Watching Game 1 of the playoffs as a healthy scratch wasn’t what Mike Modano had in mind when he signed with the Red Wings in August, after the club aggressively pursued him, convincing him to put off retirement.
Modano saw an opportunity to take one final run at the Stanley Cup, and the Wings expected him to be their third-line center, a key contributor.
But the future Hall of Famer’s 40-year-old body and mind haven’t responded like he thought they would. Missing 41 games with a lacerated wrist didn’t help.
So now Modano can only hope his career doesn’t end this way. He’ll be ready for Game 2 against Phoenix on Saturday, if called upon.
“You never know, things happen, injuries happen, certain match-ups that they don’t like can change lineups,” Modano said. “You try to be ready for the call.”
If Henrik Zetterberg, who missed Game 1 with a knee injury and is listed as day-to-day, returns in this series and the team has no other injuries, coach Mike Babcock will need to scratch another forward. That will make it even more difficult for Modano to crack the lineup.
RED WINGS 4, COYOTES 2: The Wings were undisciplined early in the game, but their penalty-killing bailed them out as they killed five Phoenix power plays in the first 27 minutes, including a two-man advantage that lasted 1:30. That gave them a lot of momentum in the second period, which they dominated, scoring three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead and control of the game. Pavel Datsyuk, stepping up in Henrik Zetterberg’s absence, tied the game at 7:38. Johan Franzen gave his team the lead for good at 12:02 and Brian Rafalski scored a power-play goal at 18:16.
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