Power Play Goals Carry Coyotes Past Red Wings in Game One

The Phoenix Coyotes scored three times on the power play Wednesday night, providing all the offense they needed en route to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game One of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

Phoenix scored on three of their four total power plays. The fourth was shortened by the Coyotes taking a penalty of their own.

The Red Wings opened the scoring with 7:43 left in the first period when Tomas Holmstrom wristed a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle over the glove of Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov, who seemingly whiffed on the attempted save.

The Coyotes responded 1:56 later. Just nine seconds into a power play, Keith Yandle snapped a shot on net that redirected off of defenseman Brad Stuart‘s leg and past goaltender Jimmy Howard.

Detroit regained the lead with a power play goal of their own with 3:33 remaining in the period. Nicklas Lidstrom sent a slap shot from the blue line between four players’ legs on its way past Bryzgalov.

Wojtek Wolski one-timed a chance from the right faceoff circle past Howard at 6:15 of the second period for Phoenix’s second power play goal to tie the game.

Derek Morris scored just 2:19 into the third, putting the Coyotes in front. Matthew Lombardi won a faceoff in the left circle back to Morris at the blue line. Shane Doan knocked Darren Helm down away from the puck to give Morris a clear path to the top of the slot where he blasted a shot past Howard.

The Red Wings were unable to pull back even in the game’s closing minutes and the Coyotes held on to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

Howard made 32 saves on 35 Phoenix shots while Bryzgalov stopped 38 of 40 chances.

Game Two of the series will be Friday in Glendale.

Red Wings – Coyotes: Series Preview

It’s been a long regular season, an odd regular season for most Red Wings fans, but here we are on the opening day of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Six weeks ago the Red Wings were out of the playoffs. Today they’re the Western Conference’s fifth seed, with a record better than six of the eight playoff teams in the Eastern Conference (and only a point back of the New Jersey Devils). That jump came courtesy of a 16-3-2 run after the Olympic Break, including a stretch of twelve games in which they earned at least a point.

The Wings come into the playoffs on a roll but in an unfamiliar position. They haven’t started a postseason run on the road since 1991, when they were the Norris Division’s third seed facing the second-seeded St. Louis Blues. They lost that series, 4-3.

Detroit hasn’t been the lower-seeded team in any series since the 2000 Western Conference Semifinals, when the fourth-seeded Wings lost to the third-seeded Colorado Avalanche in five games.

Additionally, the Red Wings haven’t headed into a playoff riding a rookie goalie since 1994, when Chris Osgood took over for Bob Essensa as Detroit fell to the San Jose Sharks, 4-3, in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

While six weeks ago no one knew if the Red Wings would be in the playoffs today, a year ago no one knew if the Phoenix Coyotes would even exist right now.

The Coyotes are the NHL’s Cinderella story, finishing fourth in the Western Conference despite a year of ownership by the league itself after the team declared bankruptcy last spring.

Wayne Gretzky was replaced as head coach by Dave Tippett, the favorite to win the Jack Adams Trophy as the league’s best coach. Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov had a Vezina Trophy-worthy season.

The Red Wings were unbeaten in regulation against the Coyotes this season, going 2-0-2. However all four of those games came while Detroit was battling injuries and before Phoenix added veteran depth at the trade deadline.

Detroit has added forwards Justin Abdelkader and Brad May back to their roster but head coach Mike Babcock won’t be making any lineup changes for tonight’s Game One, choosing to ride a winning lineup.

Phoenix, meanwhile, is expected to start the series without former Red Wing Robert Lang, out with an upper-body injury.

Game time tonight is 10:00 on FSD and Versus.

Red Wings – Coyotes First-Round Schedule Released

The National Hockey League released the first-round schedule for the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs Sunday night.

Despite the wishes of their coach and general manager, the Detroit Red Wings will open in Phoenix against the Coyotes on Wednesday, April 14.

The two teams will play again on Friday, April 16, in Phoenix before the series shifts to Detroit on Sunday, April 18.

The full schedule is as follows (all times Eastern):

April 14 – @ Phoenix – 10:00 PM (Versus)
April 16 – @ Phoenix – 10:00 PM (Versus)
April 18 – @ Detroit – 3:00 PM (NBC)
April 20 – @ Detroit- 6:30 PM (FSD)
April 23 – @ Phoenix – 10:00 PM (Versus)
April 25 – @ Detroit- 2:00 PM (NBC)
April 27 – @ Phoenix – TBD (FSD)

Red Wings End Regular Season with OT Win over Blackhawks

Brad Stuart scored 3:11 into overtime Sunday afternoon, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the host Chicago Blackhawks.

The win locked the Red Wings into the Western Conference’s fifth seed and a first-round matchup against the Phoenix Coyotes while preventing the Blackhawks from moving up to the conference’s top spot.

Stuart’s goal came after Henrik Zetterberg made a strong individual effort to gain the Chicago zone and draw three Blackhawks to him. He then passed across to Danny Cleary in the right faceoff circle, who centered the puck to a streaking Stuart to snap past netminder Antti Niemi.

Chicago had opened the scoring with 5:04 left in the first period. Jonathan Toews drove the net from the left of goalie Jimmy Howard and cut across the crease. Dave Bolland came in from Howard’s right and banged home the rebound of Toews’ chance, just 11 seconds into a Blackhawks’ power play.

The Red Wings tied things up 5:01 into the second, when Patrick Eaves corralled the rebound of a chance by Cleary, knocking in a bouncing puck.

Tomas Holmstrom deflected a Brian Rafalski shot at 7:10 of the third to put Detroit up by a goal but Colin Fraser redirected a Marian Hossa shot past Howard with his skate 3:34 later to tie things back up.

Chicago’s opening goal was the only power play goal of the game. The Blackhawks had four tries with the extra attacker while the Red Wings had two.

Howard made 27 saves on 29 shots for his 37th win of the season. Niemi stopped 18 of 21 Detroit shots.

Red Wings to Face Coyotes in Western Conference Quarterfinals

The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon moved them into fifth place in the Western Conference standings and locked them into a first-round matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Coyotes finished fourth in the conference and will be making their first playoff appearance since 2002, when they were eliminated in the first round by the San Jose Sharks.

The Los Angeles Kings had briefly taken over fifth place in the conference after a 2-1 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche. They drop to sixth place to face the Vancouver Canucks.

The Blackhawks, failing to earn two points, remain in second place and will host the Nashville Predators. The San Jose Sharks are the conference’s top team and will host Colorado.

The Red Wings and Coyotes have met in the playoffs once before, with the Wings winning the 1998 Western Conference Quarterfinals four game to two.

Bertuzzi Lifts Red Wings to Shootout Win over Blue Jackets

Todd Bertuzzi backhanded a fourth-round shootout attempt over Columbus goalie Steve Mason Friday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 1-0 win over the Blue Jackets.

Mason and Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard kept the game scoreless through 65 minutes of play, with Mason stopping 45 shots and Howard making 22 saves.

The first goals of the game for each team came in the first round of the tiebreaker, with Rick Nash scoring for the Blue Jackets and Pavel Datsyuk scoring for Detroit.

No one else would score on a shootout attempt until Bertuzzi won it for the Wings.

The win gives the Red Wings 100 points in the standings for an NHL-record tenth consecutive season. It also assures them that they will finish no worse than seventh in the Western Conference.

Quick Goals Give Red Wings Win over Blue Jackets

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from a 2-1 deficit Wednesday night with three goals in a 1:16 span en route to a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The win, combined with the Phoenix Coyotes’ defeat of the Nashville Predators, puts the Red Wings in fifth place in the Western Conference with two games remaining in the season.

Tomas Holmstrom scored two power play goals and Danny Cleary added an even-strength tally that proved to be the game-winner.

Holmstrom’s first goal came 8:05 into the third, when a Henrik Zetterberg shot deflected past Columbus goalie Steve Mason off of Holmstrom’s skate.

His second came 40 seconds later, tipping Nicklas Lidstrom‘s one-timer from the high slot past Mason.

Cleary scored just 36 seconds later, snapping a shot from the slot past Mason into the top of the net.

Mike Blunden pulled the Jackets to back within a goal with 9:47 left in the third, weaving between defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to slide the puck in the open side of the net.

The Blue Jackets could not tie things back up, however, even with Mason pulled for an extra attacker in the game’s final minute.

The Red Wings had opened the game’s scoring just 2:32 into the first period, when Niklas Kronwall whipped a shot past Mason from the high slot off of a backhand feed from Todd Bertuzzi.

R.J. Umberger tied the game at 8:58 of the first, capitalizing on a rare giveaway by Lidstrom to jump into the Detroit zone and roof a chance over Howard.

Samuel Pahlsson took advantage of another turnover, spinning to fling a shot past Howard from the left faceoff circle after Andreas Lilja failed to control the puck.

The Red Wings finished the night two-for-five on the power play while Columbus went scoreless on one power play attempt.

Howard made 21 saves on 24 Columbus shots. Mason stopped 31 of 35 shots faced.

The two teams will meet again in Columbus on Friday.

Columbus was without captain Rick Nash, out with neck and back stiffness… Eaves and Kris Russell fought late in the first period.

Red Wings – Blue Jackets: Pregame Notes and Playoff Positioning

The Red Wings make their final home appearance of the regular season tonight as they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first game of a home-and-home matchup. The Wings will not return home until Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, though their opponent has yet to be determined.

Andreas Lilja will jump back into the Detroit lineup, joining Jonathan Ericsson on the third defensive pairing. Jimmy Howard returns to the crease after Chris Osgood got the start on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Columbus could be without captain and leading scorer Rick Nash. He will be a gametime decision.

The Western Conference playoff teams are decided at this point but their spots are all up in the air.

The San Jose Sharks sit in first place but are only two points up on the Chicago Blackhawks, with the ‘Hawks having a game in hand.

The Vancouver Canucks are locked into the third spot, unable to catch Chicago or San Jose but having clinched the Northwest Division.

The Phoenix Coyotes sit fourth with 102 points. If Phoenix wins any of their three remaining games they’ll clinch that spot, otherwise they could be caught by the Nashville Predators or Los Angeles Kings. Detroit could tie them in points but would have fewer wins.

Nashville sits four points back of Phoenix with two games left. The Predators could finish anywhere from fourth to eighth, as the Kings, Red Wings, and Colorado Avalanche can all surpass them in the right circumstances.

Los Angeles is in the same boat as Nashville, able to finish from fourth to eighth. The Red Wings can drop to eighth but only move up to fifth, same as the Avalanche.

Cleary Scores in Return but Red Wings Fall to Flyers

Danny Cleary scored in his first game back after missing three with a groin injury but it wasn’t enough for the Detroit Red Wings, who played an uninspired game in losing to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Despite the loss, the Red Wings clinched their 19th consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as the Calgary Flames lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Daniel Carcillo scored just 17 seconds into the game, setting the tone for the remainder of the afternoon.

Carcillo’s wrister from the left faceoff circle broke through Chris Osgood‘s glove and into the top corner of the net, giving the Flyers the lead on the game’s first shot.

Kimmo Timmonen made it 2-0 at 7:16, beating Osgood from the slot on a four-on-two rush.

Cleary got the Red Wings on the board with 5:52 left in the first, banging home his own rebound from the edge of the crease.

Just 2:15 later, Darren Helm tied things up swatting a backhand chance past Philadelphia goalie Brian Boucher off the rebound of a Brian Rafalski shot.

Claude Giroux restored the Flyers’ lead only 53 seconds into the second period, beating Osgood when he was left all alone in the slot.

Aaron Asham scored a similar goal with 2:24 left in the period, tipping home a chance from the front of the net after sneaking in behind the defense.

Pavel Datsyuk scored 2:22 into the third period, rifling a shot from the top of the left circle past Boucher, but the Red Wings would not get a fourth goal to tie the game.

Osgood stopped 21 of 25 shots in his first appearance since January. Boucher made 31 saves on 34 Detroit shots.

Neither team scored a power play goal. The Red Wings had three chances with the extra attacker while the Flyers had two.

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