The Red Wings did their fans no favors to end the month of February, as an 8-1 loss on Tuesday gave everybody a long time to sit and think about what a smelly tire-fire they’re capable of being in yet another lost season.
But hey, Saturday is a new opportunity and the Coyotes are a new opponent. Let’s get into the action!
The Wings certainly jumped out of the gate, skating hard through the first few minutes and with good showings on shifts from Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina. Things went relatively well for the first six minutes until Josh Archibald came rushing in on the right wing and fired a slapper that Jimmy Howard deflected into his own net with his blocker. 1-0 Arizona.
This shot moved pretty fast. You don't stop and look at it once in a while, you could miss it. pic.twitter.com/8hARypBRpX— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 3, 2019
The Wings take a few minutes from this trying to find their legs and it very much looks narratively like they’re struggling to accept being down after a good start, but I’m probably just projecting there. The Wings finally get another good chance on a Zadina pass, but the puck goes the other way and Howard is forced to make a really nice save off a 2-on-1 rush chance for Vinnie Hinostroza.
The latter portion of the period tilts towards the Coyotes and at the 15:40 mark, Arizona tilts the scoreboard even more in their favor off a one-timer from Oliver Ekman-Larsson. 2-0 Coyotes.
Pretty pass. Pretty finish.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 3, 2019
Vinny to OEL to double the lead. pic.twitter.com/WxrpD53jvX
The last 4:20 ticked off without the Red Wings managing to trip over their own feet or singe any butt-hairs lighting their farts, so we’ll call that a victory.
The Shots: 16-9 Arizona
The Score: 2-0 Coyotes
Standout Players: Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Zadina
The Period All Summed Up: Well at least everybody’s first shift was nice.
I promise the first four minutes of this period happened, but I’ll be damned if I could tell you a single thing that should count as a highlight. The FSD crew reminded us of the Datsyuk trade that ended with Arizona getting Chychrun while Detroit got Cholowski and Hronek. I’m glad we only have to live that debate twice a season.
The first power play of the game went to Detroit as Athanasiou was tripped at 5:36. Mario Kempe with the infraction.
This power play starts off iffy with the high-pressure Coyotes’ PK doing a good job disrupting the setup, but the Wings are able to make it 2-1 Arizona with one second left on the Kempe penalty as Nik Kronwall took a rare trip below the blue line with the puck and made a shot-pass to Dylan Larkin on the doorstep for a redirect past Kuemper’s leg.
Things heated up after the mid-point in the period as Kevin Connauton stepped up on Frans Nielsen in the neutral zone, leading to Luke Witkowski skating around looking for a fight (and a good Arizona scoring chance). Just after that, Michael Rasmussen and OEL came together at center ice in an awkward accidental collision that sent the Arizona captain down the tunnel.
13 minutes in, Kempe got a great opportunity on a misplay by Bowey that left him alone in front of Howard. Kempe pulled it all the way across and had Howard down & out, but ran out of angle and put it off the side of the net.
Fewer than two minutes later, Detroit took their first penalty as Larkin got behind Dvorak and interfered with his man to prevent a scoring chance on what otherwise was a 2-on-1 rush. Fortunately, Ekman-Larsson was able to return to the ice for this power play opportunity. The Wings manage to kill this penalty and start trying to put on pressure, but the next good scoring chance goes to Nick Cousins on a rush opportunity that Howard has to lie down upon. The period ends with no additional fun.
The Shots: 32-16 Arizona
The Score: 2-1 Arizona
Standout Players: Dylan Larkin
The Period All Summed Up: The second period in an ellipsis is just like this one - it’s there but only to take up space...
Less than one minute into the third, the Wings go shorthanded on a bench minor for delay of game after an icing. The Wings try to sneak in a line change and the refs are having none of it. Fortunately the Wings are able to kill this one off without much danger.
Things don’t last here though as the Coyotes pour on the pressure and create a net-front scramble in which Howard makes a couple improbably saves while flopping around like Hasek and even Tyler Bertuzzi gets in on the goal-stopping action. The goal horn goes off after the Bertuzzi block and the lights start flashing while Vinnie Hinostroza put it into the net to make it 3-1 Arizona. The refs review for a while whether it will count (and Bertuzzi furiously breaks his stick on the goalpost), but it’s allowed to stand because it should have.
Pace picks up out of this stoppage, but it takes several minutes for that to turn into anything that resembles a chance for Detroit. Athanasiou flies up ice a couple times and Larkin feeds Mantha for a cross-ice attempt that doesn’t go in, then Mantha gets involved in a tussle with Chychrun over his draft position and we head to a commercial break with both of them headed to the box for roughing.
The four-on-four largely looked like a power play for the Coyotes, but then so did the continuation of play after we returned to five-a-side. To be honest, I’m writing this sentence with eight minutes left to go in this game and I’m out of ideas on how to describe how lame this performance is for the Wings coming out of that last drubbing. I’m just grouchy about it. It’s clear the kids are trying but the team has no direction right now.
6:39 left and the direction they’ve suddenly found is “to the box” as Darren Helm goes for tripping. He comes out two minutes later all the wiser for the lessons learned from the opportunity to ruminate on his sins.
For some reason, Jeff Blashill decides to pull Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings almost score a goal. The Coyotes ice it and Jeff Blashill, surprised he still has a timeout, decides to use it to rest up the Larkin unit for another shot at drastically improving their scoring pace over the last two games.
It didn’t work.
The Shots: 44-23 Arizona
The Score: 3-1 Coyotes
Standout Players: none
The Period All Summed Up: At least it’s over.