GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - On a night when one of the greatest offensive players in NHL history retired, his former Detroit Red Wing teammates put on a show of defensive excellence.
Manny Legace had 23 saves to give the Red Wings their first shutout of the season in a 2-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
The game was played two hours after the Coyotes' Brett Hull, a former Detroit star and third-leading scorer in NHL history, announced his retirement at a news conference.
``The boys have been playing real well in front of me,'' Legace said. ``I think this was our best defensive night. We didn't let any breakaways or 2-on-1s.''
Legace has played in every game.
``He's 5-1 and he plays every night,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ``We could easily have given him the night off. Why wouldn't he play if he's playing good. When you're playing good, you want to play.''
Zetterberg crossed in front of Phoenix goalie Curtis Joseph, then backhanded the puck into the net scored from at 2:11 of the second period. Datsyuk's goal was a brilliant left-handed one-timer from the right circle on a long pass from Nicklas Lidstrom.
``Manny saved us today, not once, not twice, but a lot of times,'' Zetterberg said. ``It's because of him we got a win.''
Joseph, back after missing two games with a groin injury, had 18 saves as Phoenix outshot the Red Wings 23-20.
Legace and his Detroit teammates smothered several Phoenix opportunities in front of the net in the second period. In the third period, Phoenix newcomer Geoff Sanderson had what appeared to be an excellent chance, slapping a wrist shot toward the net from close range, but Legace gloved it with his left hand.
It was the Red Wings' first road shutout since a 3-0 victory at Calgary on Nov. 4, 2003. Detroit's last shutout came at home, 2-0 against Colorado on March 27, 2004. Legace was the goalie in both of those games. He has seven career NHL shutouts.
The Coyotes fell to 1-4-1 under coach Wayne Gretzky, who said his team has played well defensively.
``As I said to the players after the game, the difference right now is a team like Detroit, you can feel their belief,'' Gretzky said. ``They believe in what they're doing and they believe they're going to win. You have that feeling when you walk by their locker room. And our team is a little bit fragile right now.''
With 9:30 left in the first period, during a stop in play, a brief highlight video of Hull's career was shown. Everyone in the arena, including the players on both benches, gave Hull a standing ovation.
Notes: The Coyotes unveiled their new mascot ``Howler.'' ... As is usually the case when Detroit comes to town, the game was a sellout (17,799), Phoenix's second in three games this season. ... The Red Wings have five players with at least three goals, the Coyotes have none. ... It was the first game for Phoenix this season that was decided by more than one goal. ... Phoenix defenseman Denis Gauthier left the game with a hand injury. Gretzky said it probably was broken.
|PPG - Henrik Zetterberg (3) Backhand shot - ASST: Jason Woolley (1), Jason Williams (7)|
1 - 0 DET
|Pavel Datsyuk (3) Slapshot - ASST: Nicklas Lidstrom (3), Tomas Holmstrom (5)|
2 - 0 DET
|Denis Gauthier Holding|
|Paul Mara Holding the stick against Robert Lang|
|Tomas Holmstrom Boarding against Mike Johnson|
|Keith Ballard Holding|
|Derek Morris Interference against Kris Draper|
|Pavel Datsyuk Holding|
|Tomas Holmstrom Holding|
|Geoff Sanderson Hooking|
|David Tanabe Hooking|