Red Wings Drop Game One to Sharks in OT

The Detroit Red Wings took a 1-0 lead into the third period Friday night but it wasn’t enough, as the San Jose Sharks rallied for a 2-1 overtime win.

Benn Ferriero scored 7:03 into the extra period, making the most of his first career playoff game.

The Red Wings failed to clear their own zone after killing a four-minute power play, leading to Ferriero getting the puck along the left wing boards. He threw it on net and it deflected off of Brad Stuart‘s stick, bouncing past Jimmy Howard to give the Sharks the win.

Joe Pavelski had tied the game up with 9:38 left in the third period, batting the rebound of a Joe Thornton shot out of the air and past Howard on a San Jose power play.

Detroit’s lone goal came 9:30 into the first period, when Nicklas Lidstrom snuck into the high slot to take a feed from Pavel Datsyuk and blast a shot past Antti Niemi.

Niemi finished the night with 24 saves on 25 chances while Howard stopped 44 of San Jose’s 46 shots.

Pavelski’s goal was the only power play marker of the night. The Sharks went one-for-six with the extra attacker. The Red Wings had two power play opportunities.

Game Two betwen the teams will be Sunday afternoon.

The Red Wings played with a healthy lineup for the first time all postseason. The scratches were Mike Modano, Kris Draper, and Jakub Kindl.

Postgame Thoughts: Red Wings @ Sharks – Game One

Lots of talk about the refs tonight but it’s not as simple as that, which might be an unfortunate thing. Expanding on a thought I tweeted earlier…

The Red Wings probably didn’t play well enough to win this one. They spent too much time on their heels in the second period even though they came out of that one still up by a goal. They let Jimmy Howard keep them in it rather than playing their puck possession game.

That said, did they play so much dirtier of a game than the Sharks that they deserved three times as many penalties? I think the two teams played a very similar game as far as infractions went, it’s just that Detroit got called for theirs.

I don’t really have a problem with the boarding penalty to Todd Bertuzzi in the third period. I do think Joe Pavelski “sold” it – which really bothers me – but I don’t mind the call. That is, if the same call had been made when Justin Abdelkader was hit earlier in the game.

If you’re going to call that slash by Patrick Eaves late in the third period, you’d better have been calling it up to that point.

I harp on it all the damned time but it’s not the penalties that are a problem, it’s the inconsistency in what’s called a penalty. This isn’t Calvinball, the rules don’t change at random. Make up your mind as to what constitutes a penalty and stick to it.

But, as Mike Babcock said, you’re not taking penalties if you have the puck. If the Wings hadn’t rolled over in the second period, maybe they’re looking at a bigger lead heading into the third and San Jose’s PPG doesn’t matter.

Pregame Notes: Red Wings @ Sharks – Game One

The Detroit Red Wings end come back from eight days off to visit the San Jose Sharks in Game One of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup tonight.

Detroit last played on April 20, when they finished off a first-round sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes. The Sharks completed a 4-2 series win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Henrik Zetterberg will return to the Red Wings’ lineup, having recovered from his sprained left MCL during Detroit’s time off. Johan Franzen is also expected to play after missing Game Four against Phoenix with a sore ankle. Mike Modano and Drew Miller are the probable healthy scratches up front, with Jakub Kindl remaining the odd-man-out on defense.

Much is being made of San Jose’s scoring depth but Matt Saler points out that the Sharks had only 10 different goal scorers in their six first-round games, while Detroit had 13 scorers in four games.

The Sharks could be facing a goaltending controversy, as Antti Niemi was pulled twice in the first round while earning a 3.99 GAA and .863 save percentage. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard had a 2.50 GAA and a .915 save percentage.

FSD and Versus have the Game One TV coverage, with the game set to start at 10:00 PM.

Red Wings to Open Against Sharks on Friday

The Detroit Red Wings will visit the San Jose Sharks for Game One of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup on Friday, the NHL announced.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning holding off the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night in Game Seven of their series, the first round is complete and the league released schedules for second round matchups.

The full schedule for the Detroit – San Jose series is as follows:

April 29 – @ San Jose – 10:00 PM
May 1 – @ San Jose – 3:00 PM
May 4 – @ Detroit – 8:00 PM
May 6 – @ Detroit – 7:00 PM
May 8 – @ San Jose – 8:00 PM
May 10 – @ Detroit – TBD
May 12 – @ San Jose – TBD

Postgame Thoughts: Red Wings @ Coyotes – Game Four

At the start of this Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes, it wasn’t that hard to guess that Ilya Bryzgalov would be the most important player in the series. If the Coyotes were going to upset the Wings, he was going to be the reason.

Bryzgalov was indeed the most important player, but not for the reason anyone would have predicted.

Detroit finished the sweep with a 6-3 win Wednesday night, scoring five goals on the Phoenix netminder and adding an empty net goal. Bryzgalov allowed four goals in each of the previous three games. In short, he failed his team. In retrospect, the result shouldn’t be a surprise.

All four games were hard-fought, each closer than the series as a whole ended up. If goaltending had come through for the Coyotes, this is a different series.

I’m not trying to throw Bryzgalov under the bus, his team could have limited Detroit’s chances better and taken more advantage of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who was giving up rebounds and bobbling the puck more than he probably wanted to. It’s just that it was known going in that Bryzgalov would have to steal games – it was almost expected that he would – and he didn’t come close to that.

As for Game Four from the Detroit perspective… Damn, the grinders were out tonight. The first Patrick Eaves goal sums up this series to me. Darren Helm banged the puck loose, took it himself for the shot, and Eaves drove to the net to knock it in. It was about physicality and taking advantage of the chances you get.

Red Wings Finish Sweep of Coyotes with 6-3 Win

The Detroit Red Wings rode three third-period goals to a 6-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Wednesday night, completing a four-game sweep in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

Danny Cleary scored on a shot from the left corner with 6:19 remaining in regulation to break a 3-3 tie. Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov came off the near post and Cleary’s acute-angle shot deflected off of Bryzgalov’s arm and into the net.

Todd Bertuzzi put Detroit up by a pair 1:53 later when his wraparound attempt deflected off defenseman David Schlemko’s skate and slipped past Bryzgalov.

Patrick Eaves added an empty net goal to finish off the scoring, his second goal of the night.

Detroit had opened the game’s scoring just 3:47 into the first period. Tomas Holmstrom chipped the puck through the neutral zone for Pavel Datsyuk to gain the Phoenix zone. Datsyuk cut latterally through the slot and dropped a pass for a streaking Holmstrom to fling past Bryzgalov.

The Coyotes responded 1:59 later, when Taylor Pyatt’s attempted crossing pass from the left wing boards deflected off of Jonathan Ericsson‘s skate and slid past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

At 9:46 of the period, Shane Doan gave Phoenix its second lead of the series, winning a battle along the boards and stepping into the left faceoff circle to fire a shot that deflected off of Nicklas Lidstrom and squeaked past Howard.

Eaves scored his first of the night to tie things back up with 1:13 remaining in the opening frame. Darren Helm bowled over Michal Rozsival and Keith Yandle behind the Phoenix net and came away with the puck, coming out to the side of the goal and sending a cross-crease pass to Eaves for a tap-in.

Martin Hanzal put Phoenix back in front just 1:09 into the second. Radim Vrbata drifted across the front of the net with the puck on a Coyotes power play before passing off to Hanzal at the far side of the net. Hanzal buried it into the open goal as Howard dove to get back.

Detroit countered with their own power play goal as Niklas Kronwall buried a rebound chance from the slot after a scramble in front of the net at 4:49.

The Coyotes finished the night with one goal on two power play tries while the Red Wings went one-for-three with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced. Bryzgalov made 34 saves on 39 shots.

Detroit must now wait for the conclusion of the other first-round matchups to know who they will play in the Western Conference Semifinals.

The Red Wings played without Henrik Zetterberg (knee) and Johan Franzen (ankle). Zetterberg missed all four games of the series while Franzen was a late scratch, having taken the pre-game skate. Mike Modano replaced Franzen in the lineup… Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch on defense.

Pregame Notes: Red Wings @ Coyotes – Game Four

Well, what more is there to say?

Red Wings vs. Coyotes in Game Four tonight. Much being made of the possibility that it’s the last game in Glendale, with the team returning to Winnipeg in the offseason. No reason for Detroit to worry about that though it could provide Phoenix some extra motivation.

As seen last night, a team facing elimination isn’t done yet. Vancouver got lit up in their attempt at a sweet in Chicago so Detroit had better be careful or the same could happen to them.

No lineup changes for Detroit. The Coyotes aren’t expected to change but that depends on who you ask.

Game time is 10:30 Eastern.

Red Wings Score Early, Down Coyotes 4-2

The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the first three minutes Monday night, jumping out to an early lead that the Phoenix Coyotes never recovered from en route to a 4-2 win.

With the victory, Detroit leads their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup, 3-0, and will go for the sweep in Glendale on Wednesday.

Ruslan Salei and Drew Miller scored just 44 seconds apart to get Detroit on the board.

At 1:57, Darren Helm fought off a check by Ed Jovanovski to get the puck along the back boards and send it out to Salei at the top of the right faceoff circle for a blast past Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. At 2:41, a Niklas Kronwall shot deflected off of Drew Miller to make it 2-0.

Valtteri Filppula made it 3-0 just 2:50 into the second period, carrying the puck through the slot and into the left faceoff circle before flinging it past Bryzgalov.

David Schlemko got the Coyotes on the board with 8:17 left in the middle period. With Phoenix on a power play, Schlemko got the puck in the left circle and drove to the net, roofing a shot over Jimmy Howard‘s shoulder.

Johan Franzen put Detroit back up by three 45 seconds into the third period, breaking in alone on Bryzgalov and sniping a shot over his shoulder.

Ray Whitney‘s power play shot with seven minutes remaining deflected past Howard to put the Coyotes back within a pair but Phoenix would be unable to pull closer.

The Red Wings were scoreless on four power play attempts while the Coyotes’ two goals came on three tries with the extra attacker. The last five Phoenix goals have all been on the power play.

Howard finished the night with 28 saves on 30 shots. Bryzgalov made 30 stops on 34 chances.

Detroit was without forward Henrik Zetterberg for the fifth consecutive game. He is not expected to play in Game Four… Mike Modano and Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Postgame Thoughts: Red Wings @ Coyotes – Game Three

Obviously I’m thrilled with the Red Wings being up 3-0 in their opening round series with the Coyotes but I can’t help but look at some of the negatives of tonight’s 4-2 win.

The big thing is that the Detroit penalty kill has got to be better. It’s fantastic that the Wings are holding the Coyotes off the scoresheet at even strength but that’s five power play goals for Phoenix in the last two games. Unacceptable.

Part of that comes from getting the early lead and letting up. It happened on Saturday and it happened again tonight. I love seeing Detroit lighting up Ilya Bryzgalov (and who saw that happening?) but they keep resting on their laurels. A better team would make them pay for that.

I think the Wings have done a good job of matching Phoenix’s physicality in the series without getting (too) stupid about it. tonight was no different, though the Coyotes definitely won the special teams battle.

Part of me wonders how much fight Phoenix has left, considering how little they’ve been able to get going and that Wednesday’s Game Four could be their last game before relocating. I’d love to see them roll over but I don’t expect it, so Detroit will have to be ready.

Pregame Notes: Red Wings @ Coyotes – Game Three

After holding serve at home, the Red Wings look to take a commanding lead in their opening round matchup with the Coyotes in tonight’s Game Three in Glendale.

Detroit remains without Henrik Zetterberg, who skated with the team but is not ready to return from his “lower-body” injury. Johan Franzen will be a game-time decision, recovering from a sore ankle and a banged-up face.

Phoenix could see defenseman Derek Morris return. Or not, depending on who you believe. Ed Jovanovski will play, having recovered from getting “boarded” by Darren Helm in Game Two.

The Coyotes are still very much in this series. The Wings need to score early and limit the home team’s chances. They’ve gotta keep Ilya Bryzgalov busy, he can beat Detroit on his own if they let him get into a groove.

Start time in 10:30 back out east, with television coverage by FSD (local) and Versus (national).

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