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Howlin’ at the Moon: Wings Down Coyotes 4-2

The Red Wings started slow and relied on their goaltender to keep them in the game, but were able to keep the score close until a late goal by the less-gritty Luke gave the team the win.

Detroit Red WIngs v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Niklas Kronwall was back tonight after missing the first three games of the season with a groin injury. Did you just have an unexplainable shudder and feeling of existential dread? It’s residual fear from a few years ago when stretching apparently wasn’t a thing in Detroit. Maybe we can channel that blast from the past into a good Kronwall showing up tonight.

First Period:

Nothing going early on as a handful of icings keeps any sort of flow from starting. I did appreciate the early note from Ken that there was a Luke Glendening and an Adam Clendening in this game. Ideally neither of them get mentioned too often.

Nearly five minutes in and there’s two Coyotes shots to the Wings’ zero and Darren Helm heads to the box for... delay of game? It took a good twenty seconds for the Detroit broadcast to figure out what the call was and even then we were waiting on the in-arena announcer to tell us what the heck was going on.

Nick Cousins nearly made it 1-0 after the penalty to Helm expired, as he got to a net-front rebound before Kronwall could, but he slung the puck wide on his backhand. Whew.

Max Domi was able to control the puck in traffic in the low slot for a shot and then a rebound to Clayton Keller at the side of the net ended up going through the crease and out the other side. Wings were getting lucky early, and it wasn’t difficult to imagine that luck wasn’t going to last long.

Trevor Daley got a backhand in on Antti Raanta for the Wings’ fourth shot on goal with just over half the period to go, and while it wasn’t much of a chance it was more than the Wings could boast for much of this game so far.

Back to the penalty kill as Martin Frk headed to the box for another delay of game call. The Coyotes’ power play looked dangerous early and resulted in a Dylan Larkin hook on Jordan Martinook, possibly saving a goal in the process. 5-on-3 for the Yotes in a game they’re already controlling where Glendening, Ouellet, and Ericsson are your penalty killers. Feel reassured? You, in the back, put your hand down and think about what you’re saying.

Daley appeared to save a goal at the side of the net before it came off its moorings. Jimmy Howard stood tall and helped his team kill off the remainder of the two penalties.

Anthony Duclair had a bit of a break in alone and Howard turned him away as well. He’s definitely kept the Wings in this game early in a rather bad trend to start off the new season.

Frans Nielsen got perhaps the Wings’ best chance of the game so far when he came streaking through center to get a pass from Helm and in alone on Raanta, but nothing came of the quick shot.

Arizona nearly converted on a beautiful passing play between Derek Stepan and Keller, but Keller went through to the crease and wasn’t able to bang the puck home.

Our dear captain Henrik Zetterberg had the insult of being sent to the box for a slash. He and his beard should never be contained by such a force.

Glendening nearly got a pass to a streaking Larkin on the ensuing penalty kill, but Larkin wasn’t able to get his stick on it for the short-handed tally. Then the Wings finally got a call in their favor as Oliver Ekman-Larsson, future Red Wing, got a sit-down for cross-checking in front of the Wings’ bench.

This game, like the one in Ottawa last week, was the Wings looking bad and Howard being very not-bad, except the difference is that Arizona is actually good where the Senators are not-good. Hire me for my amazing sports analysis, NHL.

Shots: 11-9 Arizona
Score: 0-0 tie

Second Period:

Louis Domingue replaced Raanta to start the second period, though Raanta did appear on the bench, so whatever happened wasn’t bad enough for him to leave the game entirely. He certainly didn’t look too great, but maybe he just got a case of the sugar-free gummy bears.

Four-on-four to start the middle frame as the Zetterberg and OEL penalties carried over. Tomas Tatar got a few shots in early for his team, including a good shift from the entire Zetterberg-Tatar-Gustav Nyquist line. 14 and 21 are still looking for their first goals of the season.

Big cheers for Howard in the opposing arena as he makes a few good saves, just before Riley Sheahan sends Arizona to the power play on the third DOG call on the night. I was getting just as annoyed as Blashill, who was seen visibly frustrated on the bench at his team. I agree, dude.

Keller finally broke the scoreless tie just over six minutes in as a free puck ended up in the crease and neither Howard nor a sprawling Nick Jensen was able to stop Keller from poking it over the line. Power-play goal for the Yotes as the penalty fest finally caught up to the Wings.

Zetterberg seems determined to kick this team in their red-clad booties because once again it was his line getting some good looks in. It sure is nice to see the good ol’ Z that elevates the play of his teammates, you know, in that Zetterberg way he does.

Jonathan Ericsson broke up a Coyotes attack and then drew a hooking penalty in the same shift. Hooray!

The Wings finally got a proper power play opportunity and Frk finally showed that big slapshot we Griffins fans know and love. He slammed the puck past Domingue for his third goal in this young season to tie it.

I have no idea why it happened, but an airborne puck saw Howard leap into the air and collide with Christian Fischer and knock him down. You see defensemen jump up and swat pucks down from going out of the attacking zone, but goalies are just a little too awkward with all their equipment to be leaping around like that. Fortunately it didn’t result in a goal against as he ended up weirdly off-balance when he landed.

Ericsson fired a shot-pass over to Helm, who got a quick shot off but missed, and then Zetterberg got a great pass through traffic just to have Nyquist flutter it far too softly to the net to be dangerous. Guys. GUYS.

Domi to Keller to break the tie once more with a shade under two minutes to go. The play came about on a Helm turnover and the pass allowed Keller to get a quick shot over the glove of Howard. Two goals for the rookie tonight.

Zetterberg was having none of that, however, as he started a transition from the neutral zone after a Coyotes turnover behind the Wings net, and Z got a drop pass back to Larkin just to get it right back in front of Domingue. His shot slid under the goalie’s pads to tie it with 43 seconds left in the period.

Shots: 23-21 Detroit
Score: 2-2 tie

Third Period:

Another start to a period in Arizona, another set of fresh icings. This was a dumb pattern.

Frk got another big slapshot off from near the blue line and then another one from an odd angle. Someone go check his settings, I think a fuse might have shorted out.

We’ve got a fight for some reason near the Coyotes bench between Jensen and Lawson Crouse. Apparently it was in response to a hit on Xavier Ouellet and neither party seemed to be worse for wear. Thank goodness, we don’t need players getting hurt over stupid fights.

That replay of the Crouse hit on Ouellet sure showed why Jensen was peeved. Crouse hit Ouellet in an awkward way that sent the Red Wing even more awkwardly into the boards. The way he hit looked like it could have ended really badly, so there’s even more reason to be glad no one was seriously hurt.

Frk sent a pass to no one across the blue line because the defense was changing, nearly giving the Coyotes a third goal as they came in with numbers on the Wings net. Good grief.

Ericsson drew another penalty, this time sending Martinook to the box for interference. I fear we entered the Twilight Zone at this point.

The power play felt kind of scrambly, to be honest. Zetterberg seemed to be the only player who actually took time to slow things down. I mean, I get the idea of just putting shots on net, but not by making plays so quick you hope the other team can’t keep up.

Duclair came in on Howard, who stopped the puck but saw it free in front of him in the crease. He was promptly bowled over by two Coyotes and a Red Wing, and Jensen ended up in the net. I’m afraid his goalie-killing tendencies are returning. Don’t do it Nick!

Frk got tripped up on a breakaway, which was not called because faceoff violations are much more disruptive to the game I guess. Anyway, that was dumb and now it’s time for another Coyotes power play because Nielsen got Stepan across the hands with a slash. Try and be more obvious about it next time, Frans.

All hope was not lost, however, as Keller’s attempt at a hat trick was stopped by Howard and then Glendening and Larkin turned the penalty kill into a two-on-one that threw the home away crowd into a frenzy. Larkin fed the puck right onto Glendening’s tape for an easy shovel into the net past Domingue. The Wings’ first short-handed goal of the season put them up 3-2 late, Howard celebrating in his own net at the other end.

Extra skater out for Arizona with two minutes left. Domi couldn’t get the puck through traffic and Nielsen got it down the ice and juuust barely into the empty cage to put Detroit up 4-2.

The Red Wings improved to 3-1-0 on the season. We’re back at it in less than 24 hours to face off against the newest team in the league.

Shots: 35-33 Arizona
Score: 4-2 Red Wings

Final Thoughts:

  • lol I forgot Niklas Hjalmarsson was in Arizona now
  • What year did David Booth get his hair from? I’m getting young Steve Yzerman vibes here.
  • I thought the shots after the first period ended up being a lot more even than the play would lead you to believe.
  • FSD kept showing shots of Raanta on the bench looking miserable and I swear to god, I was going to turn off the game if they showed him puking.
  • Did you see that flex on Frk’s tying goal? Unf.
  • Ken and Darren were talking about the Coyotes’ cap situation and all the contracts they’re still paying out to help them get to the floor. That was all fine and dandy until they mentioned Pavel Datsyuk and I got really sad. :(
  • Tatar looked hungry tonight, and I have a feeling he’ll get his first goal of the season soon. I’m writing this bullet point in case he doesn’t actually score.
  • The Wings started slow tonight, and Howard kept them in it long enough to get their legs under them and actually play some good hockey. This is all well and good for pre-season, but it’s time the boys in red get their stuff together and mesh early. It’s going to bite them in the keister if their goalies have an off night.