Skip to Main Content

Coyotes regain edge on Wings with 4-2 win

by Brian Compton
DETROIT --An all-hands-on-deck approach has the Phoenix Coyotes halfway to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Petr Prucha and Radim Vrbata each had a goal and an assist and Ilya Bryzgalov made 29 saves as the Coyotes earned a 4-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of this Western Conference Quarterfinal at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.
Phoenix now leads 2-1 in this best-of-seven series, which resumes here on Tuesday night.

Not all is rosy for the Coyotes, however. Shane Doan, the club's captain, was injured early in the second period when he tripped over Howard and crashed into the boards. Doan -- who topped all Phoenix scorers with 55 points this season -- suffered an upper-body injury on the play and did not return. His status for Game 4 is unknown.


"When you lose your captain … our team, we seem to thrive on adversity," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "He's being evaluated. We'll see where he is tomorrow. But we have a lot of guys who are itching for some extra minutes and we had some guys jump in there and play very well. When you lose one guy, it's an opportunity for another guy. Shane's our leader, but we recognize we have a game to play."

Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen scored and Henrik Zetterberg had two assists for the Red Wings, who won the Stanley Cup in 2008 and returned to the Final a year ago. Jimmy Howard made 29 saves in the loss. Detroit has dropped its last two playoff games on home ice, dating back to Game 7 of last year's Stanley Cup Final against Pittsburgh.
"It's interesting how the perception from you people is we're supposed to just crush them,'' Wings coach Mike Babcock said of the No. 4 Coyotes, who won 50 games and had 107 points during the regular season. ''They're a good team, too." 

Phoenix needed only 29 seconds to get on the scoreboard, when Sami Lepisto scored the fastest playoff goal in franchise history. After a terrific effort by Prucha behind the net, Lepisto, who had one goal in 66 regular-season games, collected a loose puck in the slot and fired it past Howard as Phoenix grabbed an early 1-0 lead.
The Red Wings tied things up as Filppula scored on the power play at 14:42 of the first period. After Lauri Korpikoski was whistled for elbowing, Filppula took a nice drop pass from Brad Stuart and quickly wristed it past Bryzgalov to make it 1-1. It was Filppula's third goal of the playoffs. Detroit outshot Phoenix 13-7 in the opening period.
"We never give up," Bryzgalov said. "You never know what's going to happen. We have some players who can step up. We believe in ourselves and we believe in our system. We need two more wins."
Wojtek Wolski gave Phoenix its second lead of the day at 19:28 of the second on his third goal in as many playoff games. Wolski, one of GM Don Maloney's trade-deadline acquisitions, charged the net and backhanded Matthew Lombardi's rebound past Howard as the Coyotes went into the second intermission up by a goal. They outshot the Wings 12-9 in the period.
"I thought we let him out to dry on a couple of occasions," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said of his goalie. "You want to do a better job of helping him out. It looked like they were going to the net a little bit harder than they did in Game 2."
Prucha extended the Coyotes' lead when he scored his first goal of the playoffs 8:16 into the third period. With the teams at even strength, Prucha took a nice feed from Vrbata and got around Lidstrom (minus-3) before beating Howard via the forehand to make it 3-1.
"Our whole season's been a team effort," Vrbata said. "We didn't know if (Shane) was coming back. We just kept playing. You just have to worry about yourself and the bench. He's a big part of our team, but you're winning as a team."
Franzen got Detroit back to within a goal at 9:59, when he one-timed Todd Bertuzzi's feed from behind the net past Bryzgalov to make it 3-2. It was Franzen's first goal of the playoffs.
But Vrbata quickly restored the Coyotes' two-goal lead as he beat Howard with a wrist shot from the left circle for his first of the postseason at 11:38. It iced the franchise's first playoff road win since April 20, 2002 at San Jose.
"You have an identity that you can overcome anything," Tippett said. "From where we've come, a couple of injuries is not going to deter us right now. That's the mindset."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

Shift of the Game
: Looking for their first two-goal lead of the day, the Coyotes received a tremendous effort from the trio of Petr Prucha, Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal. They made it a 3-1 game when Vrbata and Prucha completed a give-and-go that culminated with Prucha's first goal of the playoffs at 8:16 of the third period.
View More