Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Red Wings 4, Coyotes 0: Red Wings Ride Lethal Power Play, Terrific Howard To Critical Win

In the first period, the Wings opened as the faster and more urgent side, getting a power play opportunity within the first two minutes…and they converted. Johan Franzen tipped in a Damien Brunner shot at 2:37  for his 11th of the year.  A second assist went to Henrik Zetterberg and the Wings were off to a good start.  Detroit didn’t let up after the goal, playing stiff defense and getting a couple good chances on Mike Smith.  Phoenix went to a power play after a Brendan Smith hook at 7:46 but the Wings killed it despite being pinned in their own end for the last minute of it.  After the kill, the momentum seemed to turn in Phoenix’s favor, as their forecheck led to several chances on Jimmy Howard.  At one point the Wings went half the period without a shot.  Phoenix’s pressure led to another power play as again Smith was caught for hooking at 16:31. The Wings killed that and went on a power play of their own seconds later as David Moss was sent off for elbowing.  Like the first power play, the Wings capitalized, as Zetterberg found Brunner skating to the net and Brunner finally ended his ugly goal drought at 19:24. Despite getting outshot 12-4, the Wings led 2-0 after one.

The second period began like the first: the Red Wings were the faster, more aggressive, and more urgent team.  Detroit managed three shots in the first two minutes of the period after managing four in the first twenty minutes.  The Coyotes went on another power play after Daniel Cleary was whistled for tripping in the offensive zone.  Detroit killed it but went back on the kill seconds later as Cleary again got called for tripping.  Luckily for Cleary, he was bailed out by a weak Phoenix power play and a couple nice saves from Howard.  Phoenix got stronger after the two kills and forced Howard’s hand before a Rostislav Klesla trip put the Wings on the man advantage; the Coyotes finally killed this one.  The penalty parade continued when Antoine Vermette was sent to the box for the second time in the game.  The power play struck again, as Zetterberg notched his third assist on a Valtteri Filppula goal from a wild angle at 16:09, with a second assist going to Niklas Kronwall.  It was the first time the Wings had scored three power play goals in a game this season.  Detroit 3, Phoenix 0 after two.

The third and final frame began with the Coyotes dominating play and keeping the Wings off the puck, limiting them to a dump-and-chase style with short shifts.  But Howard yet again stood his ground.  The frustrated Coyotes soon turned to the second component of their game: fighting. Shane Doan took down Justin Abdelkader seemingly unprovoked (because he’s a great leader) and gave the Wings another power play.  After the power play the Wings played keepaway, hitting three posts in the process and continuing to fluster Phoenix.  The Coyotes pulled Smith with two and a half minutes left, which led to a Franzen empty netter at 18:38, the Wings’ first non-power play goal of the game. The final score: Red Wings 4, Coyotes 0.

Obviously a huge win for the Wings, as they pull to within a point of idle Columbus for eighth, break a ninth-place tie with Dallas, and all but eliminate the Coyotes from playoff contention. Detroit displayed urgency throughout, and the big names came up big. Zetterberg got three helpers. Franzen and Filppula, two much-maligned names, scored. Brunner finally scored. Datsyuk was all over the place doing all the little things he’s so good at. Most importantly, the Wings still have a game in hand on Columbus. They’re gonna need to put up this effort again on Wednesday night when the defending champion Kings pay a visit to the Joe.

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