Saturday, January 24, 2004

Wings 2, Coyotes 5

Facing hot Brian Boucher, the Wings were in for a tough game tonight. And they sure got it. It was the Brian Boucher Show tonight, with the 5-consecutive shutout king making 44 saves on 46 shots to hold the Coyotes, who got only 14 shots, in the game and in position to win. Cujo got the start. In the first period, Ray Whitney was called for hooking 40 seconds into the game, and the Coyotes capitalized on the powerplay on a goal from Daymond Langkow at 0:47. 1-0 Coyotes. But Pavel Datsyuk tied it up at 6:45 with his 23rd goal, assisted by Steve Thomas and Brett Hull. On the play, Pavel took a Thomas pass and got off a quick wrist shot. 1-1 tie. At 10:38, Pavel Datsyuk got called for high-sticking, and the Coyotes again got a powerplay goal with 4 seconds left with the man advantage from Radoslav Suchy. 2-1 Coyotes. Shots in the period were 14-6 in Detroit's favor. In the second period, Kirk Maltby got called for roughing, and the Coyotes scored 14 seconds into the powerplay from Jan Hrdina at 3:44. 3-1 Coyotes. At 8:46, Mathieu Schneider got the Wings back in the game by picking up a loose puck between the circles and blasting it into the net for his fourth goal in three decisions. Ray Whitney and Brendan Shanahan got the assists on the play. 3-2 Coyotes. At 18:53, Daniel Cleary got a shorthanded goal for the Coyotes as Nicklas Lidstrom couldn't catch the breaking Cleary. I thought that Lidstrom could've done a little bit more on the play. It seemed like he decided that Cleary was too far ahead of him as Cleary got within 6 feet of Cujo, but I thought a long reach might've been the answer to kill the scoring chance. 4-2 Coyotes. Shots were 9-2 in favor of the Wings. In the third period, Cujo was replaced by Manny Legace at the beginning of the period, as Cujo had allowed 4 goals on 8 shots. But it wasn't the Wings' night, as we got plenty of chances, but the bounces didn't go our way as they did for the Coyotes a few times. Branko Radivojevic scored a shorthanded and empty net goal at 19:21 to make it 5-2. Shots in the period were 23-6 in favor of the Wings, so fans can't fault the Wings in not trying. It just was a case of Boucher beating Cujo, essentially, as well as the Coyotes playing extremely well on special teams. They went 3 of 6 on the powerplay and got two shorthanded goals. The Wings went 0 of 6 on their powerplay opportunities. The fact that the Wings are hard pressed to get even one powerplay goal per game means that they have to click on even strength, which is not as much time as one would think, with 14 penalties called tonight and 12 powerplays between the teams. It certainly was a disappointing trip for the Wings, with 3 of 8 possible points on this West coast trip (The West coast trip is technically over, with the Wings going to Dallas next). The Wings have definitely been weak away from the Joe this season, but we're not exactly playing the highest calibur of teams in Phoenix tonight and Dallas Monday. I expected at least 5 points by now on the trip. It was an off-game for Cujo, which could move his band-wagon fans to call for his head again. I still have confidence in Cujo, it was just an off-game for the Wings to give up 5 special teams goals as well. They just need to capitalize on their shots, as 46 shots versus anyone means you should at least get a tie. Next game is Monday at Dallas, an 8:00 PM EST start.


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