Last night your Phoenix Coyotes took out the hated Detroit Red Wings 4-2. The Wings closed the game up in the third, but it's hard to come back when your team gives up 3 first period goals. Lauri Korpikoski was great again in Detroit scoring twice and in general the team looked a lot more like the Coyotes we saw last year than the one struggling to find an identity that they've looked like so far this year. There were still weak spots to be sure, but especially in that first period. It has to be a confidence builder for them after the team meeting after the Ottawa game. We can only hope that this is a building point and not just a flash in the pan. Breakdown and the game in 5 after the jump.
Most everything in period one. The defense was solid, Ilya Bryzgalov was making all kinds of saves and oh yeah we scored 3 early goals. Radim Vrbata took advantage of Jakob Kindl making a sweet move around him, drawing a penalty, but making it irrelevant by scoring on the play anyhow. Keith Yandle scored on the Power play (I KNOW RIGHT?) with a sick shot almost from the goalline as pictured above and Korpi's short handed goal toward the end of the period.
Bryz was an absolute wall. Sure he let in a couple of goals, but when you face 45 shots in a game that'll happen. A 0.956 Save percentage is nothing to sneeze at. He made stick saves, kick saves, pretty much did everything he possible could in goal.
Hey we're not total garbage on the power play now. Sure it's only one goal, but with how awful our power play had looked it's a definite improvement. Ray Whitney actually looked like the guy we were hoping for when the Coyotes signed him.
Did much better about drawing penalties. The Refs may have helped a little but in general the team was much better about going to places on the ice and keeping their feet moving to draw timely calls. Oliver Ekman-Larsson drew a couple and somehow we got Tomas Holmstrom in the box. That never happens.
Not so good about clearing the rebounds. Our defense would start collapsing around the net to get the puck out but then instead of getting in there would let the Red Wings get second and third chances. The 2nd Detroit goal was simply because they got lazy and kept expecting Bryz to vacuum it up. Ed Jovanovski was just staring an didn't get in position to help out at all and there were three wings right there in front. Not a lot the goalie can do without some help there.
Clearing rebounds though, how about just clearing the zone? We were pretty bad about that too. The Wings point men just knew where were were going with the puck. Limiting chances is great but the guys need to clear more responsibly.
Coyotes need better puck control. Like I said earlier, Bryz face 45 shots on goal. That's just unacceptable. If you surrender that many chances consistantly you're going to lose more times than not. Ilya was on fire last night but the easier you make it on the goaltender the more success you're going to have. Is the loss of Zbynek Michalek really effecting us that much? I hope there's more to it than that so it can be fixed.
Game in Five: