The Detroit Red Wings fall to 2-2 on the season, dropping the game 4-2 against the Phoenix Coyotes.
As has been their trademark since late last season, the Red Wings were slow out of the gate once again. Their passes looked sluggish and they had big trouble gaining clean entry through the neutral zone and into the Coyotes’ zone. Faceoffs were the story of the period, and their lack of winning led directly to the first Phoenix goal. At just 2:21 into the game, Derek Morris received a pass off the faceoff and let off a slapshot from the blue line through lots of traffic, beating Jimmy Howard on the far side to make it 1-0 Coyotes. They continued to drag through the period and got trounced in faceoffs, ending the period trailing in shots 11-10.
The second period looked a bit more like the Red Wings team we know. 5:07 into the period, off of a close-up Jakub Kindl shot, Joakim Andersson picked up the rebound and quickly popped the puck up over Mike Smith’s shoulder for his first of the season, and the Red Wings’ first of the night, tying it 1-1. Todd Bertuzzi was later also credited with an assist on the goal. They would then take the lead shortly after. Just 53 seconds later, Jonathan Ericsson fired a wrister from the blue line that beat Smith around his arm on the short-side for a Red Wings lead at 2-1. The lead was short-lived though, as just 1:04 later, in a big scrum in front of the net, and with Howard down on the ice, Mikkel Boedker took the puck and put it up high over Jimmy to tie the game once again at 2-2. They ended the period again trailing in shots, 25-22.
Both teams played a tightly-checked game coming out for the third, neither trying to give an inch. While the even strength play saw a few good looks, the Red Wings’ power play has still yet to find their first goal, as a third period power play went unconverted on. And the importance of power play goals was seen when Phoenix took the lead from what would have been one just 2 seconds beforehand. 2 seconds after the power play expired, at 15:13, Michael Stone took a pass at the blue line and one-timed a slap shot through traffic to beat Howard on the far-side, similarly to the Morris goal in the first, taking the lead 3-2. The deal was sealed after they pulled Howard with moments remaining, and Phoenix capitalized on the chance. At 19:10, Daniel Alfredsson was battling in their own zone for the puck, when it was passed to Antoine Vermette who potted the empty net goal and sealed the loss for Detroit.
Faceoffs were the big story of the night. Phoenix won roughly double the faceoffs that Detroit did, and capitalized more than once on the opportunities. They need to work on it and make the power play connect before the next game.
Next game will be Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. See you then, Nation!