Coyotes beat Red Wings 4-2, take 2-1 series lead

NBC Playoff Coverage

Phoenix Coyotes 4, Red Wings 2, Coyotes lead series 2-1


(Obviously, this photo isn’t from today’s game but it’s so worth it. Look at the women’s facial expressions. That’s classic, folks.)
Perhaps Sami Lepisto’s goal 29 seconds into the first period symbolized what the Phoenix Coyotes are and the Detroit Red Wings are not: quick. At least, at times, it seemed that way in this afternoon’s Game 3 tilt.

I don’t know if it’s a speed disadvantage, an afternoon of sleepy defense or some other malady, but any pretense of Phoenix not belonging with the Red Wings can be dropped. They took a 2-1 lead in the series and regained home ice advantage as well.

Both Ilya Bryzgalov and Jimmy Howard made 29 saves in the game, although Howard might hear a little bit more about his performance since Cup-winning goalie Chris Osgood is his big-named backup. Is that fair? Not really, but how often are goalie controversies steeped in logic rather than desperation?

Petr Prucha and Radim Vrbata each had a goal and an assist in the game while Wojtek Wolski added a nice backhand goal for the Coyotes. Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen scored a goal each for the Red Wings. Detroit must now win three out of four games against a hungry Coyotes team.

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    Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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    While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

    Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

    Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
    Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
    Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
    Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

    The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

    So, where is Krejci’s game now?

    Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

    So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

    On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

    So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

    “It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

    Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


    Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

    Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

    This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

    “I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

    While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

    And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

    Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

    In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

    Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks