The Phoenix Coyotes decided they were going to spend their last game against the Detroit Red Wings this season illustrating how important special teams are. The Coyotes were very good on the 5 on 5 but their power play failed to convert on all of their opportunities while Detroit scored three times with the man advantage. If the Coyotes had been better on the penalty kill or if they had been more disciplined the game might have ended differently, but they weren't so they ended up digging a hole to big to dig themselves out of. With tonight's loss the Coyotes are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Credit for Detroit's definitely goes to their goaltender Jimmy Howard who played great as his team was being outshot during the entire game. The Red Wings were out shot 34 to 23 tonight and the Coyotes had a few quality chances but Howard stood strong and had a little bit of luck as he was about to blank the Desert Dogs. Their power play unit was also impressive scoring 3 of their 4 goals, the other goal being an empty netter.
At one notable point in the game Coyotes' Captain Shane Doan dropped the gloves against Justin Abdelkader who had been a pest against defenseman Zbynek Michalek the entire game. The altercation ended with Doan getting 4 minutes for roughing while Abdelkader only got 2 giving the Red Wings another power play. Even though the Wings didn't convert, the incident occurred late enough in the third to sap any real chance at a Coyotes comeback. It was a fitting illustration of how frustrated the team must have been after playing a great game in which they failed to score.
Five For Winning
1. Score first. The Coyotes tend to play better when they aren't chasing the game, an early goal puts them in a good spot where they aren't playing catch up. Nope. The Coyotes couldn't even score second or third.
2. Play a strong 60 minutes. The Yotes have been inconsistent between periods, they typically have some very strong periods and some very weak ones. The Coyotes need to play the full 60 minutes and not take 20 minutes off. The team didn't start great but they played a strong game, except for their time on the penalty kill.
3. Stay disciplined. The Coyotes need to learn to stay out of the box and stop giving the other team the man advantage. Both Chicago's goals came when they had the man advantage, so hopefully they learned that the other teams will make them pay. The Coyotes couldn't stay out of the box, especially Antoine Vermette who took 2 penalties.
4. Keep it in regulation. No need to give Detroit an extra point, or risk another shootout, despite how cool it was seeing David Schlemko win it. Well it stayed in regulation, just not the way we hoped.
5. Win. Even if the Coyotes don't make the playoffs this season it would be nice to be the team that kept Detroit out of it. Nope.
Our Three Stars
1. Jimmy Howard. He played great and earned his shut out.
2. Shane Doan. Defending his teammate and punching Justin Abdelkader in the face a couple times.
3. Damien Brunner. Had an assist on the game winning goal and an insurance goal.
Comment of the Night
With the Coyotes no longer in the playoff race they are playing for pride as they return to the desert to face off against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday. Hopefully they picked up a few lessons on what not to do tonight.