Red Wings Score Five in the First to Power Past Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings scored five first period goals Thursday night, all the scoring they needed to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-2.

Todd Bertuzzi and Valtteri Filppula scored in the first 2:09 of the period to get the Red Wings out to the early lead. In the final 5:14 of the opening frame, Tomas Holmstrom, Darren Helm and Jiri Hudler added three more goals.

Bertuzzi opened the games scoring 1:16 into the game. He took a pass near the top of the right faceoff circle from Pavel Datsyuk and backhanded the puck into the slot, where he caught up with it and snapped a shot between the pads of Coyotes’ goalie Mike Smith.

Just 53 seconds later, Filppula – returning to the lineup after missing a game with a deep cut on his leg – was left all alone in front of the Phoenix net to take a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and put a wrister past Smith.

Holmstrom restarted the scoring on a power play with 5:14 left in the first. Ian White drove into the slot and threw a shot on net with Holmstrom there to knock in the rebound.

Helm made it 4-0 43 seconds later. He gave the puck to Chris Conner in the right circle and went to the net. Conner carried it down low and got it back to Helm to bang past Smith. Smith would be pulled for Jason Labarbera after the goal.

Hudler wrapped up the period’s scoring with 43 seconds left. After failing to score off a turnover in the Phoenix end, Filppula took the puck to the left wing boards and sent a pass across to Zetterberg in the slot. Zetterberg moved it on to Hudler in the right circle and he threw it into the open side of the net.

Radim Vrbata got the Coyotes on the board with 4:15 left in the second period, rifling a shot from the top of the right circle past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard.

Martin Hanzal added another Phoenix goal with 8:28 left in the third when a Shane Doan power play shot deflected off of his pants on its way past Howard.

Both teams had five power play chances on the night and each scored a goal.

Howard finished the night with 30 saves on 32 shots. Smith stopped seven of the eleven shots he faced in 15:29 of play while Labarbera made 20 saves on 21 shots to close out the night for the Coyotes.

The Red Wings will next be in action on Saturday when they host the Winnipeg Jets.

Pavel Datsyuk was kept out of the third period as a precaution, as he reported feeling sore earlier in the day. He is expected to be available on Saturday… Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore were the healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Postgame: Coyotes @ Red Wings

I caught most of this one on the radio but it sounds like a familiar story taken to extremes.

Wings jump out to an early lead, get a little sloppy/lazy, opposition outplays them to end the game. Of course, taken to an extreme like it was tonight, that doesn’t give you the usual downer outcome.

Five goals in the first period is the kind of lead the Wings are allowed to sit on. Want to see them keep the pressure on but it’s pretty much inevitable that they’re going to start to coast. So they did coast, and Phoenix started playing better, but it’s not like Detroit ever looked bad tonight, even at that point.

The Red Wings needed the kind of opening they got tonight after two consecutive lazy losses. Not just a lot of goals but scoring that was spread out. Bertuzzi and Helm have been playing well as of late and pick up a goal each. Filppula comes back from injury to get one. Conner, the hometown kid who’s been great on the third line during his call-up, gets an assist in his first game at home.

A good rebound win, something the team can build on.

And hopefully Pavel Datsyuk was just a little dinged up, with no reason for him to risk anything. That’s what both the radio and FSD made it sound like so I’m not going to worry about it yet. Mike Babcock says he’s fine so we’ll have to trust that for now.

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