Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza
On Wednesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes suffered defeat at the hands of Western Conference rivals, the Detroit Red Wings.
Early in the opening period, the Coyotes were backed into there own zone by the offensive pressure of the Red Wings. Phoenix goaltender Curtis Joseph was tested early by a pair of shots, but was able to make the saves and keep the contest scoreless.
The pace of play in the period began to pick up over the next couple minutes, as did the physical play. Jeremy Roenick kicked things off with a bone-crushing check along the boards but when defenseman Nick Boynton tried to get in on the act, he inadvertently tripped up a Red Wing on the play and as a result was handed the first penalty of the game at 4:42 of the first. Detroit would need just 65-secodns of the man-advantage to take the first lead of the game; as Nicklas Lidstrom's blast from the point was stopped by Joseph, but when Pavel Datsyuk grabbed the rebound, sent a pass to a wide-open Henrik Zetterberg, who flipped the puck into the Coyotes net for a 1-0 lead.
Despite falling behind for the fourth consecutive contest, Phoenix rallied and tied the game less than a minute later when left wing Mike Comrie held the puck at the right side of the net and waited until Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek gave a little room near the post, allowing Comrie to fire the puck into the net, making it a 1-1 game. The goal was Comrie's first of the season and was assisted by defenseman Derek Morris.
The Coyotes power play would try to take the lead at 11:36 of the first when Hasek was assessed a delay-of-game penalty. While Phoenix had the extra attacker, it was Detroit who would register the best scoring chance during the penalty to Hasek as Datsyuk stole the puck at the blue line and raced by Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who lost his stick on the play, and blasted a shot into the mid-section of Joseph.
At 13:48 of the first, the Red Wings recaptured the lead when Mathieu Schneider's shot from along the left-hand side of the goal line, somehow squeaked by Joseph and into the net for a 2-1 Detroit lead.
With 2:20 to play in the period, the Coyotes received a scare when Detroit's Johan Franzen caught Ed Jovanovski in the face with a high stick. Luckily, Jovanovski escaped serious injury and Franzen was escorted to the box to serve a minor penalty. Phoenix wouldn't be able to even the score before the period expired, but they were able to keep the pressure in the offensive zone as the first period cam to a close with Detroit holding a one-goal lead.
The Red Wings began the second period bringing a ferocious attack into the Coyotes zone. Just as he did in the first period, "Cujo" rose to the occasion and made a series of saves to keep the game close.
Detroit's pressure would produce results at 4:10 of the second when Schneider released a wrist shot from the top of the left face-off circle that traveled through a screen and went over the shoulder of Joseph, giving the Red Wings a 3-1 lead.
Phoenix had a great chance to cut the deficit to one when Shane Doan and Steven Reinprecht entered the offensive zone on a two-on-one rush. Doan tried to give Reinprecht a lead pass, but Hasek was in position to grab knock the puck away before the Coyotes could capitalize.
With 9:41 left in the second, the Red Wings extended their lead to 4-1 when Zetterberg made a cross-ice pass to an open Jason Williams, who flipped the puck into the Phoenix net before Joseph could slide across the crease.
Following the goal by Williams, took a pair of penalties in a span of 44-seconds, but the Phoenix power play was unable to get any sustained pressure on Hasek and the Detroit penalty killers, allowing the Red Wings to return to full strength.
At 16:29 into the stanza, the Red Wings made it a 5-1 game when Schneider's shot from the point went off Jovanovski in front and into the Phoenix goal. The goal was Schneider's third of the game for his second career hat trick.
Detroit increased their lead to five goals at 17:55 when Joseph stopped a shot from Williams as he raced into the zone from the right side, but Datsyuk was left along to capture the rebound and flip it over a sprawled Joseph and into the top of the net.
Just 22-seconds later, Detroit's Mikael Samuelsson made it a 7-1 game when his backhand shot from the left side of the net passed through a screen and into the Phoenix net.
The final 1:43 of the period would expire without further scoring and the teams headed off the ice after 40-minutes of play with the Red Wings leading by six.
The final period began with a change in the Coyotes goal as Mike Morrison relieved Curtis Joseph.
Detroit continued their offensive success at 5:22 of the third when Kirk Maltby scored his first goal of the season on a deflection in front of the net, to make it an 8-1 game.
With 12:43 to play, the Red Wings' Samuelsson recorded his second goal of the game on feed from Robert Lang at the side of the net, giving Detroit an eight-goal advantage.
Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski made it a 9-2 game with 9:52 to play in the game when his blast from the point beat Hasek for his second goal of the season. Nick Boynton and Owen Nolan both recorded their first assists of the season on Jovanovski's tally.
The Red Wings nearly entered double-digits with just under four minutes to play when a shot eluded Morrison and deflected off the post. Fortunately, the puck ricocheted into the corner where the Phoenix defense could clear the zone.
There would be no further scoring as the final minutes of the game slipped off the clock as the Coyotes fell to the Red Wings 9-2.
PERRAULT LEAVES EARLY
Early in the second period of Wednesday's game in Detroit, Coyotes rookie Joel Perrault sustained a strained rib muscle and did not return to the game.
Perrault is currently listed as day-to-day.
Center Jeremy Roenick left Wednesday's game early after experiencing back spasms but is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday...Center Dave Scatchard left Wednesday night's game during the third period after being struck in the face by a high-stick. As a result, Scatchard lost a couple teeth, but is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday.
BALLARD UNDERGOES SURGERY
On Wednesday, defenseman Keith Ballard underwent surgery on his broken right hand. The procedure, which was performed by Dr. Gary Alder and Dr. Gary Waslewski, required the insertion of two screws into the right hand of Ballard.
Ballard is expected to miss the next four weeks of action.