Power play lifts Coyotes past Wings
Derek Morris broke a tie early in the third period and assisted on
two other power-play goals in the Phoenix Coyotes’ 3-2 victory over
the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of the Western Conference series
Keith Yandle and Wojtek Wolski also scored, and Ilya
Bryzgalov made 38 saves to help the Coyotes win a playoff game for
the first time since April 20, 2002, the last year they were in the
Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom scored for the Red
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard lost in regulation for the first
time since March 9.
The Coyotes are the better seed in the No. 4 vs. No. 5
first-round matchup, but lack the postseason experience of the Red
Wings, in the playoffs for the 19th straight year. The Phoenix last
won the first game of a playoff series in 1992, back when the team
was the Winnipeg Jets.
The Coyotes were 28th in the NHL on the power play in the
regular season and went 0 for 20 on the power play over their final
five games of the regular season, but scored on their first three
man advantages against the Red Wings.
Howard, in his first postseason game, made 32 saves. He was
13-0-2 in his last 15 games.
Matthew Lombardi added two assists for the Coyotes.
Morris scored the winner and gave Phoenix its first lead at
2:19 of the third period when he walked into the slot and blasted a
shot off Howard’s shoulder and into the net. The goal was the
defenseman’s first in the postseason.
Wolski, who has been a point-per-game player since being
acquired from Colorado at the trade deadline, made it 2-2 at 6:15
of the second with a one-timer set up by Yandle. The goal breathed
life into a Coyotes team that split four regular-season meetings
with the Red Wings.
Yandle evened the score at 1 just 10 seconds into a
first-period power play when his shot from the high slot slipped by
Howard, who was blocked in front by Shane Doan. The goal brought
the playoff-hugery crowd, dressed almost entirely in white as part
of the franchise’s traditional postseason WhiteOut, to its feet.
The celebration, though, was short lived. Nicklas Lidstrom’s
power-play goal 2:14 later, on a shot through traffic from near the
blue line, gave the Red Wings the lead once again.
Tomas Holmstrom’s wrist shot from the top of the left circle
put Detroit ahead 1-0 at 12:17 of the first period. Bryzgalov
seemed to have the puck in his sight, but it got past him when he
closed his glove.
The Red Wings started the playoffs on the road for the first
time since 1991.
Johan Franzen, who assisted on Lidstrom’s goal, has 42 points
in his last 40 playoff games.