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NHL Playoffs 2011: Red Wings Take Commanding 3-0 Series Lead Over Phoenix

The Detroit Red Wings moved closer to the second round of the playoffs as they won Game 3 of their first round series with the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-2. The win gave the Red Wings a 3-0 series lead, which only three teams have ever overcome in NHL history.

Detroit netted two goals in the game’s first 2:41 by Ruslan Salei and Patrick Eaves, the first goals of the playoffs for each. Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen added goals for Detroit and Jimmy Howard was solid in net, stopping 28 shots.

David Schlemko and Ray Whitney had power play goals for the Coyotes, who moved not only closer to elimination, but relocation as well. The team’s future in the desert is in limbo, and Winnipeg—where the franchise originated—is chomping at the bit to get their team back.

The big problem for the Coyotes is not the sale of the team, but their inability to match the Red Wings when playing 5-on-5. Phoenix has seven goals in this series, and five of them have come with the man advantage.

Detroit scored all four of its goals within the first three minutes of the period they were scored in, starting with Salei and Miller’s tallies in the first period. Filppula struck 2:50 into the second period, dangling his way around Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and firing the puck in.

Franzen made it 4-1 on a breakaway just 45 seconds into the third, taking a stretch pass from Jonathan Ericsson and cleanly beating Bryzgalov with a wicked wrist shot over the catching glove.

Schlemko got Phoenix within 3-1 midway through the second, firing a rocket past a screened Howard on the power play. Whitney cut the lead to 4-2 in the third, getting a kind bounce off Salei’s backside after Howard made the initial stop.