Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix Coyotes’

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 4 (4/20/11)

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

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.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3 (4/18/11)

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Tonight it was game three of Detroit’s first round series against the Phoenix Coyotes. The goalies were Bryzgalov and Howard. The rest of the lineups were also unchanged from game two.

This game picked up right where game two left off; with the Red Wings completely in charge. Detroit jumped to early lead again tonight. Salei scored with a slapper from the point and then Miller tipped in a point shot from Kronwall. The Coyotes were two goals down before the game was three minutes old. That pretty well took the crowd out of it and it also put the Coyotes off their game. They were playing catch up for the rest of the night.

Filppula scored early in the second period and Franzen scored early in third. They were both great shots but Bryzgalov is taking a lot of heat for not being good enough in this series. Howard, on the other hand, was excellent once again last night.

On the Phoenix side of the score sheet, they had had power play goals from Schlemko and Whitney. They can build on the fact that they outplayed Detroit on specialty teams. The Wings were 0 for 4 on the power play and Phoenix was 2 for 3. There were some very weak penalties called in this game. The roughing call on Hanzal early in the second period was particularly ridiculous. I don’t understand what the ref was thinking making that call.

They Coyotes were pretty ineffective against the Wings. They did a pretty good job of controlling Datsyuk tonight but as a group the Wings just completely rolled over them. I don’t know if the Wings are just that much better or if maybe the off-ice issues are interfering with the focus of the Coyotes. Not to take anything for granted, but at this point my biggest concern is that the Red Wings will be over confident heading in to round two where they’re sure to face much stronger resistance.

But for now it’s time to stay focused on game four which will be Wednesday night in Phoenix. The Red Wings will try to keep it rolling and close out this series early with a sweep.

This 2-4 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 3-0 Red Wings.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2 (4/16/11)

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Today was game two of the first round of the playoff series between the Red Wings and the Coyotes. The goalies were Howard and Bryzgalov. Modano was a healthy scratch again.

This was certainly an exciting game! There were incredible individual plays, injuries and heroic returns, lots of violent hits, utter domination by the Red Wings throughout much of the game, and a heart-pounding come back by the Coyotes at the end.

Franzen went face first into the boards early in the first period and cut himself pretty badly. He was very unsteady leaving the ice. I was worried that along with the obvious cut, he might have whiplash or even a concussion. The crowd was really on Shane Doan about it because he made contact with Franzen just before the wipe out. It wasn’t Doan’s fault though. Franzen’s skate got stuck and he was losing his balance as Doan hit him. It was just an unlucky play. Doan is not a dirty player so I’m sure it wasn’t intentional. Incredibly Franzen returned in the second period after receiving 21 stitches in his face. You could see Babcock asking if he should be wearing a visor and Franzen was just shaking his head. When he skated out for the first time the crowd chanted his name. It was a great moment. Later, Franzen shoved Doan after a whistle and Doan gave him a face wash with the glove. I thought that was pretty cheap and probably hurt like hell after the injuries to Franzen’s face.

By the end of the first period, the Red Wings had three goals and the Coyotes had none. Datsyuk had a goal and two assists. The third goal was scored thanks to an incredible move by Datsyuk. He came in on Bryzgalov showing backhand but Bryzgalov was well-positioned. Datsyuk pulled the puck back between his own legs and got off a great shot. Even though it surprised Bryzgalov he still made the save, but he kicked a juicy rebound right out to the slot where the trailer, Helm, was in perfect position to bang it in for the third goal. Earlier in the first period, Datsyuk and Rafalski had each scored power play goals. The Wings were on fire.

Detroit scored again early in the second period when Holmstrom tipped in a puck that was fired by Filppula. It looked like the Wings were going to coast to an easy win, but then Vrbata scored a power play goal to give the Coyotes some hope.

Also in the second period, Helm was called for boarding against Jovanovski. It didn’t look that bad to me at all. In fact, Jovanovski’s reaction was worse than the hit, in my opinion. He came up to Helm after the play and grabbed him by the chin. He held on to Helm’s face and yelled at him. Helm made no attempt to resist or fight back, which I thought took a lot of discipline. I really didn’t see what the big deal was but the refs gave Helm two minutes for boarding. Something must have happened though because Jovanovski left the game after that and did not return.

In the third period the Red Wings got into some serious penalty trouble and the Coyotes scored two power play goals bringing them to within one of tying it up. That made for a pretty interesting finish as they battled to try to tie the game. The Wings were able to hold them off and take a two game lead in the series.

By the time this game was half over, Datsyuk had made about three games worth of highlight reel plays. He was an absolute force of nature out there. He was totally in charge of the game in the first period and the Coyotes were powerless against him. It was a treat to watch.

The Red Wings are playing great hockey right now. Datsyuk looks as good if not better than ever. Howard is playing really well, in fact I can’t think of anybody who isn’t pulling their weight. Now they shift to Phoenix for game three on Monday night.

This 3-4 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 2-0 Red Wings.

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

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

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.

Detroit at Phoenix (3/5/11)

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

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:
86 points

Phoenix at Detroit (11/8/10)

Monday, November 8th, 2010

The Red Wings played the Coyotes tonight in Detroit. The Wings had spent all day Sunday travelling home from Vancouver. Rafalski returned to the lineup tonight which is very good news for the Wings. The goalies for this game were Howard and Bryzgalov.

The Red Wings were clearly tired from all the travel and shifting time zones. They lacked energy for long stretches in this game. However they also were able to dig deep and apply some good pressure in spurts.

There were a few scary moments in the first period when Jimmy Howard was down and looked to be injured. After being checked by Stempniak, Salei fell awkwardly onto Howard when he was in a prone position. After a few minutes of checking things out with the trainer Howard was fine.

Rafalski seemed to enjoy being back in the lineup. He got right back into the action when he took a shot from the point that was eventually banged in by Cleary for the first goal of the night.

The Wings gave up the next two goals and eventually tied it up in the third period.

The game went to overtime tied at two.

In the OT there was a delayed penalty call against the Coyotes and Howard went to the bench for an extra skater. Before the Coyotes could touch the puck Zetterberg tipped in a shot from Salei for the game winner.

This was tough game for the Wings and it showed a lot of guts for them to battle through it. They were obviously out of gas and they were still able to dig deep and pull out two points.

This 2-3 win brings us to:
19 points

Phoenix at Detroit (10/28/10)

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

The opponent for tonight’s home game was the Phoenix Coyotes.  Jimmy Howard had back spasms so Babcock decided to rest him as a precaution.  Osgood got the start and Joey MacDonald was called up as backup.  To do that they had to put Draper on long term IR and Rafalski on short term IR.  The Coyotes’ goalie was Ilya Bryzgalov.

The game got off to a rough start as Osgood let in a couple of stinkers.  Barely half way through the first period it was already three to nothing Phoenix.  Osgood settled down after that and played well but the damage was done.

It was a strange game.  It seemed like the Wings were doing a lot of good things but they just didn’t work.  They had some glorious scoring chances and weird crap kept happening to prevent them from scoring.  The puck was bouncing all over the place and never in the Red Wings’ favor.

Eventually the Red Wings did score a couple of nice goals and it was two to three in the late stages of the third period.  The Wings pulled the goalie and attempted to tie it up but, par for the course tonight, Kronwall fanned on a pass near his own end with the net empty and Korpikoski jumped on it for the insurance goal.

The Wings played well enough to have won this game if they weren’t already in a deep hole.  The early goals were just too much to overcome.

This 2-4 loss brings us to:
11 points

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 7 (4/27/10)

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Tonight the Red Wings and Coyotes went head to head in game seven. It was the first game seven of Jimmy Howard’s NHL career so the pressure was on. The Coyotes’ goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov, had been playing extremely well. The Red Wings would have to score early to rattle him and get some momentum.

Shane Doan was a game time decision but was not able to go tonight.

The Wings had a great scoring chance in the first period and Hanzal had to take a penalty to prevent it. On the power play the Red Wings were all over the Coyotes but Bryzgalov somehow stopped them on several shots that should have been easy goals. It seemed like he might have been getting in their heads a little bit. There were so many chances where Bryzgalov was down or out of position and they just couldn’t get it past him.

At the other end Jimmy Howard looked sharp as well although he wasn’t called upon much. Phoenix had a power play of their own but the Red Wings shut them down.

The first period ended with no score. The shots were 17 to 6 in favor of Detroit. It was a good period for the Wings but the longer Phoenix goes without giving up a goal the more confident they become. It was important for Detroit not to get discouraged or let Bryzgalov get in their heads.

Early in the second period the Wings had another power play when Hanzal was called for slashing. They continued the pressure and, unfortunately, the bad puck luck. At one point Zetterberg had a wide open net and the puck bounced over his stick. It was starting to look like the Red Wings were cursed. Then Lidstrom carried the puck in deep behind the net with Datsyuk and Franzen on either side of the slot and Holmstrom in front. Lidstrom sent it back towards Franzen but it hit somebody and bounced to Datsyuk instead. He settled it down and fired the puck into the back of the net making it one to nothing. That finally got the monkey off their backs.

A few minutes later Eaves was called for tripping. On the penalty kill Helm had a shorthanded breakaway. He was hooked by Aucoin so that negated the Eaves penalty and made it four on four for over a minute and a half. During the four on four Rafalski passed to Zetterberg who hit Datsyuk in stride entering the Phoenix end. He was in behind the defense. He took it to the net like it was a shootout. He made a sweet backhand fake and burned Bryzgalov with a wrister to make it two to nothing Wings. That was the second Datsyuk goal in 1:40.

Jimmy Howard made a couple of monster saves right after that goal to maintain the score.

The Wings killed off another penalty but just after it expired there was a faceoff deep in their own zone. Fiddler won it right to Jimmy Howard. He wasn’t expecting the shot to come so quickly. It hit his stick and bounced into the net to put the Coyotes on the board.

Phoenix seemed to draw a lot of energy from that goal. The crowd was electric. It was important for Detroit to weather that storm or possibly even score. They came very close a few times on the next shift. It was the fourth line guys and Cleary was really tenacious. The pressure helped kill the Coyotes’ momentum and shortly thereafter Aucoin was called for holding Holmstrom during their net-front battle.

On the power play Bertuzzi buried the puck but it was after a very quick whistle that went almost as soon as the puck touched Bryzgalov. The Wings continued to pressure on the power play and it seemed like they had about 100 quality scoring chances. They had the Coyotes pinned deep and on their heels with the Red Wings firing shot after shot at Bryzgalov. The Coyotes were out of gas. Just as the power play was about to expire Lidstrom ripped one from the blue line and got it through the traffic and into the net to make it three to one Wings.

Towards the end of the period Miller fell down into Yandle and tripped him up accidentally. He was called for tripping. During the Phoenix power play Lombardi was called for interference but they also called Helm for diving. It looked to me like he just kept his feet moving and that’s why he went down. I don’t see how they call that a dive. Later in the same power play there was some mayhem in front of the Red Wings net and Stuart was called for hooking so the Coyotes had a 5 on 3 power play for 1:12. Phoenix called their timeout to set it up.

It was a huge kill for the Red Wings and a pivotal moment in the game but they got it done. Just after the second penalty ended Stuart came out of the box and picked up an errant pass. He took off on a breakaway. He stumbled, made a move and scored on Bryzgalov with under five seconds left in the period. That made it four to one and completely deflated the Coyotes. That’s how the second period ended.

In the third period the Red Wings put it in shut down mode. They were all over the Coyotes. The Wings were still generating chances but they weren’t allowing much at all in their own end.

Before the halfway point of the period Filppula shot and Bryzgalov gave up a rebound that went right up the slot. Bertuzzi was flying in and he tapped it by Bryzgalov to add a little more insurance. That made it five to one Wings.

A few minutes later Fiddler was called for a double minor, one for interference and one for roughing. During the power play some idiot threw a bottle on the ice but play was allowed to continue. Lidstrom ripped a shot from the faceoff dot and put it in the top, far corner of the net. The game was pretty much done with the score six to one.

The Coyotes killed off the second minor and the score held until the end of the game.

What a great game this was for Detroit. After a discouraging but well-played first period, the Red Wings took total control of the game. They completely dominated. Everybody played very well. Jimmy Howard was fantastic.

The Coyotes seemed like a pretty tough challenge for the Wings but they’re nothing compared to their second round opponent.  The Sharks await.

This was a great first round for the Wings. Let’s keep it going, guys!

This 6-1 win finishes this Western Conference Quarterfinal series at 4-3 Red Wings.

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

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

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.

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

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

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.