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In the Heat of the Night: Red Wings 5 - Coyotes 4 (SO)

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A late-night game on the tired end of a back-to-back saw the Red Wings take on another basement-dweller. It turned into a penalty- and goal-fest, and the maintenance of a perfect shootout record for Detroit.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings handed the lowly Colorado Avalanche just their 20th win of the season last night. That’s a pretty low bar that Detroit could have easily cleared and, well, they pretty much did this:

Ouch. I’m sure tonight will be better against the... second worst team in the league? Oh great.

Side note: It was around 90 degrees in Arizona at game time. I can’t imagine the maintenance that goes into the ice down there.

First Period:

I truly wish there was more about the first five minutes of this game that I could put into this recap. But with 14:45 to go in the first period, there was one shot on goal by Detroit. And that was about it.

Maybe the players heard me, because as I was typing the above, the Coyotes got a puck near Petr Mrazek through a crowd that ricocheted away, and then Dylan Larkin got the game’s second shot on a semi-breakaway. Time to head to commercial after such riveting play.

Connor Murphy took a hooking penalty against Abdelkader with 13:05 to go in the period. The home-away-from-home crowd began cheering on the visitors on the man advantage. They really should have known better, I mean this is the Red Wings on the road we’re talking abo—

Well I look like a jerk, don’t I? Larkin scores on the power play to put the Wings up first. He got to a generous rebound given up by Mike Smith and fired it over the sprawling goaltender.

Andreas Athanasiou looked to have a chance but couldn’t keep the puck on his stick, which led to Shane Doan trying for a breakaway in on Mrazek. Petr kept his pad glued to the ice and Doan ended up in the net himself, which for such a Wile E. Veteran as himself, he should have known that doesn’t count.

Coyotes to the power play as Henrik Zetterberg gets called for hooking. I’m sure the refs got a healthy dose of Disappointed Dad Stare from the Red Wings captain. Mrazek made a couple good stops late in the man advantage with some help from his teammates, and they escape unscathed.

Riley Sheahan shot count without a goal is now at 90.

Red Wings back to the power play as Oliver Ekman-Larsson is sent off for not-so-subtle interference. Can’t get much more obvious than the guy you’re covering knocking the net off its moorings.

Coyotes manage a shot on goal off the faceoff with 2.9 seconds remaining. Eek.

Shots: 10-7 Arizona
Score: 1-0 Red Wings

Standout Players: Larkin, Athanasiou, Mrazek
Tough Period: Lashoff, as he sadly flies home from Arizona by himself

Second Period:

Steve Ott is no longer with us, so it’s Justin Abdelkader’s time to shine again! He gets into a tussle along the boards with Max Domi that doesn’t result in anything except coincidental roughing minors. Doing that 22 seconds into the period is totally necessary, for reasons.

Before the teams could get back to full strength, Radim Vrbata, who everyone thought was for sure moving at the trade deadline this season, tied up the game on a sniped shot over Mrazek’s right shoulder. Amazing defense by the Wings there. Truly inspiring.

Second goal by Arizona in 2:03 as an Alex Goligoski pass ricochets off Mike Green’s left skate and into the net. Three straight games with the opposition getting two quick goals. Certainly not the way you want to perform after getting scored on.

A Jordan Martinook slash against Tomas Tatar puts the visitors back on the power play. The slashee quickly makes him pay, as Mike Green sent a shot wide and everyone’s favorite tater tot got the rebound off the boards to fire over a prone Smith.

Athanasiou danced around the perimeter of the Coyotes zone and I was afraid he was actually going to make a pass over to Abdelkader, but he instead went to Green near the side of the net, and when that didn’t work, he shimmied his way to the center of the zone for a blocked shot and single-handedly kept the play alive in the zone.

Speaking of those two, Athanasiou actually did go back to Abdelkader as they were both driving the net, but Abby completely whiffed on the puck as it went through the crease. Athanasiou got a chance to dangle Smith out of his ancient jockstrap, but sent the puck wide.

Kronwall took a painfully obvious intereference penalty against Doan, which is probably oldest combined infraction committed this season in the league outside of anything involving Jaromir Jagr.

Fortunately for Kronwall, the Coyotes were kept off the board. Frans Nielsen got a short-handed chance and then Mrazek took care of the rest.

Goligoski to the box with 7.9 seconds to go. That’s a, uh...

/looks at freshly repaired wall

...It’s nothing significant, nothing!

Shots: 19-17 Arizona
Score: 2-2 tie

Standout Players: Tatar, Athanasiou
Tough Period: Green, Kronwall

Third Period:

The carryov—uh, the first minute and 52 seconds with no importance whatsoever—was scoreless as the Wings were looking for a trio of power play goals, which hasn’t been done since... a really long time ago.

Green started making amends for his dismal showing so far (and lately in general) by dancing in alone on Smith for a pretty backhand deke to break the tie. Zetterberg masterminded the play on a faked dump-in that turned into a perfect pass for Green to take it to the net.

Another man advantage for the Wings as Tatar is hooked by his former teammate, but this time it backfires on Detroit as Lawson Crouse brings it in for a short-handed tally. But hey, Teemu Pulkkinen finally made a goal happen on a Red Wings power play!

Zetterberg goes back to the box with just over eight minutes to play. Who called this game turning into a penalty-fest? Congratulations, you are also now sponsored by Mahle and must get Driven By Performance tattooed on your forehead.

Our dear bearded captain must have been giving himself a Disappointed Dad Stare in the glass reflection of the penalty box, because twelve seconds after he was released from his timeout, he flipped a puck over Smith for a goal that shouldn’t have happened. It was good for Z’s 15th goal of the season, only two behind team leader Tatar and third on the team. #ZetterbergForHart.

Gustav Nyquist went down and stayed down for a while before slowly getting to his feet with help from the training staff. The way he was holding himself initially looked like he had a left arm or shoulder injury, but a replay showed that Goligoski caught a vulnerable Nyquist in the side of the head, and he certainly looked to be in distress when he was helped off the ice.

Common sense has been outlawed, an announcement I apparently missed, because Nyquist was not only not taken out of the game for observation, but was immediately back on the ice for the ensuing power play. Did the concussion spotters all get fired or something? I was three time zones away and I could see that hit was bad enough and directly to the head to warrant pulling him off the ice.

Jakob Chychrun scored with 2:30 left because of course he did. Hey, did you know the Wings traded the pick used to draft Chychrun in order to offload the Datsyuk contract? Did you know that, did you know that, DID YOU KNOW THAT?! /shakes computer screen

Abdelkader and Domi come together once more with 1:22 left as Abdelkader ran Luke Schenn into the boards while the Coyotes forward was off-balance. The stripes took an oddly long time to figure out what they were going to do, but eventually the teams went back to 4-on-4 for off-setting unsportsmanlike calls. Blashill was furious on the bench as he argued his player did nothing wrong and then had to defend himself from Domi.

Larkin and Nick Jensen had a 2-on-1 in the final minute that was ripe for a pass directly to the defenseman’s wheelhouse, but Larkin chose to shoot instead. Can’t complain too much, I suppose. To overtime we go!

Overtime:

Still 3-on-3 despite the penalties to start the extra session. It started out all Arizona and the Wings had a hard time getting out of the neutral zone at all. Athanasiou did get a chance but couldn’t dangle out of a couple of Coyotes, and then was nailed to the boards with a heavy hit that allowed a 3-on-2 the other way.

A play that looked very nearly offsides led to what I was sure was going to be the game-winner by Chychrun in the slot, but thankfully he sent it high. DeKeyser got tripped with no call and then Tatar had a streaking play that took the puck into Smith with a Larkin follow-up. The play continued after a slow whistle, and shortly after the Wings actually got a power play opportunity on a Christian Dvorak hook.

Nielsen had a few whacks at the puck (and Smith’s pads) on the man advantage, which earned a faceplant and an elbow holding his face to the ice by Murphy. Wholly unnecessary to do that to a guy who perpetually looks like a sad puppy.

The last players on the ice for the OT PP were Zetterberg, Nielsen, Abdelkader, and Kronwall, because that makes sense?

Shootout:

The Wings’ perfect 7-0 record in the shootout was on the line. Clench time!

Brendan Perlini couldn’t elevate the puck over Mrazek’s left pad. Nyquist both scored and didn’t score as the refs couldn’t decide whether the puck was in at first. Turns out he was able to get Smith to kick it into his own net. Wings lead in the shootout.

Vrbata was stopped by a rising glove save by Mrazek. Nielsen misses the net wide in an attempt to tie Vrbata himself for most shootout goals all-time.

Ekman-Larsson wasn’t able to fake out Mrazek, as the Red Wings netminder started far out of his crease and stayed with the young star Swede the whole way. Red Wings win and improve to 8-0 in the shootout!

Shots: 33-26 Detroit
Score: 5-4 Red Wings

Standout Players: Green, Zetterberg, Nyquist, Mrazek
Tough Period: Zetterberg, Abdelkader

Final Thoughts:

  • Early in the broadcast were little blurbs about how Luke Glendening was scratched in favor of Mitch Callahan and that Niklas Kronwall was playing on the second night of a back-to-back as a testament to his ability to play through pain. Both of those things would have been nice to hear, oh, three seasons ago, when the former two players still had “potential” and the latter still had two functioning knees. These days, my reaction is [sarcastic confetti pop].
  • Teemu Pulkkinen plays on the same team as Peter Holland. I’ll bet it took a while for him to stop instinctively screaming whenever he saw that name in the locker room.
  • Some of us may be disappointed with the corporate name for the Red Wings’ new arena, but we can take comfort that it will never be as bad as Jobing.com Arena. What even was that? Job-ing? Jo-bing? A tribute site to a Jo Bing? Mysteries that will never be solved because I’m too lazy to google it.
  • A perfect record in the shootout is an alternative answer to the Jeopardy question “What would the Red Wings have liked three seasons ago?” It falls a close runner-up to Nick Lidstrom coming out of retirement and a magic wand to fix Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg before the Olympics.
  • Even after a win, the ghost of #DepressedZetterberg can still be seen in the captain’s eyes. It’s a haunted look that likely won’t be leaving any time soon. Don’t worry, Z, we still love you.

Let’s Go Red Wings!!