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Phoenix Coyotes Drop Skills Competition to Detroit Red Wings - Earn Their Point

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[Box Score] - [Game Page] - [Detroit Reaction]

[Shift Charts] - [Head-to-Head TOI] - [Corsi and Fenwick] - [5-on-5 Faceoffs]

For the second consecutive game, the Phoenix Coyotes went into a hostile environment against one of the top teams in the NHL and played a fairly spectacular game, only to fall short in the shoot out. Full credit to the Coyotes, playing their 22nd road game in the past 32 games and starting the first of a back-to-back at Joe Louis Arena tonight, because they played one hell of a game.

A common criticism of the team coming out of the 2-1 (SO) loss in New York was that they did not shoot the puck enough. Although they were outshot on the night 43-27, it certainly seemed as if the team was making a concerted effort to get more pucks at Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. Radim Vrbata scored a pretty goal that had fans singing his praises as a top All Star snub, and Taylor Pyatt added an ugly one early in the third to put the Coyotes up 2-1.

While Mike Smith stood on his head, an unfortunate bounce leading to a turnover and a Valtteri Filppula rocket and a Pavel Datsyuk thread-the-needle, pitch perfect pass allowed the Wings to stay even with the 'Yotes through regulation. In the shootout, Vrbata and Datsyuk exchanged backhand goals (Vrbata on his patented forehand-backhand-goalie-knows-it's-coming-and-can't-do-anything-about-it move) before Henrik Zetterberg scored on a jaw dropper of a move to get the game winner.

Full bullet point notes, our three stars, five for winning, comment of the night and a look ahead after the jump...

Bullet Point Notes From Game:

  • Starting goalies are Mike Smith and Jimmy Howard as expected. Coyotes have David Rundblad and Gilbert Brule getting into the game tonight with Michal Rozsival and Cal O`Reilly hitting the press box.
  • Coyotes have been called for icing 4 times in the first 4 minutes. Need to do a better job carrying the puck into the zone. Thankfully, they have looked good in their defensive end.
  • Brule makes a good back-check on Henrik Zetterberg to break up a good scoring opportunity.
  • A big hit and good break-out pass sends Ray Whitney in alone, but he loses the puck without getting a shot.
  • Shane Doan makes a good strip of Jan Mursak and gets a few shots on the ensuing rush up ice, but Howard turns them away.
  • Brule has a tremendous pass to Boyd Gordon, but Howard makes another pair of huge saves.
  • Radim Vrbata shows that he is less than pleased being an All Star snub with an absolutely blistering wrist shot from just outside the circles top corner over Howard's stick hand. Rundblad gets the lone assist. 1-0 Coyotes!
  • The goal was Vrbata's 21st of the season, moving him into 6th overall in the NHL.
  • Datsyuk continues to not show any signs that he is battling an injury, weaving in and out of the Coyotes defense. Thankfully, Mike Smith continues to look solid in net.
  • Smith launches a pass high to the offensive blue line and the Coyotes turn it into a good scoring chance with Marc-Antoine Pouliot getting a good shot and Whitney a rebound opportunity.
  • Detroit gets away with what looks like a pretty clear interference penalty as Mikkel Boedker is taken down driving towards the net without the puck.
  • Minutes (nay, seconds) after The Dude speaks the word that shall not be mentioned, an unfortunate turnover comes to Valtteri Filppula who absolutely drives a missile top shelf over Smith's glove. And with that, we are tied after the first twenty minutes, 1-1.
  • Detroit leads in shots 13-9 after one period. Good improvement taking shots by the Coyotes after the last game in New York.
  • Coyotes have won 8-14 faceoffs and lead in blocked shots 5-3. All-in-all, a very good first period on the road by the Coyotes and lots to grow on for the next 40 minutes.
  • Vrbata gets another fabulous opportunity on a wrap around chance, but the Red Wings D and Howard force it wide.
  • A great chance for Cory Emmerton as he makes a move around Rundblad, but he rings a shot off the post while he is falling to the ice.
  • The Wizard is called for the game's first penalty after hooking Jonathan Ericsson in the neutral zone. Red Wings' 6th rank power play gets an opportunity to give the Wings a lead.
  • Wings negate the power play as Tomas Holmstrom runs right through Adrian Aucoin and takes an interference penalty with the puck nowhere near the play. 4-on-4 action for about a minute and then the 'Yotes will get a power play chance.
  • Doan gets away with a pretty clear interference on a HUGE hit on Darren Helm after Helm had a shorthanded opportunity. Neither team really got anything going on their man advantage.
  • And now the Coyotes will get (theoretically) a full two minute power play as Jiri Hudler is called for a holding penalty with about 11 minutes to play in the second.
  • Some good puck moving plays and Whitney fed Brule on the back door but he can't tee it up quickly enough and Howard gets over to stop the chance.
  • Unfortunate turnover for Rundblad leads to a great opportunity for Detroit, but Smith again makes a big save.
  • End to end action with Smith making a big save off a deflection by a Detroit player I can't identify from a Hudler feed...the Coyotes turn it around to a 2-on-1 with Doan and Keith Yandle, but Howard waits out Doan. On a terrible line change following the rushes, the Coyotes are whistled for too many men on the ice.
  • Some amazing puck movement by Detroit on the power play, but Dan Cleary is absolutely robbed by Smith from point blank range.
  • A bit of pushing and shoving at the end of the second period, but there won't likely be any penalties forthcoming. And through 40 minutes of play, we are still tied at 1.
  • Detroit increases their shot advantage as the Coyotes are moving in the wrong direction here: 24-15 through two periods; Coyotes have won 17-28 face-offs though and also lead 24-16 in hits.
  • A bouncy, bouncy puck with Coyotes driving the net hops over Howard and into the net. Goal is being credited to Taylor Pyatt, his 6th of the season with an assist to Kyle Chipchura. 2-1 Coyotes!
  • After a questionable (to me) icing call, the Coyotes use their time out. Detroit is bringing lots of pressure as Nicklas Lidstrom has taken 6 shots himself in the past 2 minutes (I was only 5).
  • Doan makes a great steal on Niklas Kronwall and feeds Boedker for a good chance that is stopped by Howard.
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson takes a rough ride from Cleary and is slow off the ice; Coyotes may have only 5 d-men to go the rest of the way. Or not, he's back on the bench after the commercial break.
  • Datsyuk makes an incredible pass across ice to the back door feeding Johan Franzen who taps it in to tie the game at 2. Absolutely nothing that Smith can do there. Derek Morris and Yandle on the ice and not in the best position.
  • Coyotes responding with a great puck possession shift by Doan-Boedker and Daymond Langkow; Aucoin gets the best look but pushes a backhanded rebound just wide.
  • Smith makes a stop off his noggin on a floating shot from the point and the Coyotes end up icing the puck for the 700th time tonight.
  • Drew Miller finds a soft spot in the defense and gets a good shot from the slot that Smith covers up to keep things tied with just over 4 minutes to go.
  • Boedker makes a hard move to the net and gets pushed into Howard who is knocked over...Detroit, typically furious, but it's just a great effort.
  • Coyotes battle hard and force this game into extra time. Well earned point and now need to look for the bonus point.
  • Coyotes outshot in regulation 39-24; win the faceoff battle 27-16.
  • Ian White comes up with speed, but is cut off by OEL and they both go into the net with White throwing OEL into the net and then throwing punches and complaining about it after the fact. Whatever.
  • And we are heading to the shootout...we will probably see Vrbata...just guessing.
  • Wings shoot first...Datsyuk - goal (sick backhand move); Brule - save; Hudler - save; Vrbata - goal (same move, same result); Filppula - save; OEL - save (he needs to deke there...he has the hands for it); Zetterberg - goal (ridiculous move, just sick); Lauri Korpikoski - save; Wings win 3-2 (SO).
  • Big point, but needed to get the second one. Wings have won 13 straight home games. Mike Babcock gets his 400th career win in just his 699th game...that's a bit ridiculous.

Our Three Stars

1. Radim Vrbata - another goal, another shootout goal, just incredible playing out there.

2. Mike Smith - 41 saves and can't fault him on the shootout game winner by....

3. Henrik Zetterberg - Datsyuk was better throughout the game, but that shootout move to win it was simply incredible. No words.

Five For Winning

1. Score First: It may sound like a broken record around here, but the Coyotes are really good when they score first, and not so much when they don't. Let's set the pedal to the metal early tonight. Coyotes were able to score first, but Detroit had answers coming back from two one-goal leads for the Coyotes.

2. Take out the Trash: Detroit has tons of skilled players that make life miserable, but they've really excelled at beating the Coyotes by parking bodies in front of the goalie and making life difficult to see shots. For the Coyotes to succeed, the defense needs to be getting Bertuzzi and Tomas Holmstrom out of Smith's sightlines. Coyotes actually did a pretty good job of this and Smith was not victimized from outside the slot.

3. Shoot the Puck: For the season, no Coyotes player is scoring at more than a 16.7% clip and most of the team is significantly below this. So the Coyotes need to be getting a lot of rubber on net to put goals on the board. They struggled to do this in New York and need to be better. Only 27 shots on the game, but they were definitely trying to take the puck to the net more often.

4. Continued Strong Play from Derek Morris: DMo had quite the resurgence in the game at MSG Tuesday night. With David Schlemko being sidelined for an extended period of time, the Coyotes need Morris to keep playing like he did against the Rangers. It wasn't as good as it was against New York, and he was out there for the tying goal, but overall I think DMo looked ok out there.

5. Who Steps Up? Secondary scoring is essential from the Coyotes, whether it is from the blue line or from a third or fourth liner. Will anyone other than Ray Whitney, Radim Vrbata or Shane Doan find the back of the net tonight? Taylor Pyatt gave the Coyotes a 2-1 advantage, but they just couldn't hold on.

Comment of the Night

There’s so many reasons to hate the Wings. Why pick just one?


Looking Ahead

The Coyotes are right back in action tomorrow night to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus and round out this ridiculous part of their schedule that has seen them play 23 of 33 games on the road since the end of November. Columbus is the worst team in the Western Conference and the Coyotes absolutely cannot afford to get anything less than two points.