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Arizona Coyotes can't replicate last season's success, lose to Red Wings in penalty filled affair

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The Arizona Coyotes fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Coyotes swept the Detroit Red Wings last year. There would be no such luck this year, as the Coyotes fell 3-1 in front of a capacity crowd at Gila River Arena Saturday night.

Arizona got off to a good start by giving the best asset the team has, the power play, time to work. After earning no power plays Thursday night against Carolina, Arizona received two chances in the first ten minutes. Unfortunately, the Coyotes were not able to cash in despite some excellent puck movement.

After the ten minute mark, Arizona spent much of the first period on their heels, including fending off Detroit's league best power play. Mike Smith made some key saves on the penalty kill to keep the game tied at 0-0 going into the first intermission.

In the second period, things started to get a little chippy. Perennial pest Justin Abdelkader delivered a hit to Oliver Ekman-Larsson that aroused the ire of Kyle Chipchura. He would be in the mix again as he drew a post-whistle roughing penalty on Andrew Campbell. The Red Wings power play would make the most of it, as Riley Sheahan would fire a slapshot at 8:11 of the second to give Detroit a 1-0 lead.

Arizona would get a chance to respond shortly after thanks to a bench minor for too many men on the ice, but a Shane Doan slashing minor would negate the power play chance less than a minute in. Arizona would get another chance when Kyle Quincey took a double-minor for hooking and unsportsmanlike conduct, but once again, the Coyotes could not cash in. Arizona would go into the second intermission down by a goal.

The penalty fest would continue going into the third period, as Michael Stone and Zbynek Michalek took minors. The kill was able to keep Detroit from opening up a two goal lead, but the offense struggled to generate scoring chances. That anemic offense would eventually doom the Coyotes, as Tomas Tatar converted on a 2 on 1 at 17:00 of the third period to give Detroit a commanding 2-0 lead. That lead would come in handy, as Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his 16th of the season at 18:06 to set up a thrilling finish. That finish never came to fruition though, as Darren Helm scored into the empty net at 18:44 to seal the game for Detroit.

Our Three Stars of the Game

  • 3rd Star - Mike Smith - Once again, Mike Smith gave the Coyotes a chance to win. He stopped 23 of 25 Detroit shots on the night.
  • 2nd Star - Petr Mrazek - With Jimmy Howard's return imminent, Mrazek may not have much time left in the NHL this year. He made the most of it tonight, stopping 22 of 23 Arizona shots.
  • 1st Star - Tomas Tatar - Tatar factored on every Detroit goal tonight. He scored the eventual game-winner, and assisted on the Sheahan power play goal and the Helm empty-netter.

Paw Prints

  • For the Detroit perspective, check out Winging It In Motown
  • Martin Hanzal did not dress again tonight. He was joined in the press box by B.J. Crombeen and Chris Summers.
  • Tonight's game was penalty plentiful; Arizona took six penalties while Detroit took five. Arizona went 0 for 5 on their power play while Detroit went 1 for 6.
  • David Moss found the scoresheet again after scoring his first goal of the season against Carolina, with an assist on the OEL goal.
  • Martin Erat was awarded a penalty shot midway through the third, but was denied by Petr Mrazek.
  • Attendance tonight: 17,125.