By Christy Hammond
In a 5-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes (24-24-5), the Detroit Red Wings (33-11-7) earned their second straight win for the first time since January 14-15. The high scoring game with goals spread throughout the contest made for an entertaining game at Joe Louis Arena and a close call late in the third.
Thanks to a hooking call on the Coyotes’ Joel Perrault, Detroit got a man advantage with just 46 seconds remaining in the third period. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom rose to the occasion scoring the game-winning goal at 19:21 much to the delight of the fans in attendance, who thought they would be sticking around for overtime. The decisive goal came during Lidstrom’s 1,300th NHL career game so it seemed fitting that the tally was a classic slap shot from the point on a power play.
Last season, the Red Wings gave away a Henrik Zetterberg flag to everyone in attendance. Hank posted a hat trick that night causing us to think that a flag night is a good omen for the player on the flag. Well, the trend continues. On Wednesday evening, the Red Wings gave away a sharp Marian Hossa flag. How did he do? He registered two goals and was named first star of the game. It’s just all in a day’s work for No. 81. He has now scored two goals in two straight games and leads the team with 28 goals.
I will let DetroitRedWings.com’s Michael Caples, aka Intern Mike, describe Hossa’s two goals:
On his first goal, Hossa grabbed a drop pass from center Pavel Datsyuk, and fired a rocket of a wrist shot that literally went through defenseman Zbynek Michalek and goaltender Ilja Bryzgalov to give the Red Wings the early lead.
On his second (the prettiest goal of the contest in my opinion), Hossa started with the puck deep in the Phoenix zone, and tricked former University of Michigan star Kevin Porter to follow him all the way up to the blue line. There, Hossa pulled the puck in, slammed on the brakes, and watched Porter drift past him. The star of the evening charged towards the Phoenix goal, holding off an opposition with one hand while controlling the puck with the other, then beat goaltender Bryzgalov short side with a quick wrist shot through a screen.
We saw Zetterberg back on the ice for the first time since signing that lovely long-term contract and he definitely made his presence known. Hank teamed up with Pavel Datsyuk on the top line (they’re just so perfect together) and boy were they effective. Zetterberg scored on a nice wrist shot goal at 11:29 in the second period to grab a 3-2 lead at the time.
Before the game, Datsyuk received his second straight Carhartt award for the hardest working player in the month of January as he registered 17 points in just 12 games. In tonight’s contest, he showed why he leads the team in assists and points when he posted two helpers in the game on Hossa’s first goal and Zetterberg’s goal. He was dangerous throughout the evening and for that, he received second star honors. He dazzles fans every night with his strong two-way play and mesmerizing stickwork.
In four power-play opportunities, Detroit scored two goals with the man advantage including Lidstrom’s game winner. The other 5-on-4 goal occurred when forward Mikael Samuelsson one-timed a shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle. It was his 13th goal this season.
Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov faced 33 shots in the contest and even notched an assist on the Coyotes’ first goal, a power-play tally by Ed Jovanovski at 17:59 in the first frame.
The Wings get to stay in Detroit for a few more days as they play their next game on Saturday afternoon versus the Edmonton Oilers before making a quick turnaround and taking on the Penguins in Pittsburgh less than 24 hours later.
Editor’s note: The Red Wings – Penguins game on Sunday will be broadcast nationwide on NBC at 12:30 p.m. ET.