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Wings don't take the bait

Coyotes set physical trap, but Wings kept their cool

Tuesday, 04.19.2011 / 1:43 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Wings don\'t take the bait
GLENDALE, Ariz. – For Detroit fans, it was the equivalent of seeing football legend Barry Sanders caught from behind.

It didn’t happen much – if at all – in his illustrious Hall of Fame career.

Same is true for Nicklas Lidstrom, who rarely gets hit like he was late in the first period of Monday’s 4-2 victory in a pivotal Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at Jobing.com Arena. The Wings now have a commanding 3-0 series lead and can complete a series sweep with a win Wednesday night back at Jobing.com Arena.

Playing in his 250th career playoff game, Lidstrom was a target all night long for the Coyotes’ forwards, who seemingly were on a mission to rattle the Red Wings by physically abusing the future Hall of Fame defenseman.

Unfortunately for the Coyotes, the Wings weren’t taking the bait.

“We’re not doing that; we’re just going to play,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “So I don’t think we were as physical as we were the first two games and didn’t spend as much time in the offensive zone as we did the previous games, but that’s how we’re going to be physical. It won’t be after the whistle. To me that’s wasted energy.”

The first hit on Lidstrom was probably the hardest hit that he’s absorbed since Colorado’s Ian Laperriere caught Detroit’s captain with a high hit along the boards in February 2008. The hit left Lidstrom to fall awkwardly against the boards, sidelining him for a few weeks with a sprained right knee.

With the Wings leading 2-0 on Monday, the Coyotes began to surge a bit late when Taylor Pyatt became Public Enemy No. 1.

Pyatt laid out Lidstrom, who never saw the former first-round draft pick of the Islanders coming. Before the hit, Lidstrom was tracking Coyotes forward Lee Stempniak behind the Wings’ net when out of nowhere, came the 6-foot-3 Pyatt, who lower a right shoulder into the captain.

A small scrum ensued when Kris Draper went after Pyatt.

If nothing else, some felt that Pyatt should have received an interference penalty for hitting Lidstrom who did not have the puck at the time of the hit.

“I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say,” Lidstrom said.

The second time that the Coyotes went after Lidstrom they were penalized. This time Shane Doan acted irrationally when, after a whistle, the Coyotes’ captain cross-checked Lidstrom in the middle of the back.

“I thought we responded real well as a team,” Lidstrom said. “Facing a good team like that we knew that they were going to put a goof forecheck on us and be aggressive. We were just trying to respond back and wait for our chances.”

Doan went after Lidstrom in the second period. This time, it paid off when the Coyotes’ pressure in the offensive zone harried the Wings’ into a Justin Abdelkader hooking penalty.

On the ensuing power play, a goal by defenseman David Schlemko from a near improbable angle – at the bottom of the left circle – trimmed the Coyotes’ deficit to 3-1 in the second period.

Pyatt continued to play the villain role later in the game when he hit Patrick Eaves with an open-ice blind-side elbow to the head. There was no penalty on the play. Eaves left the bench area for a time, but did re-enter the game later in the third.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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