30 January 2008

I'll Take It! (Wings 3, Coyotes 2)

I admit, this might be the least confident I've ever been going into a Wings/Coyotes game. Especially since the arrival of Ilya Bryzgalov, the Coyotes have been a much more intimidating team - but then again, it's tough to shake the confidence of any Wings fan given their current performances.

Henrik Zetterberg (who going into this game had an average of 2.7 goals per night against Phoenix) was back tonight - and he made his presence known, scoring about four minutes into the game from a ridiculous angle, nearly past the goal line, as for the second night in a row, Bryzgalov lets in a goal off of the first shot of the game. The big line of Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Tomas Holmstrom was reunited at the start of the game and made their presence known, following this goal up with several other good scoring chances.

Chris Osgood had a great night once again, making a slew of timely saves (including one brilliant reach-around effort to keep a puck that got behind him out of the net) to keep the Wings in the game through the first two periods in which the Coyotes excelled at getting pucks to the net. Both he and Bryzgalov fended off a bit of jostling in front of the net - Osgood was knocked over by Fredrik Sjostrom and even lost his helmet, and Bryz took offense to a bit of roughing at the hands of Dan Cleary, whom he then took a couple jabs at with his blocker, which was hilarious, I promise.

Martin Hanzal tied it up late in the first on a giveaway by Nicklas Kronwall, and Ed Jovanavski had the other goal for Phoenix shortly into the second - a one-timer that Osgood never saw - but then the tides seemed to turn.

Through the first period and the start of the second, the Wings weren't in control of the puck nearly enough, but that turned around toward the end of the second. Zetterberg at one point had about a million chances to score, and even though he didn't cash in, it seemed to instill a new sense of confidence in the Wings, but that particular rush seemed to make a serious difference in the game.

Tomas Holmstrom scored the evener in the third period, deflecting in a Nick Lidstrom shot that, in a show of just how great a player Lidstrom is, was timed perfectly for exactly that. He scored again with 7:28 left in the period to put the Wings up 3-2, which would be the final score - his first goal on home ice this season. The last few minutes of play were littered with chances from both teams, including a great stop by Osgood on a Shane Doan breakaway with 30 seconds left in the game. In the last minute of play, Chris Chelios got some time on the pp - Ken and Mickey speculated it was Babcock's way to get him off his back. Maybe a late birthday present?

Nicklas Kronwall unfortunately left the game in the third with a shoulder injury and didn't return - word is that he hurt his clavicle and may have separated his shoulder. He'll miss at least one week, and with Brett Lebda out as well, the Wings will call up a Griffins defenseman for the coming games.

The next Wings game is February 1st against the Avalanche, and with luck the team can extend their winning streak to six.

Random stat:

Of the top 9 players in the league in +/-, 6 are Red Wings. Lidstrom leads the league as a +43 and Datsyuk is second, while Zetterberg, Cleary, Filppula, and Kronwall also make the list.

Um. Awesome.


CKim said...

I just saw the highlights. That did NOT look good for Kronwall. Never a good sign when a player slumps like that.

Kirsten said...

What's wrong with my boy Lebda?

Steph said...

Connie: I've heard one week, but I've also heard shoulder separation and I don't think those two things mesh.

Kirsten: Sore wrist - he skated at practice this morning though so I think it's mostly just precautionary, no worries!

Kirsten said...

Awesome. Wrists can be a real bitch, but mine might just be unhappy with me that I've chosen to have it chopped up twice in the last six months.

Feel better, Brett!