The Phoenix Coyotes were playing a must-win game last night against a team they know all too well, the Detroit Red Wings. There's never been any love lost between these two organizations, but after last year's 7-game playoff series, the rivalry has been as heated as ever. Last night, with both teams entering the game on losing skids, the Phoenix Coyotes snapped theirs in epic fashion with a 5-4 shootout victory.
Let's cut through the AP style recap and get to the good stuff, shall we. After 40 minutes of playing a pretty decent hockey game, but getting generally stoned by Jimmy Howard, the posts and having every break go Detroit's way, the Coyotes entered the third period in a 4-1 hole. What followed was one of the best periods of hockey we've seen from Dave Tippett's squad all season.
The Coyotes would score three goals in the final frame, capitalizing on Red Wings turnovers, foolish plays and just simply crashing the net. The sold out crowd was screaming their hearts out after Marty Hanzal tied the game at 4 with just under two minutes to play. And although the Coyotes certainly caused a few heart attacks when Bertuzzi drove to the net with just seconds to go, the Coyotes survived the scare and would eventually force the shootout.
In the shootout, Detroit rang two off the pipe behind Bryzgalov and Radim Vrbata with his patented move scored the lone goal for a shocking 5-4 victory. Although you hate letting any team in the west get an extra point, this was an OK point to surrender and at this point, the Coyotes simply need to focus on getting two points every night, regardless of how.
For yours truly, last night was doubly special as I was helping moderate our GDT while also participating in the FS Arizona Game Lounge with Craig Morgan. As part of the gig, I even got to spend a few minutes on air during the pregame show with Todd Walsh. Great time, great people and hopefully you'll see either Carl or I back there in the future as the Coyotes are 6-2-0 in games where they have a Game Lounge going and that is the type of winning percentage we need to see. The lone draw back is that it's hard to be a very vocal fan in the press box when such amazing stuff is happening on the ice. On the balance though it's ok because I had the GDT and chat to really let loose.
BULLET POINT NOTES FROM THE GAME
- Atmosphere in the building is crazy, probably about 60-40 Red Wings fans and they are definitely making their presence known.
- Before the game, the Coyotes honored Captain Shane Doan for surpassing Teppo Numminen on the all-time games list with the Coyotes/Jets franchise. It was a very nice and short ceremony that had everyone in attendance applauding the captain.
- Ilya Bryzgalov is not going to be pleased with that first Red Wings goal through the 5 hole - just a simple shot from the point that goes through...nobody in front, no deflection...Drew Miller with the goal for Detroit.
- Coyotes draw the first power play with some hustle in the offensive zone as Brad Stuart takes the penalty for holding.
- On the power play, Radim Vrbata hustles back and makes a great back check to break up a shorthanded rush by Miller. Where that play was against Dallas on Tuesday, I don't know.
- Coyotes force a chance in front and Shane Doan that either hit a post or hit Jimmy Howard...
- Great opportunity for Doan as he goes right around Niklas Kronwall and tries to deke Howard who keeps the pad down and Kronwall sens Doan through the post...
- After what I will deem an iffy hold call on Michal Rozsival, the Red Wings score on the man advantage as Johan Franzen gets open in the slot and roofs one over Bryz.
- Kyle Turris scores to cut the lead in half with just over a minute to go. Kid line was buzzing in the zone and after a Brett MacLean shot kicked off to the side with Howard way out of position, Turris puts it into the gaping net.
- At the end of a Coyotes power play, Ray Whitney takes a beautiful stretch pass and turns it into a clean breakaway, but Howard closes the five hole and makes the save. A few more whacks at the rebound, but Coyotes can't put one through.
- On a delayed penalty call, the Coyotes swing a shot on net and the rebound sits in the blue paint where Martin Hanzal gets a stick on it, but Howard gets across to make the save.
- Midway through the second and the Coyotes are outshooting Detroit 9-1...no goals to show for it, but they have been doing a better job controlling the play in Detroit's zone.
- On their first sustained pressure of the entire period, Valteri Filppula banks a rebound shot from the side of the crease off of Bryz and in...3-1 Red Wings.
- On a late power play, the Coyotes cannot sustain any pressure, and Detroit's Darren Helm hustles into the zone, wins the puck from David Schlemko, walks into the faceoff circle and rips a shorthanded goal top shelf over Bryz. 4-1 Wings.
- Early in the third, a pass gets by the Detroit d-man and right on the stick of Mikkel Boedker, who puts it in the net while Howard is scrambling back to the crease after playing the puck behind the net. 4-2 Wings lead...and Turris takes a penalty several seconds later, HUGE PK here.
- Just before the Boedker goal, Lee Stempniak drove into the zone and made a great shot and then another rebound shot, but Howard made two nice saves...have to imagine, though, that last year's version of Stempniak puts it in.
- Vrbata takes a shot from the high slot that gets through Howard and trickles off the post, scrum in front of the net, but the Coyotes can't get it in as Howard and the Detroit defense covers it up.
- Another good chance comes to naught for the Coyotes as Lauri Korpikoski stick handles into the slot, but his shot gets defelected away before getting to Howard.
- Ray Whitney scores a beautiful goal on a great play by Doan and Turris to set him up in front of the net. 4-3 Wings
- Hanzal takes a boarding penalty with 4:27 to play - love the energy, but the Coyotes really can't afford that call. Another HUGE kill coming here.
- Fresh out of the box, Hanzal cashes in a rebound from the crease after Whitney's point shot just hit Howard. Great effort by the Coyotes in the third here. 4-4 TIED UP!!!
- Right before the buzzer, Todd Bertuzzi makes a strong drive to the net and almost slides it past Bryz and in, Doan knocking him down hard on the play.
- And the Coyotes have recorded at least a point in all 4 games against Detroit this season...unreal.
- Eric Belanger just danced around most of the Detroit team, but couldn't get a good shot. Puck deflects to Boedker and he rips one off of Howard's shoulder and over the glass.
- Heading to the shootout...
- Vrbata is the lone goal scorer as Jiri Hudler and Bertuzzi hit posts...Coyotes pull off a miracle comeback and snap their 5-game slide.
OUR THREE STARS
1 - Kyle Turris - scored a goal, beautiful assist on Whitney's goal and a good effort for the kid. More ice time is giving him a larger opportunity to produce and tonight he cashed in on that one...
2 - Ray Whitney - was stoned earlier on a breakaway, but kept battling away and had a big goal and an assist on Hanzal's game-tying goal.
3 - Radim Vrbata - kid is money in the shootout and had a good effort tonight, including the early defensive play to break up a shorthanded Detroit rush.
COMMENT OF THE NIGHT
-AlabamaJammer [after Hanzal tied the game at 4]
231 comments last night (just slightly behind the 710 from Thursday night's game)...your top 3 commenters:
justin1985 - 52
AlabamaJammer - 43
Me - 41
Things won't get any easier for the Coyotes with Vancouver coming to town on Tuesday night, but it's another important game and important two points for the Desert Dogs. Hopefully they bring more of that third period intensity we saw tonight to the entire 60 minutes.