Alot of people are counting out the Phoenix Coyotes in their matchup with Detroit. They didn’t get the memo, as they rode their powerplay to a 3-2 win over what may be one of the most heavily favored 5th seeds in recent memory. Despite having one of the worst powerplays in the NHL during the regular season, the Coyotes got 3 goals with the man advantage in front of a loudly appreciative crowd in Glendale last night.
It was a good thing the Coyotes were so good with the man advantage, because Detroit dominated them at even strength. The Red Wings put 40 shots on Ilya Bryzgalov, but he stopped 38 of them, and the Coyotes did a good job of maintaining a high level of physical play up and down the ice all night. Tomas Holmstrom opened the scoring with a goal 12 minutes into the first, but the Coyotes answered with their first powerplay goal of the night off Keith Yandle’s seeing eye shot from the point just nine seconds after Niklas Kronwall was sent to the box for cross checking. Nicklas Lidstrom put the Wings up 2-1 headng into the 2nd with his shot from the point on the powerplay late in the period, but that was all Bryzgalov was giving up, as he stopped 20 Detroit shots in the 2nd and 3rd frames.
Wojtek Wolski knotted the game at 2-2 with a snipe on the powerplay early in the 2nd, and Derek Morris scored the game winner with a blast from the point off a faceoff just over 2 minutes into the 3rd. Phoenix did a real good job of keeping play in the Detroit end during the 3rd, putting 20 shots on Jimmy Howard in the final period. Howard finished the game with 32 saves, but lost his first game in regulation since March 9.
Two names that didn’t get a whole bunch of recognition but played major roles in the game were Pavel Datsyuk and Shane Doan. Datsyuk got an assist on Lidstrom’s powerplay goal, and he looked great all night, creating a number of turnovers and getting a number of good scoring chances. Doan was all over the ice, recording 9 hits and playing a crucial role on the Coyotes 1st and 3rd goals. He screened Howard perfectly on the first one, and prevented Darren Helm from getting out to cover Morris on the game winner.