PHX – 3 DET – 1
Detroit had made quite a home away from home here in Phoenix winning 8 of their last 9 trips to the desert. The Red Wings had also taken the last 7 games overall against their former playoff foes. The Coyotes put a halt to those streaks as they wrapped up their season-long 6 game homestand where it started, against the NHL’s top team.
The Coyotes were coming off a win against the Sharks, but had not put back to back wins together since December 21st. Having now won 3 of their last 4, the Coyotes moved past Colorado and Calgary into a tie with the Dallas Stars for 9th in the Western Conference, and are only 2 points behind Minnesota for the 8th and final playoff spot. The Coyotes play the Stars in Dallas tomorrow and return home to face Calgary this Thursday at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes had been hurt by injuries to Martin Hanzel and Boyd Gordon, both of whom missed substantial time before the All-Star break. With both players now healthy, they centered the Coyotes top two lines and were the difference in the game.
Special teams was the name of the game tonight. The Coyotes penalty kill unit continues to play strong as of late, and gave Phoenix the lead midway through the first period when Boyd Gordon stole the puck on a defensive miscue by the Detroit defensemen and beat backup goalie Joey MacDonald on a shorthanded breakaway. The Coyotes power play also came alive in the 2nd when Martin Hanzel netted his seventh goal on the year giving the Coyotes a 2-0 lead. Special teams play was not over, though, and after Rostislav Kiesla was called for a delay of game late in the period, the Coyotes penalty kill could not hold off the Detroit power play.
Mike Smith was named the game’s #1 star as his second spectacular performance in a row shut down the vaunted Red Wing offense in the 3rd. The play was in the Phoenix end throughout the final frame, but Smith stood tall stopping all 11 of Detroit’s shots before Martin Hanzel put the game out of reach with an empty net goal in the game’s final minute. Hanzel now has 3 goals and 4 points in 2 games since returning from injury.
The Coyotes continued to play with the newfound energy that they had the other night against San Jose. In the last game against Detroit, they looked lost and spent the game chasing the Red Wings’ players. On Monday they dictated play much more, outhit the Red Wings, and contained Pavel Datsyuk and Detroit’s top line. It is this type of game that is going to be needed to get the Coyotes into the playoffs, where there is a good chance they will see Detroit again.
Ray Whitney added 2 assists and leads the Coyotes with 47 points. He now has a 5-game point scoring streak and has 11 points (2G, 9 A) in his last 8 games. This was also his 1200th career game
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