Red Wings came in tonight hot, and continued their hotness. Petr Mrazek stood tall, Tomas Tatar continued his dominance, and Keith Yandle begged Don Maloney to let him go back to Michigan with Detroit (probably).
Love games like this in Glendale, because you always get a great handle just how vast this fanbase is. Seriously, if you watched the game you will know exactly what I mean.. Onto the recap!
It was a pretty boring period, if you ask me. Detroit created some decent chances, but weren't able to connect. If you ask me, I think the combo of Luke Glendening and Stephen Weiss did a great job in the first 20 minutes. Detroit faced two penalties, and killed both off in an excellent fashion. In fact, the first PK outshot the Coyotes by two, if I'm not mistaken. Petr Mrazek made some big saves, as well as Mike Smith. Again, it was an eventless 1st period. Score ends at 0-0, shots in favor of Detroit, 11-7.
The period was stocked full of penalties, and while Detroit's PK stays hot, their PP fires it up at 8:11 on an absolute howitzer from Riley Sheahan. Tomas Tatar made a great play to keep the puck in Arizona's zone, Pavel Datsyuk fed the puck towards the middle of the zone, and Riley was there to blast it home. Detroit ended up serving a Too Many Men penalty, which to be honest, I have no idea how this happens. I feel like it's every other game. The hell is going on? The Wings did a good job at suppressing scoring chances, and keeping Mrazek relaxed in his position. Thanks to Riley and the Euros, it's 1-0 at the end of 40.
The third period started, and I finally noticed - "holy shit, this game is literally 90% Red Wings fans." That's pretty neat, huh? The penalty calls tilted back in favor of Detroit in the last 20 minutes, as the Yotes took three penalties. Martin Erat had a chance to tie the game up with a penalty shot, but Petr Mrazek stood tall and made a big stop, blocker-side. The best part was how he puffed his chest out to celebrate after he made the save. Around 17:00, Darren Helm sauced up a beauty of a pass to Tomas Tatar, who took the puck in on a break and buried his 23rd of the season with a masterful snipe. About a minute later with Mike Smith pulled, Oliver Ekman-Larsson netted his team-leading 16th goal of the season to make it a one shot game. I was clenching a bit after that, but it took Tomas Tatar and Darren Helm about 38 seconds to put together an empty-net goal. Despite being tripped up, Helmer was able to knock the puck in to put the game away. At the end of the game, shots favor Detroit, 27-23.
A strong game by the 2nd line, and Petr Mrazek made the difference in this game. I've got to say that the highlight of the game for me was Shane Doan going all fart-baby over Luke Glendening in the closing minute of the game, and drawing a penalty. Good captain, that guy is. I had no idea he was even still in the NHL before this game. I thought everyone was just joking.
With a 3-1 win tonight, Detroit is now at the top of the Atlantic Division, tied with Tampa Bay at 71 points, but with two games in hand. The Red Wings are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games, which is pretty good. They play seven of the next nine games on the road, including a West Coast road trip. Should be a big test, and hopefully we see the return of Jimmy Howard here within the next week, despite Petr Mrazek playing his ass off in relief of the injuries. Smile big, Red Wings faithful. I think we're onto something here.