Detroit ended a brief road trip and a two-game losing streak on Thursday by welcoming the Phoenix Coyotes into town for the first time since they completed a first-round sweep of the desert-for-now dogs. The Red Wings jumped all over the Coyotes early with a five-goal output in the first period before coasting to an eventual 5-2 win.
It wouldn't be a Red Wings game if they didn't leave something about which to worry, even in dominating fashion. Detroit's power play looked dangerous on their five opportunities, but only scored one of their goals with the man advantage. Meanwhile, on the other end, they allowed one Coyotes goal in five tries. Phoenix has the worst PP in the league, so that's not acceptable. It obviously didn't feel like it, but the shots were even in this game. Both teams put up 32.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 01:16 - Detroit Goal: Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Pavel Datsyuk
Pavel Datsyuk starts this play with the rare defensive zone faceoff loss. Fortunately, Todd Bertuzzi does an excellent job tying up Radim Vrbata's stick as he tries to pick it up. Bert's stick-lift on Vrbata starts the Wings up ice with he and Franzen going in on the dump-in to the corner. Bertuzzi lets the puck by him to get to Datsyuk coming up on the boards. Pavel picks it up and tries to throw a backhand pass across the crease to Bertuzzi as he emerges from the other side of the net, but the puck deflects off the sticks of both Vrbata and Derek Morris behind the Phoenix net on the near side. The Yotes get to it and try to dump it up the boards, but Datsyuk picks off the attempt and makes an attempt to Franzen cutting through the middle. Bertuzzi blocks this one with his skate and it rolls to Morris, who tries to break the net-front pressure with a clear to the boards. This clear ends up directly on Datsyuk's stick. While Franzen circles around to behind Datsyuk to reset the cycle, Bertuzzi steps into the slot to receive a pass. Vrbata is too low in the zone here and tries to stab at the puck, but Bertuzzi makes another great play to reach back and poke the puck over Vrbata's stick so he can recover on the forehand and put it five-hole off the skate of Morris. Bertuzzi is going to get a self-assist and a bonus plus for his work on this play. Franzen will also get half a non-touch assist for drawing the D-men here. Bertuzzi has a lot of space in a very dangerous area of the ice thanks to the cut that Franzen makes. I'm also going to award Datsyuk an extra half-plus on blocking the attempted Yandle clear.
1st Period 02:09 - Detroit Goal: Valtteri Filppula (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler
Shortly after the Bertuzzi goal, the Wings get another. The play starts in the Wings' end as Detroit utilizes a calm and collected breakout to beat the pressure and then gain the zone with some good cross-ice passing. A Zetterberg shot goes wide to be collected on the far corner by Filppula to dump back around behind the net. Hudler gets to this puck and battles Ekman-Larsson in the corner. a double-team with Langkow separates Hudler from the puck and rings it up to Turris at the half-boards, but Jonathan Ericsson makes a smart pinch, forcing Turris to try to chip it over him. Filppula is skating back to recover the loose puck and dump it back to Hudler in the corner to go to Zetterberg behind the net. Zetterberg out-muscles Adrian Aucoin behind the net to get free enough to make a pass to Valtteri Filppula sneaking in completely uncovered just outside the crease. The pass is a good one to Flip's stick and the puck is behind Smith before he realizes what's going on. Filppula is going to pick up a half self-assist for as many times as he was involved in keeping the play alive in the Phoenix end. Jonathan Ericsson and Filppula will also get a half bonus plus on this play for the smart pinch to keep the pressure on. Additionally, Henrik Zetterberg will get a penalty plus here. He had actually drawn one on Aucoin which was canceled out by the goal scored immediately after, but he deserves credit for the work doing so.
1st Period 14:46 - Detroit Goal (PP): Tomas Holmstrom (wrist shot) from Ian White and Pavel Datsyuk
The Penalty - Taylor Pyatt (hooking): Detroit catches Taylor Pyatt leaning a bit on trying to get a big hit as Tomas Holmstrom runs a great hook-and-ladder pass to Abdelkader at center ice to get into the zone with speed. Pyatt is still recovering from being out of position when Abdelkader beats him to the rebound off the shot he just created and draws a hooking penalty for his troubles. Both Abdelkader and Holmstrom will earn a plus for this play.
On the power play, the Wings get set up in their high-umbrella formation following a near-goal by Holmstrom dangling the puck into the middle of the ice. While everybody recovers from the shock of seeing Holmstrom pretend he's got hands, the Wings reset to Lidstrom at the top corner to carry to the middle and fake a slap shot in order to pull the high PKers in and give him room to hit Datsyuk with a pass as he completes the skate to the blue line and loop back into the zone to Lidstrom's left. Datsyuk immediately turns it back to Lidstrom, whose momentum is still carrying him across the ice at the top of the zone. Lidstrom double-clutches a slap shot to try and create a lane through the high PKer. He finally lets one go, but it's blocked by Boyd Gordon high. and goes across the zone for Datsyuk to collect off the boards and loop back in. Pavel takes it to the faceoff dot, drawing the defense toward him before threading a pass across to Ian White in the far circle. While Mickey Redmond is busy appreciating the beauty of the pass, White goes forehand-backhand to the top of the crease before trying to slide it through Smith. The goalie blocks this one, but Tomas Holmstrom is there in his office to jam the rebound under him and in. Lidstrom will get the third assist on this play.
1st Period 15:29 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Chris Conner and Jakub Kindl
43 seconds later, the fun continues for everybody except Mike Smith (who gets pulled after this one). The Wings set up behind their own net while Phoenix falls into a 1-2-2 passive trap. The Wings beat this with speed as Kindl goes to Conner deep in the Wings zone and Conner uses his speed to get the puck around Kyle Turris at the center red stripe. Turris hip-checks Conner while David Schlemko steps up on him. This step-up gives Conner the space he needs to do a one-handed sweep area pass to Darren Helm as he speeds across the blue line dragging Mikkel Boedker behind him. Helm gets to it first, but Michal Rozsival cuts across the ice to cut off his path to the net. Helm spins in the faceoff circle and puts a backhanded pass to Conner as he sweeps back into the zone on the wing. Conner has a step and position on Schlemko as he carries around behind the net. Rozsival gets up and covers Cleary in front of the net, but Boedker hesitates to get to Darren Helm right on the doorstep. As Conner circles around the net, he throws a pass to Helm on the near side to tap under the goalie for the 4th goal of the period. Chris Conner makes this play happen twice and he'll earn a bonus assist for doing so. Helm will also get a self-assist on the play for helping keep the puck moving with speed, which is the key ingredient of why this play works as it does.
1st Period 19:17- Detroit Goal: Jiri Hudler (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula
You know the period's going right when the Wings score a Budd Lynch goal. Adrian Aucoin picks up a loose puck ranging back into his zone and tries to get it back out by going off the boards around the north/south pressure of Zetterberg and the center-ice pressure from Hudler. Aucoin's angle is wrong here though and the puck goes to Zetterberg at the blue line to dump in. LaBarbera comes out to play it to Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the corner. As Hudler chases him, he tries a cross-ice outlet to Shane Doan trying to sneak out of the zone. Valtteri Filppula reads this play exceptionally and steps up to block the pass. Flip cuts to the front of the net, but loses the puck to the corner. He's the first guy on the puck though and has great zone awareness. While Aucoin chases him to the boards to hit him, Filppula throws it to Zetterberg wide-opencutting back into the middle of the ice behind the play. Smith is already square here, so Hank holds long enough for Hudler to back into position to receive a cross-ice pass. The pass comes to Hudler, who has enough time to settle it before chucking it past the goalie for the last Wings goal of the night. The intercept by Filppula makes this play happen and he'll get a bonus plus. However, both Hudler and Zetterberg show excellent zone positioning on this series and I believe they both deserve half-pluses for that play.
Penalty Adjustments (x3)
2nd Period 01:59 - Derek Morris (hooking): Good zone-exit passing gives Henrik Zetterberg a near-breakaway as he splits the defense off a Valtteri Filppula neutral zone pass. Only a Derek Morris hook prevents a scoring chance. Filppula and Zetterberg will share credit for this one, each receives a half-plus.
2nd Period 06:20 - Detroit Bench (too many men): The Wings get a bit sloppy in the period of the long change as Darren Helm fails to get a puck deep on a rush. Ian White anticipates the dump-in and hops off the bench to get into the play. He quickly hops back over the boards, but Kindl doesn't recognize this and still goes off on a change. This gives the Coyotes a 3-on-1 rush. Howard is able to stonewall the 'Yotes, but the confusion leads to a too-many men penalty. Minuses here go to White, Kindl, and Helm for bad communication and failure to get the puck deep.
2nd Period 07:30 - Danny Cleary (boarding): On the PK, Cleary blocks a point shot and gets some room to skate it in on the Phoenix net. Cleary's shot misses and goes to the half-boards where Vrbata picks it up. Chasing back up the boards, Cleary gets a bit too anxious and runs Vrbata from behind stupidly. This is a very dumb play by Cleary and he will earn a minus for taking such a bad penalty.
2nd Period 15:15 - Phoenix Goal: Radim Vrbata (slap shot) from Keith Yandle and Derek Morris
The Coyotes get a bounce off some good zone pressure by the Wings and are able to recover possession. Morris gets it to Yandle on the weak side and Yandle goes cross-ice from the top of one circle to Radim Vrbata cutting to center on the far wing. Vrbata carries into the Wings zone and unleashes a slap shot from the top-outside of the right faceoff circle which rockets over Jimmy Howard and in. This is a fantastic shot by Vrbata to beat Howard and just one of those which will get by. Three minuses will remain, Kronwall could have played more aggressively shot while the original cross-ice pass gets through Zetterberg and in front of Filppula coming out of the Phoenix zone. Those things will allow these three skaters to keep their minuses. Ericsson and Hudler will be cleared. I know... that hurt to type too.
Penalty Adjustments (x2)
3rd Period 02:00 - Danny Cleary (boarding): Chasing down an icing play, Danny Cleary gets tied up with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and takes a boarding call. I still don't think this is boarding, but it's a dangerous play by Cleary and a hold. If he's not engaged with a guy he's clearly not going to beat to the call without having to cheat, the defender doesn't hit the boards. Cleary will get a minus.
3rd Period 06:30 - Kyle Turris (hooking): Some fantastic work on the boards by Abdelkader and Franzen leads to a Turris hooking call. The two of them battle to get it clear and to the point. Abby gets a step on Turris coming back out front for a chance at a redirect off an Ian White shot. This play forces Turris to hook Abdelkader. Abdelkader will get a full plus and Franzen will get a half plus for helping draw this one.
3rd Period 11:32 - Phoenix Goal (PP): Martin Hanzal (tip in) from Shane Doan and Ray Whitney
The Penalty - Jakub Kindl (holding): Kyle Turris is rushing into the Detroit zone and gets a step around Jakub Kindl at the blue line. As a result, Kindl grabs him on his way by and goes to the box. Kindl will get a minus.
About a minute into the power play, Howard stops a dump-in attempt and sets it up for Ericsson to clear. The slap-shot attempt is blocked at the line by Ray Whitney, who goes cross-ice to Yandle before receiving the pass back while the Red Wings penalty kill again shuffles from side-to-side. Whitney now runs a give-and-go with Radim Verbata as he cycles to the half-boards in order to get the puck below Chris Conner at the point. While Lidstrom skates to cut off Whitney here, Shane Doan slides out from a low position into the slot between Drew Miller covering high and Jonathan Ericsson covering net-front. Doan receives the pass, turns, and fires a shot that deflects off Martin Hanzal's pants and into the net. The first of the minuses here belong to Drew Miller (half: coverage) for being too high in the zone to cut off the pass to Doan. Ericsson has to worry about Hanzal and cannot chase Doan up ice here. Miller is supposed to be parallel to this play and he's still a bit high. The other minus (full) will go to Ericsson for the turnover. He has a chance to clear this puck and fails at it. This is not acceptable considering the time he had to make this attempt.
3rd Period 12:46 - Niklas Kronwall (interference): A four-man battle behind the Detroit net ends when Niklas Kronwall puts the body on Shane Doan away from the play and takes a penalty for interference. This is a bad decision by Kronwall and will earn him a minus.
2nd Period 18:25 - Daymond Langkow (slashing):Langkow is mad because he thinks he gets tripped and takes a wild swing at Zetterberg in response. This is frustration, but not a drawn penalty.
3rd Period 15:32 - David Schlemko (hi-sticking): Irresponsible stickwork by Schlemko, but not worthy of adjustment.
+1 to Nicklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall: TPH was on display tonight with a quietly dominating performance stopping rushes, calmly making outlet passes, and generally being awesome. The team-leading five shots on goal helped too. For Kronwall, he played slightly tougher minutes and a minute more on the PK, doing all the little things a D-man needs to do.
+1 to Darren Helm: This adjustment brings Helm up from an adjusted even to a +1 where he belongs. He was the perfect leader of the Wings' third line tonight as the mix between Conner's spark-plug style and Cleary's tough-on-the-boards strength. He helped drive puck possession better than any other forward.
+0.5 to Tomas Holmstrom: It bears bringing up several times a season, but Holmstrom has really good hands when you stop to consider them. He played in all three zones and really gave the Coyotes fits.
If the bonus ratings seem a bit thin for such a dominating game, just know that the scoresheet reflects this well. The shots were even, but the score wasn't. This is good evidence that things were just going right for the Wings all night. It showed well in the in-game adjustments, so not as many players needed additional ratings to get them where they deserved to be.
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