Red Wings pull up another 2 points in a big road trip, extending their streak to 3 games in a 3-2 win over the Coyotes.
The Red Wings came out relatively strong in the 1st period. They were applying pressure and peppering Jason LaBarbera. Ian White opened the scoring in the game at 4:01, hammering home his 2nd of the season on a blast from the point. It was thought that Damien Brunner may have chipped the puck before it went in the net, but the goal was credited to White. Jakub Kindl and Daniel Cleary picked up the assists. The period then turned into a giveaway-fest. Kindl took a bad holding penalty, which Martin Hanzal was able to convert on at 7:56, tying up the game. They then took the lead at 12:17, after Jonas Gustavsson initially made some great stops, but gave up a quick rebound that was put up topside into the net by Rob Klinkhammer. Shots in the period were tied 14 apiece.
The sloppy play for the Wings continued, as the Coyotes fell into a defensive-trap play, confining the Wings to their own zone for a lot of the time. The passes they tried to make through the neutral zone were largely chipped away, and they couldn’t smoothly start any rushes into the offensive end. Gustavsson was stellar in net, at times coming out of the net to play a little defense as well. He chipped away 3+ pucks that could have turned into quality scoring chances for Phoenix. The Wings were able to tie the game up on a power play goal from Johan Franzen, a wrister from point-blank in the slot at 19:21. Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk assisted on Franzen’s 7th of the season. They went to the dressing room knotted up 2-2.
As the Wings came out in the third period, one had to ask oneself; did the Wings purposely play as laid back in the previous two as they did, or was it really just sloppy play? Either way, they came out into the 3rd period with guns blazing. Their pressure was better, their passing improved, and their play was more confident. They managed to bang home another power play goal, off a net-front wrister from Pavel Datsyuk at 6:12 off a feed from Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall. It was his 11th of season and gave him the goal lead for the team, and the Wings a 3-2 lead in the game. Gustavsson came up huge on a penalty shot from Lauri Korpikoski at 15:48, keeping their 1-goal lead. They would fend off the 6-on-5 for almost a minute and a half to win 3-2, and extend their winning streak to 3.
The Good: It’s always very very good to know that we can rely on our backup goalie when we need to, and whoa did we need to tonight. The Monster wasn’t afraid whatsoever to come out of his cage and play and poke the puck when needed to. He’s showing a lot of smarts in net and it easily reflects among the entire team.
The Bad: Their energy was very very lacking through ⅔ of the game. They managed to pull a win out this time, but you won’t win a lot of games playing like that.
The Surprising: After going 0-for-38 on the road in the power play, they’ve gotten power play goals in 6 straight road games now, and 2 in this game alone. Just let that sink in a minute.
They get 2 well-deserved nights off, before heading to San Jose to take on the Sharks Thursday in yet another late-night game. Let’s hope they can break the 3-game winning streak curse they’ve been stuck in this season and increase it to 4.