FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Coyotes 3, Red Wings 1.
Ugly. The team is in trouble without Jimmy Howard. Not that this game is on Joey MacDonald’s head — he played quite well. But if we’ve seen anything this season, it’s that Howard finds a way to win, and the others don’t. Conklin and MacDonald are a combined 3-7. Howard, on the other hand, is 32-12. That’s a winning percentage of 73 — compared to 30%.
BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE
- Surprise! The power play shits the bed again — getting an abbreviated (38 second) man advantage in the first period. Not only were they going ass-over-elbows over one another on the blueline, they give up a shorthanded goal. So… 1-for-41 coming into tonight’s game (in the last 15 road games) somehow gets worse. Eight minutes into the game, it’s 1-0 Coyotes, who were 19-4-5 when scoring first.
- COACH PETRELLA TIME! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the X’s and O’s part of our beautiful game, there’s a phenomenon referred to as “50/50 pucks.” What it means, essentially, is a puck that isn’t possessed by any team, with both teams having an equal opportunity to gain possession. Perhaps it’s a missed pass that floats into an unoccupied corner, or a strategic re-direct by a goaltender into a deserted swatch of ice. Nevertheless, with the competitive equality between teams’ talent levels, games can be won and lost by deciding who gets more of the 50/50 pucks. In the first few minutes, the Wings had awesome puck control and kept possession very nicely. However, after the five or six minute mark, the Coyotes owned the 50/50 pucks. At the heart of it, it’s a matter of appetite for it. You have to want those pucks and take them, not just hope they find their way to you. THAT’S the difference going into an intermission down one.
- Rather eventful first half of the second period: Ian White took his second penalty of the game, and was joined shortly after by Pavel Datsyuk. White’s penalty would expire, but the Wings wouldn’t be so lucky on the second. Ray Whitney found a little bit of real estate and fired a puck into traffic (it looked like it hit Martin Hanzal on the way in) and banked one in for a 2-0 lead. During the kill, Niklas Kronwall blocked a shot with his right hand or wrist and would go off to get some attention. Kronwall would return, however.
- Johan Franzen would finally break through — both in the “score a goal” way and in the “stop sucking so badly on the power play” way. The Mule is the first Wing to 20 goals this year, and the Coyote lead was cut in half. The Wings PP “improved” to 2-for-44 (4.5%) in the last 16 road games. The score would remain 2-1 Coyotes heading into the locker room a second time.
- The third period provided more of the same — Phoenix playing better hockey than Detroit, and eventually sealing it with an empty netter.
BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE
- Congratulations to Dan “Bear” “Buckets” “Loins” Cleary, who played his 800th career NHL game against a former team.
DISCH APPROVED “HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Joey MacDonald played very well in what is considered his audition for the backup role. Ty Conklin fluttered that chance away, and Mac is going to do what he can to convince the Wings NOT to make a deal at the end of the month, and instead keep him. It was a good first step.
THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
No question here: Ian White — two penalties, a collision leading to the first goal, a stumble leading to the second goal. It was an ugly night for the usually-steady White, and I’m sure he’ll bounce back. But he earned this tonight. Honorable mention to the goal scorer, Johan Franzen, for handing the empty net goal to the Coyotes on a silver platter when the Wings were trying to gear something up to tie it.
The Wings are back on Wednesday night against the Oilers. They’ll look to continue their torrid win streak at the Joe, where they haven’t lost a game since November 3rd. It’ll be the first game of a six-game home stand. Vin Diesel Week continues. Let’s all hope that Sam Gagner Week does not.
Say hello to former Miss USA and current Red Wings fan Rima Fakih (literally, say hello: @officialrima):
Her Mr. Universe counterpart, Tarik Kaljanac: