Three Questions: Wings-Coyotes
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 67th game
The Wings never quit on their offensive attack Tuesday night, and it finally paid off on their 43rd shot. Forward Johan Franzen cut to the slot, and fired a quick wrist shot to beat goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the right post and into the back of the net. The goal, Franzen’s 27th of the season, wrapped up a 3-2 victory for the Red Wings at the 3:35 mark of overtime.
Detroit ran into a hot goaltender in Bryzgalov, who made 40 saves to frustrate the Wings throughout the contest. To make matters worse, the Coyotes only gave the Wings one power-play opportunity (which they capitalized on), holding the game’s best man-advantage unit at bay. That kept the Coyotes in the game, though the Wings controlled the shots and the majority of the action.
The Wings showed they were ready to overcome a tough outing last time at home, and the prime example was defenseman Brian Rafalski. Rafalski, who wasn’t pleased with his performance on Saturday, played great Tuesday night, and picked up his ninth goal of the season. Taking a pass from Pavel Datsyuk, Rafalski walked in towards the Phoenix goal, and with a hard wrist shot, snuck the puck through Bryzgalov.
How did Tomas Holmstrom look in his first game back?
Forward Tomas Holmstrom returned to the line-up Tuesday night, and showed no signs of wear after missing 18 games due to sports hernia surgery. Holmstrom skated on the third line with Tomas Kopecky and Mikael Samuelsson; a new-look line while Homer tries to regain his skating legs. He recorded 11:49 worth of ice time, a number that will increase as his recovery progresses.
Holmstrom looked good in his first game back, camping out in front of the Phoenix goal as soon as he could. He saw a lot of action in his ‘office’, disrupting Bryzgalov and bothering the Coyotes’ defensemen. He was standing right on top of the crease for Rafalski’s goal, a primary reason that the Wings converted on their lone power play. Holmstrom was back with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the top power play unit, which made the Wings’ attack look even more difficult to contain.
What was the goal of the night?
With the obvious exception of Franzen’s game-winning tally, it was the Wings’ first goal that was most impressive. The Wings started the game off with a bang, which is exactly what they needed to forget about their last contest. Franzen carried the puck into the Phoenix zone, and sent a cross-ice feed to Valtteri Filppula. Filppula gathered in the pass, which went through the Phoenix defense, and glided towards Bryzgalov. He waited for the Coyotes’ goaltender to bite, then beat him short-side with a quick wrist shot for his ninth goal of the season.