Overall, I think you can look at tonight's Red Wings - Coyotes game and see a lot that looks good for Detroit. They rallied from one down, scored four straight, and got an important Game One win. Break it down by period, though, and it's almost like three separate games.
I don't care how close the shots were, Phoenix controlled the opening period. True, a lot of that can be attributed to special teams, but that doesn't matter at the end of the night. Detroit did a nice job of weathering the storm but never got anything of their own going.
That changed in the second, which was all Detroit. Much more possession in the Phoenix zone and a better job of keeping the Coyotes from getting opportunities. Whistles put away, Wings got momentum. Not a conicidence.
Third period, game slowed down. Wings got a little sloppy as they let up and focused on preventing the lead. Never a good combination but it worked well enough.
The Red Wings need more of that second period. With their problems with consistency, they've gotta find a way to keep their foot on the gas for a full game.
Individual parts of the game worthy of note...
All four goals for Detroit (hell, all of the goals) were great plays. As I said at the time, Datsyuk's goal doesn't happen if he tries to skate it around the net. That was a great stick play. Franzen, Rafalski, Hudler, Turris and Vrbata? Fantastic shots, perfect placement.
Jimmy Howard was on tonight. A couple times I thought he bobbled the puck but stayed with it and one miscommunication behind the net. Did he go down early on the Turris goal? Maybe, but that's modern goaltending; dare them to beat you high and Turris did that time.
Sounds like fans of both teams were complaining about officiating. My complaint isn't so much what was called - you could call a lot of what the Wings were sent to the box for "cheap" but they were still the right call - but rather what wasn't. Darren Helm seemed to take a shot high in the first period on a PK, that goes uncalled while they crack down on hooking? Overall, not a poorly called game, I hope that doesn't get played up much 'cause I think it was mostly right.
That said, all those PKs the Wings had to go through (especially the five-on-three early) definitely kicked them into gear. Fantastic special teams effort tonight, scoring once on three PP chances and holding strong on six PKs.
So it's one down, three to go. Worry about the second round if it happens. Easy to look ahead and feel good right now, we'll see how it's going Saturday afternoon.
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