Coyotes Red Wings Hockey

Detroit’s stars overpower Phoenix 4-2, giving Red Wings 1-0 series lead

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In last year’s playoffs, the Phoenix Coyotes used home ice advantage and physicality to give the Detroit Red Wings a tough fight in their first round series. Ultimately, the Red Wings’ star power prevailed, especially in a dominant seventh game.

The Red Wings played Game 1 at home this time around, and despite a slow start, Detroit’s high-end talent proved too much for Phoenix once again. The Red Wings won 4-2 to take a 1-0 series lead.

Detroit 4, Phoenix 2; Red Wings lead series 1-0

Kyle Turris gave the Coyotes a surprising 1-0 lead just 2:16 into the game and the stingy Phoenix defense managed to hold the lead through the first period. Things fell apart for Dave Tippett’s team in the second period, though, as Detroit’s stars scored three goals. The Red Wings notched four unanswered goals overall before the Coyotes scored to make it 4-2.

Pavel Datsyuk was his typically dazzling self, scoring Detroit’s first goal and frequently showing off his elite dangling abilities. Johan Franzen had a goal and assist in the game, continuing his role as one of those players who elevates his play when the postseason begins. (Unless it’s just a coincidence, as stats bloggers might argue.) Brian Rafalski capped that three-goal second period on the power play while Jiri Hudler made a heads up play on a nice Drew Miller pass to make it 4-1 in the third. Radim Vrbata scored Phoenix’s second and final tally.

Ilya Bryzgalov probably can’t be handed much of the blame, allowing those four goals on 36 shots. Jimmy Howard stopped 26 out of 28 shots to earn another playoff win against the ‘Yotes.

Even without Henrik Zetterberg (the leading scorer for Detroit this season), the Red Wings clearly tower over the Coyotes in terms of marquee talent. Phoenix will need even more from their impending free agent goalie Bryzgalov and much tighter defense if they hope to make this another epic series.

If not, they might have nothing to think about but their ownership issues by early next week.

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.

Video: Orpik penalized after catching Maatta with late, high hit

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The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.

The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.

Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.