Monday, November 14, 2011

Regular Season Game 15: Starstruck (in the face)

The Wings stretched their winning streak to four and ended their homestand on a good note before headed out on the road for a week long west coast swing. The surprising Stars hung with the Wings for 40 minutes, but turnovers ended up killing any chance they had of sticking around for a full 60.

The Wings offense was predominantly carried by defensemen, but this game wasn't without it's fair share of defensive highlights. The reason for the corny title is a play the Wing's official site it calling the potential play of the year. A great play, but the immediate fallout is that Ian White will be sidelined for 1-2 weeks with a broken cheekbone.

1st Period:

Detroit 0 Dallas 1; 7:09- Eriksson from Daley & Benn
We start with six seconds left on a Dallas powerplay. Daley has the puck near the boards and gets Eaves to drop to a knee looking for a blocked shot. This allows Daley to move inside on Eaves and take a clear shot at the net from the top middle of the faceoff circle.
Kronwall steps up to block the shot but misses. This leaves Stuart alone down low to take care of the net front player and the guy waiting backdoor. Stuart does a good job of locking up the net front man, but this leaves the Wings vulnerable as a Dallas player is completely undefended down low.
The rebound comes off Howard's pads right to Eriksson. Eriksson wastes no time in lifting one past Jimmy to put the Stars in front early. The one player the Wings didn't want to get the puck was Eriksson and the one place they didn't want it to end up was off a rebound to Howard's right. As expected, things didn't end very well.

Detroit 1 Dallas 1; 17:17- Kronwall (4) from Cleary (3) & Holmstrom (4)
Cleary carries behind the net and three Stars shift their focus to him. Two of them are exclusively covering Cleary, trying to decide whether to give chase or stay in their zones. The other Stars defender in the slot turns his head once to look for other Wings; he may see Kronwall entering the zone here but doesn't make a move until far too late, instead shifting his attention back to Cleary.
Cleary stays tight along the boards and draws a defender out with him. He moves the puck to Kronwall, who is waiting at the top of the faceoff circle to one time it. Kronwall gets his shot off before the Stars defender who was previously in the slot can close the gap, forcing him to half attempt a shot block to no avail. Holmstrom gets in front of the goalie just enough to distract him with his stick (but not enough to screen) as the shot is on its way. Raycroft lets it through and the game is tied.

2nd Period:

Detroit 2 Dallas 1; 3:08- White (3) from Miller (4) & Lidstrom (6)
Miller does a tremendous job of splitting two defenders in the neutral zone to gain entry into the offensive zone.
Miller carries the puck low into the zone, where then makes a hard turn. One of the Stars defenders tries to make a diving poke check but can't get to the puck before Miller one-hands a pass to Ian White at the point. With the only Stars player between White and the net now face down on the ice, White has a great shooting lane and takes full advanage, burying the slap shot.

Detroit 2 Dallas 2; 12:11- Morrow from Ribeiro & Burish
Ribeiro carries the puck behind the net, and Ericsson hesitates for a split second. He isn't sure whether he should cover the puck carrier or Morrow, who is waiting to the right of the net. Ericsson chooses to play the puck carrier, but Ribeiro gets a pass off in front of Ericsson's outstretched stick. Morrow gets lucky and scores on one of the weaker goals Howard's given up this season.

3rd Period:

Detroit 3 Dallas 2; 3:47- Franzen (9) from Filppula (9) & Stuart (1)
Turnovers killed the Stars in this game, and this is a prime example of it. An errant pass from behind their net is picked up by the Wings at the blueline.
Stuart hesitates just long enough to let Filppula slip past the two defenders bunched near the blueline. Filppula gets the puck along the boards and carries deeper into the zone.
Filppula does his best Datsyuk impression here, stickhandling and sidestepping his defender and skating the the crease before shooting from close range.
This is a case of right-place-right-time for Franzen. The rebound comes right to him, and both defenders are behind him. A backhand shot over Raycroft turns into a lead that Detroit won't relinquish the rest of the night.

Detroit 4 Dallas 2; 9:19- Helm (2) from Hudler (5)
Strong backchecking by Detroit forces a Dallas turnover in the middle of the neutral zone. Helm picks it off and turns, picking up speed as he enters the offensive zone.
He leaves the puck for Hudler and the two switch directions near the blueline, with Helm cutting inside and Hudler moving outside. Hudler carries in and waits for the defender to make a move. After he's out of position Huds throws a pass behind him, just within reach of Helm. Helm taps the puck pasta sliding Raycroft. The defender circled above has a chance to stay with Helm and just...didn't. He sure cut off that passing lane back to the blue line though! Derp.

Detroit 5 Dallas 2; 10:32- Stuart (1) from Franzen (7) & Filppula (10)
Stuart's shot is creating by a teammate swinging though the middle of the offensive zone, circled in green above. This creates defensive responsibility for two of the Stars, along with setting up something of a pseudo-screen. Stuart has time to set up and put a big slap shot on net.
By the time the nearest Stars defender can move into the shooting lane Stuart has already released the puck. Thanks in part to two other Wings camped out down low Raycroft can't find Stuart's shot, which finds the back of the net.

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