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Wings Beat Up on Coyotes, 6-1

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Wings continue hot streak, chase Kuemper from the net

Winnipeg Jets v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Tonight the Red Wings faced off against the Arizona Coyotes in a game featuring two surprisingly hot teams that both had ice cold starts to the season. The Wings came in having won 6 of 7 and several of which were via comebacks. The Coyotes came in after being 6-2-1 in their previous 9 contests. One factor contributing to the Coyotes recent success was their lethal penalty kill leading the league. Not only that, but they also had scored a league leading 9 shorthanded goals. This was obviously something to watch throughout this one and if the Wings could find the net on the powerplay.

One player to watch on the opposition tonight was Jakob Chychrun who was making his season debut after a lengthy injury recovery. Regardless of his performance it will be a good day for him as it was announced he signed a 6-year extension with the Coyotes today. It’s also a good chance to watch the matchup of the 2016 draft day trade that landed Chychrun in Arizona and Cholowski and Hronek in Detroit as part of the Datsyuk cap hit dump.

In net tonight Jimmy Howard having won his last 4 starts got the start against Darcy Kuemper who had gotten off to a good start to the season with a 2.58 GAA and .921 SV%. For the Wings, Vanek, De la Rose, and Ericsson were all still out of the lineup. The Wings looked to continue their recent hot streak coming in and to see if they could keep the goal scoring coming.

1st Period

The first good opportunity of the game came off a defensive zone faceoff for the Coyotes. Jensen made an ill-timed pinch which resulted in a 2 on 1 where a rebound off the initial shot on Howard passed through the crease area before almost bouncing off Jensen’s skate and in as he chased the play back to the net.

A few minutes later Athanasiou got caught with a stick where it doesn’t belong from Kuemper. This is a play I’ve never really understood, it’s a cheap shot and really doesn’t prove any element of toughness if that’s your intent. A short time later the Wings got their first good chance on a play that Daley pinched down towards the goal line on and picked up a loose puck and sent it to a crowded crease area. The puck deflected off a defender’s skate and gave Kuemper trouble but he kept it out. The Wings began to buzz a little bit after this chance with a good possession shift by the Bertuzzi-Glendening-Abdelkader line.

Just past the halfway mark of the period, Mike Green forced a turnover just inside the Wings blue line. He quickly got the puck up to Nielsen and Mantha who took off on a rush on a nifty give and go through the neutral zone. Mantha kicked a puck back up to his stick to maintain his speed crossing the blue line. He and Nielsen crossed as they entered the zone, with Nielsen crashing the net and taking a high stick for his troubles. But he did manage to draw the coverage enough to create an opening for Mantha to the right of Kuemper. Mantha let a shot go from the hash marks beating Kuemper over the glove side, 1-0 Wings.

Following the goal, the Wings had a moment for Hockey Fights Cancer night and this is one of the things the league gets right, it’s always good to see this type of outreach during games and other league events.

A couple minutes later Bertuzzi slid one from the half boards to DeKeyser at the top of the Coyotes zone who quickly slid it across to Cholowski at the right point. He walked it in and put a shot on net through a well placed Abdelkader screen, 2-0 Wings. However the Coyotes challenged that Abdelkader’s screen was perhaps too effective and that he interfered with Kuemper. The review showed that Abdelkader may have well been partially in the crease, however there was little to no contact with Kuemper, a close call. The referees decided against overturning the call and the goal stood.

Detroit received the first powerplay of the game on an Ekman-Larsson slashing penalty with just over four minutes left in the opening frame. Only 0:08 after the initial penalty Richards tripped Athansiou and the Wings went to a 1:52 two-man advantage to test the stellar Coyotes penalty kill. Early on the Wings could not get anything going at all not even generating a shot for the first minute. Luckily it’s not quantity it’s quality. After finally working the puck down low, Larkin picked up a loose puck after a blocked shot in the corner to the left of Kuemper. He quickly fired the puck to the net to a just knocked down Rasmussen who redirected the puck from his knees to the far corner, 3-0 Wings.

After the goal the Coyotes started to show signs of life putting a few shots in on Howard before drawing a Darren Helm hooking call with 0:35 remaining. The Wings killed off the first portion of that penalty to end the period. Perlini fired a puck into the net on a play that was clearly after the buzzer drawing the ire of the close by Wings defenders.

The Wings outshot the Coyotes 11-5 in the first frame and carried the play for the most part. Despite not scoring himself Bertuzzi seemed very dangerous this period as a playmaker making a few passes from in close and collecting the secondary assist on the Cholowski goal. The low shot total implied a period with little action but there was seemingly a good pace and chances both ways in the period with Howard making a couple key saves and the Wings capitalising on their chances. The question quickly changed from if this team could comeback in another game and instead became were they capable of protecting a lead.

2nd Period

The Wings opened the period by killing off the remainder of the Helm carryover penalty. However the Coyotes scored shortly after the penalty kill on a 2 on 1 play. But the Wings were quick to issue their challenge, claiming Arizona was offside entering the zone. The replay was quite clear that Keller bobbled the puck entering the zone and resulted in the teammate on the far side being offside. The referees ruled it a successful challenge by Blashill.

Despite being on their heels for the first part of the period the Wings didn’t actually give up a shot until five minutes into the period. But they didn’t generate any shots of their own to that point either. A few minutes later Richardson gave the Wings another powerplay opportunity taking Larkin down along the half wall away from the puck. The Wings were not able to generate much on the man advantage though missing several shots wide with a Frk one timer being the only one finding the target that Kuemper handled with relative ease.

Nearly halfway into the frame, the shots were 1-1, this time very indicative of the play so far, a slow grinding period. The Wings took a penalty of their own on a DeKeyser hook at the top of the crease in front of Howard. Jimmy stood tall on a Galchenyuk test from the dot to his left that caught him up near the mask. The next chance was a Fischer try where he took a pass at the goal line and spun to try and put the puck around the far side of Howard but he couldn’t beat him. As the penalty wound down Abdelkader sprung Glendening on a poor read and pinch by Chychrun. Glendening sped in and beat Kuemper low to the blocker side, the goal was technically even strength as the penalty was just expiring as Glendening came in on net, 4-0 Wings.

The next opportunity belonged to the Coyotes as Rasmussen accidentally took Howard out of position to the left side of his net as the Coyotes were wrapping around the right side. Luckily for the Wings the wraparound try slid across the crease along the goal line and into Howard’s glove on the far side of the net. The ensuing net pileup resulted in a confrontation between Mantha and Ekman-Larsson with Mantha tossing Ekman-Larsson’s helmet aside, but the gloves stayed on. Both received minor penalties resulting in some 4 on 4 action. The ensuing play didn’t generate any chances before the teams returned to even strength.

The Wings spent the next few minutes in their end following a series of icings, but the Coyotes did not generate any dangerous chances despite the zone time. However DeKeyser took a good shove from behind down in the Wings corner from Richard Panik resulting in a boarding call and the Wings getting a powerplay to close the period. Nielsen had the first chance on the advantage letting a shot go from the right side dot that Kuemper got enough of with his glove to put the puck up and over the net. A few moments later Athanasiou got caught making a lazy play back towards a poor pass in the neutral zone. Crouse closed on him faster than he thought and forced him to slash at his stick ending the powerplay. The period closed at 4 on 4 with the Coyotes set for a powerplay opportunity to start the final period.

The Coyotes outshot the Wings 8-5 in the period closing the gap to 16-13 overall in favour of the Wings. This period had a much slower pace than the first and not a lot of chances generated either way. Megan and Frk continued to see very little playing time in this period despite seeming quite effective in past games. Megan had yet to crack the 5:00 mark and Frk only did because of powerplay time.

3rd Period

After the first few seconds of the period were played at 4 on 4 the Coyotes went to the powerplay. It didnt take them long to generate a chance with a chance off the stick of Hinostroza after a 3 on 2 split the Kronwall-Jensen pairing. Howard was able to recover the loose puck though. As the penalty was expiring Helm dumped the puck out of the zone to Athanasiou just getting out of the box. He had a breakaway with no defenders in sight. Athanasiou stickhandled on the forehand side presenting a shot, closed in on Kuemper slowly before quickly shifting to the backhand and putting the puck up off the bar to Kuemper’s glove side, 5-0 Wings. That goal also chased Kuemper from the net for the night in favour Miska.

The five goal spread ended any chance of the Coyotes making this one interesting and led to an opportunity for some Wings to get off the schneid perhaps. A few minutes after Athanasiou scored, Green took the opportunity to unload a shot on a play from Athanasiou, 6-0 Wings and Green’s first of the season.

About a minute later there was a very curious play. On an attempted stretch pass that was tipped by Megan that trickled on net. Miska misplayed the puck and it was redirected into the net, embarrassingly weak play, and the Wings were scoring all the goals ever. However while the puck was headed towards the net Rasmussen took a cross checking penalty near the bench. The Wings looked to potentially argue that the Wings did not touch the puck from when the penalty was taken to when the puck crossed the line, but decided against objecting with too much enthusiasm given the score, no goal.

Shortly after this confusing charade, DeKeyser took a cross checking penalty to give Arizona an extended 5 on 3. However the Wings managed to kill off both penalties without allowing Arizona to get very close to putting one in. However a couple minutes later Crouse sped down the left wing and unloaded a wrist shot from the top of the circle that beat Howard over the glove side breaking the shutout bid, 6-1.

The pace obviously slowed to a crawl for both teams from this point forward, aside from a little extra curricular action from players on both sides. The rest of the game ticked away with both teams eager to finish up and just a handful of shots going each way.

Wrapping Up

What a doozy for the Wings in this one. It has been a long time since seeing the Wings be on this end of a stomping like that and it has been dearly missed. This win also put the Wings at .500 on the season at 8-8-2. This team has made a complete turnaround from where they were to start the season and gives hope that maybe this team isn’t as far away from being where they need to be as initially thought.

LGRW!