The start time may have been more than three hours later than we are used to, but the story was much of the same. The Wings stormed out to a three goal lead that never was in serious doubt, pushing the Coyotes to the brink of elimination and relocation. Follow along after the jump for the breakdown.
Red Wings 4 Coyotes 2
Series: Red Wings lead 3-0
The Wings victory over Phoenix means that only they and the President’s Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks are undefeated in the 2011 playoffs. They’ll look to complete the sweep on Wednesday night in Glendale.
The Wings were the beneficiaries of some offense from the most unlikely of sources, when Ruslan Salei blasted one by Ilya Bryzgalov under two minutes into the game. Of the Wings in the lineup, Salei had the fewest goals for the Wings this season.
The Wings doubled that margin just 44 seconds later, when Drew Miller was Johnny-on-the-spot to tipping in a wrist shot from the point.
From there, the Coyotes never really threatened the lead, despite two more power play goals.
The first, David Schlemko’s first career playoff goal, was a shot that no goalie would have stopped. The next was the result of a shot by former Wing Ray Whitney, hitting Salei square in the rear end and tipping past Howard.
The Wings also got tallies from Valtteri Filppula, knotting his first of the post-season on a beautiful set up by Hudler, and from Johan Franzen who beat Bryzgalov high on a breakaway. Bryzgalov barely reacted to the Franzen shot.
Franzen was sporting a new addition to his equipment, a visor to help cover some of the cuts he sustained in Sunday afternoon’s collision with the Joe Louis Arena end boards.
Other than two nasty cuts on the forehead, he looked no worse for the wear, resuming his spot on the Wings top line.
The Coyotes were up to their usual tricks, taking runs, late hits and cheap shots at Wings players. Even the great Nick Lidstrom wasn’t immune from the tactics, as he took a cross check from Doan in the first period as well as a big running hit by Taylor Pyatt, that probably should have been called interference. There was one tense moment when Pyatt decked Patrick Eaves, who didn’t have the puck, in the head while the Wings were short-handed. It was from the blindside, and there was no penalty called on the play. Eaves went to the dressing room for a bit, but did return to finish the game.
The Wings should be on their A game trying to close out the series on Wednesday night, to earn some much needed time off.
The Off Wing View’s Three Stars
3. Valtteri Filppula 1G
2. Jimmy Howard 28 saves
1. Niklas Kronwall 2A