A Howler of a Game


The Red Wings extended their home unbeaten streak to eleven games and ended Phoenix’s road winning streak at two, skating to a 4-1 victory at the Joe.

The Red Wings started out well in the first period, outshooting the Coyotes eighteen to eleven. Detroit opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game. Sergei Fedorov eluded a Phoenix defenseman behind the net and made a centering pass to Kirk Maltby, all alone in front of the net. Maltby lifted the puck into the left side of the net, just beneath the catching glove of Robert Esche.

The Coyotes did even up the game before the end of the period. Shane Doan took a shot from the right side. Manny Legace blocked the shot, but was not able to cover up the puck before Landon Wilson got to it and flipped it into the net with 1:49 left to play.

Detroit came back just a minute later. Darren McCarty fired a hard shot from the right side, and the puck bounced off of Esche, off of Steve Yzerman’s skate, and into the net.

The rest of the game belonged to the Red Wings. They played defensive hockey, not letting the Coyotes get many good scoring chances. Legace made the stops he had to make look easy, and the Red Wings’ defensemen took care of the rebounds.

Brendan Shanahan scored the insurance goal midway through the second period. Freddy Olausson carried the puck into the Coyotes’ zone, then left a drop pass for Yzerman. Yzerman fired towards the net. The shot was in mid-air going wide until Shanahan got his stick on it and tipped it past a very surprised Esche.

Instead of loosening up in the third period, as has so often been a concern this season, Detroit continued to dominate the game, controlling the puck and taking no chances that Phoenix might get a quality shot on net.

Igor Larionov put the game away with 8:40 left to play, during a holding penalty to Todd Simpson. The Coyotes cleared the puck, and Lidstrom went back to get it from Legace. The Red Wings cycled the puck back across the blue line, and Lidstrom left it for Larionov. Larionov carried the puck right between two Phoenix defensemen, faked as if shooting low and to the left, then put the puck in the net high and to the right. Lidstrom scored his 600th career point with the assist.

Esche blocked thirty-one of thirty-five shots against him. Legace stopped twenty-eight of twenty-nine, for his ninth win out of the eleven games he has played this season.

The Red Wings leave town for a three-game road trip beginning tomorrow night against the St. Louis Blues.

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