Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1 (4/14/10)

Tonight it was game one of Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Red Wings and the Coyotes. The goalies were Jimmy Howard and Ilya Bryzgalov. The Red Wings were wearing their road whites which fit nicely with just about everybody in the arena. It almost looked like they were wearing white for the Wings.

The Wings looked great in the first period. They had a lot of quality shots. Bryzgalov was looking really sharp as well and making some spectacular saves. At the other end the Coyotes had a few bursts of scoring chances but nothing too serious; just enough to get Howard in the game.

Then, after all the big saves Bryzgalov had made, Holmstrom fired one from near the point. Bryzgalov reached for it with the glove and just missed it. That made it one to nothing Wings.

A few minutes later the Coyotes had a power play and Yandle fired from the blue line. Doan was in front of Howard screening him. The puck went in to tie the game at one.

Not long after that the Red Wings had their second power play. They were moving the puck very well. Lidstrom shot the puck from the blue line with about three or four people between him and Bryzgalov. It somehow made it through everybody’s legs. It might have been redirected a time or two but it made it into the back of the net. Bryzgalov never had a chance of stopping that one. I don’t think he even saw it. That made it two to one Red Wings.

The first period was pretty well dominated by the Red Wings. They controlled the puck very well and they were creating a tremendous amount of traffic in front of Bryzgalov. They ended the period with a two to one lead and most of a power play left over to start the second.

In the second period the Coyotes killed off the early power play and then had one of their own about five minutes later. Yandle had the puck and passed it across to Wolski who was wide open. He one timed a bullet of a shot that beat Howard cleanly to tie the game at two.

The Coyotes seemed a lot more aggressive in the second period. There were a lot of big hits by both teams. Doan hit Kronwall and was called for a charge but it looked like a head shot to me. On the replays it looked like Doan hit him right in the face with a forearm. Nobody seemed to react to it though so I guess maybe it wasn’t that bad.

Early in the third period the Coyotes had a power play. They won the faceoff back to Morris who shot from the blue line and beat Howard to take the lead for the first time in the game.

In the third period Lidstrom was hit in the mouth with Fiddler’s stick and cut pretty badly. None of the officials saw it though so instead of a four minute penalty there was nothing. Nice job, refs.

The Coyotes improved even more in the third period. They took the game over. The Wings weren’t able to score even after pulling the goalie in the final minute.

This seemed like three separate games. In the first period the Red Wings had more than double the shots of the Coyotes. The second period was pretty even. And in the third period the Coyotes doubled the Red Wings’ shots. I don’t know if they just wore down the Wings, or if they Coyotes just found their mojo. They definitely had the Wings scrambling in the third period though.

So the Red Wings lost game one three to two. Now they need to shake that off and come back strong on Friday.

This 2-3 loss brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 0-1 Coyotes.

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