Friday, March 19, 2004

Wings 1, Coyotes 1

In a high-flying, oddball offensive showdown in Glendale Arena, the Wings tied the Coyotes 1-1, putting the season series at an even 1-1-2. Coming into the game, most expected Manny Legace to get the start, since Cujo had missed practice for a scheduled appointment with an ankle specialist and complained of soreness in his ankle. But Cujo got the start for the Wings, and had a great game between the pipes. Pavel Datsyuk also returned to the ice earlier than expected, as Lewis had said "I'd hope (he'd play) by the end of the road trip." It was a gameday decision, and Assistant Coach Joe Kocur announced it on the radio earlier in the day. Pavel had been heavily lobbying Coach Lewis to play for the past week. In the first period, both teams were skating pretty well. Coyote defenseman Cale Hulse gave Pavel Datsyuk a cross-check/punch to his face, but luckily Pavel's visor took the brunt of the force. The Wings were 0 for 2 on the power play in the first, coming close on a few chances. Steve Thomas had a pretty good chance around 12:50. Shots in the period were 11-9 Phoenix. In the second period, Brendan Shanahan scored at 11:40, assisted by Henrik Zetterberg. On the play, Henrik had a great faceoff win to Brendan, who blasted it in high on Brian Boucher. 1-0 Wings. Fischer had a great chance in front off of a neat pass from Zetterberg. Unfortunately, Boucher was cleanly square to the shot, as he was for nearly every single Wings shot tonight. Shots in the period were 13-8 Wings. In the third period, Erik Westrum scored his first NHL goal at 2:11, assisted by Fredrik Sjostrom. On the play, Phoenix won the faceoff and Sjostrom got a shot off. Westrum ate up a huge rebound that Cujo allowed. He caught Cujo way out of position, and stuffed it into a wide-open net. I didn't like how Cujo threw his stick at Westrum as he shot the puck into the wide open net. If the guy misses the net, it's an automatic penalty shot. And there's just something dirty about doing that. It shows a lack of respect for the shooter, and, as a goaltender, is a poor reaction to give when you're out of position. Cujo was really frustrated that he gave up such a elastic rebound. 1-1 tie. The Wings were very impressive in the third. They had a couple textbook style power plays, and Boucher stood on his head to keep the game locked up at 1 apiece. Cujo saved the day for the Wings, as Shane Doan broke in on him with just under two minutes left in the third and he stoned him: "The best save of the game was on Doan," Coach Lewis said. Shots in the period were 20-7 Wings, a clear-cut 20 minutes of domination that would've normally reaped a few goals. In the overtime period, both teams went hard for the win. The Coyotes had their reasons to want a win, since they are winless in their last fourteen decisions at 0-8-3-3: since the February 24th firing of Coach Bob Francis, Rick Bowness is winless as interim coach. An octupi was thrown on ice during the extra five-minutes, and Hull scooped it up with his stick and put it over the boards in the Wings' bench. Apparently the refs didn't want anything to do with that. With 6 seconds left in the game, Cujo telegraphed a pass to Shanny from nearly the Wings' blue line. Shanny took the pass and crashed the Phoenix net, the puck going in off Schneider's skate as time expired. Upon review, bonehead ref Mike Leggo waved the goal and put .2 seconds on the clock. His logic was not that time had expired, but that he had lost sight of the puck during the play and had the intention of blowing his whistle even though he physically hadn't. In the NHL, rules allow the referees to say that they were blowing the whistle in their head, which is a bogus rule if common sense isn't weighed in. Mr. Leggo My Ego made a terrible call that may cost the Wings a playoff seed, with the tight race versus the Avs for the Western Conference title. To me, the puck was in clear view the entire time. I heard no whistle, and saw the puck cross the line before I heard the buzzer. But that's assuming that the buzzer is calibrated with the game clock, which I'd hope is the case. I thought that the puck might've crossed the line a few ticks late, but the buzzer sounding contradicts this. If Leggo had said that the puck crossed the line after time had expired, I might've believed him, thinking he had a better camera angle and the buzzer was late. But it's ridiculous for him to disallow the goal based on his inability to follow the puck. Maybe he needs the ABC glow-puck back or something (remember that?), but I had no trouble following the puck for that 6 seconds. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but the puck is black and the ice surface is white, Leggo. The benches were nearly empty as the puck was dropped as a formality, with .2 seconds not being enough time to shoot the puck and score. Final shots were 47-29 Wings, 5-3 Wings in OT. Throughout the game, the teams traded breaks and odd-man rushes, but Boucher and Joseph rose to the challenge and kept the score tight. Shanahan weighing-in on the controversial ending: "The referee said he thought the puck was covered and he intended to blow the whistle so the play was dead as soon as he intended to blow the whistle and not when he actually did blow it. It was a quick whistle. Even though he didn't blow it, it was a quick intention to blow the whistle. I guess the rule is as soon as the ref intends for the play to be dead the play is dead." Notables: Brian Boucher had a season-high 46 saves on 47 shots....During practice, Shanny was cut in the neck by Darren McCarty's skate, but, by the luck of the Irishman, he wasn't seriously hurt. In addition, Shanny has 6 goals in the last 8 games....FSN had some really bad camera work on the Phoenix goal, and they seemed just as caught off guard by the quick faceoff shot as Cujo....Zetterberg had a good night, passing and skating really well....Ex-Wing Pat Verbeek was the color commentator on FSN, subbing for Mickey Redmond, who rarely takes away trips anymore after he was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1996....It was the battle of the 19's tonight, as both teams' captains wear the illustrious #19: Steve Yzerman and Shane Doan....Shanahan's goal was the 557th of his career, putting him in sole possession of 17th place on the NHL scoring list, passing John Bucyk. Shanny is seventh in goals for active players, and third on the Wings, behind Hull and Yzerman....Derian Hatcher says he hopes to return Saturday at Los Angeles. He skated Thursday morning. Steve Thomas logged only 12:38 of ice time tonight, and hasn't been very visible since returning from his injuries. Thomas was red-hot when he suffered a knee injury, requiring arthroscopic surgery and sidelining him from December 8 to January 21. January 29, he suffered a cracked rib, and didn't play until mid February. The Wings signed him November 5 as a free agent: the Mighty Ducks passed on him. The tie puts the Wings at 97 points, tied with Tampa Bay for league lead. The Wings are one point away from clinching the Central Division, with St Louis 16 points back with 8 games left and Nashville 17 points back with 9 games left. (Editor: here are the lines from the game, courtesy GWB) Shanahan-Zetterberg-McCarty Holmstrom-Williams-Mowers Thomas-DATSYUK-Hull(Welcome back pavel!) Maltby-Yzerman-Whitney Maltby-Mowers-McCarty Shanahan-Zetterberg-Williams Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Chelios Myrvold-Rivers 4 on 4- Datsyuk-Hull Whitney-Yzerman Zetterberg-Maltby Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Chelios PP- Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Hull Shanahan-Yzerman-Holmstrom Lidstrom-Schneider Schneider-Rivers Whitney-Chelios Whitney-LIdstrom Whitney-Chelios PK- Whitney-McCarty Zetterberg-Maltby Yzerman-Maltby Shanahan-Yzerman Lidstrom-Chelios Fischer-Rivers Fischer-Chelios Lidstrom-Schneider O.T.- Datsyuk-Hull Shanahan-Zetterberg Whitney-Yzerman Zetterberg-Maltby Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Chelios O.T. PK- Yzerman-Maltby Shanahan Chelios Schneider-Fischer Net- Curtis Joseph


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