The Red Wings worked on their offense. Then they worked on their defense. Then they reminded Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille to shoot the puck hard and often. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to defeat Phoenix goaltender Sean Burke, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Detroit came in eager to play and shake off the ghosts of the losses to New Jersey and Colorado. Their first period showed off their new resolve. The Red Wings made a total of twenty-two shots against Burke in the first period alone, compared to the Coyotes’ four shots against Dominik Hasek. Hull, prominent on the power play and paired up with Pavel Datsyuk and Boyd Devereaux for five-on-five, was responsible for five shots against Burke after having gone two games with no shots at all.
In spite of the flurry of shots and two Detroit power plays in the first, Burke came up big for his team, stopping everything the Red Wings could throw at him.
It wasn’t until six minutes had passed in the second period that the Wings were able to break past Burke’s guarded play. During a Phoenix penalty to Mike Sullivan for cross-checking Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom took a pass from Igor Larionov at the blue line. He carried it forward to try to pass to Hull, but instead the puck deflected off the right skate of Paul Mara and up into the net for the Red Wings’ ninety-ninth goal of the season.
Burke played like a brick wall for the rest of the game, not letting in another goal despite the multitude of shots sent against him. The Red Wings played a strong defense, managing to shut down the Coyotes’ forward units almost completely.
At least, until the final minute of the third period. Down by one, the Phoenix bench pulled Burke from net in favor of the extra attacker. Sergei Fedorov got a breakaway chance and sent the puck fluttering towards the empty net, but knocked the puck just wide as he tumbled to the ice, squeezed between two Phoenix skaters.
Phoenix brought the play back to Detroit’s zone, and Hasek lost his stick behind the net while trying to clear the puck away. Unable to get it back with the play deep in his zone, he was helpless to stop a wrist shot from Daymond Langkow, leaving the game tied with only thirty-three seconds remaining.
Both goalies played strong in the overtime. Hasek made two especially spectacular saves. On both, the Phoenix players were so certain the puck had gone into the net that they raised their arms to celebrate the “victory”, only to hear the referees shouting, “No goal!” Detroit kept the play in the Coyotes’ zone for the second half of the overtime, but Burke continued as he had done all night, leaving the game tied at one apiece.
The Red Wings leave town for a northwest road trip next week. They will play against Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver before returning home to the Joe.