By Stefan Kubus –
DETROIT – It was evident that the Phoenix Coyotes had a chip on their collective shoulder Thursday night in Detroit in their tilt against Detroit.
The Coyotes dropped a 6-1 decision to the New York Islanders in their last outing, much like the Red Wings fell 4-1 in Boston last Saturday.
Phoenix – led by one-goal, one-assist efforts from Antoine Vermette, Mikkel Boedker and Derek Morris – trumped the Red Wings Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena, 4-2, to improve to 2-2-0 overall.
Joakim Andersson and Jonathan Ericsson scored – 53 seconds apart, too – for Detroit, who drops to 2-2-0. Jimmy Howard stopped 35 shots in the loss, while Mike Smith turned away 28 in the win.
“I’ve never seen it like that, we’ve never been beaten like a drum like that at home ever,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. “Their intensity was much higher than ours and we addressed it from the first period on and never were able to anything about it. I know we have good face-off people; we’re a real good face-off team and tonight, for whatever reason, we weren’t.”
However, a hefty chunk of the tale in this match-up was told in the face-off circle; Phoenix won 66-percent of the draws (46/70), making it difficult for Detroit to generate momentum in their favor.
“I thought we were poor,” Babcock said. “We started out, we lost the first seven face-offs in our own zone and we didn’t skate very good, gave up too many odd-man rushes.”
Morris opened the scoring for Phoenix just 2:21 into the first period, stepping into a shot from just inside the blue line at the right point to blow one past a screened Howard.
Andersson responded with his first of the season for Detroit, 5:07 into the second stanza – a back-and-forth 20 minutes – on a juicy rebound that bounced out in front of Smith after the Red Wings drove the net hard.
A mere 53 seconds later, Ericsson put the Red Wings ahead, intercepting a breakout pass along the boards and blasting one past Smith for the 2-1 lead.
At the 7:04 mark, Mikkel Boedker scooped up a rebound with Howard sprawling out in front to knot things up at two aside.
In the third, Stone unleashed a cannon on a feed from Mike Ribiero to make it 3-2, with Vermette adding an empty-netter late to seal the deal for the Yotes.
“I don’t know it’s lack of offense,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We created a lot of chances. We need to put the puck in the net. I probably should have had two tonight. I’ve got to bear down a little better when I have the chance. That’s the way it goes sometimes. We have to keep at it. It’s early in the season and we have to keep believing in ourselves.”
Notes: Phoenix’s David Moss (Livonia), a Catholic Central alum, honored CC injured senior forward Matt Sorisho by hanging the 17-year-old’s jersey in his locker before the game. Moss, who wears the same number as Sorisho (18), wanted to wear the sweater in warm-ups, but it didn’t work out with NHL policies.