DETROIT – The Red Wings have points in eight straight games, going 5-0-3 in that span, their longest such streak since going 12-0-2 late in the 2009-10 season. Seven of the eight games went past regulation.
Jimmy Howard gets the start tonight against the Arizona Coyotes, his 12th of the season and career start No. 342. He has a 6-4-1 record in his previous 11 assignments this season.
In 14 career games against the Arizona franchise, the 31-year-old Howard has an 8-3-3 record with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .920 winning percentage.
It was an action-packed first period at The Joe staring with a disallowed goal for the visitors and ending with an entertaining fight between Brendan Smith and Arizona center Kyle Chipchura.
In between, the Red Wings built their largest first-period lead of the season, getting even-strength goals by Justin Abdelkader, Nikas Kronwall and Gustav Nyquist.
Like the Florida Panthers last Sunday, the Coyotes appeared to grab a quick 1-0 lead when Klas Dahlbeck fired a shot from the top of the face-off circle that fooled Howard.
But, also like the game against the Panthers, Wings coach Jeff Blashill challenged the play’s validity. The goal was eventually overturned when video replay determined that defenseman Connor Murphy was off-sides ahead of the play.
Replay clearly showed Murphy cutting across the blue line before forward Mikkel Boedker carrying the puck into the attacking zone.
The following explanation was provided by the NHL’s Situation Room blog:
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Arizona's Connor Murphy was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Arizona Coyotes.
The clock is re-set to show 18:44 (1:16 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
Since the Coach’s Challenge resulted in the original call being overturned, the Detroit Red Wings retain their time-out.
While the play worked out for the Wings, they were dealt two big blows when they lost Teemu Pulkkinen and Drew Miller for the rest of the game.
Pulkkinen suffered an upper-body injury when he fell awkwardly into the end boards. Coyotes center Martin Hanzal received a two-minute minor for boarding at 6:19 of the period.
Nearly six minutes later, and after Abdelkader’s eighth goal of the season gave the Wings a 1-0 lead, Miller was rocked by Dahlbeck’s thunderous check in front of the Coyotes’ bench. It appeared that the Wings’ forward never saw the hit – Dahlbeck’s shoulder into Miller’s chin.
Miller got to his feet pretty quickly, but was in obvious distress as he needed to be helped to the Wings by a linesman. Miller is the Wings current ironman, having played in 190 straight regular-season games.
The Wings struck twice in the final minute of the period when Kronwall, playing in his 700th career game, scored his second of the season on a pretty give and go by Tomas Tatar.
Just 18 seconds later, Nyquist caught Coyotes goalie Mike Smith napping when he flipped the puck about 75 feet front center ice with 25 seconds left in the period.
DETROIT 3, ARIZONA 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Abdelkader (Larkin), 12:30; 2. DET, Kronwall (Tatar, Datsyuk), 19:18; 3. DET, Nyquist (Helm, Green, 19:36.
PENALTIES: 1. ARI, Hanzal (boarding), 6:19; 2. ARI, Hanzal (goaltender interference), 13:38; 3. DET, Smith (slashing, fighting), 19:54; 4. Chipchura (fighting), 19:54.
SHOTS: Detroit 16, Arizona 9.
The Coyotes began the period with a new goalie in the crease, but the move didn’t stop the bleeding for the visitors.
Smith was pulled after allowing three goals on 16 shots in the first period.
Enter Anders Lindback, the 27-year-old journey man, who has also played for Buffalo, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Nashville.
From the opening face-off Lindback found himself besieged as the Red Wings skaters fired shot after shot on net. The Coyotes goalie turned aside the first eight shots, but the ninth one resulted in Danny DeKeyser scoring his second goal of the season.
With 5:07 left in the period, Howard preserved the three-goal lead by thwarting Tobias Rieder’s quasi breakaway with a sliding pad save.
DETROIT 4, ARIZONA 1
SCORING: 1. ARI, Martinook (Downie, Ekman-Larsson), 5:52; 2. DET, DeKeyser (Ericsson, Datsyuk), 7:18.
PENALTIES: 1. ARI, Boedker (goaltender interference), 10:40.
SHOTS: Detroit 14 (30), Arizona 9 (18).
The Wings equaled their single-game offensive output for the season when Darren Helm received an early Christmas present.
Lindback moved behind the net to play the puck. As the Coyotes’ goalie tried to avoid Luke Glendening who was charging from the left, Lindback attempted to shot the puck off the far wall. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, the puck landed on Helm’s stick.
The Wings’ forward settled the puck before firing a shot into the net over center Boyd Gordon, who had raced back in an attempt to defend the goal.
It’s Helm’s first goal in 23 regular-season games. His last goal came at Montreal in the second from last game of the 2014-15 season on April 9.
For the second straight game the Wings finished with 40-plus shots on goal. They had 46 shots in Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout win over Buffalo.
They had 44 shots on Thursday.
The last time Detroit had back-to-back 40-plus shot outings was early in the 2013 lockout shortened season against at Columbus (42 SOG) and against Dallas (40 SOG) on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22, respectively.
DETROIT 5, ARIZONA 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Helm (unassisted), 4:28.
PENALTIES: 1. ARI, Vermette (high-sticking), 12:01.
SHOTS: Detroit 14 (44), Arizona 9 (27).