Red Wings Hold Off Coyotes for Game Two Win

The Detroit Red Wings took a 4-0 lead early Saturday and held off a comeback attempt by the Phoenix Coyoted to pick up a 4-3 win. The Red Wings now lead their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup, 2-0.

Pavel Datsyuk carried Detroit to their early lead, factoring in on all four goals, scoring once and assisting three more times.

Shane Doan played the same role for the Coyotes in their comeback, scoring twice and adding an assist on three power play goals.

Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board with 9:18 left in the first period, the first of Detroit’s two goals on the power play. After getting the puck from Nicklas Lidstrom above the left faceoff circle, Datsyuk drifted into the high slot and dragged the puck to his right, snapping a shot past Ilya Bryzgalov to give Detroit the early lead.

Brian Rafalski added another power play goal with 4:10 left in the period, blasting a shot from just inside the blue line past Bryzgalov.

With just 59 seconds left in the first, Darren Helm made it 3-0. Datsyuk broke away from three defenders in the neutral zone and raced in on Bryzgalov, taking the puck between his legs for a shot that the Phoenix netminder got his pad on. After the initial save, no one made a move to stop Helm, who jumped in and banged the rebound over the sprawled-out goalie.

Tomas Holmstrom deflected a Valtteri Filppula shot into the top of the net to make it 4-0 at 1:11 of the second period, at which point the Red Wings seemingly let off the gas.

Radmin Vrbata got the Coyotes on the board at 7:02 of the middle period, snapping the rebound of a shot by Doan through an attempted block by Kris Draper and into the open side of Jimmy Howard‘s net while Danny Cleary was off for elbowing.

Doan’s first came at 5:49 of the third period, pulling Phoenix to within a pair. With Todd Bertuzzi off for slashing, Doan got to the side of the net and backhanded the rebound of a Keith Yandle shot past Howard.

In the closing seconds of a five-on-three, Doan slapped a shot from the high slot past Howard to make it 4-3 at 8:37 of the closing frame.

The Red Wings were outshot 11-10 in the third period but held on, taking back puck control in the final three minutes to limit the Coyotes’ chances with Bryzgalov on the bench for an extra attacker.

Detroit finished the afternoon with two goals on five power play chances. Phoenix went three-for-seven with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced in net while Bryzgalov made 27 stops on 31 chances.

The two teams will meet again on Monday in Glendale.

The Red Wings lost Johan Franzen for a significant portion of the first period after he went face-first into the boards on a hit by Doan. He required over twenty stitches and returned early in the second period… Detroit was without Henrik Zetterberg again, still out with a leg injury… Mike Modano and Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Postgame Thoughts: Coyotes @ Red Wings – Game Two

Trying to pull my post-game thoughts together after the relative panic of the end of today’s Red Wings – Coyotes game is proving harder than I expected.

Lots of complaining about the officiating going on from both sides, it looks like. Not surprising, from such an inconsistently-officiated game. I acknowledge complaints from the Phoenix side – they went to the box a lot early on – but I’m going to risk being quoted out of context by only focusing on Detroit complaints.

Two calls / non-calls really bothered me. Darren Helm went off for boarding in the second period on what, to me (not to Dave Tippett), was clearly a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Then Ed Jovanovski gets all p*ssed off about it and grabs Helm by the jaw, no roughing call because no penalties ever happen after the whistle. Helm’s hit was legal. Never should have been a call. And Jovanovski shouldn’t have gotten away with that, either.

Second call was a non call. Johan Franzen goes to the box for a cross-check in the third period, partially a weak call but mostly a stupid play by Franzen, I can’t really disagree with it. Head to the ensuing power play, just before the Coyotes score you have Martin Hanzel cross-checking Brad Stuart to the ice without a call. In the span of two minutes we go from it being illegal to it being legal.

Ignoring penalties, further thoughts on the game…

Detroit came out exactly as they needed to. They dominated that first period, didn’t let up when Franzen went down (as they did when Henrik Zetterberg got hurt in Carolina ten days ago), and seemed to be poised to roll.

Then they let up. Call it “getting into penalty trouble” or whatever you want, it happened because the Red Wings got lazy and sloppy. And Phoenix took advantage to get back in the game.

The Coyotes were controlling the pace of the game for most of the third period and getting on the scoresheet because of it. It was one bounce from being a tie game after the Wings had such an early advantage.

The Red Wings closed it out, though. I thought they were really solid defensively in the final three minutes or so, keeping the puck in the Phoenix end quite a bit and clearing their own zone quickly. Valtteri Filppula probably should have had an empty-net goal but he botched the chance.

So what do the teams take away from this? Detroit held serve at home, which is the most important thing for them no matter how it happened. They’ve also seemingly solved Ilya Bryzgalov. Even without Henrik Zetterberg, they’ve controlled large parts of this series.

The Coyotes did make a bit of a statement today, though. Unlike Wednesday, they took advantage of the chances they got. Three power play goals after going scoreless on the man-advantage in Game One. They did some solving of their own.

Detroit obviously sits in better shape with the 2-0 series lead but Phoenix isn’t out of anything yet. The Wings need a road win to punctuate the series. We’ll see what happens Monday night.

Pregame Notes: Coyotes @ Red Wings – Game Two

It’s an afternoon matchup on NBC as the Red Wings host the Coyotes in Game Two of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

Since Detroit won Game One, a lot of the talk has been about how the Coyotes need to be more physical and/or goalie Ilya Bryzgalov needs to be better. Both may be true and are signs that, on the flip side, the Red Wings can’t be content with how they played on Wednesday.

If the Coyotes can find another gear, the Wings will have to as well. They made their share of mistakes on Wednesday night and against a Phoenix team that’s firing on all cylanders, that could have been critical.

Detroit hasn’t started an afternoon game time on time all season, so that’ll be the big issue for them to deal with. The series is too young for a must-win game but if the Red Wings can hold serve at home they’ll be in very good position heading to Glendale for Game Three.

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