Pregame: Danny Cleary’s in for sure, as the beat reporters have tweeted that the Cleary-Helm-Miller line is starting the game. Brad Stuart is out, so Mike Commodore steps in. Ericsson has been promoted to the second pairing with Nik Kronwall, so Commie will pair with Jakub Kindl. Joey MacDonald starting, as expected.
15:02 Hooking penalty to Ian White.
14:24 Hooking penalty to Martin Hanzal. 4 on 4 for a while.
12:38 Goal for Boyd Gordon. White and Kronwall collide and Gordon comes up with the puck, dekes around MacDonald on the breakaway.
3:52 Shots 6-6 at this point. The Wings have really done a pretty good job at blocking the puck before it gets to Joey Mac, so far.
1:31 Hooking penalty to Nick Lidstrom.
Shots stay 6-6 through the period. Blocked shots 9-1 for Detroit. I think they need to trust Joey Mac a little more, if they’re going to generate any offense.
15:32 Tripping penalty to Ian White. It kind of looked like Oliver Ekman-Larsson just stepped on White’s stick.
13:44 Hooking penalty to Pavel Datsyuk. Pasha and Valtteri Filppula had been forechecking hard shorthanded, and Ekman-Larsson kind of skated through where Pasha was reaching for the puck.
13:05 Goal for Hanzal– Ray Whitney’s shot deflects off Hanzal screening MacDonald.
This game is much like a desert day– dull and causing me a headache. Also I keep thinking of the line from “Treasure Buddies” that they kept showing previews of during the Puppy Bowl yesterday: “Desert? I thought you said dessert!”
Kronwall has some sort of minor injury that he’s icing down on the bench between shifts.
4:56 Tripping penalty to Michal Rozsival. Let’s see if the extra power play practice did any good.
2:46 Delay of game penalty to Rostislav Klesla (puck over glass).
2:36 GOAL for Johan Franzen! Datsyuk passes to Henrik Zetterberg behind the net, Hank flips it out front, and Mule taps it in.
Shots 14-8 Detroit in the second.
10 minutes in and not much to speak of. Joey Mac has looked sharp, particularly on a scoring chance generated by a BAD giveaway by (who else) Ericsson.
Datsyuk had a glorious scoring chance right by the goal line, but tried to get the shot away too quickly and just plain missed the net.
5:57 Tripping penalty to Shane Doan.
0:50 Joey Mac out of the net for an extra skater.
0:28.5 Empty net goal for Hanzal.
Meh. It wasn’t bad enough to bring Statler and Waldorf in for commentary, but it certainly was a beige game. That’s enough of that long road trip business.
Next up: the Wings return home to host the Edmonton Oilers at 7:30 on Wednesday.
Okay, I go on vacation for a few days and you guys break our goalie while I’m gone? This is why we can’t have nice things!
(As an aside, I got the news about Jimmy Howard’s broken finger while I was using the restroom at a sports-themed restaurant that has televisions in the restroom. I happened to glance up just in time to see the info go across the news crawl at the bottom of the screen. The other women who were in the restroom are probably still wondering why a big Vader-style “NOOOOOOOO!” came out of one stall.)***
As you probably know, Mike Babcock was, shall we say, less than impressed with Ty Conklin’s performance against the Oilers on Saturday. He was, however, impressed by Joey MacDonald giving the Wings a chance to win after Conk was pulled, so Joey Mac will be getting the start tonight against Phoenix. MacDonald sounds like he’s ready to take advantage of the opportunity. “I didn’t sign here to be down in Grand Rapids,” he said. “You got to keep working hard wherever you are and when you get the opportunity, take advantage of it.”
Brad Stuart is listed as “probable” (flu). (How many of us could have flu and still play a hockey game, or, really, do anything beyond traveling from bed to bathroom and back again?!?) Danny Cleary is also listed as probable with a sore left knee. (This will be Cleary’s 800th career game.)
Per MLive, the starting lines are as follows:
Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore are ready to step in for Cleary and/or Stuart if need be.
Power play improvement is going to be key; Detroit was 0 for 4 on Saturday and only 6 for 65 in the past 22 games. “Our power play hadn’t been wearing on the other team, hadn’t been grinding, grinding, grinding, spending two minutes in the zone,” Babcock said. “Motion and not taking the shots,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom added. “Sometimes we’re guilty of making that extra pass. When we get the shot through, we have to get the puck back. That’s been one of our problems, too, puck retrieval.”
The Coyotes are fighting for the 8th playoff spot, and they’re coming off a strong 5-3 win against San Jose on Saturday. Detroit has won all three of their games against Phoenix so far this season, so undoubtedly the Coyotes will have that somewhere in the back of their minds as well. Mike Smith is expected to get the start in net.
Tonight’s game will be on NBCSN, the network formerly known as Versus. 8:00 for broadcast start time.
Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*
*** The “NOOOOOOO!” part didn’t really happen, but the rest of it did.
Pregame: No! Bad TiVo! Hockey outranks all other programs so stop trying to change the channel!
The crowd shots FSD is showing of the crowd walking around on the Jobing.com Arena concourse is actually from a Phoenix vs Pittsburgh game. Just thought I would point that out.
Captain Nick is praising Jiri Hudler’s offseason conditioning and determination to re-prove himself.
Jimmy Howard and Mike Smith confirmed as our starting goalies.
17:37 Goal for Raffi Torres. Jimmy Howard is watching to prevent a wraparound by Kyle Chipchura, and doesn’t see that Torres is in position to do the same thing.
15:59 Phoenix penalty for too many men on the ice. Served by Torres.
9:01 Phoenix penalty to Radim Vrbata for delay of game (puck over glass).
7:07 Hudler’s shot rings off the post.
6:32 Detroit penalty to Brad Stuart for slashing. Coyotes’ power play is 29th in NHL.
3:28 Another Phoenix penalty for too many men on the ice. I’m thinking the coaching staff is going to be a bit irked.
1:15 Darren Helm has a good scoring chance, but the shot rings off the post.
Not the most interesting period I’ve seen, even with plenty of shots– 13-12 Phoenix.
18:24 GOAL for Ian White! Shot from the right circle, Mike Smith is out of position due to Todd Bertuzzi skating around in front of the net.
13:09 Ken and Murph reporting that Daymond Langkow is out for the rest of the game with an upper body injury.
11:03 Offsetting roughing minors to Chipchura and Justin Abdelkader.
8:47 GOAL for The Todd! Nice shot from the left circle, up and over Smith. It’s Bertuzzi’s 299th career goal.
8:06 A scrum by the Wings’ net leads to a roughing penalty to Gilbert Brule.
5:52 Goal for Brule. Gets in ahead of the Wings’ defenders and dekes to put the puck low past Howard’s left leg pad.
0:01 Detroit penalty to Henrik Zetterberg for a play against Lauri Korpikoski along the boards. Phoenix will start the third period with a power play.
Shots 14-10 Detroit in the second.
15:27 ANOTHER too many men on the ice penalty for Phoenix, served again by Torres. Coach Tippett looks kind of disgusted.
10:13 Looks like Mule might be hurt from blocking a Derek Morris shot. He had some trouble getting to the bench and the trainers are taking him down to the room.
5:45 And Mule is back on the ice and seems fine.
A couple of shots off the posts, but no scoring. Going to overtime.
Pavel Datsyuk has played over a minute without his stick, still getting in Coyotes’ way and kicking the puck away from them.
3:19 Detroit penalty to Datsyuk for tripping. It was actually Ian White, on replay, but Pasha gets the penalty. 4 on 3 power play.
Babs calls timeout to rest his guys before the penalty kill.
Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata have good scoring chances on the power play, but Howard comes up with the saves.
Just as the OT is ending, Valtteri Filppula gets his best shot of the game, but it wouldn’t have gotten in before the buzzer. So it seems we are going to another shootout.
1. Doan goes in but Howard stays right with him for the pad save.
2. Datsyuk makes a tricky shot and Smith falls for the deke, but somehow makes the glove save.
3. Vrbata kind of runs out of real estate and doesn’t quite get the shot away.
4. Jiri Hudler shoots into Smith’s chest.
5. Brule loses the puck before he can shoot it.
6. THE TODD with a spin and a backhand goal for the win!
The win tonight brings Detroit to .500 in their road record. A good start in improving it. Furthermore, the two points again put the Wings on top of the Western Conference, one point against St. Louis. Do I have to say that Monday’s game against the Blues might be kind of important when spring comes around?
Up next: The Red Wings will head home in the morning and get ready to host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at 7:00. Incidentally, the Blue Jackets discovered today that defenseman Radek Martinek will be out for the rest of the season with concussion symptoms, so they signed former Wing Brett Lebda to a contract. Lebda had been playing with the Jackets’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons.
We may be seeing some sunburned Swedes on the ice tonight. This writer, a Scots-Irish-Swedish-American, sympathizes.
After a day off yesterday, the Red Wings will attempt to continue improving their road record against the Coyotes at the Jobing.com Arena. The Wings lead the season series 2-0; both previous games were in Detroit.
The only lineup change to report is the standard swap– Cory Emmerton and Jakub Kindl will be back in the lineup in place of Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore. Jimmy Howard will be starting. Mike Babcock wants the boys to focus on playing as well on the road as they have at home. “You got to play good without the puck if you’re going to be successful. Then you have the puck all the time and you have lots of offense. We’ve been able to do that at home and committed to doing that. We haven’t been on the road.”
At the Phoenix end of the rink, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Mike Smith will be in net this evening. This surprises me, actually– the Coyotes dropped a 6-2 decision to Anaheim last night with Smith in net. Coach Dave Tippett is apparently going with the “if you fall off the horse get right back on again” philosophy of goaltending. Center Martin Hanzal, who has been on injured reserve with an upper body injury, may play tonight; he’s listed as a game time decision.
Otherwise, we know Phoenix pretty well, don’t we? Watch for Shane Doan to throw his weight around and Keith Yandle to be a scoring threat from the blue line, and do not look past them to the next game. After an embarrassing loss last night, the Coyotes are likely to want to send a message. On the other hand, this is the second of back to back games for them. If the Wings press hard early to take advantage of any Coyote sluggishness and play a steady, slightly gritty defensive road game throughout, they should be heading home with a win and another two points.
Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*
Awesome start, mediocre middle, happy ending.
1st period: Goal after goal for Detroit! First, Todd Bertuzzi scored when Pavel Datysuk took advantage of a Keith Yandle turnover and controlled a bouncy puck to pass to The Todd in the slot. Bertuzzi lifted a high shot over goalie Mike Smith. Second, the second line struck. Henrik Zetterberg carried the puck around the net, harrassed the whole way by a Coyotes defenseman, and passed the puck out front to Valtteri Filppula (and his bulletproof sock) for a quick goal. Third, Tomas Holmstrom showed off his cred as a power play specialist by redirecting an Ian White backhand shot made possible by good puck protection by Datsyuk. Fourth, Darren Helm scored on a play which was actually similar to the one which led to Filppula’s goal. Chris Conner carried the puck around the net before passing to Helm for the quick tap-in. That was the end of the game for Smith, who gave up these four goals on eleven shots before being replaced by Jason LaBarbera. The Wings’ offense wasn’t quite done yet, however, and the fifth goal was another hit for the second line. Filppula carried the puck to the net but got too close before he could get a shot away. Zetterberg got to the loose puck and sent it to Jiri Hudler, who made no mistake shooting it past LaBarbera. The Yahoo! Sports box score for the game tells me that the shots were even at 12 per team in the first period, and I have no reason to think they’re wrong, but I’m honestly having trouble believing it. It does not match at all with what my eyes were telling me.
2nd period: This is where the game began to drift into a bit of complacency. The Wings could have had penalty trouble with a 50 second 3 on 5 with Bertuzzi serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice and Danny Cleary out for boarding, but they managed to keep the Coyotes from really getting organized, and Jimmy Howard was strong on the chances that got through. Phoenix did get on the board late in the period when Radim Vrbata made a play to himself off the side boards and beat Niklas Kronwall in to get the shot away. All in all, kind of a snoozer of a period.
3rd period: Much the same as the second. Martin Hanzal cut Detroit’s lead to three goals when he redirected a Shane Doan shot during a power play. The Red Wings tightened up some after that and kept the Coyotes from getting any thoughts of making a game out of this.
Notes: Pavel Datsyuk left the game after the second intermission, but Mike Babcock assured reporters it was just precautionary. “We knew he was a bit sore going into the game, didn’t get sore (in the game) or anything like that,” Babcock said. “He’ll be fine. We’ll probably give him tomorrow off and go from there.”
Next game: Saturday at 7:00. The Wings host the Winnipeg Jets. I’m gonna be there, oh yeah. 🙂
Again, I apologize for the lateness and the shallowness of this preview. Work is beating me up but good this week. If anyone would like to do some voodoo that causes me to win the lottery so I can be your full-time hockey writer, feel free! 🙂
The Red Wings will have Valtteri Filppula back in the lineup tonight, complete with a bulletproof sock. (Sort of… he’s wearing a Kevlar “sleeve” under his sock to protect his deep cut from further injury or irritation. Filppula will be back on the second line with Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler. Mike Babcock wants to keep Chris Conner in the lineup, so Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore will be the healthy scratches. Jimmy Howard will get the start in net.
Babcock has expressed concern with the inefficiency of the Wings’ penalty killing over the last two games. I wouldn’t expect major changes, since Coach says he likes the structure of the PK, but look for perhaps some minor tweaks in the pairings.
Phoenix comes in for this first meeting of the season on a two game win streak– the last time Detroit and Phoenix played was when the Wings swept the Coyotes in the first round of last season’s playoffs. Expect perhaps some bitter feelings there. Phoenix will have defenseman Michael Roszival returning to the lineup after an October 8th facial injury (puck to face). Goaltender Mike Smith, who has been a very pleasant surprise for the Coyotes, will be getting the start.
Detroit’s key to the game? Don’t let Phoenix score first. The Coyotes are 13-1-3 this season when they get the first goal.
In fact, don’t let Phoenix score AT ALL. Just to be on the safe side. I’m going for the extra simple analysis here. But when you’ve been on a two game losing streak, you need to get back to fundamentals, right?
Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*