The Detroit Red Wings are heading for the second round.
The Phoenix Coyotes are heading for an uncertain future.
Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi scored two goals in two minutes in a dominating third period and Detroit swept the Coyotes out of the playoffs and possibly out of the desert with a 6-3 victory Wednesday night.
“We knew they were going to come out and play with their best effort and I thought they did, but we really wanted to win tonight,” Red Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom said.
So did Phoenix. With the ownership situation still brewing at two years and counting, the Coyotes wanted to go out as winners in what could be their last game in the desert.
They just couldn’t keep up as Detroit sent line after line at them like a swarm of bees.
Detroit didn’t have leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg at all in the series and still dominated Phoenix, scoring at least four goals in each game. The Red Wings had 13 players score a goal and 16 notch a point in the series.
Detroit won Game 3 on four quick-hitting goals during a whiteout at Jobing.com Arena and used its depth to wear down Phoenix in a Game 4 that was more of a dusting of white, but just as juiced.
Tomas Holmstrom, Patrick Eaves and Niklas Kronwall scored in the goal-trading first two periods, then Cleary squeezed a deflating score between goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s skate and the post with 6:19 left in the game. Bertuzzi made it a two-goal lead by knocking a shot off Coyotes defenceman David Schlemko’s skate 1:53 later, and Eaves sealed the sweep with his second goal on an empty net.
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Washington 4 New York 3 (2 OT); Pittsburgh 3 Tampa Bay 2 (2 OT); Buffalo 1 Philadelphia 0; and Anaheim 6 Nashville 3.
At Glendale, Ariz., he everybody-contributes effort earned the Red Wings a dominating series win over a team that took them to seven games last season, not to mention plenty of time to relax and recuperate before the next round.
“It was a good series for us,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “Any time you can win four straight, obviously, it’s a positive thing.”
Playing in front of potential owner Michael Hulsizer, who talked with fans outside before the game and sat in the stands during it, the Coyotes kept up with Detroit’s multitude of scoring lines on goals from Taylor Pyatt, Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal.
Phoenix had no answer for the Red Wings in the third period, though, swept out of the playoffs for the first time since 1987, nine years before the franchise moved from Winnipeg. The Coyotes saluted the crowd at centre ice after the game as most of the fans stuck around, but now head into the off-season not knowing if they’ll ever play in Glendale again.
“The talking about moving and this and that, the frustrating thing is stable ownership gives you an atmosphere where you feel you can be successful,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “We have scratched and clawed and I give our group a ton of credit because they dealt with it for two years.”
Pavel Datsyuk was the cog for Detroit in the first two games, accounting for two goals and five assists on Detroit’s eight scores. The Red Wings had four players score in Game 3 in the desert, all coming within the first three minutes of each period.
Detroit got a little of both in Game 4: Holmstrom scored his second of the series 3:37 into the game on a no-look pass from Datsyuk.
This time, the Coyotes responded quickly instead of waiting until the game was out of hand.
Pyatt tied it less than two minutes after Holmstrom’s goal when his pass across the crease caromed off the skate of Detroit defenceman Jonathan Ericsson past goalie Jimmy Howard, who had no chance.
It went back and forth from there.
Doan put the Coyotes up in the series for the first time since early in Game 1 midway through the first, wristing a shot from the right circle that nicked Lidstrom’s skate and squeezed through Howard’s pads over the line, almost in slow motion.
Detroit finished off the wild first period on a mishit one-timer by Eaves that still went in after two Coyotes got knocked to the ice behind the goal.
Phoenix got the early period goal in the second, scoring on a power play 1:09 in, when Radim Vrbata hit Hanzal for an easy goal with Howard on the other side of the crease.
Again, the Red Wings answered, with Kronwall punching in a rebound on a power play 3 1/2 minutes later.
“We didn’t lose our composure,” Bertuzzi said. “They came at us a couple times and got some big goals, but I thought we really stayed with it.”
That set up the final period and the Red Wings amped up the pressure midway through with a particularly long shift that left the Coyotes tired.
Detroit took advantage a short time later, with Cleary scoring his first goal of the series. Bertuzzi got his first of the series by squeezing the puck from behind the net off Schlemko, and Eaves sealed the sweep in the closing seconds, giving the dejected Coyotes a deflating finish to another adversity-filled season.
“I’ve never been swept four straight, ever. That’s embarrassing,” Doan said. “It’s frustrating when you know you’re better and we didn’t show it.”
At New York, Jason Chimera scored 12:36 into the second overtime and Washington completed a three-goal comeback to push the Rangers to the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference series.
New York scored three times in the second period to take a 3-0 lead and seemed poised to head back to Washington all even in the series for Game 5 on Saturday. But the top-seeded Capitals rallied to take a 3-1 lead and can advance to the second round with a win at home.
At Tampa, Fla., James Neal scored 3:38 into the second overtime to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead over Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference series.
Neal gathered a loose puck along the boards and sent the winning shot past goalie Dwayne Roloson, who had 50 saves for Tampa Bay. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots—nine in the extra periods—for the Penguins.
Game 5 is Saturday in Pittsburgh.
At Buffalo, N.Y., Ryan Miller made 32 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs and Buffalo beat Philadelphia to even the Eastern Conference series 2-2.
Jason Pominville scored at 9:38 of the first period to help the Sabres rebound from two straight losses.
Game 5 is Friday night in Philadelphia.
At Nashville, Tenn., Corey Perry’s short-handed goal at 1:17 of the third period put Anaheim ahead to stay and the Ducks beat Nashville to tie the Western Conference series 2-2.
Game 5 is Friday night in Anaheim, with Ducks forward Bobby Ryan set to return from a two-game suspension.
Perry also had two assists.