I got nothing. What should have been an easy win and yet had "trap game" flashing in big neon lights turned out to be just that, as the Wings never held a lead and fell to the Coyotes 5-4 in OT.
The Wings came out very strong in the first period, opening the game with a barrage of shots and shot attempts on Mike Smith. Unfortunately, it was the Coyotes who struck first. Craig Cunningham's initial shot was stopped by Jimmy Howard, but the rebound bounced off of Henrik Zetterberg, who was battling in front. Z's clearing attempt missed the mark, and he put the puck in the Wings' net to give the Coyotes an early lead.
That would last until the second period. Kyle Quincey's point shot was deflected in by Luke Glendening in a goal that could only be described as completely unfathomable in the offseason. Less than a minute later, the Wings were given a 4 minute power play after Shane Doan went all Shane Doan on Glendening, but after pissing away the first half of the man advantage they couldn't beat Smith during the second half. The Coyotes would get a power play of their own midway through the period, and the Wings' penalty kill failed yet again, this time to Marc Arcobello whose wrist shot eluded Brendan Smith and Howard. That lead lasted less than a minute when Blue-killer Justin Abdelader took a brilliant pass from Jakub Kindl and scored on a breakaway. However, the Wings couldn't get ahead, falling behind for a third time when Klas Dahlbeck's point shot was tipped by David Moss.
The Wings came out flying in the third. With injuries to Erik Cole and Luke Glendening both out of the game with injuries, the new line of Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco sustained great pressure, with Jurco feeding Kindl at the point, and his shot made it past Smith to tie the game again. The rest of the third was insane. The Wings killed off a 2 minute 5-on-3, but gave up another power play goal to Moss when he deflected another one in. But Gustav Nyquist would not be denied, tying the game at 4 on a PP of their own. Riley Sheahan had 2 great opportunities to take the lead, but couldn't beat Smith either time.
The Wings had their chances in OT, but it was Arcobello who ended it when he scored a newborn-puppy soft goal on Howard, meaning that the Wings couldn't get the all-important 6 point lead on the Senators.
I love Jimmy Howard, and before the OT goal, I was prepared to defend him for his performance tonight. 3 of the 4 goals were deflections, and the 4th was a screen. Yet there came the Howard-bashers with their comments, and it was getting to be too much. But then that OT goal was scored and it's really hard to say anything because that is exactly the type of goal that he can not allow when his team has finally shown up and played a good game overall. After 2 straight quality starts, tonight wasn't all on Howard, but that last goal was a killer.
On the other hand, Gustav Nyquist was a man possessed and finally got back on the scoresheet with his PPG late in the third. He spoke before the game of trying to get to the front of the net and shoot, and he looked very determined to do that.
Losing Gledening to injury wasn't good, but he was able to come back. Losing Cole hurt a lot, because he was fantastic in the first period before being horse-collared by Lauri Korpikoski. Cole's got a history of neck problems, but he's been getting better these last few games and his being out of the lineup would hurt the Wings down the stretch.
Darren Helm did what we all wanted to do when he speared Mike Smith in the groin, but when you're already killing a penalty and know that getting breathed on wrong is going to make Smith fake being murdered, you might want to hold off on taking out your aggression.
How about Jakub Kindl? With Niklas Kronwall a late scratch, Kindl was pressed into top-line duty against the Yotes, and didn't look out of place. His pass to Abby on the Wings' second goal was magical, and he kicked in a goal as well. I'm not completely against sitting Ericsson for a game and seeing what Kindl can do with some extended ice time. Not top-pairing, but you get the drift.
Another game, another 2 goals against on the PK. Despite all the good feelings that were generated by killing off that 2 minute 5-on-3, the PK continued to struggle by allowing 2 goals to Arizona, who admittedly have the 2nd best road PP in the league.
Get well soon, Pavel Datsyuk.
I'm just like you guys and at a loss to explain what happened tonight. It's not that the Wings played poorly. It's just that once again bounces and mistakes conspired to doom them against one of the worst teams in the league. But, if you're looking for positives, and we all need them, the Wings offensively did some very good things, and when you look at the type of goals scored by the Coyotes, you could make the argument that they got a little lucky, or maybe the Wings got unlucky. Except good teams make their own luck, so you can't use that argument. Whatever, just beat the Sharks on Thursday and all is good again.