Last night was a night of highly charged emotions around the league as Detroit fans celebrated a first round series sweep and became the first team of the 2011 NHL Playoffs to make it to the second round. Hockey fans out in Phoenix started the long dreaded waiting game of seeing if they will even have their team come training camp.
The Red Wings would take an early lead when front of the net ’pest’ Tomas Holmstrom would put the puck past Coyotes Ilya Bryzgalov. The goal was a set up that came from a beauty of a play by Pavel Datsyuk and Mike Mondano that many fans missed as both the Tampa Bay Lightning/Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers/Washington Capitals game fours went into double overtime.
Modando made his first NHL playoff appearance with the Red Wings as a last minute change on the roster as Johan Franzen was a scratch after the pre-game skate (speculation says ankle issue for the one known as The Mule).
The Red Wings lead would not last long as Taylor Pyatt would tie the game for the Coyotes when he put a wrist shot past Jimmy Howard. With the momentum shift from the visiting Red Wings to the home town Coyotes it would only take four minutes after the Pyatt goal for Coyotes captain Shane Doan to take the lead.
It would be a late period goal from Detroit’s Patrick Eaves, after a spectacular play by Darren Helm that would take out both of the Coyotes defensemen, that would tie the game before the teams headed off for the first intermission.
The second period opened with a power play goal for the Coyotes that would see Martin Hanzel reclaim the lead for the home team:
It would be a hi-sticking penalty on Phoenix’s Lauri Korpikoski that would put the Red Wings on the power play and lead to another game tying goal from Detroit, this time from defenseman Niklas Kronwall.
Brad Stuart would but the puck over the glass early in the third period would give Phoenix power play for the Coyotes; however, the Detroit penalty kill (that many had started to wonder if it was extinct) finally decided to rise from the ashes (much like the myth of a phoenix – kind of ironic in a sense). It took a little over halfway though the third period but it would be the former Phoenix Coyote, Danny Cleary, with a wrist shot past Bryzgalov a give the Red Wings the lead:
The Winged Wheels were a turning and they did not show signs of slowing down.
Only a few minutes after the goal Cleary would then assist on a wrap-around goal by Todd Bertuzzi that would five the Red Wings take a two goal lead over the Coyotes.
In a last minute dire need to keep not only the game alive, but the series, and the hopes of the Coyotes faithful alive Phoenix pulled Bryzgalov with over two minutes still on the clock to ice an extra skater.
It would take until the final forty seconds of the third period but Eaves would be the one to finally put the puck into the empty net; and Detroit would take a three-goal lead on Phoenix and claim the series in a sweep.
As stated before it was an emotional night – about emotionally charged as any first round game could be. The Red Wings whom were told once again that they were too old and that their time of domination in the NHL was over coupled with the fact that future of the Coyotes is uncertain.
I want to wish the Coyotes faithful the best of luck with the outcome of their team that is currently out of their hands. This is for you….