Holmstrom Sparks Red Wings to 4-1 Win over Coyotes in Game Five

Tomas Holmstrom broke a 1-1 tie with 8:51 remaining in the third period Friday night, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Five of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

The Red Wings now lead the series 3-2. It’s the first time they’ve led in these playoffs.

Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom set up Holmstrom’s goal. Datsyuk won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Lidstrom for a shot from the blue line. The shot slipped through Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov but was knocked down by Holmstrom and defender Adrian Aucoin, who were in behind the goalie. Holmstrom found the puck before Aucoin or Bryzgalov and swatted it into the open net to put the Red Wings up 2-1.

Datsyuk made it 3-1 just 70 seconds later. Holmstrom worked the puck from behind the net to Johan Franzen on the left wing boards before Franzen got it to Datsyuk all alone at the top of the crease. Datsyuk spun and lifted a backhander off the post and into the top corner of the net.

Henrik Zetterberg added an empty net goal in the game’s final minute to wrap up the scoring.

Drew Miller had opened the scoring for Detroit, scoring on a wraparound chance with 2:56 left in the first period. Bryzgalov stopped Miller’s initial chance but the rebound bounced off Coyote Vernon Fiddler‘s skate and back past Bryzgalov.

Ed Jovanovski tied the game up at 9:45 of the second, just 13 seconds after the expiration of a Phoenix power play, banging home the rebound of an Aucoin shot from the point while standing on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard‘s pad.

The Coyotes had a chance to take a 2-1 lead early in the third period, when Martin Hanzal jumped out of the penalty box to take a pass and break in on Howard. Howard knocked the initial shot aside and then dove back to grab the rebound chance, keeping the game knotted up.

Howard finished the night with 30 saves on 31 Phoenix chances. Bryzgalov stopped 25 of 28 shots he faced.

For the first time this series, neither team scored a power play goal. The Red Wings had six chances with the extra attacker while the Coyotes had five. Phoenix is now 0-for-19 on the power play since scoring on their first three tries in Game One.

Detroit will have a chance to win the series at home in Game Six on Sunday.


Phoenix was without captain Shane Doan for the second consecutive game. Doan has not played since leaving Game Three with a shoulder injury.

Howard Earns First Playoff Shutout as Red Wings Tie Series with Coyotes

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 29 shots for his first career playoff shutout Tuesday night, leading the Red Wings to a 3-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup is now tied at two games apiece. Game Five will be in Glendale on Friday.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring with 4:27 left to play in the second period.

Zetterberg deflected a Niklas Kronwall shot from the blue line past Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov on the power play. After video review, it was determined that the deflection did not come off of a high stick.

After the Coyotes failed to tie the game on a long power play in the third, Pavel Datsyuk extended Detroit’s lead.

With 4:07 left in regulation, Datsyuk one-timed a pass from Johan Franzen at the bottom of the right faceoff circle over Bryzgalov’s glove hand.

Zetterberg added his second of the night just 25 seconds later, sneaking an acute-angle shot past Bryzgalov after Todd Bertuzzi beat out an icing call.

Bryzgalov finished the night with 32 saves on 35 Detroit shots.

The Red Wings were one-for-three on the power play while holding the Coyotes without a goal on five chances with the extra attacker, including 13 seconds of a two-man advantage.


The Coyotes were without captain Shane Doan, who was injured when he crashed into the boards on a play on in Sunday’s Game Three… Vernon Fiddler returned to the Phoenix lineup after missing Game Three.

Game Four Postgame Notes

Call me greedy but I still expect more from the Red Wings than we got tonight.

Jimmy Howard had his best game in awhile so he gets a pass. Howard stopped 29 shots en route to the shutout. As I said at the time, him staying with the puck and making a save in the second despite having lost his mask showed how on his game he was.

The rest of the team, however, still had some patches where they looked tentative. There were long stretches in the first and second that just felt slow.

The Coyotes definitely had some jump coming into the third period and the Wings were scrambling to hold onto their lead.

That said, special teams were fantastic. One-for-three on the power play and perfect on the PK, including 18 seconds of a Phoenix five-on-three. If the Wings had cleared the zone at even strength as well as they did during the third period PKs I probably wouldn’t be complaining right now.

An additional plus, I’m not entirely impressed with Ilya Bryzgalov. Maybe we should be worried that he hasn’t stolen a game yet, I don’t know.

Overall, still not a 60-minute effort but they definitely outplayed the Coyotes and you can never complain about a shutout.

Game Four Pregame Notes

Not much to say about tonight’s oddly-timed Game Four.

The game is set to start at 6:30 and the Red Wings have to be there on time. This is as close to a must-win as it gets without actually facing elimination.

Brian Rafalski has skipped the last two practices for Detroit but is expected to play tonight. Shane Doan is out for Phoenix, with Vernon Fiddler back in the lineup to replace him.

The Red Wings have to take advantage of the Doan-less Coyotes. Phoenix was a noticeably less-energetic team with Doan out of the lineup on Sunday but Detroit was so slow and slow apathetic that it didn’t matter.

And I know that one reader who emailed me on Sunday will say that kind of thinking doesn’t give credit to the Coyotes. That’s because it’s not intended to. In Game One the Coyotes clearly outplayed Detroit. In Game Three they did not, it was just that the Wings were that bad.

Game Three Postgame Notes

I’m so angry right now that I don’t even know what to write.

I’ve said before that there is nothing that p*sses me off more than when the Red Wings come out for a game and act like they don’t care. For long stretches of today’s game the Wings were skating around out there like they didn’t want to be there.

Khan says they got <a href='http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2010/04/coyotes_respond_to_loss_of_sha.html?

Game Three Pregame Notes

Yeah, there’s no such thing as a “must-win” until you’re facing elimination but it’s pretty clear that we’re past the “feeling out” phase of this series.

The Red Wings did what they had to do in Glendale, they came back home with a split and turned the series into a five-game affair in which they have home ice advantage. “All” they have to do is hold serve at home and the series is theirs.

In Game One the Red Wings failed to play the kind of game they will need to play to win this series. In Game Two they got there but it wasn’t a consistent sixty-minute effort. If the Wings continue to play the way they played the third period of Game Two, they will win this series.

They have to be strong on the puck. They have to drive to the net. They have to get shots through to Ilya Bryzgalov. They have to not back down from Phoenix’s physical play.

The Coyotes, meanwhile, seem to be in a bit of disarray. They know they can win when they make the Red Wings play Phoenix’s game but can they win one where the pace is dictated by Detroit? They’re also battling injuries, with Vernon Fiddler and former Red Wing Robert Lang not yet confirmed to be in the lineup this afternoon.

We already know how I feel about afternoon games and games on national broadcasters. This one’s a 3:00 start on NBC.

Game Two Postgame Notes

First Period… I think the Red Wings came out the way they wanted to but were still a bit tentative. The offense definitely wasn’t clicking but despite the one Phoenix goal the defense was pretty strong.

As I mentioned at the time, I felt like the Wings were losing a lot of faceoffs (no matter what the stats actually showed) and getting beat along the boards.

Second Period… Detroit cranked the offense up to eleven but did it at the cost of the defense. You don’t want to see so many defensive mistakes but they’re overshadowed by the offense coming to life. It was a pretty neutral period, with Phoenix losing control of the game but the Red Wings not yet gaining it.

Third Period… After Justin Abdelkader‘s goal, I finally felt like the Wings were going to win this one. Even when Shane Doan tied it up, Detroit had control. Zata and Fil and the ENG seemed inevitable. This was the Detroit team we want to see every night.

Overall… Obviously you’d like to see a full game more like the third period but I like the things Detroit did right in this one. There weren’t a lot of moments in Game One that felt like the high points of the third period tonight.

The power play scored on two of three chances and the PK was perfect, two wrongs from the series opener righted.

The top lines provided the offense and the third and fourth lines were physical.

Todd Bertuzzi looked fantastic out there. Two assists, three shots and four hits on the night.

Abdelkader jumps in and ties Zetterberg for most hits by a Wings forward with five, adding in a Datsyuk-like goal to give Detroit its first lead. You can’t ask for more than that. Jason Williams will never skate for the Wings again.

So we head back to Detroit tied up, with the Wings not in control of the series but sitting where they want. Not bad.

Red Wings Ride Zetterberg’s Hat Trick to Game Two Win over Coyotes

Henrik Zetterberg scored three goals, including two in the third period, as the Detroit Red Wings posted a 7-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Friday night, evening their Western Conference Semifinal matchup at one game apiece.

Zetterberg opened the scoring for Detroit at 6:27 of the second period, taking a feed from Valtteri Filppula to snap a shot past Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from the slot. It was the first of two power play goals for the Red Wings and tied the game at one.

Phoenix responded just 38 seconds later, when a miscommunication between netminder Jimmy Howard and defenseman Niklas Kronwall left the puck available for Wojtek Wolski to bang past Howard.

The Red Wings tied things back up at 8:20 of the period. Johan Franzen threw the puck to the net, then, at the top of the crease, Pavel Datsyuk reached through the legs of defenseman Adrian Aucoin to get his stick on the puck and deflect it over Bryzgalov’s shoulder.

The Coyotes responded quickly again, with Matthew Lombardi racing the length of the ice, splitting the defense, and beating Howard five-hole 49 seconds after Datsyuk’s goal.

Valtteri Filppula made it five goals in a 3:58 span when he outraced Zbynek Michalek to the puck in the Phoenix end and beat Bryzgalov with a backhander to tie the game at four.

Justin Abdelkader, inserted into the lineup in place of Jason Williams to give Detroit a more physical presence, gave the Red Wings their first lead of the game at 2:32 of the third period. He stole the puck from Wolski as Wolski tried to carry it out of the Phoenix end, then raced in on Bryzgalov and snapped a shot past him.

Shane Doan would tie the game back up at 9:24 of the period, beating Howard on a feed from Vernon Fiddler on a two-on-one after Brian Rafalski pinched in at the Phoenix blue line.

Zetterberg scored his second of the night for the eventual game-winner, banging the rebound of a Todd Bertuzzi shot past Bryzgalov with 6:06 remaining.

Filppula added his second on a Detroit power play with 2:06 left in the third, snapping a shot from the right faceoff circle into the top corner of the net.

Zetterberg completed the hat trick with an empty net goal in the game’s final minute to round out the scoring.

Keith Yandle had opened the game’s scoring midway through the first period when he backhanded the rebound of a Martin Hanzal shot over Howard.

The Red Wings reversed their special teams fortunes from Game One, where they scored on only one of six power plays and allowed three goals on four penalty kills. In Game Two they scored on two of three power plays and held the Coyotes off the board on Phoenix’s four tries with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 27 of 31 shots against for his first career playoff win. Bryzgalov made 32 saves on 38 shots.

Game Three will be Sunday afternoon in Detroit.

Game One: Postgame Notes

I can’t say I’ve ever seen a team win a game in which they gave up three power play goals, so Detroit probably didn’t deserve the win tonight. Say what you want about the officiating (and I will in a second) but the Wings’ PK absolutely failed them tonight. If a single penalty kill had been successful, we have a different outcome. And don’t talk to me about the fourth Phoenix power play, that wasn’t a successful kill, the Coyotes killed it by taking a penalty of their own.

A part of that is that the Red Wings lost several key faceoffs. The first and third Phoenix goals came directly off of a lost draw. That cannot continue.

One coaching complaint… When you know the team you’re facing is going to come out and literally hit you with all they’ve got, you put out a lineup that can counter that. I know the Red Wings are obsessed with having a right-handed forward on the point on the second power play unit but Jason Williams is not cutting it.

Williams should have been in the press box with Justin Abdelkader in the lineup. Abdelkader led the Red Wings in hits before being sent down to GR as a cap casualty. Throw him out there and give the Coyotes a taste of their own medicine.

As for the officiating, I won’t complain about what was called but two uncalled penalties really bothered me.

Over at A2Y someone posted that the Wings needed to do a better job of covering the point on the PK. On the game-winning goal, Derek Morris was left all alone to blast a shot past Jimmy Howard.

Why was he so alone? Not because Detroit was down a man but because the man who was supposed to be on Morris, Darren Helm, had been driven to the ice away from the puck by Shane Doan.

Doan knocks Helm down on the faceoff, Morris is left wide open, goal. Doan leaves Helm alone, Helm gets out to cover Morris. Maybe still a goal but that play never would have happened.

A blatant interference play going uncalled directly led to Morris’ goal, that’s unacceptable to me.

Also blatant: The uncalled high stick on Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom takes a stick to the face that draws blood, with the puck still nearby, and no one was looking? Four officials and not a single one saw that? Again, unacceptable.

So I’m not happy about the game but there’s plenty of time for a turnaround. A Detroit win on Friday will mean the Wings have claimed home-ice in a five-game series. The pressure is on the Coyotes for these first two games, I don’t think they can play a game like they did tonight for every game of the series.

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