Trying to pull my post-game thoughts together after the relative panic of the end of today’s Red Wings – Coyotes game is proving harder than I expected.
Lots of complaining about the officiating going on from both sides, it looks like. Not surprising, from such an inconsistently-officiated game. I acknowledge complaints from the Phoenix side – they went to the box a lot early on – but I’m going to risk being quoted out of context by only focusing on Detroit complaints.
Two calls / non-calls really bothered me. Darren Helm went off for boarding in the second period on what, to me (not to Dave Tippett), was clearly a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Then Ed Jovanovski gets all p*ssed off about it and grabs Helm by the jaw, no roughing call because no penalties ever happen after the whistle. Helm’s hit was legal. Never should have been a call. And Jovanovski shouldn’t have gotten away with that, either.
Second call was a non call. Johan Franzen goes to the box for a cross-check in the third period, partially a weak call but mostly a stupid play by Franzen, I can’t really disagree with it. Head to the ensuing power play, just before the Coyotes score you have Martin Hanzel cross-checking Brad Stuart to the ice without a call. In the span of two minutes we go from it being illegal to it being legal.
Ignoring penalties, further thoughts on the game…
Detroit came out exactly as they needed to. They dominated that first period, didn’t let up when Franzen went down (as they did when Henrik Zetterberg got hurt in Carolina ten days ago), and seemed to be poised to roll.
Then they let up. Call it “getting into penalty trouble” or whatever you want, it happened because the Red Wings got lazy and sloppy. And Phoenix took advantage to get back in the game.
The Coyotes were controlling the pace of the game for most of the third period and getting on the scoresheet because of it. It was one bounce from being a tie game after the Wings had such an early advantage.
The Red Wings closed it out, though. I thought they were really solid defensively in the final three minutes or so, keeping the puck in the Phoenix end quite a bit and clearing their own zone quickly. Valtteri Filppula probably should have had an empty-net goal but he botched the chance.
So what do the teams take away from this? Detroit held serve at home, which is the most important thing for them no matter how it happened. They’ve also seemingly solved Ilya Bryzgalov. Even without Henrik Zetterberg, they’ve controlled large parts of this series.
The Coyotes did make a bit of a statement today, though. Unlike Wednesday, they took advantage of the chances they got. Three power play goals after going scoreless on the man-advantage in Game One. They did some solving of their own.
Detroit obviously sits in better shape with the 2-0 series lead but Phoenix isn’t out of anything yet. The Wings need a road win to punctuate the series. We’ll see what happens Monday night.