The Detroit Red Wings’ winning streak comes to an end, as they lose the last meeting with the Phoenix Coyotes this season by a score of 5-2.
The Red Wings came out of the gate firing in this matchup. It was all Detroit for the vast majority of the first period, even when they were on the penalty kill. They’d take a good lead early off of it, too. At 4:47, Henrik Zetterberg threw a pass from the board across the zone to a waiting Pavel Datsyuk in front of the net, who roofed it over Mike Smith for the first goal of the game. Jonathan Ericsson picked up the secondary assist. They’d strike again quickly, as at 8:02, Todd Bertuzzi took advantage of a flubbed pass by Phoenix and took the puck in against Smith all alone. He put it up and bounced it off of Smith’s arm for his 2nd of the season and the Wings 2nd of the night, making it 2-0. They’d carry the lead to the end of the period, but trailed in shots 16-10.
Their energy tapered off a bit in the second period, as Phoenix upped their play slightly. It was mostly a defensive battle from both ends, as they put bodies and sticks in the shooting and passing lanes to maintain puck possession. The lone goal in the period would be scored by the Coyotes at 19:00, as two Phoenix players skated in the zone on a 2-on-1 on Danny DeKeyser after Ericsson tried to pinch in the offensive zone and put himself out of position. Antoine Vermette then snapped a shot under DeKeyser that Jimmy Howard couldn’t see, and put it in over his glove to make it 2-1 Wings at the end of the period. Detroit managed to hold the slight edge in shots 23-22.
The third period was where everything invariably fell apart. Phoenix managed to score 4 straight goals throughout the period. At 5:07, Mike Ribeiro took a rebound after a shot through traffic, and buried it into the open net to tie the game 2-2. Almost exactly 2 minutes later, Martin Hanzal, after the puck bounced off of the linesman, took it into the Wings’ zone and put it past Howard to take the lead 3-2. Ribeiro would bury a 2nd on the night, as he picked up another rebound that found its way through traffic and off of Brian Lashoff’s skate, and put it into another open net, making it 4-2. And in the closing moments of the period, Phoenix netminder Smith cleared the puck from the zone with a 6-on-5 by the Red Wings, and put it across the goal line with just .1 seconds left in the game.
There are really no words for this one. In a few ways, they were robbed of the game. But in the same sense, they were playing a team that not only played the night before, but lost in a shootout, which means a lot of extra play time. They took control of the 1st period, took a 2-goal lead, and then sat back and expected to take it. You have to skate 60 minutes, or you may as well go home. Their record now sits at 6-3-0.
The next game is Monday night back home and the Joe against the hot San Jose Sharks.