It’s on to the Western Conference semi-finals for the Red Wings who took down the Coyotes 6-to-3 last night at Phoenix, giving Detroit a four game sweep in their first round Stanley Cup playoff series. Danny Cleary scored the go-ahead goal from an almost impossible angle with 6:19 remaining to break a three-three tie.
Cleary also had two assists and Patrick Eaves added two goals for the Red Wings, who also ousted Phoenix in seven games during the first round of the postseason last year. Todd Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist for Detroit, which got a goal apiece from Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Kronwall and suffered no shortage of offense despite the absences of the injured Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.
Jimmy Howard made 24 saves for the third-seeded Red Wings, who are the first team to advance in this year's playoffs. Detroit coach Mike Babcock says both Zetterberg and Franzen will be rested and ready to go for the second round, which will begin for the Red Wings sometime toward the end of next week.
Last night in the ECHL at Wings Stadium, Kalamazoo beat the Reading Royals 5-to-4 to go up 3-games to nothing in their Eastern Conference semi-finals series with Game Four coming up tomorrow night, again in Kalamazoo.