Print and Go Back Cross Checks [Print without images]

Friday, January 20, 2012
Wings need something extra to top Coyotes

By Craig Custance

Red Wings forward Darren Helm saw teammate Todd Bertuzzi skating in wide on the shootout and called it from the bench. The spin-o-rama was coming.

And why not? It was going to take something special to beat Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, who had already made an incredible glove save in the shootout on Pavel Datsyuk.

It’s Bertuzzi’s trusted move. Helm and the rest of the Detroit bench leapt in celebration when the puck was back-handed past Smith to give the Red Wings a 3-2 shootout win over the Coyotes in Phoenix -- Detroit’s fifth in a row.

As good as the Red Wings have been at home, where they’re setting franchise records, the win pushed their road record to just 13-13. If they’re going to establish themselves as the team to beat in the West, they need to find consistent success away from Joe Louis Arena.

“We have to win those games,” Helm told after the game. “It’s crunch time... and it’s tough on the road. I think we’re trying to find a way to get wins and the last couple games we did a good job battling through.”

Detroit moves to the top of the Western Conference, but not by much. The Blues won again with a shutout win over the Oilers and sit just one point back of the Red Wings. The two play in Detroit on Monday. The Blackhawks are right there too, tied with the Blues with 62 points. Every point becomes crucial, and the Red Wings continue to pick up points in the shootout where they remain undefeated.

“It’s tough every night,” Helm said. “It doesn’t seem like too many teams lose hockey games in this division. Chicago is rolling. St. Louis is rolling. We’re doing a pretty good job. It’s going to be an 82-game season to make sure we get a good playoff spot.”

A few things that stood out in this game: