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Wings beat Coyotes with third-period rally

Thursday, 01.31.2008 / 12:23 AM / Game of the Night

By Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

All-Star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom helped rally the Red Wings back from a 2-1 deficit in the third period as Detroit defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena for their fifth consecutive victory.
Watch Lidstrom's game winning goal
Even when they’re down, the Detroit Red Wings are never out. Nicklas Lidstrom proved that on Wednesday night.
The All-Star defenseman helped his team rally from a 2-1 deficit in the third period by playing a role in two quick tallies as the Wings edged the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena for their fifth consecutive victory.
After Tomas Holmstrom redirected Lidstrom’s shot from the point past Ilya Bryzgalov 9:09 into the final period ( 700K ), Lidstrom scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with just 7:28 to play ( 700K ). With Holmstrom in front to screen Bryzgalov, Lidstrom fired a slap shot past the Coyotes’ netminder to give the Wings a win in their first game following the All-Star break.
''I was aiming on the blocker side. There were two or three bodies in front of the net and I knew Holmer was one of them,'' Lidstrom said. ''I just tried to pick the blocker side corner. If Holmer's not there, he's probably going to see the puck and make the save.''
Speaking of saves, Chris Osgood made a remarkable one in the final minute, as he robbed Phoenix captain Shane Doan on a breakaway. The victory was Osgood’s 357th of his phenomenal career.
“By no means did we think it was going to be an easy game,” Osgood said. “There’s going to be no easy games this second half, because all these teams are fighting for the playoffs and trying to get as many points as they can. We know that every single time we play, it’s going to be like this.”   
Henrik Zetterberg gave Detroit a 1-0 lead with his team-leading 29th goal just 3:54 into the game ( 700K ). Zetterberg, who missed the last two games prior to the All-Star break due to back spasms, put the Wings in front when his pass attempt from the left corner bounced off Bryzgalov and into the net.

This was not the way the defending champion Anaheim Ducks envisioned the start of their eight-game, post-All Star road trip. Instead of a solid effort, the Ducks were whipped 5-1 in Minnesota on Wednesday night for their fourth consecutive loss.


Martin Hanzal evened things up just over six minutes later ( 700K ). After a turnover by Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, Hanzal fired a shot from the slot past Osgood for his sixth goal of the season.
''We were a little bit rusty at the start. They had some jump on us,'' Lidstrom said. ''I think it helped their cause by playing (Tuesday). They got their legs going. It took us a while to get ours.”
Indeed it did, as Phoenix took the lead 8:31 into the second period on Ed Jovanovski’s seventh goal of the season ( 700K ). With the teams at even strength, Jovanovski took a pass from Radim Vrbata and one-timed a blast past Osgood to make it 2-1 – marking the fourth time this season the Coyotes were unable to protect such a lead against the top team in the Western Conference.
''At 2-1, we had opportunities to get further ahead, but their goalie made some good saves,'' Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. ''It was disappointing not to get ahead 3-1, and it's frustrating that we had two giveaways in our end and they're up 3-2.''
Osgood believes Detroit’s ability to rally late in the third period is a testament to the veteran presence on the roster. The All-Star netminder finished with 32 saves.
“We’re just mature; we’re a veteran team,” Osgood said. “Some teams would be yelling and screaming after 40 minutes. We know what we have to do. We didn’t panic. We knew we had to get more pucks to the net, and that’s what we did.”
Bryzgalov was disappointed his team was unable to hold on for what would have been a huge victory, one night after a 4-2 win at Columbus. The Coyotes, now 27-22-2, play the third of a five-game road trip on Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.
''Detroit was lucky to get a point and lucky to get a win,'' Bryzgalov said. ''We have to win this game.''

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.

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