Monday, April 26, 2010 at 7:30 a.m.
The Phoenix Coyotes will live to skate another day.
They went down 3-2 in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, but they pulled off a huge win on Sunday to force a game seven.
Th Howlers lost 4-1 on Friday -- thanks to a stunning performance by Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard -- but came back to beat the Red Wings 5-2 in game six of the series yesterday.
As is often the case, the Coyotes power play is what's getting discussed following this weekend's games -- the good, the (really, really) bad, and the ugly.
On Friday, the Coyotes were on the power play five times in the loss and did jack shit with each opportunity.
The Coyotes weren't as awful on the power play as they were in game four. That is, they didn't seem to think that the goal of a power play was to see how many times you can pass the puck without ever taking a shot.
The Coyotes had some good opportunities but Howard was lights out for the Red Wings -- saving 30, and saving a little face among the Red Wings faithful, many of whom were calling for him to be benched after a slow start to the series.
Any face Howard possibly saved after Friday's game may have been lost again after game six, when the Coyotes special teams stole the show, and turned the tables on the Wings.
Four of the Coyotes five goals were the result of the special teams, which played uncharacteristically well.
The Coyotes tallied three penalties early in the game, which led to a two man advantage for Detroit for more than a minute.
In the middle of the Detroit power play, Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart casually brought the puck out of his zone. Laurie Korpikoski took advantage of Stuart's laziness, stole the puck, and scored the go-ahead goal about four minutes into the game.
The Red Wings would never recover, as the Howlers went on to score three power play goals later in the game by doing exactly what we recommended in a previous post -- they shot the puck and cleaned up the rebounds.
Not only were the Coyotes scoring on their own power plays, but they managed to keep the puck out of the net during Detroit's five power plays.
In total, there were 46 penalty minutes handed out by the officials in yesterday's game, many of which were the result of a couple of late-game brawls mostly started by the Red Wings -- the ultimate indicator of the desperation of a team down four goals with about five minutes left in the game.
The fighting may have paid off for the Wings -- Darren Helm scored about two minutes later, but the damage had already been done and the Coyotes went on to win 5-2 and force a series-determining game seven.
Game seven is set for tomorrow night in Glendale. The puck drops at 6 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports Network. For more information on the Coyotes, click here.