Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 4 (4/20/10)

Tonight’s game was a must win for the Red Wings. They were down 2-1 in the series. If you fall to 3-1 the odds are not good of coming back to win the series, but a win tonight and it would be up for grabs.

The goalies once again were Jimmy Howard and Ilya Bryzgalov. The Coyotes captain Shane Doan was not in the lineup for this game. He was injured in game 3 when he crashed into the boards trying to avoid running into Jimmy Howard. Fiddler was back in the lineup for the Coyotes after missing the previous game.

The Red Wings did some line juggling for this game. Cleary was moved onto a line with Datsyuk and Franzen. Holmstrom was moved onto a line with Miller and Abdelkader.

In the first period Miller and Fiddler got into it a little bit in front of the Coyotes’ net. They didn’t actually fight but they both went off for roughing. They continued to argue while in the boxes. There was some animosity there for sure.

During the 4 one 4 it looked like Filppula had scored. After looking at the replay though it was clear that the puck did not cross the line. It was hard to believe because it looked like it was heading in and then it hit the ice and bounced right back out. It was tumbling end over end and it just happened to bounce the wrong way.

The first period ended with no score. The Wings had a slow start but seemed to play better as the period went on. The Red Wings ended up with approximately double the shots and chances that Phoenix had and were pretty much in control of the puck. They had a few power plays but couldn’t score. The biggest problem for the Wings in the first period was faceoffs. They only won 8 while Phoenix came away with 20.

Late in the second period the Red Wings were on the power play. Kronwall shot from the blue line and Zetterberg was in front. He deflected the puck with his stick and it went up and into the top corner of the net. They reviewed it see if it was touched with a high stick but it was not. There wasn’t much chance that his stick was above the crossbar because the puck went up from where he touched it and it still ended up under the crossbar. That gave the Wings the one to nothing lead. The goal was initially credited to Bertuzzi but wasn’t touched by his stick so that would be changed.

A few seconds after the goal, Datsyuk was called for boarding. During the penalty kill Jimmy Howard’s goalie mask was knocked off and he still made the save before the whistle went. It was quite a display of concentration.

The second period ended with the Wings up by one. Most of the period was rather uneventful. The Red Wings seemed to be dominating in terms of possession but Phoenix was doing a good job of preventing many quality chances. By the end of the period the shots and chances were much closer.

In the third period the Coyotes had 17 seconds of 5 on 3 power play time. The Red Wings killed it off and then killed off the rest of the penalty, too. It was a great kill for the Wings and it really energized the team and the crowd.

Later the Red Wings got the puck in deep. They got it back to Lidstrom at the point. He passed it to Franzen who found an opening to hit Datsyuk on the other side of the ice. Datsyuk fired a perfect shot that got behind Bryzgalov on the short side and found the top corner of the far side of the net. That made it two to nothing Wings with just over four minutes left in the game. It sure was a pretty play.

The Red Wings kept the pressure on and just 25 seconds later they scored again. Bertuzzi won a race to negate an icing and cycled the puck to Zetterberg down below the goal line along the boards. Zetterberg just threw it to the net and it hit Bryzgalov and went in to make it three to zip.

The Red Wings played some great defense for the final five minutes including a penalty kill at the end that was needed when Datsyuk flipped the puck over the glass by mistake.

The Wings got the win and Jimmy Howard earned his first career playoff shutout. It was a great performance by Howard especially considering this was a bounce back game after losing game three and giving up some soft goals. It’s a great sign that he was able to put that all behind him and perform so well in this game.

Detroit played a very physical game tonight. They were really throwing the body around and laying some big hits. Datsyuk and Zetterberg played really well as did Helm and Bertuzzi.

So the Red Wings head back to Phoenix with the series tied at two apiece. It’s a best of three now.

This 0-3 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to a 2-2 tie.

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