Red Wings Score Four Straight in Game One Victory over Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings scored four consecutive goals Wednesday night, propelling them to a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game One of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Brian Rafalski and Jiri Hudler scored in succession for Detroit after the Red Wings gave up the game’s first goal early.

Kyle Turris opened the scoring just 2:16 into the first period, roofing a shot from the near edge of the right faceoff circle over Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard‘s shoulder.

Phoenix was poised to take control of the game for the rest of the first period, as the Red Wings took four penalties in the frame. The Detroit penalty kill came up big, though, killing off every Coyotes chance, including 1:29 of five-on-three.

Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board at 7:38 of the second period. Franzen drove to the net from low on the left wing but the puck was knocked back behind the goal, where Datsyuk picked it up and wrapped it around, beating Ilya Bryzgalov to the far post to make it 1-1.

Franzen made it 2-1 with 7:58 left in the period, snapping a shot from the high slot past Bryzgalov.

Rafalski blasted a shot from the blue line into the back of the net with 1:44 left in the second and the Red Wings on a power play, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead after two periods.

At 3:16 of the third, Hudler snapped a shot over Bryzgalov’s shoulder after streaking down the left wing, making it 4-1 in favor of Detroit.

Radim Vrbata slapped a bouncing puck from the right wing boards past Howard to pull Phoenix back to within two at 7:38 of the third but the Coyotes would be unable to close any further.

Rafalski’s goal was the lone power play marker of the night, with Detroit having three tries with the man-advantage and the Coyotes having six, including their five-on-three.

Howard stopped 26 of 28 shots while Bryzgalov made 32 saves on 36 chances.

Game Two between the two teams will be Saturday afternoon in Detroit.

With his goal and an assist on Datsyuk’s, Franzen has points in thirteen consecutive playoff games… The Red Wings were without Henrik Zetterberg, still recovering from a lower-body injury… Mike Modano and Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches for Detroit.

Postgame Thoughts: Coyotes @ Red Wings – Game One

Overall, I think you can look at tonight’s Red Wings – Coyotes game and see a lot that looks good for Detroit. They rallied from one down, scored four straight, and got an important Game One win. Break it down by period, though, and it’s almost like three separate games.

I don’t care how close the shots were, Phoenix controlled the opening period. True, a lot of that can be attributed to special teams, but that doesn’t matter at the end of the night. Detroit did a nice job of weathering the storm but never got anything of their own going.

That changed in the second, which was all Detroit. Much more possession in the Phoenix zone and a better job of keeping the Coyotes from getting opportunities. Whistles put away, Wings got momentum. Not a conicidence.

Third period, game slowed down. Wings got a little sloppy as they let up and focused on preventing the lead. Never a good combination but it worked well enough.

The Red Wings need more of that second period. With their problems with consistency, they’ve gotta find a way to keep their foot on the gas for a full game.

Individual parts of the game worthy of note…

All four goals for Detroit (hell, all of the goals) were great plays. As I said at the time, Datsyuk’s goal doesn’t happen if he tries to skate it around the net. That was a great stick play. Franzen, Rafalski, Hudler, Turris and Vrbata? Fantastic shots, perfect placement.

Jimmy Howard was on tonight. A couple times I thought he bobbled the puck but stayed with it and one miscommunication behind the net. Did he go down early on the Turris goal? Maybe, but that’s modern goaltending; dare them to beat you high and Turris did that time.

Sounds like fans of both teams were complaining about officiating. My complaint isn’t so much what was called – you could call a lot of what the Wings were sent to the box for “cheap” but they were still the right call – but rather what wasn’t. Darren Helm seemed to take a shot high in the first period on a PK, that goes uncalled while they crack down on hooking? Overall, not a poorly called game, I hope that doesn’t get played up much ’cause I think it was mostly right.

That said, all those PKs the Wings had to go through (especially the five-on-three early) definitely kicked them into gear. Fantastic special teams effort tonight, scoring once on three PP chances and holding strong on six PKs.

So it’s one down, three to go. Worry about the second round if it happens. Easy to look ahead and feel good right now, we’ll see how it’s going Saturday afternoon.

Pregame Notes: Coyotes @ Red Wings – Game One

Let’s get this going, shall we?

What once was old is new again, as the Red Wings and the Coyotes meet in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season. This time around, Detroit has home ice by virtue of the Western Conference’s third seed.

The Wings are the only team to have met Phoenix in the playoffs more than once, beating them in the 1998 Conference Semifinals and again in last season’s Conference Quarterfinals.

Of course, none of that history matters going into this series. You could argue that Detroit’s 2-1-1 record against the Coyotes this season means something, but given how inconsistently the Red Wings have played I’m not sure I’d even agree with that.

The way I see it, this series entirely depends on which Red Wings team shows up. Ilya Bryzgalov could steal the series, a goalie can always do that, but if the Detroit team that showed up in Chicago on Sunday is the one we see in the playoffs, Bryzgalov will have to steal the series for the Coyotes to advance. If the motivated, patient, focused Red Wings are what we see, they’re simply better than the Phoenix team.

That said, we could very well see the sloppy, lazy, disinterested Red Wings. If that’s the team that shows up, this is going to be a cake walk for the Coyotes.

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