DETROIT – It all begins in the faceoff circle and the Detroit Red Wings were very poor in that area Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wings won just 34-percent of the draws and it helped lead to a 4-2 setback to the Phoenix Coyotes.
“I’ve never seen it like that, we’ve never been beaten like a drum like that at home ever,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Their intensity was much higher than ours and we addressed from the first period on and never were able to anything about it. I know we have good faceoff people, we’re a real good faceoff team and tonight for whatever reason we weren’t.”
Derek Morris, Mikkel Boedker, Michael Stone and Antoine Vermette scored goals for Phoenix, while Mike Smith made 28 saves.
The Wings got goals from Joakim Andersson and Jonathan Ericsson. Jimmy Howard stopped 34 shots.
“We were poor as a team,” Babcock said. “We started out, we lost the first seven faceoffs in our own zone and we didn’t skate very good, gave up too many odd-man rushes.”
With the game tied 2-2 heading to the third, the Wings had a golden opportunity to pull ahead on the power play, but could generate nothing offensively.
The Coyotes then got the game winner just two seconds after a tripping penalty to Stephen Weiss expired from Stone. Vermettte added an empty netter to seal things.
Through four games this season Detroit has just eight goals total.
“Lack of goals, I don’t know it’s lack of offense,” 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.”
“I don’t know if it’s a little too early cause for concern but you have to get more than two on most nights to win,” Daniel Cleary said. “But we’re usually a team that plays well defensively. We’ve been too loose last couple losses. I’m not concerned about the offense, I think we’ll be fine.”
A number of odd man rushes also was an issue in the loss.
“We created enough chances, but we gave them way too many chances,” Zetterberg said. “We just need to keep it a little tighter and be more structured. Probably had 10 or 15 odd man rushes. You don’t see that often in this building. There are things we have to work on. We’re happy we don’t have five days (off) now. We practice tomorrow and play again on Saturday.”
Detroit went 0-for-2 on the power play, making them 0-for-10 on the season.
The Coyotes opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game when Morris got a puck from the point through a maze of players to beat Howard blocker side, sneaking it just inside the post. The goal was setup on a draw cleanly won by Vermette right back to Morris on the blue line.
The Wings had the first power play chance of the game, but it lasted all of 15 seconds after Johan Franzen was sent off for hooking in the offensive zone.
In the second period, the teams combined for three goals in less than two minutes to begin the second period.
The Wings got the equalizer and go-ahead goals just 53 seconds apart by the six-minute mark.
Andersson potted his first of the season driving hard to the net to put home a rebound off Smith’s blocker. Jakub Kindl began the rush out of Detroit’s zone and flung a backhand on goal that was directed in front where Andersson found it waiting for him.
Ericsson put the Wings ahead moments later after keeping the puck in the Coyotes’ zone he used a screen from Justin Abdelkader to beat Smith for the unassisted goal.
Boedker evened the game back up, grabbing a loose puck down low and waiting patiently for Howard to commit before firing it top shelf into the open net.