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Kronwall's OT goal lifts Wings over Coyotes 2-1

by Jerry Brown
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ask Phoenix coach Dave Tippett about his team's offense after three games, and he'll shrug his shoulders unknowingly.

"I have no idea," Tippett said. "I have Shane Doan and (Wojtek) Wolski sitting on the bench next to me, and they can't get on the ice because we're taking penalties all night."

A Detroit team that dressed only 17 skaters knew how to take advantage of eight power-play chances – six of them in the third period and overtime. The Red Wings finally cashed in when Niklas Kronwall pounded home a one-timer with 16 seconds left in OT, giving Detroit a 2-1 win Saturday night to spoil the Coyotes' home opener and continue their mastery over Phoenix.

Phoenix stayed into the game thanks to its penalty kill, sixth-best in the league last year (84.5 percent), which killed 15 of the first 16 this season including a double-minor in the third period when Taylor Pyatt caught Henrik Zetterberg in the face with a high stick.

But they came up seven seconds short of killing the last one. Kronwall avoided a shootout when he teed up a one-timer from Zetterberg that Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov never saw thanks to a Dan Cleary screen. As with Pavel Datsyuk's goal in the second period, the puck deflected off a Phoenix player on the way to the net.

The Coyotes were 5-1 in overtime last season in addition to an NHL-best 14 shootout wins. But they never had a chance this time as they were outshot 8-0 and spent the entire overtime chasing the puck.

"We kept shooting the puck and finally it went in," Kronwall said. "We had some chances, but Bryzgalov played a really good game. I think it went off one of their guys and in."

Wingers Justin Abdelkader (ribs), Johan Franzen (concussion), and Kris Draper (groin) and defensemen Jonathon Ericsson (back) and Brian Rafalski (knee) are out of action for the Red Wings, who don't have the salary cap room to bring up another player. Even with the shorthanded bench, they are now off to a 3-1-1 start.

"This is our fourth home opener and we're 3-1," Detroit coach Mike Babcock noted. "I didn't like our first period, we weren't competitive enough. We really got competitive in the second and third, and it's a good win for us."

Saturday was Phoenix's first home game since being eliminated 6-1 by the Red Wings in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in late April. Once again, one goal wasn't enough, as the Coyotes played more than seven minutes of the third period and four minutes of overtime down a man.

"You give a good power play that many chances and they are going to score," Doan said. "We felt like we controlled the game when it was 5-on-5, but they found ways to get power plays and we didn't."

Tippett blamed his own team for most of the penalties, but questioned the back-breaker when Adrian Aucoin was called for taking down Tomas Holmstrom in the slot.

"Very average penalty," Tippett said. "That was a battle in front of the net. For such a big guy I'm amazed sometime how easy (Holmstrom) goes down."

Martin Hanzal scored in a first period dominated by the Coyotes, while Datsyuk was credited with a goal that bounced off the stick of Phoenix's Lee Stempniak to tie it in the second.

Among the announced sellout crowd of 17,125 was Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer, who has an agreement in principle for a new Arena lease and is closing in on a deal to purchase the team – which has been owned by the NHL for more than a year.

The Coyotes outshot the Red Wings 12-5 in the first period and had most of the best scoring chances, but didn't break through until the final minute.  

Seconds after Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard stoned winger Petr Prucha on a breakaway, Wolski slid a pretty backhand pass through the slot to Hanzal, who hit the half-empty net with 10 seconds left for his first goal of the season.

The Red Wings answered in the second period, dominating the first 10 minutes and evening the game on a good hustle play. Datsyuk beat two Coyotes to his own dump-in behind the net and feathered a centering pass toward teammate Patrick Eaves. But the puck deflected off Stempniak's stick and dribbled through Bryzgalov's legs at 7:03, giving Datsyuk his third goal of the season.

The Coyotes came into the game with revenge for last spring's playoff loss on their minds, while the Red Wings were more interested in getting through a game without losing another player.

The Coyotes played without left winger Ray Whitney (upper body), with center Kyle Turris making his season debut at center between Scottie Upshall and Doan. Defenseman Derek Morris (groin) made his season debut, replacing Sam Lepisto, who struggled as the Coyotes split two games against Boston in Prague as part of the Compuware NHL Premiere series. 
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