Thursday, April 12, 2012

GBGA Round 1 Game 1: Smashville Indeed

It's hard to be encouraged by a loss, but I truly am. The Wings PK was phenomenal, and I can't think of a better overall defensive performance this year. The powerplay has room to improve, but 2-8 is a good place to start. A little more puck movement will go a long way in that regard. For coverage from the print media, head here and here. The Malik Report has too many interesting posts to link to on the front page, so just go here and enjoy.

1st Period

Nashville 1 Detroit 0; 6:59- Gaustad from Yip and Bouillon
The plays starts to develop with everyone in position. Stuart goes for a hit in the corner and Emmerton has netfront covered.
Stuart's hit erases Yip from the rest of the play, but doesn't prevent him from tipping the puck behind the net. Gaustad picks it up but has Emmerton draped all over him.
Emmerton does a nice job of getting his stick in the passing lane and taking away the more dangerous play, the cross-ice pass. This leaves him unable to stop Gaustad's spin move to the inside. Instead of moving the puck behind the net, Gaustad throws it in front and hopes for the best. The puck hits Brad Stuart's skate and is deflected past Jimmy Howard for the first goal of the series. Cue the sad trombone.

2nd Period

Nashville 1 Detroit 1; 2:29- PPG Zetterberg (1) unassisted
The Wings are in the umbrella formation on the powerplay. Lidstrom tries to pass from the sideboards to Kronwall at the point, but the puck hits a stick and flops onto the ice. Kronwall has to step up quickly and is the first to the puck.
Kronwall doesn't have time for a slap shot, and instead has to sling one towards the front. Hudler is screening in front, and he has to scrap for the puck alongside Nashville's two low defenders. One of the two Predators players gets a stick on the puck around the same time Zetterberg has come down into the slot. Zetterberg swipes the puck as the clearing attempt occurs, shooting over the very glove hand that stoned Zetterberg on a similar shot when the Preds visited Detroit on March 30th.

Nashville 2 Detroit 1; 12:29- Bourque from Halischuk
Nashville breaks out through the neutral zone on what should be a harmless, run of the mill offensive zone entry. Lidstrom steps up on Halischuk as he carries across the blue line. Franzen has to come over from center to cover Bourque as he drifts towards the outside lane. Lidstrom could potentially make a play on the puck but it would be dangerous to step that far towards the blue line and risk Halishuk beating him and the ensuing defensive coverage scramble that would follow.
Halischuk tries to simply shoot towards the front of the net and gets a once in a lifetime deflection off of Bourque's stick. The puck changes direction and beats Howard over the shoulder.

3rd Period

Nashville 3 Detroit 1; 11:35- Bourque from Spaling & Hornqvist
Howard plays the puck off the boards for Stuart on the other side of the net. Nashville's Nick Spaling cuts off the puck and pins Stuart to the boards.
Zetterberg comes down to help. Kronwall reads this and reacts by moving down low as well, getting into position for a pass behind the net from Zetterberg. 
Zetterberg gets cut off and run into by Hornqvist, which leaves a loose puck up for grabs. Kronwall is now in no mans land, having moved into the corner for a pass that isn't coming. He's going to race to the front of the net but Bourque is already there, completely alone. Spaling pinning Stuart behind him is key here, as it allows Spaling to have the positioning needed to get the loose puck and pass it out in front to Bourque. If Stuart hadn't gotten twisted and pinned behind Spaling, he likely makes the play on the puck. The reality of the situation is that Bourque is untouched in front of the net and one-times a puck past Howard, who had stretched out to try and poke check the pass away.

Nashville 3 Detroit 2; 17:53- PPG Holmstrom (1) from Quincey (1) & Filppula (1)
Quincey carries the puck through the neutral zone and drops it for Filppula at the blue line. Filppula sees public enemy no. 1 step up on him and saucer passes the puck to a streaking Quincey.
Quincey can't cut towards the middle of the ice but he does have a lot of room to shoot. He puts a low shot on goal that Rinne kicks out in front. This is exactly what Mike Babcock is talking about. You can't score on Rinne on the first shot, but he is indeed mortal and can be scored on given second chance opportunities. 
Holmstrom and Hudler are both in front, and Holmstrom cleans up the rebound.

I'd be remiss to not mention the deplorable incident at the end of last night's game involving Shea Weber and Henrik Zetterberg. I'm not upset about the lack of suspension for Weber; what I'm more upset about is the complete disregard for the tone the league worked 82+ games to cultivate this season. A league that take hits to the head seriously can not stand by and watch a player's head slammed into the boards and do nothing because the player wasn't injured. Gary Bettman said today on his NHL Hour show on Sirius XM radio that he talked to Brendan Shanahan and the people in hockey operations, and that they decided no suspension was needed because Zetterberg's head was close to the glass and the hit wasn't forecful. News previously came out during the Red Wings practice this afternoon that the hit cracked Zetterberg's helmet. Not forceful enough? A cracked helmet seems to indicate a forceful hit to me. It really feels like the league did the same thing as Weber: they both reacted without thinking.

Like it? Hate it? Let me know on Twitter @TOGBlog1 or by email at

No comments:

Post a Comment