Red Wings’ fans fell silent 29-seconds into the first period when Phoenix defenseman Sami Lepisto slapped a rebound past goalie Jimmy Howard
. With the game tied, 1-1, the Coyotes scored with 32-seconds left in the second period, and the Wings never recovered, not once managing to gain the lead in a 4-2 loss.
“Obviously, you don’t want to give up the goals either time,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “The first few minutes, the last few minutes of periods are critical.”
This is the first time in 17 consecutive seasons that the Wings haven’t opened the Stanley Cup playoffs with home-ice advantage, and getting scored on so early wasn’t the most preferable way for the team to return to Detroit.
“When you score that early … it gives you a little boost coming in,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “Their fans were into it early. If we can make it so we’re into the game and make sure we’re not a step behind, obviously those things will help you.”
Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom
was on the ice for Lepisto’s goal.
“We were down that first shift,” Lidstrom said. “We battled back and we got the tying goal in the first period, and I think that really set the tone for us and helped us to go into the first break there with the score tied. But I’m sure they felt a lot of confidence by scoring right off the bat.”
Babcock agreed, saying he didn’t think his team had any trouble responding to the first goal. It was the goal scored at the end of the second period that hurt them the most.
“(Phoenix) took the game over,” he said. “I just go through my guys, I go through their shift length and stuff like that, and I look at some of the things that happened here tonight, it’s not good enough.”