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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