Coming into the series, the stats showed the Coyotes knew how to keep the puck out of their own net: fifth best five-on-five goals for/goals against ratio and third best in goals against per game.
Most were ready to throw those stats out when the Red Wings were announced as the opening-round opponent, however. The Wings offense was on fire since becoming fully healthy. They were supposed to tear this upstart team apart and put on an offensive clinic.
Someone forgot to tell the Coyotes.
The Coyotes’ defense kept the Wings out of the middle of the ice, forcing shots from the outside, allowing Bryzgalov to make much easier saves, if he faced a shot at all.
His defensemen blocked eight shots, and the forwards got in front of seven more. When Detroit pulled Howard for the extra attacker, the Wings never mustered a shot on goal.
The defense got their names on the score sheet as well. Keith Yandle got Phoenix on the board in the first, tying the game 1-1. Derek Morris scored the game winner in the third.
While he didn’t earn a point, Ed Jovanovski made sure the Wings knew he was out there. His physical play in front of the net and in the corners clearly got under the skin of guys like Todd Bertuzzi.