Game four of the Red Wings’ series with the Coyotes once again featured a goalie matchup between Howard and Bryzgalov. Franzen was a last minute scratch due to a lower body injury so Modano was in the lineup tonight. Zetterberg was still unable to play.
The Wings scored first and, as usual, it was early in the period. This time, however, the Coyotes answered with two of their own giving them their first lead since the opening period of game one. Both of the Coyotes’ goals deflected in off of Red Wings players but Phoenix still felt a boost to their confidence and generated some momentum. Detroit was unfazed. They just continued playing their game and working hard all over the ice. Near the end of the first period they tied it up when Eaves tapped the puck in the net after being set up by an awesome play by Helm. The period ended with the score tied at two.
The Red Wings and the Coyotes each scored power play goals in the second. Hanzal scored for the Coyotes and Kronwall for the Wings. After two periods it was tied at three. I was starting to think they might be in store for an overtime battle tonight. It seemed to be the night for it since two other games had gone to double overtime earlier in the night including the Capitals and the Rangers which caused the national viewers to miss the beginning of the Red Wings game on Versus. I wish they could put the national games on Center Ice as well so that we don’t have this problem. It’s just a matter of time until somebody goes three or four overtimes and we end up missing an entire game.
Phoenix gave it their best in the third period and Bryzgalov was playing very well. The back breaker came at 13:41 when Cleary fired a shot with absolutely no angle and banked it in off the back of Bryzgalov’s leg through the tiniest of openings. It was an amazing goal and I think it really deflated the crowd and the players for Phoenix. Just a few minutes later Bertuzzi scored on a wrap-around that bounced in off the skate of a Phoenix player. With their hopes dwindling, the Coyotes pulled the goalie with about two minutes to go. After several players missed the net, Eaves finally nailed the empty net goal putting the final nail in the coffin for the Coyotes’ season.
So it was a first round sweep for the Red Wings who are really cranking on all cylinders right now. The best news is that they’re the first team done with round one so they have the most possible time to rest up and recover before round two. Hopefully, Franzen and Zetterberg will both be ready to go in time for the start of the next round. Way to go, Red Wings!
This 6-3 win finishes this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 4-0 Red Wings.