It was a high-scoring night for the Two Kids and an Old Goat Line. Pavel Datsyuk, Brett Hull, and Henrik Zetterberg combined for four goals, helping the Red Wings to extend their winning streak to five straight games and stay ahead in the Central Division with a 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
The first period went by scoreless. Neither team did much to challenge the other offensively, although the Red Wings had a definite defensive edge. Curtis Joseph faced only three shots in the first twenty minutes of play, while his Phoenix counterpart, Brian Boucher, faced seven.
The Red Wings came out with a bit more jump in the second period. Hull put Detroit on the scoreboard just past the midway point of the game. Zetterberg got the puck to Datsyuk along the right side boards inside the Coyotes’ zone. Datsyuk saw that Hull was wide open and waiting for the puck inside the high slot area, so he sent the pass through. Hull one-timed the shot, and the puck flew right past Boucher and into the net.
The Coyotes evened the score just over a minute later. Teppo Numminen took a shot on net from the blue line. The puck was tipped on the way through, causing it to change direction just enough to be out of the reach of Joseph’s catching glove.
Datsyuk promptly regained the lead for Detroit. Hull got the rebound from his own blocked shot and sent the puck out front to Datsyuk, who flipped it into net as Boucher was scrambling to get back across.
Zetterberg added a goal before the period was over. The Red Wings were on a power play, with Drake Berehowsky in the penalty box for holding. Nicklas Lidstrom brought the puck inside the Phoenix zone, then flipped a pass up to Datsyuk. Datsyuk carried the puck up towards the net and passed it back for Zetterberg to pick up. Zetterberg’s first shot was blocked, but he stayed right by the net and picked up his own rebound, and his second shot went high over Boucher.
Datsyuk forced a turnover at the Coyotes’ blue line early in the third period to add his second goal of the night. He skated out of the zone towards center and poked the puck away from the Phoenix defenseman as he went. Hull picked it up, and as Datsyuk circled around and came back, Hull centered it down the blue line for Datsyuk to catch on his way through. Datsyuk skated in all alone with the puck and put a low shot past Boucher.
Lidstrom rounded out the scoring for the Red Wings shortly after Datsyuk’s goal. Boucher had just made very good stops on shots by Luc Robitaille and Brendan Shanahan, but the puck rebounded to Lidstrom in the slot. Lidstrom took a wrist shot, and the puck just bounced into the net.
Berehowsky scored for the Coyotes midway through the period with a hard wrist shot right off a draw won in the Red Wings’ zone, but the Red Wings kept tight control of the rest of the game and didn’t allow Phoenix any chance of a comeback.
Detroit outshot Phoenix by a count of 33-24. The Red Wings will play their next game tomorrow night against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
Steve Yzerman rested during this game, but is expected to play tomorrow night…. Jesse Wallin played his first game in twelve, while Maxim Kuznetzov was a healthy scratch…. Datsyuk’s two goals and two assists are his highest single-game point total thus far in his career…. Chris Chelios had to leave the game after a collision with Daymond Langkow late in the second period. It looked as if his right knee was twisted as he fell. The team reported that Chelios was going to the hospital for x-rays as a precautionary measure.