Joe Louis Arena was once again sold out as Detroit played host to Phoenix once more in the D before the series switched back to Phoenix. The crowd was rocking wanting Detroit to come out with a win so that Phoenix would not have a strangle hold on the series.
The first period saw a couple close calls for the Wings when a stray shot from Filpulla literally danced across the goal line but not over it thus being an “almost goal” which started an early up roar that would continue the entire game. The period only had 1 goal by Henrik Zetterberg, tipping in his 4th on the power play which was also almost called a high stick, which would have nullified the goal but it was allowed after a review. The first period saw 5 penalties 2 by Detroit 3 by Phoenix.
The second period was quiet with only 3 penalties but saw Jimmy Howard making 14 saves to hold a 1-0 lead going into the 3rd period of play and Bryzgalov holding the Coyotes to a 1 goal deficit making 9 saves.
The 3rd period saw a breakdown in Detroit’s discipline giving Phoenix 3 chances on the power play but Howard would hold his own and not let in a goal. Datsyuk had a beautiful tic-tac-toe play from Franzen and Lidstrom giving the Wings the lead at 15:53 of the 3rd, Todd Bertuzzi would clear the puck and off a nice pass by Stuart, Zetterberg would finish the play with a 3rd and final goal which would be the deathblow for Phoenix on this night.
Jimmy Howard made 29 saves giving him his first career playoff shutout. Going forward the teams are back on even ground heading back into the desert for game 5 in Phoenix. Should the Wings win they will be able to finish off the series in Detroit for Game 6, the playoff experience is starting to rear its ugly head at Phoenix, also with Phoenix’s captain Shane Doan out can Detroit finish off the Coyotes as they did the last time they met in the post-season.
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Written by Mark Bates