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.

Zetterberg Scores in Overtime to Carry Red Wings Past Coyotes

Henrik Zetterberg scored on a delayed penalty in overtime Monday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 win over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.

Zetterberg tipped a slap-pass from defenseman Ruslan Salei past Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov at 1:23 of the overtime period. Todd Bertuzzi, who had come on as the extra attacker, picked up the secondary assist.

Nicklas Lidstrom had tied the game at 7:24 of the third period, blasting a shot from the left point past Bryzgalov.

Danny Cleary opened the scoring for the Red Wings just 1:40 into the game. Brian Rafalski, playing in his first game back after arthroscopic knee surgery, fired a shot from the right point wide of the net. It bounced off the end boards and came out the other side, where Cleary knocked it into the open net.

Martin Hanzal got the Coyotes on the board with 55 seconds left in the opening period on a similar play, banging in the puck after a Derek Morris shot went wide and caromed off the end boards, coming back out in front.

Keith Yandle put Phoenix out in front at 7:31 of the second period on a broken play. Lauri Korpikoski carried the puck into the Detroit zone and cut to the slot, losing control. The puck slid into the left faceoff circle, where Yandle caught up with it and snapped it past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Howard finished the night with 29 saves on 31 Phoenix shots while Bryzgalov stopped 37 of 40 Detroit chances.

Though the game-winning goal came with the extra attacker, neither team scored on the power play on the night. The Red Wings had four chances to the Coyotes’ three.

Kronwall’s OT Goal Lifts Red Wings over Coyotes

Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall scored with 16 seconds left in overtime Saturday night, carrying the Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Kronwall fired a shot from the high slot through a screen set by Danny Cleary and over the shoulder of Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to win the game for Detroit.

The goal came with seven seconds remaining in the Red Wings’ eighth power play of the night. They had been held scoreless with the extra attacker until that point.

The Coyotes had opened the scoring with ten seconds remaining in the first period.

After winning a faceoff in the Detroit end, the Coyotes worked the puck down to the corner. Martin Hanzel jumped to open space in the slot and Wojtek Wolski sent the puck to him for a one-timer past Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard.

Pavel Datsyuk evened the game up at 7:03 of the second when his centering attempt to Patrick Eaves deflected off the skate of Lee Stempniak and slipped past Bryzgalov.

Bryzgalov stopped 31 of 33 shots on the night while Howard made 25 saves on 26 Phoenix chances.

Detroit held the Coyotes scoreless on four power play tries.

The Red Wings are now off until Thursday when they host the Calgary Flames to begin a four-game homestand.


The Red Wings iced only 17 skaters, with Johan Franzen, Kris Draper and Justin Abdelkader all out of the lineup due to injury.

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.

Holmstrom Sparks Red Wings to 4-1 Win over Coyotes in Game Five

Tomas Holmstrom broke a 1-1 tie with 8:51 remaining in the third period Friday night, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Five of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

The Red Wings now lead the series 3-2. It’s the first time they’ve led in these playoffs.

Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom set up Holmstrom’s goal. Datsyuk won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Lidstrom for a shot from the blue line. The shot slipped through Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov but was knocked down by Holmstrom and defender Adrian Aucoin, who were in behind the goalie. Holmstrom found the puck before Aucoin or Bryzgalov and swatted it into the open net to put the Red Wings up 2-1.

Datsyuk made it 3-1 just 70 seconds later. Holmstrom worked the puck from behind the net to Johan Franzen on the left wing boards before Franzen got it to Datsyuk all alone at the top of the crease. Datsyuk spun and lifted a backhander off the post and into the top corner of the net.

Henrik Zetterberg added an empty net goal in the game’s final minute to wrap up the scoring.

Drew Miller had opened the scoring for Detroit, scoring on a wraparound chance with 2:56 left in the first period. Bryzgalov stopped Miller’s initial chance but the rebound bounced off Coyote Vernon Fiddler‘s skate and back past Bryzgalov.

Ed Jovanovski tied the game up at 9:45 of the second, just 13 seconds after the expiration of a Phoenix power play, banging home the rebound of an Aucoin shot from the point while standing on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard‘s pad.

The Coyotes had a chance to take a 2-1 lead early in the third period, when Martin Hanzal jumped out of the penalty box to take a pass and break in on Howard. Howard knocked the initial shot aside and then dove back to grab the rebound chance, keeping the game knotted up.

Howard finished the night with 30 saves on 31 Phoenix chances. Bryzgalov stopped 25 of 28 shots he faced.

For the first time this series, neither team scored a power play goal. The Red Wings had six chances with the extra attacker while the Coyotes had five. Phoenix is now 0-for-19 on the power play since scoring on their first three tries in Game One.

Detroit will have a chance to win the series at home in Game Six on Sunday.


Phoenix was without captain Shane Doan for the second consecutive game. Doan has not played since leaving Game Three with a shoulder injury.

Howard Earns First Playoff Shutout as Red Wings Tie Series with Coyotes

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 29 shots for his first career playoff shutout Tuesday night, leading the Red Wings to a 3-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup is now tied at two games apiece. Game Five will be in Glendale on Friday.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring with 4:27 left to play in the second period.

Zetterberg deflected a Niklas Kronwall shot from the blue line past Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov on the power play. After video review, it was determined that the deflection did not come off of a high stick.

After the Coyotes failed to tie the game on a long power play in the third, Pavel Datsyuk extended Detroit’s lead.

With 4:07 left in regulation, Datsyuk one-timed a pass from Johan Franzen at the bottom of the right faceoff circle over Bryzgalov’s glove hand.

Zetterberg added his second of the night just 25 seconds later, sneaking an acute-angle shot past Bryzgalov after Todd Bertuzzi beat out an icing call.

Bryzgalov finished the night with 32 saves on 35 Detroit shots.

The Red Wings were one-for-three on the power play while holding the Coyotes without a goal on five chances with the extra attacker, including 13 seconds of a two-man advantage.


The Coyotes were without captain Shane Doan, who was injured when he crashed into the boards on a play on in Sunday’s Game Three… Vernon Fiddler returned to the Phoenix lineup after missing Game Three.

Game Four Postgame Notes

Call me greedy but I still expect more from the Red Wings than we got tonight.

Jimmy Howard had his best game in awhile so he gets a pass. Howard stopped 29 shots en route to the shutout. As I said at the time, him staying with the puck and making a save in the second despite having lost his mask showed how on his game he was.

The rest of the team, however, still had some patches where they looked tentative. There were long stretches in the first and second that just felt slow.

The Coyotes definitely had some jump coming into the third period and the Wings were scrambling to hold onto their lead.

That said, special teams were fantastic. One-for-three on the power play and perfect on the PK, including 18 seconds of a Phoenix five-on-three. If the Wings had cleared the zone at even strength as well as they did during the third period PKs I probably wouldn’t be complaining right now.

An additional plus, I’m not entirely impressed with Ilya Bryzgalov. Maybe we should be worried that he hasn’t stolen a game yet, I don’t know.

Overall, still not a 60-minute effort but they definitely outplayed the Coyotes and you can never complain about a shutout.

Game Three Pregame Notes

Yeah, there’s no such thing as a “must-win” until you’re facing elimination but it’s pretty clear that we’re past the “feeling out” phase of this series.

The Red Wings did what they had to do in Glendale, they came back home with a split and turned the series into a five-game affair in which they have home ice advantage. “All” they have to do is hold serve at home and the series is theirs.

In Game One the Red Wings failed to play the kind of game they will need to play to win this series. In Game Two they got there but it wasn’t a consistent sixty-minute effort. If the Wings continue to play the way they played the third period of Game Two, they will win this series.

They have to be strong on the puck. They have to drive to the net. They have to get shots through to Ilya Bryzgalov. They have to not back down from Phoenix’s physical play.

The Coyotes, meanwhile, seem to be in a bit of disarray. They know they can win when they make the Red Wings play Phoenix’s game but can they win one where the pace is dictated by Detroit? They’re also battling injuries, with Vernon Fiddler and former Red Wing Robert Lang not yet confirmed to be in the lineup this afternoon.

We already know how I feel about afternoon games and games on national broadcasters. This one’s a 3:00 start on NBC.

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.