Friday, November 18, 2011

Regular Season Game 17: Not Sure Which Direction, But It's Probably A Turning Point

This was more than a loss. This game may have been the turning point in the season, for better or for worse. The Wings allowed a short handed goal with seconds left in the first period and never seemed to recover, once again falling to a Sharks team that seemed to have every bounce go their way.

Mike Babcock spoke after the game about deciding what kind of team this year's squad wants to be. We'll see how that plays out the rest of the year, but to this point the Wings have been frustratingly good and bad.

1st Period:

San Jose 0 Detroit 1; 17:23- Kronwall (5) from Datsyuk (9) & Lidstrom (7)
Kronwall holds the puck in at the line and moves it to Lidstrom to his right. This gets San Jose's defense to move. Both defenders aggressively collapse on Lidstrom.
Lidstrom sees this and passes back to Kronwall, who now has Datsyuk to his left. Datsyuk has a ton of room to move thanks to San Jose's defenders both moving right to cove Lidstrom. 
Kronwall passes to Datsyuk, who quickly taps it back to Kronwall after the defensemen has committed to Dats. Kronwall has a lot of room and time to shoot, and there's some nice netfront work being done by Holmstrom. It doesn't look like Niemi can see this when Kronwall releases the puck.

San Jose 1 Detroit 1; 19:48- SH Pavelski from Thornton & Vlasic
San Jose clears the puck and sends it down ice. Howard comes out to play it but the puck dies along the boards. Howard has to retreat to his crease. Thornton picks it up and carries it behind the net, where Kronwall, Lidstrom, and Datsyuk all key on him.
As Thornton carries it around, Howard has to lock the post to prevent a wraparound attempt. This means that all four Wings in the defensive zone are paying attention to Thornton, and no one is covering Pavelski. Datsyuk should have the coverage here but doesn't. Thornton sees Pavelski and threads a pass to him in front of the net, and the Sharks kill any momentum the Wings had.

2nd Period:

San Jose 2 Detroit 1; 9:54- Thornton from Couture & Vlasic
The Wings start on the rush here. Cleary passes across to Zetterberg, who tries to wind up for a slapshot near the inside edge of the faceoff circle. Thornton locks his stick (he plays defense? Since when?) and the puck is stolen by San Jose. The Sharks turn it up ice and have a 3-on-1 odd man rush.
Lidstrom is the lone defender back. Right here he's calling Couture as his man and telling the other Wings defenders (and Jimmy) that Thornton is their responsibility.
Lids tries to take the pass away from Couture, but he's able to slip it under Lidstrom's stick and across to Thronton. No one has been able to close the gap on Thornton and Jimmy can't get across laterally quickly enough to stop the shot.

San Jose 3 Detroit 1; 12:48- Vlasic from Desjardins & Winchester
The initial mistake on this play occurs during a board battle to Howard's left. Helm has his man covered, but Ericsson decides to push the same player. This leaves Desjardins alone and able to spin away with the puck. He fires on net that Howard stops, but allows a rebound to his right.
It looks like Brendan Smith might be able to clear the puck and he does take a sweep at it, but Vlasic gets his stick out and somehow escapes with the puck. He heads behind the net.
Howard doesn't just lock down the post here, he goes past it. I'm not sure what Jimmy is trying to defend here, as this leaves him out of position if Vlasic attempts a wraparound.
Remember that whole out of position thing? Vlasic attempts the wraparound and Howard can't slide across to stop it. This was a very weak goal.

San Jose 4 Detroit 1; 18:18- Mitchell from Vlasic & McGinn
Once again the Wings have the puck stolen from them in the offensive zone. The Sharks carry it the other way, but this time there's no odd man rush. Howard pushes the rebound off of the initial shot into the corner.
 The Sharks win the race to the corner and regain possession. Howard has to hit the ice here because he thinks the Sharks are looking to bank the puck in off of him. Instead, the puck moves past Jimmy and into the slot.
There's little Howard can do now that he's already sprawled on the ice, and Mitchell roofs one past him. Howard's rebound control was good; what's disappointing is the way he flopped on the ice to take away the bank shot, leaving him out of position for the subsequent shot.

3rd Period:

San Jose 5 Detroit 1; 9:32- Winchester from Murray
On the Wings zone entry, Helm turns to avoid the defender. He loses his handle and the puck slips. The Sharks grab it and turn up ice. Most of the Wings were moving deep into the offensive zone, so there's going to be another odd man rush here.
Kindl has position on his man and obstructs him from carrying it into the Sharks offensive zone. That doesn't mean Kindl completely shuts Murray down though, as he's still able to move the puck forward for Winchester.
There's not a Wing remotely close to Winchester. He has all the time in the world and is in a 1-on-1 situation  with Conklin (Howard was pulled by this point). Winchester sees the five hole open and converts to put the Sharks even further ahead.

San Jose 5 Detroit 2; 13:38- PPG Cleary (3) from Filppula (11) & Zetterberg (4)
We pick this one up with the Wings already on the powerplay and starting to set up in an umbrella formation. Kronwall moves the puck to Filppula. Filppula starts takes it and starts to skate towards the net. this will keep the attention of the three defenders above the teal line on Filppula.
Filppula waits until he thinks he's drawn the defender near the right faceoff circle to him, then passes down low to Zetterberg. Zetterberg now has the room to either shoot or pass.
Filppula cuts towards the net and could have been rewarded as Zetterberg's shot rebounds right to him. Fil has a wide open net, a defender behind him, and a defender that's turned the wrong way. In other words, scoring chances don't get much better than this. Then Antti Niemi comes along and ruins the party, somehow stopping Fil's shot from point blank range.
The puck hits Niemi's pad and sits there, perfectly placed for Danny Cleary to tap it in.

No comments:

Post a Comment