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COYOTES FALL TO DETROIT, 4-2

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By: Chad Lynch

Photo Credit: Getty Images

STARTING GOALTENDERS
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Detroit - Dominik Hasek

On Wednesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes received another strong performance from goaltender Curtis Joseph to go along with goals from Owen Nolan and Shane Doan, but were unable to capture victory in Detroit, falling to the Red Wings by the score of 4-2.

Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph continued his outstanding play early in the first period as he made a point-blank save on Pavel Datsyuk at the top of the crease at 3:43 of the period to keep Detroit from taking the first lead of the game.

Phoenix would counter the Red Wings attack seconds later when Jeremy Roenick drove the puck at the Detroit net. Netminder Dominik Hasek made the first stop but the rebound squirted out to Josh Gratton in the slot. With Hasek down on the ice, Gratton needed only to lift the puck up and into the net, but his attempt sailed high of the net, ending the Coyotes scoring chance.

Following a series of key saves by Joseph, Phoenix returned to the offensive zone just over midway through the period. This time the Coyotes pressure would get the better of the Red Wings as right wing Owen Nolan's backhand from the top of the crease, slid through a trio of bodies before beating Hasek for a 1-0 lead. Ladislav Nagy and Steven Reinprecht recorded assists on Nolan's 13th goal of the season.

The Coyotes penalty killers would take their first assignment of the night at 14:17 of the period when Oleg Saprykin was handed a high-sticking penalty as he tried to make his way around a Red Wing forward inside the Phoenix zone. Detroit would have virtually no success on the man-advantage as the Coyotes defense closed off all shooting lanes and continually cleared the zone, forcing the Wings to exit and regroup. In the end, Detroit would only manage a single shot during the power play, and failed to find the back of the net.

Late in the period it appeared that the Red Wings were on the verge of setting up an attack inside the Coyotes zone, but as soon as the puck was moved toward the Phoenix net, the Coyotes defense grabbed the puck and cleared the zone to kill off the final seconds of the period. As a result, the Coyotes would skate off the ice with a one-goal lead after 20-minutes of play.

The Red Wings began the second period trying to erase the Coyotes 1-0 lead by keeping the puck inside the Phoenix end and around the net. Even with the increased pressure, Joseph was able to keep a clear view of the shots coming at him and in turn, make the stops to keep the Coyotes on top.

With over four minute gone in the period, the Coyotes carried the puck out of their own end and into the Detroit zone when Jovanovski tried to set up a scoring opportunity at the front of the net. However, Jovanovski's shot from the point was blocked by Red Wings' defenseman Chris Chelios' skate; sending the Wings on an odd-man rush back into the Coyotes end. Forward Robert Lang carried the puck into the offensive zone where he then fed a cross-ice pass to Brett Lebda. Lang then rushed t the Phoenix net where he was able to receive a return pass form Lebda and tip the puck past Joseph to tie the game at 1-1.

Following the goal by Lang, the Coyotes and Red Wings took turns trying to grab the go-ahead goal as each club made a series of rushes into the offensive zone. While the offensive traded scoring chances, Joseph and Hasek traded saves, matching each other every step of the way, keeping the game tied at 1-1.

At 16:27 of the second, the Wings' Henrik Zetterberg grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and made his way toward the Phoenix net. With Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris serving as the barrier between Zetterberg and the net, the Detroit forward made a quick move behind the Coyotes net, forcing Morris to follow. Once Zetterberg resurfaced on the right side of the net, he drew Joseph out of his crease and eventually on to his stomach before lifting a backhand into the goal for his 23rd goal of the season and a 2-1 lead for the Wings.

Detroit tried to run out the remainder of the period, but Coyotes captain Shane Doan refused to let Phoenix head into the intermission trailing the Red Wings and with just 16-seconds left in the second, took matters into his own hands. Doan began the play by streaking down the right side of the Detroit zone where Hasek aggressively came out form his crease to try and poke-check the puck away. Doan made a great play to keep the puck away from Hasek before having his legs taken out by the Detroit netminder. As he floated above the ice, Doan made a highlight play by sliding the puck into the open goal to tie the game at 2-2.

Just over three minutes into the third period, the Red Wings came within inches of re-taking the lead when a shot from the right point beat Joseph and deflected off the goal post. Unfortunately, the Coyotes were unable to clear the zone and at 3:22 of the period, Detroit did regain the lead when Zetterberg's shot form the left side made it's way into the Phoenix goal to make it a 3-2 game. Zetterberg's go-ahead goal was his second of the game and 100th of his NHL career.

In the minutes following the goal by Zetterberg, the two clubs traded minor penalties, but neither man-advantage led to a goal and the period neared the halfway point with Detroit leading by one.

With just over seven minute to play in the third, Jeremy Roenick proved he is still as hard a hitter as anyone in the league when he laid a crushing body check on Detroit defenseman Danny Markov. Markov immediately fell to the ice and was quickly tended to by the Red Wings' medical staff before eventually skating off the ice.

After two minor penalties within 22-seconds of each other, the Coyotes received a four-on-three power play for just under two minutes at 14:03 of the third. While Phoenix would do a good job of setting up inside the Detroit end, having only four skaters on the attack directly resulted in two clearings by the Wings as the teams returned to full strength with the Wings still leading by one.

Late in regulation, the Coyotes tried to pull Joseph from the net in favor of an extra attacker, but as Joseph approached the Phoenix bench, defenseman Travis Roche committed a costly turnover in the neutral zone, sending Pavel Datsyuk into the Coyotes zone with an empty net. Datsyuk quickly shot the puck into the goal for his 16th goal of the season and a 4-2 Detroit lead.

The final 59-seconds of the game would expire without incident as the Coyotes two-game winning streak came to an end as they fell to the Red Wings by the score of 4-2.

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