The Red Wings were riding a 5-0-3 record over the past eight games heading into their first matchup of the season with Max Domi and the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes have been far better than expected thanks to the outstanding play of their rookies (sound familiar?). Who wins the matchup between two of the top candidates for the Calder Trophy? Here's how it went down.
The Wings started this game off real slow and just a minute and a half in, the Coyotes thought they scored the first goal on a horrendous defensive breakdown.
BUT WAIT. One of the Coyotes players was offsides and the Wings video team alerted Jeff Blashill to challenge the call. The Wings won the challenge and that means no goal!
The Wings slowly started to find their legs and pushed play back into Arizona's zone. However, they had to deal with some bad injury luck. A really bad hit by Martin Hanzal on Pulkkinen knocked Pulkkinen out of the game and gave the Wings their first PP opportunity which of course was uneventful.
Just a couple of minutes later, the Wings lost Drew Miller to what looked like a concussion after taking a hard hit from the Coyotes' Klas Dahlbeck. While the principal point of contact was the head, I feel that this was not malicious and that Miller's head was leaning forward. No penalty was called on the play and I don't expect Dahlbeck to receive any supplementary discipline for this hit, but then again we have no idea what DoPS does.
Dylan Larkin, our lord and savior made sure the desert dogs paid with a fantastic steal and spin-o-rama pass to Justin Abdelkader for a beautiful goal
The Wings got another PP opportunity later in the period on another Martin Hanzal penalty but of course no goals.
As the period started to wind down, things got weird. Kronwall scores here on a beautiful give-and-go with Tatar.
Then just 18 seconds later, Nyquist channels his inner Nicklas Lidstrom and scores a beautiful one-hopper from center ice.
You would think the action would be over but no! Just a few seconds after that, Brendan Smith and Kyle Chipchura dropped the gloves in one of the better fights of the season. Both players got in a few good blows but Smith got tagged with an extra two minutes for slashing.
Score: 3-0 Detroit
Shots: 16-9 Detroit
Standout Players: Larkin, Nyquist, Tatar, hell EVERYONE
Tough Period: Teemu Pulkkinen, Drew Miller only because they got hurt
To start the second period, Arizona pulled Mike Smith and replaced him with Anders Lindback. The Wings started off the period by killing off the remainder of the Smith slashing penalty. As soon as that was done, the Wings turned on the afterburners, literally setting up a tent and starting a campfire inside the Coyotes zone. Chance after chance for a solid five minutes. Unfortunately, the Coyotes got a lucky break on a defensive miscommunication between Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening and found the back of the net to make the score 3-1.
Just when we thought all was lost, the Wings stormed right back, throwing the line of Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Larkin on the ice. Well of course that was going to be magical. After a terrific stop by Lindback on Larkin, the Wings cycled the puck around and got it to DeKeyser who rocketed a shot past the Coyotes netminder.
The Wings continued to press for most of the period, absolutely dominating at times. The Coyotes had a couple of chances towards the end of the period, but Howard came up huge. This was as dominating a period as you are going to see from the Wings.
Score: 4-1 Wings
Shots: 30-18 Wings
Standout Players: The 10 remaining forwards and the 6 defensemen and Jimmy Howard
Tough Period: Nobody
More of the same in the third period as the Wings continued to pounce all over the Coyotes. They forced Lindback into giving up a gift of a goal to Darren Helm who buried it for his first of the season! That should hopefully be a big confidence boost for him.
I swear, there were at times where I was flashing back to the 07-08 team. This was some Russian Five craziness. Oh and by the way, Alexey Marchenko is sneaky good. The Wings better hold on to him because he's quickly becoming a poor man's Anton Stralman (thanks Kyle).
There was another powerplay but you already know what happened so we'll leave it at that. Man what a game.
Score: 5-1 Wings
Shots: 44-27 Detroit
Standout Players: Literally all players wearing red
Tough Period: Nobody
- Your Player of the Game tonight is....not a player - it's Jeff Blashill. An excellent challenge early in the game to get the goal called back and then excellent management of a short bench after losing Miller and Pulkkinen
- This was the best game of the Wings season, bar none. This team is on fire right now offensively. There's nothing more to say other than this game was poetry in motion.
- The Wings are averaging 3.11 goals per game during this 9 game point streak. The offense is back.
- The PP is still a mess. The Wings are just 5-43 (11.6%) since the start of November. Something will have to give here
- If Pulkkinen and Miller are out for awhile it will be interesting to see what happens. Jurco will definitely be back in but do the Wings go to Andersson or do they call up Andreas Athanasiou? Keep an eye on it.