2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – First Round Series Recap
Western Conference Quarterfinals Game 4 - Detroit 6, Phoenix 3 – Red Wings win series, 4-0
Well, we’ve seen this script before. The Detroit Red Wings have managed to bring the hammer to an inexperienced and overwhelmed underdog in the first round of the playoffs. Bigger and much tougher battles lie ahead for a less-than-fully-healthy team from the Motor City, but thanks to a quick bit of work against an inferior foe, the Red Wings can rest up – and possibly heal up – for the second round of the postseason.
Danny Cleary scored from what most people would consider an impossible angle with just over six minutes left in the third period, and Detroit went on to get out the broomsticks. The third seed in the West completed a sweep against the Phoenix Coyotes, whisking the sixth seed out of the playoffs and possibly out of the desert with a convincing three-goal victory.
While Detroit will be going to its fifth straight Western Conference semifinals, the Coyotes might be leaving the United States on a train to Manitoba. They also haven’t won a postseason series in their last 12 attempts.
In a bid to end the series in Phoenix, Detroit got off on the right foot by scoring 3:47 into the game courtesy of a goal by Tomas Holmstrom that was set up beautifully by Pavel Datsyuk. The Coyotes answered with two first period goals of their own. The first came at the 5:46 mark by Taylor Pyatt, while the second came by team captain Shane Doan at the 9:46 mark. It was Doan’s third goal and fifth point of the series, but it didn’t hold up for very long. Detroit scored very late in the first period with a goal at the 18:47 by Patrick Eaves. That tally planted the seed in the minds of the Phoenix players that no matter how much they did, the Wings were primed to keep pace. This theme emerged as the second stanza began.
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Just 1:09 into the second period Phoenix took its second lead of the game with a power play goal by Martin Hanzal. However, in affirmation of an emerging theme, Detroit responded with a man advantage goal thanks to Niklas Kronwall’s turning-point tally at the 4:49 mark of the period. The game went into the last period all knotted up at 3, and the Wings – on the doorstep of a series victory – went in for the kill.
The third period was not very kind to Phoenix.
Detroit scored three straight unanswered goals to seal the series. The go-ahead goal was the aforementioned goal by Cleary at the 13:41 mark. The backbreaking goal, however, was scored by Todd Bertuzzi at 15:34, the bolt that sent waves of gloom and finality flooding through the pro-Coyote portions of Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The icing on the cake was the empty netter by Eaves, his second goal of the night, at the 19:24 mark.
So for the second straight year, Detroit has knocked Phoenix out of the playoffs, but this time the series didn’t go the distance. Detroit will get some must needed rest. The Coyotes will be able to sleep in, too… and when they wake up for the 2011-2012 season, they might find themselves in Winnipeg with the “Jets” nickname applied to their chests.
By: Matt Zemek
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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