Datsyuk, Lidstrom Each Score Twice as Red Wings Rout Coyotes in Game Seven

With their season on the line, Detroit’s top players came through as Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom each scored a pair of goals in leading the Red Wings to a 6-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Seven of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

Henrik Zetterberg and Brian Rafalski each had three assists on the night while Brad Stuart and Todd Bertuzzi rounded out the scoring.

The Red Wings advance to face the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Detroit outshot Phoenix 17-6 in the first period but couldn’t solve goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. It wasn’t until 2:01 of the second period that his countryman, Datsyuk, opened the game’s scoring.

With the Red Wings on the power play, Datsyuk took a bouncing feed from Lidstrom in the slot and snapped a shot through traffic in front of the net and past Bryzgalov.

Datsyuk scored his second just 1:41 later, taking a long stretch pass from Zetterberg and breaking in all alone on Bryzgalov. He faked to his backhand and cut back to his forehand, lifting a shot over Bryzgalov’s shoulder to make it 2-0.

Vernon Fiddler got Phoenix on the board at 8:23 of the second, taking advantage of a miscue by Datsyuk to snap a shot off the faceoff past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Lidstrom’s first of the night, another power play goal, restored Detroit’s two-goal lead with 6:08 left in the period. The rebound of a Zetterberg chance came into the high slot, where Lidstrom stepped in and blasted it past Bryzgalov.

The Coyotes had a chance to cut into the lead again in the period’s closing minutes with a 72-second five-on-three. Detroit limited Phoenix to only two shots, however, and turned the tables as the second penalty expired.

Lee Stempniak tried to throw a pass to former Red Wing Mathieu Schneider at the point but it was off target and left the Detroit zone. Just out of the penalty box, Brad Stuart picked up the loose puck and raced in to beat Bryzgalov with 4.6 seconds left in the period.

Bertuzzi banged home the rebound of a Valtteri Filppula chance 6:35 into the third period, virtually ending the series.

Lidstrom wrapped up the scoring with his second of the night, snapping a shot into the top corner of the net from the right faceoff dot. It was another power play goal, coming with 7:46 left in the game.

The Red Wings finished the night three-for-six on the power play. The Coyotes were scoreless on five tries with the extra attacker, including the 1:12 five-on-three.

Howard stopped 32 of 33 shots in earning the win. Bryzgalov made 44 saves on 50 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings are expected to open the second round on Thursday.

Phoenix captain Shane Doan sat out his fourth consecutive game after being injured in Game Three.

Game Seven Postgame Notes

This was a complete, sixty minute effort by Detroit tonight. This was what we were waiting for all series.

The Red Wings wanted this one, and that was obvious from the start. The only reason Detroit didn’t have a multi-goal lead after the first period is that Ilya Bryzgalov had a fantastic night. Not something that often goes hand-in-hand with allowing six goals but the truth.

Two goals by Pavel Datsyuk, including a beauty of an eventual game-winner. Two goals by Nicklas Lidstrom, a day shy of his 40th birthday. Three points each for Brian Rafalski and Henrik Zetterberg. The Red Wings needed their leaders to lead and they came through.

On the flip side: Phoenix captain Shane Doan. Lower-case “c” for a reason. I know I’m spoiled by growing up in the Steve Yzerman era but to me, when the season is on the line the Captain (capital “C”) is on the ice. A Captain plays on one leg. A captain watches the game in street clothes.

The Coyotes that were dressed gave it their all. They had some good chances and forced Howard to make big stops while the game was still close but they were just overpowered.

So now the Red Wings advance to face the San Jose Sharks. While the official schedule won’t be released until after the Washington – Montreal Game Seven on Wednesday, with concerts scheduled for Friday and Saturday in San Jose it looks like the Wings and Sharks will go on Thursday and Sunday.

If we see the Detroit team we saw tonight, the Sharks are in some trouble. If the Wings go back to playing lazy they’ll pay for it quickly.

Game Seven Pregame Notes

The Red Wings head to Game Seven for the third consecutive series tonight. For the first time since 1991 they face a Game Seven on the road.

I don’t know what to expect going into tonight’s matchup. Detroit isn’t making any lineup changes but the Coyotes could see the return of captain Shane Doan, who completed a full practice with the team for the first time since leaving Game Three with a shoulder injury.

As I said yesterday, the Red Wings can win this one. Just last week they had an awful afternoon game at home and bounced back with a big win in the next game. There’s no reason it couldn’t happen again.

Sunday’s lack of effort should have no bearing on tonight’s game but – to me, at least – it does.

In the past I would have no problem with believing the Wings would flip a switch and get the big win. They’ve done it plenty of times.

After pathetic efforts on consecutive Sundays, however, I don’t know that the Red Wings want to flip that switch. If they wanted to, why the apathy in those two games?

In short, I believe the Wings have the ability to win but I don’t have faith in their desire right now.

Game time is 9:00 (not the previously-reported 10:00). We’ll see what happens.

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