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Breakdown: Game 4 vs. Phoenix

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

By Michael Caples |

For a while, it looked like Game 4 would be one of those nights where the bounces wouldn’t go the Wings’ way.

Then, Dan Cleary fired a shot from behind the Phoenix goal line, and somehow bounced the puck off goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and into the back of the net. And two minutes later, Todd Bertuzzi scored on a wraparound shot that went in off a Coyotes’ skate.

Propelled by the two quick goals, the Wings controlled the remainder of the third period in Glendale, Arizona, and in the process picked up a 6-3 win. The victory completed a four-game sweep of the Coyotes for the Wings, who are the first team to advance to the second round of the 2011 playoffs.

Patrick Eaves had two goals, with Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Kronwall adding the other Wings’ tallies in the series-clinching win. Cleary led Detroit in points, adding two assists to his game-winning goal.

Taylor Pyatt, Shane Doan, and Martin Hanzal scored for the Coyotes, who were eliminated from the playoffs by the Wings for the second time in as many seasons.

With the Wings and Coyotes tied at three in the third period, Dan Cleary found himself alone with the puck just beneath the Coyotes’ goal line. The Wings’ forward looked around for a pass, and then decided to fire the puck towards the Coyotes’ goal. Somehow, Cleary managed to get the puck through goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and into the back of the net. It was the series-clinching goal for the Wings.

5 Shots by Dan Cleary, tops for the Wings.
13 Different Red Wings scored in the opening series with Phoenix.
57 Consecutive postseason games the Wings have won when recording four or more goals.
18 Shots taken by the Wings in the third period. Phoenix had 11.

Dan Cleary
G A P +/- Shots
1 2 3 +1 5

Shane Doan
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 EV 3

Valtteri Filppula
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 2 +2 3

Ilya Bryzgalov
39 34 5 58:21 .872

Jimmy Howard
27 24 3 60:00 .888

Keith Yandle - D

24:47 - T0I, -2 rating

Niklas Kronwall - D

23:02 - T0I, +3 rating

The Wings’ top line left their mark on Game 4 just 3:47 into the contest. Mike Modano hit Pavel Datsyuk with a pass in the neutral zone, and Datsyuk carried into the Coyotes end. Datsyuk then drove to the middle of the ice, and passed backwards to Tomas Holmstrom. With a stick around his waist and a penalty coming, Holmstrom dove and managed to fire the puck into the top shelf while parallel with the ice. 

Jimmy Howard battled through some rough bounces in the first period to pick up his fourth win in as many games. He stopped 24 shots on the night, and most importantly, stopped all 11 he faced in the third period. His save of the night came against Phoenix captain Shane Doan, when Howard made a shoulder save on him during a Coyotes’ two-on-one rush with 10 minutes left in the third.

Mike Modano didn’t know if he would play in Game 4 until after warm-ups, but he seized the opportunity. Replacing the injured Johan Franzen, Modano skated for 11:25, recorded two shots, and finished plus-1 on the night. The Wings’ forward picked up an assist on the Wings’ first goal.

With less than two minutes remaining in the first period, Darren Helm threw his body around and created the Wings’ second goal. The Detroit forward knocked over defenseman Keith Yandle, grabbed the puck, and skated around the Coyotes’ goal. Helm found Patrick Eaves with a cross-crease pass, and Eaves one-timed the puck past Bryzgalov.

The Coyotes tried to control the play in Game 4 by winning in the hits count, but the Wings battled through. Phoenix out-hit the Wings 37-17 Wednesday night, with Doan leading the way (11 hits). Tomas Holmstrom led the Wings with three hits; four other Detroit skaters had two.

“Oh they’ll be ready to go, which is good. Obviously we’re a way better team if we have Mule and Z. We’re way deeper; we’re on three or four lines now because [Darren Helm’s] line is so good now, so that will really help us out.”

- Mike Babcock on how the break before the second round begins will help injured forwards Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg.

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