In praise of Bobby Ryan

In praise of Bobby Ryan
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman

Monday, April 26, 2010

Phoenix Coyotes at Detroit, vs Red Wings (Round 1, Game 6)

Big game for the Phoenix Coyotes, if they expect to extend their post-season another night.

Early on, it doesn't look good. Defenseman Ed Jovanovski takes a penalty and puts the highly effective Detroit Red Wings on a power play. The Yotes keep their forecheck hard however, and create a turnover in neutral ice that allows Lauri Korpovkoski to send a short-hander past Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard five-hole.

Yotes take the lead five minutes into the first, 1-0.

The Yotes capitalize on the momentum and put up a tremendous fight to kill a 5-on-3 penalty. The game is not unlike the other games in this series: fast-paced, aggressive, hard-hitting... everything playoff hockey should be! captain Shane Doan is still out, having sustained an upper-body injury during Game 3.

But the Yotes have played remarkably despite the loss. The boys have said that Doan is active in the locker room before the game and between periods, rallying his team and boosting the morale. What a captain!

The Wings are playing an intensely physical game, landing hit after hit. The Yotes are making use of their offensive defensemen, guys like Jovo and Keith Yandle often jumping into plays below the circles. And the Yotes are landing plenty of hits of their own.

Phoenix takes the only goal into the first intermission.

Not to sell anyone short, I should mention that both netminders are standing tall in this game, but Ilya Bryzgalov comes up huge against those Red Wings shots.

Yotes continue their pressure and, on a rare Wings penalty, Matthew Schneider receives the puck from Adrian Accoin (who blocks a Wings attempt to clear) and slaps it home from the point. Unfortunately, less than a minute later, the Wings answer and get on the board.

The Wings go on to take a pair of penalties, very rare for them, but probably a sign of frustration. The first is killed off but the second sees Verdim Vrbata snapping a wrister into the net.

Before the end of the period, Petr Prucha puts another into the net. Unlike my beloved Ducks, the Yotes continue to put offensive pressure on their opponent. Yotes take a 4-1 lead into the second intermission...

... and increase that lead to four goals with a bid by Yandle in the third. Bryz continues to be phenomenal despite the Wings getting a goal that was initially waved off. Fights break out in the third as the Wings attempt to turn their impending loss at home into a message for the hungry Coyotes. Yours truly enjoyed watching the frustration... and the plethora of empty seats at the Joe.

With that, the Yotes force a game 7 on Tuesday back at home in Phoenix. You won't want to miss that one!

Edited: This just in, the Vancouver Canucks clinched tonight, knocking the Los Angeles Kings out of the playoffs! It's a good day in hockeyland, ladies and gents.


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