Even though one team is heartbroken at the time, this is one of the best traditions in hockey.
The Red Wings headed into tonight's Game 4 against the Phoenix Coyotes with a 3-0 series lead. The Red Wings were looking to avoid the same fate that befell the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 of their series.
Tomas Holmstrom opened the scoring at 3:47 into the first period after Pavel Datsyuk carried the puck into the offensive zone, dropped the puck back through the legs of Michal Rozsival to the trailing Holmstrom. Holmstrom was being taken to the ice as he shot the puck but put it past Ilya Bryzgalov.
Taylor Pyatt scored the tying goal for the Coyotes in the first period as his cross-ice pass to Lee Stempniak hit off the skate of Jonathan Ericsson and past Jimmy Howard at 5:46. Shane Doan put the Coyotes up with a shot from the face-off dot to the right of Howard that trickled through and just over the goal line.
With under two minutes to play in the period, Patrick Eaves tied the game for the Red Wings. In the offensive zone, Darren Helm made a big hit on Keith Yandle to free the puck up. Yandle going down tied up Rozsival too and Eaves dished the loose puck to the other side of the net to Helm. Helm put a pass through the crease to Eaves for an tap-in goal
After a wild opening period, the Red Wings had a tough road to go to break a tie going into the second period.
Brad Stuart's slashing call at the end of the first period put the Coyotes on the power play to start the second period. Radim Vrbata's puck movement put Howard out of position and he ripped a pass low to Martin Hanzal for a goal and a 3-2 Phoenix lead at 1:09 of the second period.
The Red Wings got a power play goal of their own in the second period as Niklas Kronwall put a shot off of Dan Cleary's skate, picked up the rebound and wristed it past Bryzgalov.
Cleary got the eventual series clinching goal late in the third period as he put a shot off the rear end of Bryzgalov from below the goal line. Todd Bertuzzi scored an insurance goal off a Coyote skate and then Patrick Eaves would add his second goal of the game as an empty net goal.
Jimmy Howard stopped 24 of 27 shots while Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 34 of 39. The Red Wings registered 40 shots on goal.
The Red Wings swept the Coyotes and are the first team to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
- Most important bullet of this recap: be respectful to Coyotes' fans. If it were the Red Wings that lost, you for sure wouldn't want anyone talking smack to you right after the series ended. Think from their point of view and don't be a dick. There's a difference between conduct in a series and after it has ended. Familiarity breeds contempt and that's the reason a lot of fans for both teams rip on each other during but after is different, move on to the next round. I discourage you from going to Five For Howling because it's very easy to read a comment and respond to it and have the whole thing spiral out of control.
- Dan Cleary had a heck of a game. Is there anyone in the Red Wings fanbase that doesn't like this guy? Didn't think so. Goal, two assists, five shots on goal in 17:17.
- Good win by the Wings for numerous reasons. No Johan Franzen on short notice and Mike Modano popped into the line-up to register an assist. This is one of those games that Phoenix outplayed Detroit in a lot of elements, but the Wings found the ugly, gritty goals to get the win. Oh, and they move on to the next round of the playoffs. Excellent overall team effort.
- Down. Rally. Down. Rally. Down. Rally. Goal Goal Goal. Weeeee!
- Ladies and gentlemen, #26, Jiri Hitler! and #55, Niklas Kronvahl. Thanks Bryunn Ingblahm.
- Patrick Eaves and Darren Helm are fantastic individuals. Drew Miller is as well. Shame that someone (not likely Helm) has to sit when Zetterberg comes back. My guess: Drapes.
- I'm tired. We'll have more for you tomorrow. Come back.
Who was the Red Wings' Player of the Game?
Dan Cleary (148 votes)
Patrick Eaves (25 votes)
Darren Helm (155 votes)
Todd Bertuzzi (40 votes)
Other (11 votes)
379 total votes