The Wings and Coyotes teamed up for the closest-played game of the series, but it was not enough for Phoenix to save their season and potentially their franchise. Spurred on by two late goals from funky angles by Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi, and then an empty netter by Patrick Eaves, the Wings put the series to bed, doubling up on the Coyotes.
Red Wings 6 Coyotes 3
Wings win the series 4-0
The Wings took care of their business tonight, finishing out the series as quickly as possible and allowing themselves some time to rest for what will surely be a much sterner test from whoever they face in Round 2.
The Coyotes seemed to get much stronger as the series wore on, and give them all the credit in the world for working hard and making sure all the games were close. On paper, the Wings are far superior, but the solid coaching of Dave Tippett and straight-forward approach to their game made life difficult at times for the Wings.
The Wings learned from last years 7 game affair with these same Coyotes how much a little rest means in the playoffs. They had to face the high-powered San Jose Sharks less than two days after downing the Coyotes, and never recovered in the series, losing in 5 games.
In an ironic twist, the Wings may get their chance at revenge, as if things play out with all the top seeds advancing, they would open up round two in just over a week in San Jose. In another weird historic event, if the Coyotes are indeed done in Phoenix, it will have been the Wings who kicked them out, after sending them there 15 years prior, eliminating the Winnipeg Jets in the first round.
As far as the game goes, it wasn’t the prettiest one, that’s for sure, but in the playoffs you can’t be picky.
The Coyotes got their first one off Jonathan Ericsson’s skate.
The Wings got the game-winner from the corner.
In the end, the bounces favored the Wings and off we go to Round 2!
Look forward to a more complete series wrap-up later, when I’ve had time to absorb it all. For now, enjoy the victory! Good night Red Wings fans!
The Off Wing View’s Three Stars
3. Valtteri Filppula 2A
2. Darren Helm 1A
1. Danny Cleary 1G, 2A