Detroit at Phoenix (3/5/11)

The final game of the Red Wings’ current road trip was tonight against the Coyotes in Phoenix. The goalies were Jimmy Howard and Ilya Bryzgalov. Draper was the healthy scratch for this game and Miller was in.

Detroit got the scoring started early in this one when Helm stole a puck and got it quickly to Miller. He stepped across the blue line and fired a long shot at Bryzgalov. Somehow he missed it when he tried to swat it away and it slipped past him and into the net. Later in the period Franzen scored a power play goal with a nice wrister that was set up by Lidstrom. Franzen’s shot was perfectly placed just over the shoulder of Bryzgalov’s glove hand. This was the first goal for Franzen since his five-goal burst 15 games ago so it’s good for him to get that out of the way.

Towards the end of the first period Turris scored for the Coyotes. I still can’t believe the goal was allowed. Howard was just outside the crease and tried to move towards the post to make the save. MacLean was in his way and prevented him from getting into position. The Phoenix broadcasters (which were all that were available on NHL Center Ice) said that MacLean had every right to that piece of ice. And I would have agreed with that until I saw the goal waved off in the previous game because Franzen was standing (outside the crease) and the referee decided that Niemi might have wanted to stand there. Franzen didn’t bump him; Niemi didn’t run into Franzen trying to get into position, Franzen was just standing there. This case was much worse. Howard tried to move and hit a brick wall preventing him from doing his job. What better describes goaltender interference? Clearly, this is a case of two referees with two different interpretations of the rule and that isn’t supposed to happen. I’ve never been more sour about a non-call. I would have been okay with it if much less of an infraction hadn’t been called on Detroit just the other night.

In the second period Filppula scored from behind the goal line by banking the puck in off of Bryzgalov’s shoulder. Then late in the period Phoenix was on a power play and Helm raced after a puck that was cleared deep into the Coyotes’ end. He was charging as hard as if he was trying to negate an icing and I think it confused the Phoenix players. Helm won the race, got the puck and took it to the front of the net where he ripped a wrister that beat Bryzgalov for a demoralizing, late-period, shorthanded goal. It was a great individual effort by Helm who just continues to impress me. You gotta love this guy! That made it four to one Wings at the end of the second.

Early in the third period Howard came out behind the net to play the puck around to Kindl. Kindl tapped it to Helm in front of the still empty net. The pass was a little tight in Helm’s feet and he missed it. Boedker was right there to grab it and put it in the empty net as Howard dove for it. That made it four to two in favor of Detroit. With a little over five minutes left in the game Whitney scored with a shot that he swept around Howard’s pads and into the net. That one was a bit of a soft goal, I thought. Then with about two minutes left Hanzal scored for the Coyotes after a bit of a scramble in front of Howard. Suddenly the game was tied. The Wings had given up three unanswered goals in the third period.

The tie held to the end of the game and throughout the overtime. In the shootout Bryzgalov stopped Datsyuk, Hudler and Bertuzzi for the Wings. Howard stopped Turris and Boedker, but unfortunately the second shooter, Vrbata, scored to give the Coyotes the unbelievable win.

This was a two point gift from the Red Wings to the Coyotes. It was a terrible collapse in the third period and in fact, although they scored a lot of goals, they didn’t play particularly well. The Coyotes outshot the Wings in every period of the game. It was kind of misleading because the score made it look like the Wings were dominating but they weren’t and they were also taking a lot of penalties. The Wings were lucky to get one point out of this game but I can’t help but wonder how different the game would have been if the Coyotes’ first goal would have been disallowed.

This 4-5 overtime loss brings us to:
39-19-8
86 points

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