NHL: Coyotes sweep season series over Red Wings
Saturday afternoon and evening was a big time for the Phoenix Coyotes and their fans. During the day the club held their first ever “tailgate” in many of the parking lots outside of Jobing.com arena. Fans arrived hours before gametime to enjoy some great food, drinks, entertainment, play a little street hockey, some beer pong and more!
In the 6 o’clock hour though, the fans high turned to a low. The Detroit Red Wings behind a goal from star Pavel Datsyuk, took an early 1-0 lead. Then less than 4 minutes later Todd Bertuzzi put the Wings up 2-0. As they say, a 2 goal lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey, but would the Coyotes have enough to muster a comeback, especially after playing the night before in Anaheim?
Indeed the Coyotes would get on the board with exactly 1 minute remaining in the 2nd period on a goal from Antoine Vermette. The 31-year-old faceoff wiz had a strong overall game for the Coyotes. Now with the late 2nd period goal the Coyotes and their fans had life. Allowing a late period goal can be very deflating for a club and as we soon found out in the 3rd period, that was absolutely the case with the Red Wings.
Mike Ribeiro and Martin Hanzal scored a little over 2 minutes apart early in the 3rd period to put the Coyotes up 3-2. Ribeiro would add a 2nd goal later in the period for insurance. It appeared we were looking at a 4-2 Coyotes victory. With Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard on the bench for an extra attacker, Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith shot the puck down the ice perfectly right into the Red Wings empty net with .01 seconds remaining on the clock. The fans were really in for a treat, but now they witnessed some history. Goaltenders scoring is obviously extremely rare, but for Smith this was his 2nd goal at the professional level as he scored a goal while in the ECHL back in 2002-03. Smith of course was named number 1 star, although even if he didn’t score the goal he would have still been as he was fantastic in net, especially in the 2nd period keeping the score 2-0 and giving his team a chance to comeback.
The season series with the Red Wings is now over for the Coyotes, as they won both games. The club defeated the Red Wings earlier this month in Detroit, by a score of 4-2.