Three Questions: Wings-Coyotes
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 51st game
All fans in attendance at tonight’s game received a free Hossa flag, and the man pictured on the giveaway put on quite a show. The Wings’ leader in goals potted two more Wednesday, giving him 28 on the season. He did so by using his stickhandling and shooting abilities that made him the prize of the free agency period last summer.
On his first goal, Hossa grabbed a drop pass from center Pavel Datsyuk, and fired a rocket of a wrist shot that went through defenseman Zbynek Michalek and goalie Ilja Bryzgalov.
On his second (the prettiest goal of the night in my opinion), Hossa started with the puck deep in the Phoenix zone, and tricked former University of Michigan star Kevin Porter to follow him all the way up to the blue line. There, Hossa pulled the puck in, slammed on the brakes, and watched Porter drift past him. The star of the evening charged towards the Phoenix goal, holding off an opponent with one hand while controlling the puck with the other, then beat Bryzgalov short side with a quick wrist shot through a screen.
It should also be noted that Hossa drew the penalty in the final minute that gave the Red Wings the man-advantage and eventual win. Maneuvering deep within the Phoenix zone, Hossa forced Joel Perrault to haul him down, and the Wings made no mistake of capitalizing on their opportunity. Nicklas Lidstrom scored seven seconds later, off the Wings’ face-off win, to put the game away.
How did Henrik Zetterberg look in his first game back?
There might have been some concern for the Hockeytown faithful when Zetterberg disappeared from the Red Wings' roster a day before he signing the longest contract in team history. But there shouldn’t be; Zetterberg looked just fine in his return. The Wings’ assistant captain played 20-minutes, and seeing plenty of penalty-kill and power-play time. He scored a beautiful goal in the second period, taking a pass from Datsyuk to the right of the slot and beating Bryzgalov to the far post with a quick wrist shot. Zetterberg was physical in the corners, he was skating well, and he didn’t have any problems controlling the puck. In the closing seconds of the contest, defenseman Ed Jovanovski took a couple of cheap shots at Zetterberg, but he seemed to be OK.
What about Darren Helm?
Helm was called up from Grand Rapids on Tuesday and was in his first game since Nov. 26. The 22-year-old, in his third stint with the big league club this season, skated for 12-minutes against the Coyotes. He recorded four hits, two penalty minutes, and he drew a penalty near the end of the first period. The young forward showed off his speed throughout the contest, and if he stays up he may see more ice time as he gets re-acclimated to the Wings’ systems.