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Modano contributes in playoff debut

Thursday, 04.21.2011 / 1:40 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  -
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Modano contributes in playoff debut
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Eight months ago, the Red Wings signed center Mike Modano to a one-year contract for his experience and battle-tested toughness in the playoffs.

It didn’t take long Wednesday for the 40-year-old Livonia, Mich., native to fulfill the team’s original desire to bring him into the fold last summer.

Modano was inserted into the lineup for Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, replacing forward Johan Franzen who wasn’t able to go. Franzen (lower body injury) –
injured in Game 2 – skated in Wednesday’s pre-game warm-up. However, at one point he headed back to the team bench where he had a brief conversation with the team’s training staff.
The decision was then made to insert Modano into the lineup, where he made his playoff debut for the Red Wings in their series-clinching 6-3 win over the Coyotes. Wednesday’s game was his first playoff game in three years, and his 175th career postseason game.

"He's skating real well," Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "Coming in and playing his first game, I thought he looked real good, too. So I think it was an easy transition for him to come in and play the way he did."

Modano, who missed 41 games of the regular-season with a wrist injury that required surgery, helped the Wings off to another quick start against the Coyotes. His assist on Tomas Holmstrom’s goal gave Detroit a 1-0 lead on the seventh shift of the game.

While Holmstrom’s goal will be widely remembered for the incredible no-look pass from Pavel Datsyuk that set-up Holmstrom, it was good to see Modano make an immediate impact.

BAD BOUNCES: The Coyotes picked up in Game 4 where they left off in Game 3 – scoring goals redirected off of Red Wings’ defensemen.

The Coyotes’ two first-period goals –by Taylor Pyatt and Shane Doan – were ricochets off of Jonathan Ericsson’s skate and Lidstrom’s skate, respectively.

In Game 3, former Wings forward Ray Whitney scored a third-period tally when his original shot was stopped by Jimmy Howard. However, a rebound came out in front, striking Wings defenseman Ruslan Salei in the backside and past Howard.

BALANCING ACT: The Wings had contribution from virtually everyone on the roster in the series win over the Coyotes. Detroit got goals from 13 different players with 16 of the 19 skaters figuring in the series scoring.

"It just shows the depth that we have, and not relying on a couple of guys to score and get the points," Lidstrom said. "It makes it hard to play against us when we have more depth that an contribute to the lineup. It just makes it hard to match-up against us."

The Wings were led in the series by Datsyuk’s six points (two goals, four assists) and Valtteri Filppula's five (goal, four assists).

BRING OUT THE BROOM: The Wings’ series sweep of the Coyotes in the 14th in franchise history, and the third under Babcock’s guidance. It also marked the first time that Phoenix has suffered a four-game sweep since moving from Winnipeg in 1996.

The Wings last swept a first round opponent in 2009 when they eliminated the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

AT IT AGAIN: Darren Helm has been a beast against Phoenix through the opening round of the playoffs. Game 4 was no different, as the speedy center set up Patrick Eaves’ goal, which tied the score at 2-2 late in the first period.

The play started when Helm pilfered the puck from Keith Yandle, but only after he flattened the all-star defenseman with bone-crushing check behind the Coyotes’ net.
Helm then skated the puck out in front and sent a pass across the slot, where Eaves fired a shot that beat Ilya Bryzgalov on the short side.

"He got the puck away from one of their D-men and went hard to the net with his stick on the ice," said Lidstrom, of Helm's play. "I thought that line played well, too. Even when they play in their zone, I thought they did a good job against Doan's line."

While Helm only logged 13:42 of ice-time, he gave the Wings a big adrenaline boast with his energetic play again. He finished with four shots and two hits.

WHAT WHITEOUT? The Coyotes’ marketing department has had a tradition of attempting to convince everyone at their home playoff games to wear white. It’s a tradition that began when the franchise was in Winnipeg.

Over the last two playoffs series – both against the Red Wings – the marketing initiative hasn’t fared very well, mainly because there are so many transplanted Michiganders who have relocated to Arizona.

For fans that attended Monday’s Game 3 at Arena, they were greeted with a free white Coyotes Whiteout T-shirt draped over the 17,310 seats. While the white shirts definitely stood out there were pockets of resistance – otherwise known as Red Wings’ fans, dressed in red.

There was far more of a Red Wings’ influence at Wednesday game, where white pom-poms adorned each seat in the arena.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80