Late Collapse Leads to Shocking Defeat

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Stunned. That’s the only word I can think of to describe my reaction from about 5 minutes left in the game on. Absolutely stunned that the Wings could let a third period, three goal lead slip through their fingers, only to fall in the shootout.

Red Wings 4 Coyotes 5 (SO)

The Wings are a veteran team. They know better than to take their foot off the gas against anyone, at any time. Against the Phoenix Coyotes, a team that will never out-skill you but thrive off of outworking and out-coaching their opponents, it is especially disastrous.

They know better, yet they still let off the gas.That’s troubling.

They said they were well-rested, after having two days to rest following their loss in San Jose. That is even more worrisome.

They should have had the energy to drive their foot down once they had Phoenix pinned to the ice. The killer instinct wasn’t there in this one.

All three Phoenix goals in the final frame were a result of the Wings standing around in their own zone. When you keep your feet moving, you make good things happen. When you try to do things standing still is when you can get into trouble. The Coyotes were the team that had their feet moving in the third period.

It was also a game of bounces, with the Wings the beneficiaries of some good luck in the first two periods. Drew Miller scored from long range on Bryzgalov early in the first period, and in the second Filppula banked a shot from behind the net off of Breezy and in.

They couldn’t find the same puck luck in the shootout, when both Jiri Hudler and Todd Bertuzzi rang their attempts off of the iron

Despite allowing four goals, I thought Jimmy Howard had a fantastic game and made some absolutely stellar saves. You would have liked to see him shut the door in the third, but it’s tough when you aren’t getting any help.

Hopefully a little home cooking is what this team needs now, after a 5 game trip that included a stretch of three games in four nights in three different cities. In all, the trip spanned all four North American time zones. By the time the Wings drop the puck on Wednesday against the Kings, they should be back in the right frame of mind to start the stretch run to the playoffs.

If there is one positive to take out of tonight’s game it’s that Franzen finally got on the board. He hadn’t scored since netting 5 against Ottawa over a month ago. As a guy whose as streaky as they come, look for Franzen to keep it rolling next game.

The Off Wing View’s Three Stars

3. Darren Helm SHG, 1A – His .shorty in the second period would have been enough to earn him a star in it’s own right. He blew past the Phoenix defender, beat him to the puck in the corner, avoided the hit and went top shelf. It’s plays like that when you start to think that maybe he can be more than a third or fourth line center somewhere down the line.

2. Radim Vrbata 1A, GWG-SO – Vrbata may not be a big name player, but he was one of Phoenix’s most noticeable skaters. He was also the only one to score in the shootout from either team.

1. Ray Whitney 1G, 1A – I always liked Ray during his brief time with the Wings, and he helped lead the Coyotes to a victory tonight. The Wings were clinging to their two goal lead when he potted his 13th at 14:43, which of course led to tying it up minutes later and eventually the SO winner.