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Game Recap: Red Wings 3 - Coyotes 2 (OT)

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There was a debate on tonight, so this recap is brought to you from my basement. I could have saved everyone time by telling you that hockey is better than politics.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Coyotes came into tonight's game on a four-game winning streak, while the Red Wings came in one game removed from such a streak of their own. Detroit was also on the last of their six-game road trip, hoping to head home on a high note. Here's what happened in Joe Louis Southwest.

First Period:

After going through the wringer of the California teams, the Wings got a much-needed day off in Arizona before preparing to meet the Coyotes. It showed early on as the Wings looked sharper out of the gate than they finished in LA. Passes were connecting better and they simply looked quicker as five-man units.

Brendan Smith had a good break-up of a Coyotes chance, which transitioned right into a 3-on-2 rush for the Wings with Pavel Datsyuk leading it. Unfortunately, his shot was blocked before it got to Louis Domingue, and then he later hit the post. If these two plays were anything to indicate how Datsyuk would play the rest of the night, mark him down for at least a point or two.

Petr Mrazek made a good save on an Oliver Ekman-Larsson chance from the point that had the FSD guys mentioning-but-not-mentioning Nick Lidstrom. Then he came out from his crease to make another good save on Rieder on a pass from Mikkel Boedker.

I was just thinking about how the Coyotes are supposedly a heavily-penalized team and that we were likely going to see the first period end with no calls, and then Tomas Jurco high-sticked a guy after dumping a guy over his goalie on his previous shift. Fortunately the period did end without the Coyotes capitalizing on their man advantage, which had been good in the last ten games or so, converting on 13 of the last 36.

Score: 0-0 tie
Shots: 12-5 Coyotes

Standout Players: Mrazek, Sheahan, Glendening, DeKeyser
Tough Period: Jurco

Second Period:

The Coyotes still had about 40 seconds left on the carry-over power play, which the Wings killed off only to promptly ice the puck. Tomas Tatar had a great chance on his backhand right off the faceoff and Domingue got it with his blocker. That would prove to be essentially the last chance the Wings had at taking the lead, as a few minutes later Ekman-Larsson scored off a rebound after a Mike Green giveaway to the right of Petr Mrazek to finally break the scoreless tie.

Gustav Nyquist hadn't gotten on the scoresheet yet, but he was certainly looking good, and his work ended up drawing a roughing penalty by Antoine Vermette. It was hard to get excited about the Wings being on the PP because of how bad it had been lately. The man advantage looked like it was going to end early on a Dylan Larkin interference call, but Tobias Rieder got called for the dive and both went to the box.

Two penalties by Justin Abdelkader and Datsyuk gave the Coyotes essentially back-to-back power plays and they finally scored on the second one. There was a brief review of the goal but it was determined it wasn't kicked in by Shane Doan, even though the Wings coaches should have challenged the goal on Mrazek not being able to make the save.

For whatever reason, Nicklas Grossmann was allowed to pin Datsyuk to the ice in the slot in the waning seconds of the period and the refs couldn't be bothered to blow the damn whistle.

Score: 2-0 Coyotes
Shots: 20-16 Coyotes

Standout Players: Nyquist
Tough Period: Green, the refs

Third Period:

I'd become very cold sitting in my basement by this point so my annoyance at everything happening in this game was increased about ten-fold. The Wings had a great cycle in the Arizona zone only to have Larkin give the puck away and allow a zone clear. It seemed like Blashill was starting to shake up the lines as the Eurotwins were reunited with Abdelkader.

I was shocked to see the refs actually call a penalty on Arizona again, when Vermette took his second minor of the night when he he hooked Brendan Smith, who was slow to get up after hitting the boards heavily. Henrik Zetterberg went for a pass across to Datsyuk that got checked and cleared, but the next time Detroit got into the Arizona zone, Datsyuk was able to zip the puck through an Abdelkader screen to get the home er, away team on the board.

Um, wait, is this correct? The refs called another hooking penalty on the Coyotes? I must have be more tired than I thought if I was hallucinating such impossibilities. The visions got weirder and weirder because I was pretty sure the Wings actually tied the game on a second PP goal, this time scored by the ice-cold Nyquist after crashing the crease.

What's that you say? That actually happened? Oh, okay. That's cool, and so was the refs deciding to not call the goal back on the Arizona challenge. So it was all tied up with less than six minutes to play, and then the clenching began. I was so afraid the Wings were going to give up the even later goal to end up losing the game after rallying back to tie it up. But they didn't! So it was to overtime we went, with the guarantee of at least one point out of this game.

Score: 2-2 tie
Shots: 27-24 Coyotes

Standout Players: Datsyuk, Larkin
Tough Period: Kindl

Overtime:

Abdelkader hit the post to Domingue's left and then at the other end Mrazek had a point-blank save on Martin Hanzal after a great play by Max Domi. Larkin had a fantastic chance dekeing through the Coyotes defense, and then Danny DeKeyser was able to swipe the perfect feed from the All-Star into the net for the win.

Score: 3-2 Red Wings
Shots: 29-25 Coyotes

Final Thoughts:

  • Arizona's All-Star representative is a guy not even on their NHL roster right now, and OEL and Domi are not going. This will never not be funny.
  • I know I made the "Jakub Kindl had a rough period" joke already in the Anaheim recap, but I thought he deserved it after the game he had in Charlotte as a new member of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Seriously, did you see this play he made to contribute to giving up the go-ahead SHG that ended up being the game winner? Yikes, Kuba. You're getting called out again.
  • There was a Brad Richards and a Brad Richardson playing in this game tonight, which was confusing at times if you weren't looking at the screen and couldn't see if the Coyotes forward was just mentioned or if the Red Wings center was attempting a zone entry. The "tie goes to the veteran" rule says that Richardson has to change his name. I vote for "Carlton Tempest Dragontini."
  • Datsyuk continues to not draw penalties for some bizarre reason considering the way opposing players hang all over him. He may not have the extra step that allowed him to keep moving and make the calls more obvious, but for goodness sake, it's getting ridiculous.
  • Another bullet point on the reffing: the Wings were barely able to get any calls in their favor despite Arizona players doing all but actually demanding their lunch money as they mugged the hell out of them on all ends of the ice. The Coyotes dove a lot too, and only Rieder got caught, but the refs let themselves get embarrassed by continuing to allow it.
  • Nyquist scored? Nyquist scored! It's about freaking time that Gus got back on the board. Same thing for the power play, which was a nice change from being hot garbage for the last stretch here. Not even hot garbage, actually. More like garbage that's been sitting out a while. And rained on. Cold, wet garbage. Don't be cold, wet garbage, Red Wings.
  • The Wings ended this road trip 5-1-0, earning 10 points of a possible 12 to keep pace with the Atlantic-leading Florida Panthers. That's still a strange string of words to put together, but the Cats were faltering and the Wings needed to capitalize on their division opponents all sustaining losses over the last two nights.
  • Your POTG is Dylan Larkin. Beautiful set-up on the game winner and just generally good play all night.