Posts tagged “Coyotes”

Wings 1, Coyotes 3

Very briefly:

Overall: Another one for the “generally unimpressive/uninspiring” column. The Wings came out reasonably well, but gradually lost their legs while the Coyotes worked them. They didn’t seem to be on the same page from a passing standpoint and were mostly disjointed in their own end. They gave up an embarrassing shorthanded goal on a play that began with Zetterberg throwing a too-hard pass to nowhere and was compounded by a White/Kronwall collision. That was emblematic of the Wings’ relative cohesiveness in this one.

MacDonald: Didn’t get a win, but looked very sharp and further built up the confidence stock I have him him. He gave up two goals, but his teammates didn’t score more than one so I’m not going to hang this loss on him. I think he earned another start.

Special Teams: They managed one PPG, but they’re still horrible with the man-advantage. Fixing the power play has got to be a priority and it needs to be a priority now.

And I’m not too interested in being positive about the PK success in this one. The Coyotes suck on the PP.

Franzen: Scored, but his giveway led directly to the empty-net goal that sealed it for the Coyotes. Not his best night. Way to live up to the goal scorer stereotype, Johan.

Zetterberg: Continues to mystify. I’m starting to wonder if his wrist issues aren’t flaring up. He’s just not himself.

The Race: The Wings weren’t competing directly against a Central rival last night, with everybody else idle, but they blew a chance at two points and to improve their road record. They’ve got some padding in the lead built up, but they can’t afford many more nights like that.

Travel: They’ve got an easy schedule left from a travel standpoint, so hopefully we’ll see less of this late trip focus loss crap, which seemed to be the story last night. They no doubt saw home shimmering on the horizon and that colored their focus against the Coyotes.

Game Day Notes: @ Phoenix

Update (1:01 PM): Mac gets the nod and Cleary’s playing, despite leaving practice early. – Matt

Update (12:41 PM): Stuart’s missing the skate with the flu, apparently. He’s supposedly probable for tonight. – Matt

… This is the fourth and final game between the Wings and Coyotes this season. The Wings lead the series 3-0, with 5-2, 3-2 (SO), and 3-2 (SO) wins.

… The Coyotes have played four times since we saw them last month and have split that stretch 2-2, alternating wins and losses. They dropped a game to Tampa Bay, won at home against Ottawa, lost at home to the Ducks and notched a home win against the Sharks on Saturday.

… That win put them at 23-21-8 and 54 points, which is good for 12th in the Conference. They’re only four points back of 8th-place Minnesota, however, and are in the beginning of a playoff push.

… The Coyotes are an anemic 11-10-4 at home, which should be a good sign for a Wings team looking to improve its road record.

… George breaks down the relevant media bits and pieces here.

… The Coyotes are still great at staying out of the box, with just 7.8 PIM/game, which is nearly a full minute better than the Wings’ 2nd-place ranking. That the Coyotes stay out of the box is probably good for our blood pressure tonight: fewer failed power plays.

… The Coyotes are relatively healthy, with just Dave Schlemko listed as out.

… Mike Smith is the presumptive starter. Jim Gintonio points out he rebounded from a bad game to come up with 32 saves in Saturday’s win. So, he’s on a bit of an upswing.

… The Wings are coming off a 5-4 SO loss to the Oilers Saturday night and will finish up a four-game road trip with this one. With the Coyotes looking to make a push and the Wings potentially looking to get home, things could be interesting.

… No lineup news yet, but there is something on the goaltending front: the backup job is open.

… Thanks to the losing effort Saturday, it could be that Mike Commodore and Cory Emmerton will be out in favor of Jakub Kindl and Jan Mursak.

… Babcock was very unimpressed with Ty Conklin’s performance in Edmonton, so it’s possible he’ll forego giving him another chance to step up and instead go for Joey MacDonald. We’ll see.

… The Wings don’t have any Central Division competitors active tonight, but they still need points. They weren’t very good Saturday night and have indicated they’d like to be better tonight. They’ve got the ability to back that up, so here’s hoping they do.

Wings 3, Coyotes 2 (SO)

Briefly:

Once Again: The Wings go to a shootout with the Coyotes. This time, it was a rested Detroit team facing off against a Phoenix squad that had played the previous night. So, that it took a shootout to  beat these guys is not exactly something to write home about. But whatever. They  needed the points (especially with St. Louis beating Edmonton) and they got them. Even if it was a little too close.

Jimmy: Didn’t feel quite as unbeatable in this one, with the Torres goal being a bit of a squeaker you’d rather not see. The Brule goal was nice, but still. Nitpicking, I guess.

Power Play: The troubles continue, as they went 0-for, even with the Coyotes handing them three gift bench minors. Pretty sad. They’re at 14th in PP%, which is just not an acceptable rate. Time for something new, as Babcock pointed out. Maybe those two new guys on the bench have some ideas?

White: He’s been very active offensively lately and got a goal for all his trouble. Good to see. He’s a fit here.

Franzen: Took a puck off his foot in the third and had to leave the bench for a bit, but ended up coming back to finish the game. Something to keep an eye on.

Kindl: In for Commodore and I thought he looked pretty good. He finished with three shots, which isn’t bad for a third pairing rookie. Though he was -1. So it wasn’t perfect.

Emmerton: In for Mursak and looked solid in general, though he too was -1.

Smith: His save on Pavel Datsyuk in the shootout was sick. It was a save another former Star didn’t make on much the same move.

Bertuzzi: I know there are plenty of people around the League still unwilling to get on board with this, but I love (love) the quiet career redemption the Wings are able offer Todd. The guy’s having a good season and has been clutch at important parts. He’s a Red Wing.

Perspective: George offers it:

Too close, I think. Too sloppy. Lacking killer instinct or the ability to score when given golden opportunities to do so.

Then I remember that it’s January, that the Wings just played their 8th of 11 games played over the course of 19 nights, having concluded a 3-games-in-3-cities-in-4-nights stretch while all but playing games of playoff seeding-determining importance in [expletive deleted-ing] January, and I’m starting to believe that the Wings’ five-game winning streak is nothing to sneeze at, nor anything to “suck on.”

Still: The standard is high, and they need to meet it. Saturday’s yet another key game leading up to the, uh, keyest game since the last Chicago matchup on Monday. They need to beat the Blue Jackets and then beat the Blues and keep on winning, compressed schedule or not.

No Game Notes Today

I’m unexpectedly pressed for time at work today, so I can’t fit in a notes post. But here’s hoping the Wings can make it 3-0 against the Coyotes this season and retake the Central lead. The Coyotes played last night, so they should be at a further disadvantage. Time to take care of business.

Wings 3, Coyotes 2 (SO)

Briefly:

Not Quite: … the followup game I was hoping for. The Wings at times looked dominant, but at others, they looked sad. There’s no way a team with the low-wattage offense of Phoenix should be able to get by on two goals against the Wings. But at least it didn’t end up in a shootout loss.

Jimmy: Looked strong, for the most part. He had to bail out the Wings a few times as the Coyotes more dangerous guys (Vrbata) threatened, but he took care of it and earned that 100th win.

It’ll be interesting to see if the collision he was involved in with a Coyote in the third will have any bearing on tomorrow’s game. He was favoring his knee a bit after that and it could be that it won’t feel right after he comes down from his game high.

Zetterberg: I guess it has been long enough since he tried that move in the shootout that it would work. Pretty sweet to see.

Datsyuk: Ruled into the lineup before the game and looked very good. His pass to Franzen on the game-tier in the third was incredible and one of a few examples last night of him being on his game.

Mursak: Still fast and still promising. The conditioning stint worked as far as getting him ready to play. It’ll be interesting to see how much he can stick in the lineup once Bertuzzi’s healthy.

Smith: Definitely did a good job holding the Coyotes in it. When the Wings were on their upswings, he more often than not made the save, which was frustrating.

Icings: The Coyotes iced the puck a lot. Unfortunately, the Wings didn’t make them pay for it.

Babcock: That was 400 wins for Babs, which is quite a milestone. Here’s hoping he’s got another few hundred left in him.

Next: The Wings get a rematch with Chicago tomorrow. They’re two points back of the Hawks and would take the lead with a win, if the Blues lose at home against Minnesota.

Game Day Notes: vs. Phoenix

… This is the second of four meetings with the Coyotes this season. The Wings won the first last month, 5-2.

… The Coyotes have lost three of their last four, but earned points in two of those losses. Their win in that span came over the Wings’ nemesis, the Islanders, on Saturday. They then lost to the Rangers on Tuesday.

… They’re 20-17-6, which is good for fourth in the Pacific Division and 11th in the West. They’re just three points back of that 8th seed, however.

… They made a recent addition to their lineup by plucking Gilbert Brule off waivers after the Oilers put him there. He has yet to play, however.

… I wouldn’t expect too many power plays tonight: the Coyotes are the least-penalized team in the League, averaging just 8.2 penalty minutes a  game. The Wings aren’t far behind with 8.5.

… Their offense is in the bottom third of the NHL at 34 with 2.49 goals a game. Their defense does a bit better relative to the rest of the League, at 9th with 2.51 goals allowed per game. But obviously, that’s not going to lead to a great differential: they’re at -2 at this point in the season.

… The Coyotes’ big gun is Radim Vrbata, who’s notched 20 goals so far. Former Red Wing Ray Whitney’s leading the team in points with 36, but Vrbata’s not far behind with 34. Captain Shane Doan rounds out the Coyotes’ complement of double-digit scorers with 12 goals.

Keith Yandle’s still racking up the assists, with 20, but has only put the puck in the net five times.

The Coyotes haven’t gotten terrible contributions from the rest of the team, but it’s clear that if you shut down the top guys there, they struggle to score.

… Mike Smith is the presumptive starter tonight.

… The Wings are coming off a sad loss on the Island Tuesday night. They’re back in their favorite winning place, where they’ve gone 15-2-1 this year. And if they hold to normal team trajectories, they should be on the hunt tonight.

… The good news is Jan Mursak’s been recalled and is available for tonight. The bad news is he may be in because Pavel Datsyuk’s a game-time decision. If Pavel is able to go, however, he may still get in, as Khan tweeted.

Mursak skated with Miller and Helm.

The positive spin on the Datsyuk news is that he’s not so seriously injured that he needs to be flatly ruled out.

… Mike Commodore is still sore from taking a puck off his foot in Chicago and looks to be out, based on the pairings from the skate.

… Jimmy Howard’s back in tonight and may be playing with a wet glove.

… The Wings need to get back on the saddle tonight. They know it, so they probably will. And, I hope, it’s in a lasting way. They’ve still got a game in hand on Chicago and are still only two points back of them and the Blues. Tonight’s a good opportunity to beat up a low-firepower team and head into Saturday’s rematch with the Hawks on a positive note.

Wings 5, Coyotes 2

Briefly:

Frontloaded Awesome, Backloaded Meh: So the Wings got off to an incredibly fast start, with two goals in the first 2:09 and then a pair of goals in less than a minute later in the period. Rounding things out was a late fifth goal. They chased Mike Smith with the first four and then got one past Jason LaBarbara before apparently deciding that was enough. By the second and third periods, they were mostly coasting. The Coyotes had ample opportunity to recover from their early discombobulation and make the game a little closer to close than it ever should have been.

Jimmy: Fortunately for Detroit, Jimmy Howard was in Crutch Mode late in the game. So another trailing-off effort rewarded because they’ve got a stellar goalie. And lesson not learned, I’m sure.

Cleary: Two dumb penalties. Not his best night.

Datsyuk: Looked good when he was in the game, but they opted to pull him out with a supposedly minor lower body injury when the Wings blew up the scoreboard. Not sure if the mindset that said “well, we’re up a lot, don’t really need to ask Pavel to keep playing,” became “well, we’re up a lot, Pavel’s out, let’s get casual.”

Pretty Plays: Were the order of the day. Z’s slick pass out to Fil, the set up to White that led to Homer’s clean-up job, Conner’s nifty drop pass to Helm and Z’s pass across to Hudler were all a lot of fun to watch. And Bert’s play to himself as the puck pinballed was cool too. I would like to see more of all that, please!

Filppula: Didn’t miss a step. He’s having a great season.

Next: Saturday, they play host to Winnepeg for the first time this season. I wonder if any tones for future Conference clashes will be set.