Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1 (4/13/11)

The Red Wings and the Coyotes opened round one of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight at Joe Louis Arena. The goalies were Jimmy Howard and Ilya Bryzgalov. Zetterberg was sidelined with a lower body injury and is day to day. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to play by game two on Saturday. Modano was a healthy scratch.

The Red Wings got off to a little bit of a slow start tonight. They weren’t really playing badly but they made a mistake early and Turris scored with a perfect shot over Howard’s glove. Then the Wings got into some penalty trouble and had to kill off a 5 on 3. They did that and built some momentum from it along with some help from the fans.

In the second period the Red Wings really ramped up their play. The started to really dominate like we know they can. Datsyuk was really working and he scored the first Detroit goal with a nice wrap around that Bryzgalov wasn’t expecting. Then Franzen fired a long shot using the defense a partial screen and beat Bryzgalov again. Suddenly, the Wings were up two to one. Towards the end of the second period Rafalski scored on the power play giving the Red Wings a two goal lead.

Hudler scored with a beautiful shot over Bryzgalov’s glove hand in the third period. Vrbata scored one for the Coyotes but the Wings were able hold them off from scoring any more than that.

Jimmy Howard was fantastic. He made several incredible and timely saves to keep the game one to nothing early on, and he did not get rattled at all after giving up the early goal.

Datsyuk was amazing, and Franzen also had a great game. Bertuzzi had a fight with Klesla that was short but much appreciated by the fans. While Bertuzzi was sitting in the penalty box the fans chanted Todd-Ber-tuz-zi with the same cadence as Let’s Go Red Wings. As the Versus announcers pointed out, Detroit loves spunk.

This was a great start for the Wings. I’ll be surprised if Phoenix doesn’t start playing tougher but the Wings have shown that they can really turn it on when they need to. It took a little while for them to warm up tonight but they’re humming now and hopefully they can keep it rolling.

This 2-4 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 0-1 Red Wings.

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