DETROIT – They don't have Henrik Zetterberg in uniform because of an injury, but the Detroit Red Wings do have star center Pavel Datsyuk.
That might be enough on its own to help compensate in this Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Phoenix Coyotes – even though the Red Wings have a host of other talented players to help the Russian dynamo out.
Still, it was Datsyuk's pretty wraparound goal at 7:38 of the second period that tied the game 1-1 and really helped swing momentum in Detroit's favor during the Red Wings' 4-2 victory in Game 1 on Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Datsyuk also led the Red Wings with eight shots, recorded a plus-2 rating, took the puck away from the Coyotes three times and helped Detroit's penalty killing unit stave off a whopping six Phoenix power plays. Afterward he talked about a big start to the playoffs in "Hockeytown, U.S.A."
Q: Your goal really seemed to get things going in the right direction. Can you take us back through it?
PD: It's juist like our plan before the game … just throw everything at net and try to jam. I had the chance to jam and I just used it and thanked my guy."
Q: It started to feel like after killing off all those Phoenix power plays, you guys were bound to score and swing the momentum. Did it feel that way to you guys?
PD: Yeah, and there was lots of pressure and lots of fans chanting for us at the beginning of the game and I felt a little bit nervous. After we killed (the) penalties, we feel confidence and just kept (coming) wave after wave and I was happy we scored. We kind of controlled the whole game at the end of the game.
Q: You said the plan before the game was to throw pucks to the net … moreso than normal?
PD: We knew if we shoot a lot, good things happen after a bad shot or something.
Q: Todd Bertuzzi gets into that fight and seemed to spark you guys …
PD: That maybe changed it up. They had a fight and after that the game flipped. They have a good fight … nice. Now I'm watching two goals. That's exciting stuff, too.
Q: Especially with (Henrik) Zetterberg out, do you need do more?
PD: We miss Hank. The whole season he played well and hopefully he comes (back) soon. Now we're just a team and have to keep playing like (a) team.
Q: Did you guys hear any of the stuff the Coyotes were saying before this series about being very confidence they can win it?
PD: Maybe some guys hear it. I don't speak English (very well). I don't hear anything. This is good for me. Not as much pressure.
Q: How much did that 5-on-3 help, killing off 90 seconds there in the first period?
PD: Yeah, it's a big help for confidence. After (that) we had more confidence. We started slowly in the first period. Maybe lots of pressure – first game at home, lots of fans and cheering loud (after it expired). It was exciting for us … maybe too exciting.