Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 6 (4/25/10)

Today the Red Wings had the chance to close out their first round series on home ice. The two goalies today were Bryzgalov and Howard. Calder Trophy nominee Jimmy Howard has been phenomenal and the rest of the Wings are also on a roll. Shane Doan was out of the lineup again for the Coyotes with an upper body injury but they got Fiddler back for this game.

The Red Wings started the game on the attack. They were passing the puck very well and playing aggressively. They had two power plays that were essentially back to back (there was a one second overlap). Just after the second power play started the Coyotes won a faceoff and dumped it deep in the Detroit end. Stuart brought the puck out to the neutral zone and Korpikoski stole it from him and took off towards the net. Zetterberg got back and tried to block the shot with his stick. He still got the shot away though and beat Jimmy Howard through the five hole for a shorthanded goal. That made it one nothing Coyotes.

During the second power play the Coyotes were called for another penalty. This time there was over a minute of 5 on 3 power play time for the Wings. The Coyotes killed off all the penalty time so all the Red Wings had to show for three Phoenix penalties was a minus one. It wasn’t for lack of trying though. The Red Wings had a ton of great scoring chances and were thwarted by Bryzgalov every time. The action was furious. The hitting was thunderous. The energy level and puck movement were excellent. The Wings were outplaying the Coyotes but the Coyotes had a few very good plays that put them up one nothing and kept them there throughout the first period.

Detroit dominated in the first period in almost every sense except the score. The Red Wings were outshooting the Coyotes 14 to 6.

Early in the second period Holmstrom was called for cross checking. On the power play the Coyotes got the puck to Schneider at the point. He shot it through a bunch of traffic.  It changed direction in front and got behind Jimmy Howard to give the Coyotes a two nothing lead.

Just a few seconds later the Red Wings were pressuring again. Franzen shot the puck and the rebound bounced around and was picked up by Datsyuk. He passed it back to Stuart in the slot. Stuart quickly shot it and beat Bryzgalov to put the Red Wings on the board two to one.

About halfway through the second period the Coyotes were on the power play. The Red Wings won the faceoff in their own end but couldn’t clear. They got stuck there for a long time and were starting to get tired. Lang had the puck along the boards and sent a perfect pass through the slot that found Vrbata heading towards the net. It hit his stick right on the tape and he flipped it into the net making it three to one Coyotes.

A few minutes later the Coyotes won a faceoff in Detroit’s end. They got it back to the point and then to Prucha along the boards. He took it to the top the circle and threw it towards the net. It hit Wolski in front of Jimmy Howard and changed direction. Then it bounced into the net making it four to one Coyotes. It was a total fluke goal.

In the third period Zetterberg was called for tripping and the Coyotes went back on the power play. The Wings killed off most of the penalty but with a few seconds to go Yandle shot from the blue line. Pyatt was in front of the net and he tipped it in to give the Coyotes the lead five to one.

Later Abdelkader put a huge hit on Stempniak. Then Morris came in and started fighting him. He caught Abdelkader off guard and off balance and landed several punches including some while Abdelkader was down on the ice and defenseless. Then a little while later Abdelkader and Yandle got tangled up along the boards and they went at. Abdelkader landed a few nice punches on him. Instead of giving them each five minutes they gave Yandle a minor for roughing and Abdelkader a double minor for roughing. I don’t know how they came up with that but it gave Phoenix a power play.

The Wings killed off the penalty and then at the other end Helm shot the puck from below the goal line. It hit Bryzgalov’s skate and bounced towards the net. The referee said no goal but it was very close to crossing the line so the play was reviewed. On the replay it was still hard to tell if it was in or not but it looked like you could see a little bit of white between the puck and the goal line. Based on the review they awarded the goal to Detroit which made it five to two Phoenix with three and a half minutes left.

The Wings weren’t able to score again so the Coyotes won five to two sending the series to game seven. As the final horn sounded Lepisto chopped Helm on the back of the legs. It sent Helm down to the ice in a heap. Hopefully, it won’t be a problem for him in the next game.

The Coyotes played a really good road game this afternoon. Detroit was dominant in the first period but from that point on the Coyotes took over. Phoenix made it through the first period on luck and great goaltending but in the second and third they were really assertive.

The tendency will probably be to blame Jimmy Howard since on paper it looks like there must have been some bad goaltending. Overall though, he played very well. There wasn’t much he could have done about most of the goals against.

The real story of the game was special teams. Phoenix had three power play goals and one shorthanded. Detroit did not score at all on the power play.

This 5-2 loss brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to a 3-3 tie.

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