DET-3 PHX-2 F/SO
The Detroit Red Wings were in Glendale Thursday night to face the slumping Coyotes. This must be one of Detroit’s favorite road trips. The weather is sunny and 70s, the crowd has a huge percentage of Red Wings fans, and they win. Detroit has now won 8 of their last 9 road games against Phoenix, including knocking the Coyotes out of the playoffs each of the last two seasons with both series clinching wins coming in Glendale.
The Coyotes continue to have no answer to Pavel Datsyuk and the top line of the Red Wings. Datsyuk added two assists Thursday night to give himself 30 such tallies in the past 30 games. The Wings’ top line of Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen is bigger, faster, tougher and more talented than their Coyotes counterparts. The Coyotes starting forwards of Shane Doan, Daymond Langkow, and team point leader Ray Whitney continue to get outplayed in matchups against Detroit.
The Coyotes saving graces tonight came in the form of the fourth line. Bruiser Raffi Torres gave the Yotes a 1-0 lead early in the 1st, and newcomer Gilbert Brule tied it at 2 late in the 2nd. Brule continues to impress in his first week as a Coyote scoring his third point in as many games. Kyle Chipchurra also continued his hot streak by adding two assists and amassing five points in his last five games. We would also be remiss not to mention the spectacular game put forward by goaltender Mike Smith. One night after a sloppy 6-goal performance in Anaheim, head coach Dave Tippett showed great confidence in the 29 year-old and Smith delivered stopping 33 of 35 shots. Smith was key to the Coyotes salvaging a point in the shootout loss.
The Coyotes have only 3 wins in their last 14 games and are quickly slipping out of the playoff picture. They currently sit tied for 10th in the Western Conference, 2 points behind the 8th place Avalanche. One of the main reasons for the current slide is lack of discipline and organization. The Coyotes took 4 bad penalties Thursday, 3 of which were bench penalties for having too many men on the ice. 3 times? That is inexcusable and it has to fall on the head coach. A silver lining to such egregious penalties is that Detroit was 0-5 on power play chances, so give credit to the Coyotes penalty killing unit.
The Coyotes next 5 games are at home, and the All-Star break is next week. This would be a great time for Tippett and the Yotes to clean up their act and turn this thing around. The last month has been real rough.
About the Author
Written by Doug Podkowsky
I have a lifelong passion for hockey. My earliest memories include watching the great Islanders teams of the early 80s win the Stanley Cup. I learned how to skate when I learned how to walk. While I am no longer in my prime, physically and on the ice, I am still a student of the game and I love to offer my expertise to fans, players, kids, and anyone else who has a passion for this great game