Now that's more like it.
After Tuesday's snoozefest against the Blues, the Detroit Red Wings found themselves mired in their 3rd losing streak of the season. However, the NHL's best team at home decided to reassert a little dominance and get back to winning by taking out all of their frustrations on a Phoenix Coyotes team that has been surprising everyone yet again.
The first period was nothiing short of a slaughter. The Wings scored like it was a Chicago election, early and often. Todd Bertuzzi got the Wings on the board seventy six seconds into the game, and 43 seconds later Valtteri Filppula announced his return to the lineup by scoring his 9th goal of the season. After about 12 minutes of relative quiet, the Wings exploded for 3 goals in the final 6 minutes of the period, kicked off with a power play goal by Tomas Holmstrom. Darren Helm and Jiri Hudler rounded out the scoring in the first, and the rout was on.
The rest of the game was really just about the Wings not getting hurt, although Radim Vrbata let go a laser of a shot that beat Jimmy Howard high glove side and ruined the shutout, and Martin Hanzal's ass deflected a Shane Doan shot while the Wings were killing a penalty. Other than that, the second and third periods were pretty uneventful, and the Wings coasted to a 5-2 win.
This one was over before it began. Follow the jump for the bullets.
- Holy forecheck, Batman! After being outplayed physically in the latter stages of their games against both the Avalanche and Blues, the Wings came out with a very aggressive gameplan against the Coyotes, forcing numerous turnovers in the Phoenix zone, many of which ended up in the back of the net.
- I understand that it's easy to let up a little when building such a big lead, but in today's NHL where anything can get called and with the Wings having a less-than-stellar PK, Detroit has got to remember that it takes a full 60 minute effort to put teams away these days. Fans should never be nervous in the third period of a game in which the Wings had a 5 goal lead. Thankfully it never got closer than 5-2, but it would still be nice to see some urgency in the Wings' game even with such a big lead. I guess 20 minutes of the Wings' best is better than most teams' 60 minute efforts.
- After never scoring in a Wings loss until 2 games ago, Johan Franzen had 2 goals in the last 2 games but the Wings came up empty. Tonight, 10 Red Wing players registered a point, but the Mule was held off the scoresheet. Moral of the story? Don't feed the Mule anymore.
- Phoenix has been one of the surprise teams again this season, and Mike Smith has been a big part of why they are leading the Pacific (heading into action tonight). I'm not about to base my opinion of the Coyotes off of one game, especially the blitz that was the first period, but let's just say that I had a flashback to last April during that period.
- Welcome back Valtteri Filppula. The Kevlar Wonder returned to the lineup after missing a game and a half, and he immediately made his presence felt when he scored just over 2 minutes into the first period. His presence on seemed to spark Henrik Zetterberg, who was skating with purpose tonight. Flip ended up with 2 more points to move ever closer to destroying his career high and did not seem at all hampered by the leg injury.
- All I want for Christmas is for Pavel Datsyuk to be ok.
- This was a pretty "meh" game. The first period was exciting, but then the Wings just sat back and were content to hold on to their lead. It wasn't exactly firebrand, end-to-end hockey, but it was effective, and they got the 2 points. I just really hope that no one comes over here and calls the Wings "boring"; I don't think my thin skin could take such an insult.
After taking on the old Jets, the Wings will have tomorrow off before taking on that traditional Eastern powerhouse, the Winnipeg nuJets. This game actually is interesting because the nuJets will be in the same conference as the Wings next year, and I for one am excited for the chance to face Dustin Byfuglien 6 times a year again; after all, he was such a force when he was a Blackhawk.