(Photo Credit: DRW/Dave Reginek)
On Saturday night, the Phoenix Coyotes faced the Detroit Red Wings in a showdown among Western Conference rivals. In the end it was the Coyotes who prevailed with a 4-1 victory.
While the end result couldn't have been better for Phoenix, it was the Red Wings who came out of the gates charging and took a 1-0 lead just over two minutes into the contest on a goal by Tomas Holmstrom. After Holmstrom's goal, which was his 100th of his career, the Coyotes came alive and began to take over the game.
The Coyotes began to take over the game when the Red Wings lost one of their top defenseman Chris Chelios late in the first period. Chelios was called for a cross-check, after arguing the call with the officials, Chelios was given an additional penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. But Chelios wasn't finished and after further arguments, the officials assed the veteran defenseman a 10-minute misconduct as well as a game misconduct. As a result, the Coyotes went on an extended power play. Then with just under three minutes to play in the period, Mike Leclerc swept a loose puck past Detroit's Chris Osgood to tie the game at 1-1 after one period of play.
In the second period, the Coyotes would take their first lead of the game at 8:22 of the period when defenseman Zbynek Michalek blasted a one timer past Osgood for his second goal of the season, giving Phoenix a 2-1 lead.
It looked like the second period would come to an end with the Coyotes clinging to a one goal lead, but a late penalty to Detroit's Jiri Fisher gave the Coyotes all the advantage they would need as Mike Johnson's slap shot from the left face-of circle, beat Osgood high over the shoulder for a 3-1 lead after two periods of play.
While the first two periods showcased the Coyotes forwards and defensemen, the third period belonged to Phoenix netminder Curtis Joseph. After stopping 18 shots over the first 40 minutes of play, the Wings pulled out all the stops in the third period as they flooded the Coyotes net with 19 shots as they tried desperately to cut into the Phoenix lead. But Joseph was determined not let his former team succeed as he turned aside all 19 shots to secure the Coyotes victory.
Mike Comrie capped off the evening when he added an empty net goal with 12 seconds left in regulation for a 4-1 win.
GAINEY MAKES COYOTES DEBUT
Coyote forward Steve Gainey made his debut in a Phoenix uniform, logging 9:49 minutes of ice time. Gainey showed solid play at both ends of the ice and made a pair of crucial clearing attempts to help the Coyotes secure a win.
Coyotes forward Mike Leclerc scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season in Saturday's win over the Red Wings.
"Right now I am just playing a solid game and I am going hard to the net," said Leclerc. "When I do those things every night, the goals will follow."
The Coyotes will return to action on Sunday when they face the Chicago Blackhawks at 5:00 p.m. Sunday's game will be a radio broadcast only and can be heard on KDUS-1060AM or KDKB-93.3FM.