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.