"This is what I expected our series to be like before we got into it," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I expected it to be real tight. I thought our team was patient and we got some timely goals."
Ilya Bryzgalov was solid for Phoenix, as the Vezina Trophy finalist made 32 saves in the loss.
"I don't think anybody thought we were going to win this series in four," Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris said. "We knew it was going to be a long series and we knew they were a good team. It's a very tight series. A bounce here or a bounce there is the way it's going to go."
The Red Wings finally solved Bryzgalov with 4:27 left in the second period, when Zetterberg scored on the power play. Zetterberg, who has five goals in Detroit's two victories, redirected Niklas Kronwall's shot from the point past Bryzgalov as Detroit took a 1-0 lead. The goal was originally credited to Todd Bertuzzi but was changed to Zetterberg after the game.
"It was actually Henrik who tipped it," Bertuzzi said. "It was just one of those ones that we needed on the power play. It was a big momentum boost. We needed that."
Howard -- who notched his first postseason shutout -- made a pair of dazzling saves during a Coyotes' power play late in the second period, when he managed to stop Lee Stempniak's deflection before getting his left pad on the rebound despite losing his mask. It was old-time hockey at its finest.
Detroit took the one-goal lead into the third period as Howard stopped all 23 shots he faced through the first 40 minutes. It marked the first time in the series that the Coyotes were trailing after the second period.
"Jimmy's been playing outstanding all year," Bertuzzi said. "He made some really big saves. Jimmy's been a big key to our success and we're going to need him to continue to do stuff like that."
The Red Wings' special teams came up huge midway through the third period, when they were forced to kill a 17-second two-man advantage due to penalties on Johan Franzen and Andreas Lilja.
After not allowing the Coyotes to generate anything on the power play, Pavel Datsyuk then gave Detroit a 2-0 lead when he one-timed Franzen's feed past Bryzgalov at 15:53 of the third. It was his second goal of the playoffs. Zetterberg made it 3-0 when he scored from a sharp angle just 25 seconds later to ice the much-needed win for Detroit.
Phoenix finished 0-for-6 on the power play.
"We didn't get the puck to the net like we wanted to," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "That's the way the game kind of went for us."
Valtteri Filppula nearly scored midway through the first period during a 4-on-4 situation. Filppula, who has three goals and an assist in this series, put his own rebound on Bryzgalov, and the puck trickled along the goal line. But replays concluded that the puck never fully made it across, and the game remained scoreless.
It was the closest either team came to scoring in the first, which saw the Wings pepper Bryzgalov with 17 shots.
"We were better for 60 minutes," Zetterberg said. "It's easier to get the momentum on your side when you're playing better."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
Shift of the Game: The Red Wings' penalty-killing units preserved a 1-0 lead in the third period. Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg & Co. denied the Coyotes during a 17-second two-man advantage. The Red Wings then killed off the remainder of Andreas Lilja's hooking penalty while denying Phoenix of any Grade-A chances.
1 - 0 DET
2 - 0 DET
3 - 0 DET