The Phoenix Coyotes bounced back from a pair of clunkers with the kind of solid effort they needed to beat one of the NHL's elite.
Michael Stone's goal with 4:47 remaining in regulation broke a tie on the Coyotes' way to a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. The Coyotes came to Detroit after starting their road trip with a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks and a 6-1 loss to the New York Islanders.
"We figured out what we have to do to be in a hockey game," said goaltender Mike Smith, who made 28 saves.
Two nights after a poor showing in the loss to the Islanders triggered a players-only meeting and some roster moves, the Coyotes bounced back with a solid effort to even their record at 2-2-0. They broke a 2-2 tie when Stone took a pass from Mike Ribeiro and fired a straightaway slap shot that went through a screen and beat Jimmy Howard two seconds after a penalty to Detroit's Stephen Weiss had expired.
"Got an opening and a chance to shoot," Stone said. "Ribeiro mad a great pass, and I got a screen in front from Marty Hanzal.
"To respond the way we did after two ugly ones is the way to go."
Antoine Vermette hit the empty net with 50.7 seconds remaining as the Coyotes ended a four-game losing streak at Joe Louis Arena.
"It was the players. The players competed as hard as they needed to compete to give ourselves a chance to win," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said.
Smith, who was lifted after allowing five goals on 20 shots against the Islanders, allowed only second-period goals to Joakim Andersson and Jonathan Ericsson.
Howard made 34 saves for Detroit, which hadn't played since a 4-1 road loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday. The Red Wings are also 2-2-0.
"I didn't think we played very well," Detroit forward Danny Cleary said. "It wasn't a very good game defensively, and we didn't spend enough time in their zone.
"That's two games in a row that we haven't looked like us."
The Coyotes got a break when Henrik Zetterberg hit the crossbar on a breakaway 1:15 into the game, then came back and opened the scoring 66 seconds later.
Vermette won a right-circle faceoff and got the puck back to Derek Morris, who sat out the loss to the Islanders with an upper-body injury. Morris took a stride to his left to let traffic form in front of Howard, then stepped into a slap shot that caught the far side for the veteran defenseman's first goal of the season.
Detroit came close to getting even 9:24 into the game when Smith stopped a backhander by Weiss and held the post as the Wings jammed away. The puck wound up in the net, but officials ruled that the whistle had blown.
The teams wound up even with 10 shots each through 20 minutes. The Coyotes helped themselves by winning 20 of 27 faceoffs, including the one that led to Morris' goal. For the game, the Coyotes won 46 of 70 draws, allowing them to control the puck for much of the game.
"Our faceoffs were really strong," Tippett said. "There's always little things that you want to tweak."
Detroit tied the game 5:07 into the second period when Andersson drove to the net and banged in a rebound after Smith got his blocker on Jakub Kindl's backhander from the right circle for his first of the season. The Red Wings went ahead 53 seconds later when Ericsson picked off a pass at the Phoenix blue line and wristed a shot from the right point that sailed past Smith as Justin Abdelkader waved at the puck. It was the first goal of the season by a Detroit defenseman.
The Red Wings' lead lasted all of 64 seconds, until Mikkel Boedker picked the carom of Morris' shot from the right point out of a tangle of skates, stepped to his left to get around Howard and roofed a shot for his first of the season.
Smith preserved the tie later in the period when he went right to left across the crease and stoned Abdelkader after a perfect setup by Pavel Datsyuk.