Mathieu Schneider made his first appearance as a Red Wing and the Coyotes debuted their reconfigured lineup Wednesday night as Detroit defeated Phoenix, 3-2.
In the days leading up to and including Tuesday’s NHL trade deadline, the Coyotes dealt away six players, including power forward Tony Amonte, and acquired three more. Wednesday night’s game was the first look at Phoenix’s new lineup, although forward Jan Hrdina was out with a hip flexor and Andrei Nazarov was serving the final game of a two-game suspension.
Schneider, wearing number twenty-three for Detroit, played 23:23 and earned his first point as a Red Wing and the five-hundredth of his career by assisting on Igor Larionov‘s first-period goal.
“I’m definitely very excited to come back into a hockey city,” said Schneider, who has played in Montreal, Toronto, and for both New York teams. “It makes the game a lot more fun. I couldn’t ask for a better situation as far as the city of Detroit. I haven’t spent an awful lot of time there, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Wings opened the scoring at 5:16 of the first period. As the puck bounced around at the top of the crease, Jason Woolley, another Red Wings defenseman acquired via trade this season, punched it past scrambling Coyotes’ netminder Sean Burke. Burke called for the goal to be reviewed but a video replay found no reason for it to be overturned.
Schneider’s lone point in the game came almost ten minutes later, at 13:56. He kept the puck in the zone when the Coyotes attempted to fire it around the boards. Schneider fired a shot on goal, and Igor Larionov deflected it down into the net. Referee Stephen Walkom signaled for a goal and Burke was irate again.
The Coyotes challenged that Larionov had deflected the puck with a high stick. Larionov himself agreed, but the video replay allowed the goal to stand.
“My call was a goal,” said Walkom to a pool reporter. “I viewed it in a split second and I saw the stick come down on the puck and I believe it was right at the crossbar. Every goal is reviewed, so we took the time to go upstairs and they said it was too close too call and to go with the call on ice.”
Phoenix’s Ladislav Nagy got the Coyotes onto the board just 1:29 into the second period but Tomas Holmstrom replied just under four minutes later. Mike Johnson pulled Phoenix to within one with 3:53 remaining in regulation but the Red Wings held on and pulled out the win.