DETROIT- It may not sound like a compliment but when you run out of words to describe something, you have to look deeper into the thesaurus to find something good.
Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk was so good Saturday he forced Phoenix Coyotes' Keith Yandle to do just that.
"The guy is disgusting," Yandle said admiringly. "It is fun to watch him, but not fun to play against... It has to be a collective five-guy unit to take care of him because one or two guys, he's going to embarrass."
Datsyuk was also called "sick," "wicked" along with the usual "terrific, outstanding," etc., etc., etc.
He was all of that in the Wings 4-3 win over the Coyotes giving the Red Wings a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Datsyuk had a goal and assisted on goals by Brian Rafalski, Darren Helm and Tomas Holmstrom.
He performed a variety of magic-wand like moves that left spectators in awe.
With Wings' leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg out with knee injury, Datsyuk has taken over.
In two games he has two goals, three assists, he's a plus-4 with six takeaways, three hits and Saturday he won 16-of-20 faceoffs.
The highlight of a 3-0 first period was a circus move by Datsyuk. He broke in on the right side, dragged the puck backwards between his legs, pulled it around his left leg and fired a puck that Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov managed to stop it with his pad. The rebound came out to Helm who made it 3-0.
"Maybe a handful of guys (would try that)," said Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom. "He's so good at it, whether the puck is behind him, he still tries to get a shot off and make those moves. We see him in practice all of the time, trying different things. He's not shy to try them in games, either.
"It's great to see. He's skating with a lot of confidence and it's hard to defend him when he's playing like that."
Datsyuk acknowledged playing with confidence but said the move turned out well only because Helm scored.
"I am maybe trying to do too much. It was a stupid thing. It worked, though," he said. "I go one-on-one, sometimes I like to use it sometimes between the legs. Maybe next time, I try more easy way to score."
While the Wings head to Phoenix for Monday's Game 3 up 2-0, they will have to change some things as well. They continue to take too many penalties and in both games, have had trouble holding big leads.
Lost in the euphoria of two wins is the fact the Wings were up 4-0 and were life and death to protect that lead.
For the Coyotes, being able to come back and play well in the third period gives them some hope going home.
"They did what they had to do here and won both games," said Coyotes' Shane Doan, who had a pair of goals. "Now it's our turn to do what we have to do at home. If we play the way we played in the third period, we should be fine."
Radim Vrbata had the other Coyotes' goal.
Doan dragged the Coyotes back into the game.
"He's not going to let us quit. He's going to put us on his back to make sure we don't quit," said Yandle.
"I just wish a few more of our players played that way," said Coyotes' coach Dave Tippett.
Doan was involved in a nasty incident in the first period when he Wings' Johan Franzen and Doan collided a few feet from the boards and Franzen hit the boards face first.
"Him and I were both racing to get the puck," Doan said. "He sees me coming and he tries to hit me as much as I tried to hit him. Obviously it's a bad situation the way he goes into the boards. You never want to see anybody get hurt."
Franzen came back late in the second period after getting stitched and being checked for concussion.