Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 5 (4/23/10)

Tonight the Red Wings and Coyotes faced off for game five. One team would end the night just a win away from the second round. Bryzgalov and Howard were the goalies again for this game. Shane Doan was still out of the lineup for the Coyotes. Robert Lang was also out of the lineup again after returning for the previous game. Our other old friend, Mathieu Schneider was in instead.

The first period had a great pace but only a few good scoring chances at either end. Both goalies had some big saves. Towards the end of the period Phoenix iced the puck. In a strange but effective move, Babcock put out his fourth line against the tired Coyotes’ squad. Miller carried the puck in deep and tried to center it from behind the net. It hit the skates of Lepisto and bounced back to Miller. He took it back and tried the wrap around. Bryzgalov made the initial stop but then it hit Fiddler’s skate and went in. It was initially credited to Abdelkader who was right there in front of the net but it was changed to Miller since Abdelkader didn’t touch the puck. It was one to nothing Red Wings.

In the second period the Coyotes got the puck into the Red Wings’ end and worked it in deep. They got it back to the point with Jovanovski in front of the net. Aucoin shot it from the point and Howard stopped it. Jovanovski swept the puck around Howard as he was falling on top of him. Howard complained that he was interfered with. Jovanovski did fall on top of him and it looked like Howard’s leg bent back awkwardly. He seemed to be okay but he didn’t have much of a chance to stop the puck. It easily could have been called interference but I didn’t think it was too terrible. It was determined to be incidental contact which I think was fair. That goal tied the game at one.

In the third period the Red Wings had a power play but weren’t able to score. Hanzal had a breakaway coming out of the penalty box and Howard made two spectacular saves on him. On the second one Howard was already sprawled out and Hanzal took another whack at it. Howard knocked the puck out of the air with his goal stick. It was absolute robbery. Beautiful goaltending!

Helm made a fantastic defensive play in the third period. Howard was all the way over to his right expecting a shot from Fiddler. Instead he wrapped around the back of the net very quickly and Howard wasn’t able to get back in time. Helm saw that play developing and came flying in to the wide open side of the net with his stick down and made a great save to rob Fiddler of an easy goal. Great play by Helm! Ericsson was also right there in good position to help out.

Later in the third period there was a faceoff deep in the Coyotes’ end. Datsyuk won it back to Lidstrom at the point. He fired a shot that was redirected slightly a time or two and somehow ended up behind Bryzgalov but in front of the net. Holmstrom skated through the crease behind Bryzgalov and chased down the puck, popping it into the wide open net for the go ahead goal. That made it two to one Wings with about nine minutes left in the game.

After that goal the Wings had some momentum. They kept up the pressure and were generating some good chances. Then Holmstrom got the puck to Franzen who passed it to Datsyuk in front of the net. Datsyuk got the puck up and beat Bryzgalov over the glove with a backhander making it three to one.

Late in the game the Coyotes’ pulled Bryzgalov. Zetterberg bagged a nice empty net goal that was actually pretty difficult. He had about three Coyotes on him trying to prevent the goal and he scored anyway thanks in part to a nice setup from Filppula.

So the Red Wings won game five four to one and took the series lead three to two. This was a great game for the Wings. They Coyotes played hard but the Wings were better. Jimmy Howard was fantastic once again and the entire team played very well.

The Red Wings will have the chance to finish the first round on Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm in Detroit.

This 4-1 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 3-2 Red Wings.

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