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Breakdown: Game 1 vs. Phoenix

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

By Bill Roose and Michael Caples |

The Red Wings used a strong second period to rebound against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinal Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena. The Wings fired 17 shots at Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the middle frame, solving the veteran netminder three times on goals by Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Brian Rafalski.

The Coyotes struck first, scoring just 2:16 into the first period when rookie Kyle Turris wired a wrist shot from the lower right circle past goalie Jimmy Howard. Turris's goal was made possible when former Wings winger Ray Whitney gathered the puck to the side of the Wings' net and sent a backhand pass to Turris.

Phoenix had plenty of chances to add to their 1-0 lead in the opening period. But none was bigger then the 5-on-3 advantage they had with Valterri Filppula and Nicklas Lidstrom in the penalty box for 1:33. The Wings, however, managed to limit the Coyotes to two shots during the two-man advantage of penalty time and kept the decifit to one goal. Shane Doan also had a great opportunity to build on the Coyotes' lead, but he made one too many moves and lost the puck before he could get a good shot off on Howard.
The Wings responded in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals, including a  power-play tally by Rafalski. With Howard continuing to dazzle, the Wings' offense started to hum. Howard made three game-changing saves in the period, including a point-blank stop on Martin Hanzal during a power-play five minutes into the period. Then Datsyuk evened the score with a goal midway through the period. After picking up a rebound off of Franzen's initial shot, Datsyuk skated around the net and beat Bryzgalov to the far post on a wraparound.

Franzen gave the Wings a 2-1 lead when he converted a neutral zone turnover into an unassisted goal when he used Michal Rozsival as a screen, shooting the puck between the defenseman's legs, at 12:02. Six minutes later, Rafalski blasted a one-timer from the point that beat a Bryzgalov, who was screened in front by Danny Cleary.

Detroit padded its lead when the the defense accounted for another neutral zone turnover and Jiri Hudler skated in alone and fired a shot over Bryzgalov's glove at 3:16 of the third.

The Coyotes scored a meaningless goal when Radim Vrbata made the score 4-2.

Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinal is set for 1 p.m. EDT Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

The Joe Louis Arena crowd was anxious for a goal Wednesday, and one of the Wings’ most talented forwards delivered. Pavel Datsyuk took a pass from Johan Franzen and raced along the boards in the Phoenix end. Running out of options, Datsyuk cut behind the Coyotes’ goal, and wrapped around the back of the net. The Wings’ center managed to sneak the puck past Ilya Bryzgalov, despite a crowd near the crease. The goal tied the game, and the Wings went on to score two more in the middle frame.

71 With a goal and an assist Wednesday, Johan Franzen now has 71 points in 76 career playoff games since joining the Red Wings in 2005-06. He had a goal and six assists vs. Phoenix in the 2010 WCQ.
8 Pavel Datsyuk fired a season-high eight shots on goal in Game 1. His second-period wraparound goal jump-started the Wings' offense. His highest SOG total prior to Wednesday was seven vs. Columbus in November.
4 The Red Wings held an 18-8 lead over the Coyotes in blocked shots. Ruslan Salei led the Wings with four blocks. He was third on the team this season with 109 blocks.

Johan Franzen
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +1 5

Jimmy Howard
28 26 2 60:00 .929

Pavel Datsyuk
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +2 8

Ilya Bryzgalov
36 32 4 58:31 .888

Jimmy Howard
28 26 2 60:00 .929

Keith Yandle - D

26:41 - T0I, +1 rating

Brad Stuart - D

23:25 - T0I, -2 rating

Five minutes after Datsyuk’s tying goal, Franzen managed to pick off a Coyotes' pass in the neutral zone. He looked around and then charged towards the center of the ice. Using one of the Coyotes’ defensemen as a screen, Franzen fired the puck to the top shelf behind Bryzgalov, recording his first goal of the postseason and putting the Wings in the lead where they stayed.

He had the highlight reel goal, and he had a complete game for the Red Wings. Franzen jumpstarted the Wings’ offense by helping Datsyuk strike first, and then with his impressive shot on the second goal. Franzen also threw the check that created the turnover for Jiri Hudler’s breakaway goal in the third period. The big power forward skated for 17:42, recorded five shots and four hits, and was a plus-1 in Game 1.

Jimmy Howard got the job done for the Wings in Game 1. The Wings’ goalie made 26 saves, including 10 in the first period. He was the main reason the Wings were able to hold the Coyotes scoreless on six power-play chances. Howard fought through countless scrums in front of his goal to earn his first win of the postseason.

Todd Bertuzzi hit Rotislav Klesla with a hard hip-check in the neutral zone at the halfway point of the second period. Klesla then came after Bertuzzi, giving him a crosscheck near the midsection. That led to the first fight of the playoffs for the Wings and Coyotes, and kept the Wings’ momentum rolling through the middle period.

The Red Wings held the Coyotes to three shots on six power-play chances. The Coyotes were only able to record one shot on a 5-on-3 opportunity for 1:33 of the first period, which lasted for over a minute.

“It’s just a totally different thing. Their practice, their business-like approach, their morning skate, everything’s totally different. And it should be different. And as you go on in the playoffs each round is different. So that’s what makes it exciting and older gentlemen younger and that’s what I think. That’s why you all cherish this time of year."

- Mike Babcock on the difference between the regular-season and the Stanley Cup playoffs

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