Detroit and Phoenix faced off early Saturday in game 2 of their first-round matchup. Detroit took the first game on the strength of a 6-for-6 penalty kill and four goals. Game 2 saw a few things change between the teams, but not the all-important series lead. The Red Wings powered to a four goal lead before coasting to a 4-3 win to take a 2-0 series lead heading to Phoenix on Monday.
Initial response to the Coyotes getting seven power play opportunities (in reality six, because one of them was only two seconds long) was that the refs were doing favors to a Phoenix team trying to catch up in a game that they had otherwise lost before the halfway point. I'm not going to completely disagree with that statement, but the Wings sure did seem to make it easy on the refs. Detroit did get five power plays (realistically four), as five of the seven goals in this game came with a man advantage. Of course, that means Detroit has dominated the 5-on-5 play in this series to the tune 5-2 so far. I'm not putting a lot of stock in the Coyotes outshooting the wings 33-31 in this game, but I would have liked to have seen them kept below 30 again.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jumpThe Goals
1st Period 10:42 - Detroit Goal (PP): Pavel Datsyuk (snap shot) from Nicklas Lidstrom and Todd Bertuzzi
The Wings play a puck on an icing, where Hanzal plays stupid and checks Brian Rafalski after the whistle. At the end of the ensuing scrum, Hanzal gets two penalties to Danny Cleary's one, putting the Wings on the power play. Datsyuk wins the faceoff and, after a few passes between Lidstrom, Rafalski, and Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom fires a one-timer that's deflected just wide by Holmstrom. Rafalski picks it up on the boards and tries to immediately go back-door to Datsyuk, but Fiddler picks that off. With enough time to spin to the forehand, Fiddler tries getting a puck out of the zone, but Lidstrom has moved over by this point and picks off the clearing attempt to keep it in. After another round of passing the puck around the zone, Lidstrom tries another slapper which is tipped over the net by Holmstrom. Aucoin gets to this puck first, but Homer cuts off his clear up the middle, Datsyuk cuts off the boards on his forehand, and Bertuzzi seals off the backhand attempt that he ends up trying. Bert is pressured by Aucoin, but pokes it back up to Datsyuk at the half-boards. Pavs goes to Lidstrom before getting it back and skating into to the middle of the ice. Aucoin tries to block every conceivable angle and gets himself completely tied up as Datsyuk does a curl-and-drag in the high slot before firing a low snap shot to the far side. Tomas Holmstrom is going to pick up an assist for screening Bryzgalov (as Breezy is looking over the screen when Datsyuk releases the low shot). Lidstrom's keep in might have had more to do with a Fiddler mistake, but it's a smart move to be in position and good coordination to pick it off. Lidstrom will get a bonus plus for this play.
1st Period 15:50 - Detroit Goal (PP): Brian Rafalski (slap shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom
Shortly after the end of the Filppula penalty, Abdelkader takes a shot on goal that apparently offends Michal Rozsival's mother, as the big idiot gives Abby an obvious chop on the hands for it. Detroit wins the 5-on-3 faceoff too well and has to go back to retrieve in their own end. Datsyuk and Holmstrom combine to get the puck in and a pass from Pavel to Homer low almost creates a goal just after the expiration of the 'Yotes' first penalty. The Coyotes keep this out, but Datsyuk recovers, takes it back to the boards and resets the play to Rafalski at the top of the zone. With all four of Phoenix's penalty killers below the tops of the faceoff circles, Rafalski calmly carries the puck from the boards to the center as the Wings move to the umbrella. Rafalski shoots his trademark low, tippable slap shot toward the net. Holmstrom doesn't get a stick on it, but he screens Bryzgalov to prevent him from seeing it go past him low on the glove side. Again, Homer is going to get a screener's assist on this play (giving him two assist for this goal). I also feel that Datsyuk deserves an extra half-assist. This entire play ran through him. There are an increasing number of power plays being quarterbacked from the half-boards like Datsyuk does here, but it's not the norm.
1st Period 19:01 - Detroit Goal: Darren Helm (wrist shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom
This might be my favorite Red Wings goal all season. Datsyuk blocks a Doan dump-in attempt at the top of the zone that Helm takes out of the air before being taken to the boards by Belanger. Helm is able to kick it deeper back to Lidstrom helping cover. Before Lidstrom gets to this puck, he sneaks a quick glance at Datsyuk, who recognizes instantly what's happening and bolts up ice. Sure enough, Lidstrom throws an area pass up the ice that becomes a 50/50 for Datsyuk and the oncoming Keith Yandle in the neutral zone. Yandle plays to position the puck, but Datsyuk sweeps his stick under it to ramp it over Yandle's blade and comes into the zone with a half-step on the defense. As Datsyuk skates to the post on the backhand, he brings the puck back and, from between his own legs, fires a forehand wrister on net. Bryzgalov stops it, but kicks the rebound straight out front for Darren Helm to finish. First off, the defensive play in the Wings' zone to kill a rush at the blue line and turn it back up while the Phoenix defense is changing becomes a big part of this goal. Datsyuk, Helm, and Lidstrom all make great plays to help this happen and will each pick up a bonus plus. Lidstrom's vision and finesse to make this pass will get him a bonus half-assist for a fantastic pass. Datsyuk will pick up a full bonus assist. Tipping it past Yandle like that was pure brilliance, but the real genius of the play was on throwing that between-the-legs shot on net. Call it flashy if you will, but Phoenix had their two best defenseman chasing on that play, plus Lauri Korpikoski. When Pavel made that shot and the rebound came out, none of the three defenders were looking at the puck. Instead, they were all looking at Datsyuk. This allowed Helm to swoop in and put it home. It's not the best play ever, but I can confidently say that Datsyuk's ingenuity here was a big part of the reason Helm had this rebound available to him.
2nd Period 1:11 - Detroit Goal: Tomas Holmstrom (tip in) from Valtteri Filppula and Pavel Datsyuk
Early in the 2nd, Holmstrom dumps the puck hard into the zone where Filppula cuts off Aucoin's escape route, steals the puck, and dumps it back behind the Phoenix net. Yandle picks it up here, and sees pressure from Holmstrom coming, so he decides to try to get cute and dump it back the same way it came. Filppula, who had been going to the front, spins around in time to get between Aucoin and Doan and make a diving play to poke it past Doan's stick to Lidstrom at the point. Lidstrom goes to Holmstrom down low beside the net before Homer quickly pushes a backhanded pass to Datsyuk cutting through the middle. Pavel makes a deke to get it into shooting position and puts it just wide. The puck bounces off the boards and ends up at the outside and top of the faceoff circle. Flip and Stuart switch positions to confuse the defense as Flip picks it up and skates to the middle. Filppula shoots from the top of the zone to Holmstrom skating across the front of the net. Homer reaches behind himself and tips the puck top shelf over Bryzgalov's outstretched pad. This time, it's Filppula's turn to pick up a bonus half-assist. He makes the right play twice on the boards to help the Wings keep possession. The second time, when he poked it past Doan to help keep it in the zone will earn Filppula a bonus half-plus. Lidstrom will also get an assist for the keep-in and quick pass to Holmstrom which also leads to Datsyuk's 2nd goal.
2nd Period 7:02 - Phoenix Goal (PP): Radim Vrbata (snap shot) from Shane Doan and Keith Yandle
The Wings are shorthanded here because Cleary makes a terrible decision to elbow Eric Belanger. Cleary will pick up a minus. Hanzal wins the faceoff and the Coyotes try to set up the power play. Helm and Draper challenge the points and almost get a good result as they force Ray Whitney to dump it low in the zone. Here, Hanzal, Doan, and Vrbata combine to fight it up the boards and get it to Whitney at the top of the zone. Whintey brings the puck into the middle before going to Yandle at the top of the faceoff circle for a one-timer through a Hanzal screen. Howard blocks this puck, but the rebound comes out in front. Doan gets to it first, but he's got his back to the net and Stuart is blocking the shot, so instead he throws a backhander to Vrbata sneaking in on the back door. Vrbata gets the puck on the faceoff dot and fires it through Draper's legs for the open net. This is a good play by the Phoenix PK, but I feel Draper getting himself tossed from the faceoff circle and then letting the Vrbata shot go through his legs will combine to earn him a half-minus.
3rd Period 5:49 - Phoenix Goal (PP): Shane Doan (backhand) from Keith Yandle and Radim Vrbata
The Wings find themselves shorthanded because Todd Bertuzzi tries to eliminate Kyle Turris' stick on a loose puck behind the Detroit net and finds his wrist with a slash instead. Bertuzzi will get a minus. The Wings get an early clear with Helm carrying it out, but Whitney takes it off his stick just outside the blue line and turns it to Vrbata at the far wing to bring it back in. Vrbata pauses in the corner to let the PP get set up before going back to Yandle at the point. Yandle throws a wrist shot on net that Howard picks up through traffic and stops, but doesn't control it well enough. The puck lays to Howard's side as Doan, who has good body position on Stuart, puts it into the gaping net. I'm going to give Helm a half-minus for not getting the clear all the way down ice on this play. A full clear likely would have prevented Yandle from getting the puck with so much room to make this play happen with a well-placed shot.
3rd Period 8:37 - Phoenix Goal (PP): Shane Doan (slap shot) from Keith Yandle and Radim Vrbata
Phoenix gets an extended 5-on-3 here, as Johan Franzen goes to the box for cross-checking Aucoin and then, immediately off the faceoff, Helm gets an interference call when he and Hanzal comes together and the refs fall for Hanzal grabbing Helm's stick and falling down. The Franzen call was a good one. Perhaps they could have called the retaliatory chop that Aucoin gave Franzen, but I don't care about that. Franzen will get a minus. Helm will not get a minus for his call however. This is another roving-standards call given to a team that's trailing. Some great penalty kill work kills off most of this 5-on-3, but eventually Doan gets one in on a slap shot from 20 feet. There's some really good battling here by the PKers. I wish Stuart or Cleary could have blocked the Doan shot, but on a 5-on-3, it's not minus-worthy for them to have not been there.
The rest of the calls as the game went on.
1st Period 5:35 - Mikkel Boedker (interference): Eaves is minding his own business in the neutral zone when Boedker jams his stick into Eaves' hips and pushes him off his edge away from the puck. Dumb play by Boedker. No adjustment.
1st Period 13:06 - Valtteri Filppula (interference): Filppula and Stempniak skate into the Wings' zone after a loose puck together. Stempniak initiates contact with Filppula, puts a free hand over Filppula's hand and his stick, grabs a hold of Filppula's stick, and somehow Filppula gets an interference call. Apparently, in this situation, he should have stopped skating for a loose puck. No adjustment.
1st Period 13:36 - Ray Whitney (interference): While shorthanded, Helm gets a skate on a pass and deflects it to Draper high in the Wings's zone. Draper passes back to Helm around an on-rushing Ray Whitney and goes to step around Whitney to start what would be a 2-on-1 rush. Whitney sticks his butt out to catch Draper and goes to the box for it. Both Helm and Draper combine to help draw this penalty and both Helm and Draper will get a plus for it.
2nd Period 7:52 - Rostislav Klesla (cross checking): Klesla's a donkey, as he legally knocks Holmstrom down to prevent a great scoring chance and then, seeing that he has Holmstrom down in front of his net, figures that the Homer rule is in effect and gives him a couple cross-checks in the back for good measure. Oddly enough, the refs actually call this one. No adjustment.
2nd Period 7:55 - Valtteri Filppula (interference): Directly off the ensuing faceoff from the Kelsla penalty, Filppula gets called for interfering with Hanzal off a faceoff. If this call were any softer, Sealy Posturepedic would have tried to buy it and figured out how to duplicate it to make the next big thing in mattresses. You know it's a soft call against the Wings when even Eddie Olcyzk scoffs at it.. No adjustment.
2nd Period 11:05 - Darren Helm (boarding): I instantly regret using my only soft-as-a-mattress joke on the previous call, because this one is softer than two Care Bears trying to smother the Snuggle Bear to death with cuddles. Helm dumps the puck into the zone and goes to chase down Jovanovski for it. Jovo gets to it first and turns in to bring it behind his own net, but Helm angles him off, going hip-to-hip on him and driving him cleanly into the boards. The problem is that Jovanovski is frail and he can't handle body contact. Helm gets sent off for boarding and Jovo leaves the game, presumably to catch dinner at Denny's before it gets too late in the day. No adjustment.
2nd Period 18:31 - Shane Doan & Johan Franzen (matching roughing calls): I like this move by Franzen to let Doan know he's not happy with being checked face-first into the boards. No adjustment.
+1 To Pavel Datsyuk: The four points and bonuses he got for those above were good, but going solely based on that ignores some really great defensive work. Datsyuk was the lone forward out for a great portion of the 5-on-3 that Phoenix got in the third. If they score earlier on that two-man advantage, there's not telling the impact that could have had.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson: He did have a turnover that he official scorekeeper didn't record, but he led all Detroit defensemen in even-strength ice time and did a damn fine job of it. I'm still nervous when I see the puck on his stick, but I'm starting to grow a weary confidence when I see forwards bearing down on him that he's going to make the right play. I also appreciated the four shots on goal he registered.
-0.5 to Ruslan Salei: Really, not a bad game at all for Rusty, but the icing call with 2 1/2 minutes left to go in a one-goal game is the kind of mental error that could turn into a big minus.
+0.5 to Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves: It's hard to give them full credit for good defensive play when one of them was out for 2 PP goals against and they were both out for Doan's first goal, but that's just what I'm going to do. They created a lot of good chances early and helped set the tone.
+1 to Johan Franzen: This one truly is about intangibles. He gets his face wrecked early in the game, then comes back and gets in Doan's face without wearing a visor. Franzen's got snarl and I think that's going to be important for the Red Wings as these playoffs keep on.
Honorable Mentions: The scoreboard might trick a lot of people into thinking that this game was closer than it was. Detroit toyed with Phoenix. I made the applicable punishments for the penalties which caused the gap to shorten, but at 5-on-5, Detroit was dominant. Nobody turned the puck over at the blue line, they were able to adjust their game as the situation warranted it, and otherwise played good, stifling hockey. Filppula was hopping when paired with Datsyuk, but I felt he faded a bit late. I liked Miller's and Abdelkader's forechecking, as well as the tough minutes that Stuart and Kronwall played.