Tatar recovers at the half-wall and cycles down low with it, using Helm's positioning at the side of the net to make a bit of space when Couture skates into Helm, falls down, and then is too busy whining about how he should get a call to stop Tatar from reversing and bringing it back to the circle. As the defense adjusts to Tatar getting back to the dot, he's able to throw it to Datsyuk in the high slot. Pavel collects it, slides it to his backhand, and just chucks it on net. The puck finds a gap in Niemi and the game is tied. I'm going to give Helm a plus for his good work in puck retrieval and space-making. Tatar and DeKeyser will each get a half-plus as well for their work in making this play happen. Helm will also get a screener's assist. Niemi is looking to his right when Datsyuk shoots it to the left. Niemi guessing is what makes the hole for the puck to bounce through.
3rd Period 18:45 - Detroit Goal: Luke Glendening (backhand) from Gustav Nyquist and Danny DeKeyser
Glendening gives the Wings a lead late in the third as he gets a puck in front and backhand spins it in for the game-winner. The play starts as Nyquist pressures Pavelski at center ice, forcing a pass attempt that deflects off Goose to DeKeyser at the Wings blue line for a quick bump-ass back up fro Abdelkader to gain the zone on the left wing side with Nyquist turning to join just behind him. Abby pulls up at the point, lets Nyquist skate by him, then throws a pass across the ice to Glendening jumping in off the bench for a shot too high from the top of the circle. DeKeyser picks it up on the wall as it rings around back to the point and dumps it back in behind for Nyquist, who has a bit of space to operate. As Nyquist approaches the edge of the trapezoid from the opposite side of where it was dumped, Irwin comes down to pressure him, giving Luke Glendening a bit of space after being left at the net-front. Nyquist gets it to Glendening just as Thornton comes from the far post to cover him. With being a right-handed shot and the pass from Nyquist being away from his body, Glendening is able to protect the puck against Thornton by holding it out at the bottom of the circle. Thornton cuts too low to keep Glendening from spinning to his forehand and forgets that Glenny's power comes in shooting like he were a lefty anyway. Luke spins the opposite way of Thornton's expectations and gives himself a wide-open lane to fire a backhander. Niemi is already down in a crouch on this shot and has no chance at stopping the shot wired for the inside of the far post. Nyquist and DeKeyser will each get a plus for both the neutral zone and offensive zone work to keep this play going. Abdelkader's good zone entry and pass will earn him a half-plus. Glendening will get a half-plus for taking advantage of a bad defensive play in a key area for the game-winner.
1st Period 08:51 - Tommy Wingels (roughing) against Brendan Smith: Tomas Hertl late-hits Brendan Smith, who fights back. Wingels skates over to stand up for his teammate and ends up getting the penalty. I'm going to give Smith a half-plus on drawing this.
1st Period 11:19 - Tomas Jurco (hooking) against Matt Nieto: Jurco gets to sit for a hook as he gets beaten to a puck by Nieto and gets his stick parallel. Minus for Jurco.
1st Period 16:05 - Darren Helm (goaltender interference): Niemi jumps two feet outside of his crease and falls down after bumping Darren Helm. Somehow Helm gets a penalty for this. This is a horseshit call. No adjustment.
2nd Period 03:10 - Brent Burns (hooking) against Pavel Datsyuk: Pavs gets space to get a scoring opportunity around Burns and draws a call. Datsyuk will get a plus.
2nd Period 06:42 - Jonathan Ericsson (interference) against Barclay Goodrow: Riggy steps up in the neutral zone on a puck-carrier and somehow gets interference for it? No idea why this is a penalty. No adjustment.
2nd Period 08:17 - Matt Irwin and Joakim Andersson (wrestling): Irwin tackles Andersson and somehow both players go to the box. This is infuriating. No adjustment.
3rd Period 04:51 - Justin Braun (holding) against Justin Abdelkader: Another tackle by a Sharks player and this time it actually draws a penalty. Abdelkader will get a plus.
3rd Period 07:33 - Matt Nieto (high sticking) against Tomas Jurco: Iffy stick control leads to Jurco taking a bite of composite. No adjustment. Just a freak accident.
3rd Period 13:03 - Brendan Smith (hooking) and Logan Couture (tripping): Couture slew foots Smith and both players go to the box because why not? No adjustment.
3rd Period 19:19 - Joakim Andersson (high sticking) against Logan Couture: Joker gets his lumber up into Couture's slew-footing horse teeth and sits. Minus for Andersson.
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Even-strength Corsi numbers provided thanks to NHL.com via War-On-Ice.com.
There were times where it felt like every shift without Datsyuk's line out there was just time wasted until we could see the exciting line out there again. The numbers bear that out well, but I was surprised to see how well the Pulkkinen-Andersson-Weiss line did. I do remember one very dominant shift from them, but other than that it was pretty much just backchecking plays I noticed from them. The 4th line got handed some heavy defensive duties and got crushed for it. I wasn't unhappy with how they played, but it was tough to watch that happening at times.
With the Wings getting overall two out of every three non-neutral faceoffs in the defensive zone, it's almost a bit impressive that Babcock deployed the fourth line in such an aggressively sacrificial role with 0% offensive zone starts.
Check out more from war-on-ice.com, including the visualized shift chart here.
The Wings really seemed to adjust very well to a bad first period. I spent a bit of time doubting the switch on the bottom two defensive pairings where Smith and DeKeyser were out there, but it worked out. Also important to note that Marchenko only played 13:21 total. The next closest was 17:35 by Kindl. Kronwall played big minutes.
Corsi Timeline from Hockeystats.ca