COYOTES at RED WINGS
(Phoenix leads best-of-seven series, 2-1)
It's been a back-and-forth series to this point, with Phoenix establishing momentum on home ice in Game 1 and Detroit responding with a seven-goal outburst two nights later. The Red Wings expected to assert themselves back in their building Sunday afternoon, but instead it was the Coyotes taking a 4-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena to again go up by a game. Will the series be knotted for a second time or will Phoenix go home with a 3-1 lead and a chance to wrap things up at Jobing.com Arena on Friday?
They're known simply as the "Czech Line" -- the unit of Radim Vrbata
, Petr Prucha and Martin Hanzal
-- and their fingerprints were all over the Phoenix win on Sunday. Hanzal and Prucha set up defenseman Sami Lepisto's goal just 29 seconds after the opening faceoff that got the Coyotes off to the fast start they wanted. Vrbata and Hanzal assisted on Prucha's third-period goal that gave them a two-goal edge and, after the Wings drew to within one, Vrbata restored the cushion just 1:39 later.
"I don't know what they're saying, they're always yapping at each other, but it's in Czech," coach Dave Tippett told the Arizona Republic. "But whatever they're saying, keep it up."
Red Wings: Jimmy Howard
wrested the No. 1 goaltending job away from veteran Chris Osgood early this season and was a workhorse for Detroit, appearing in 63 games and starting 25 in a row at one point. The likely Calder Trophy candidate has given up four goals in consecutive starts and has just an .889 save percentage for the series, but the Red Wings are standing behind him -- and that includes the three-time Stanley Cup winner whom Howard relegated to the bench with his strong rookie season.
"Chris gave me a couple words of wisdom," Howard told the Detroit Free Press. "I'm grateful for that. Just forget about it. Go home and don't think about hockey at all. I just have to re-focus and get out there and have a good practice, look forward to Tuesday."
Wojtek Wolski continues to pay dividends for the Coyotes, scoring in each game of the series. The trade-deadline acquisition had the go-ahead goal with 32 seconds left in the middle period on Sunday. … Valtteri Filppula
has three goals and an assist for the Red Wings in the last two games, while Henrik Zetterberg
followed up his Game 2 hat trick with a pair of assists in Game 3.
Phoenix captain Shane Doan
left Game 3 after tripping over Howard and crashing into the end boards, injuring his shoulder. Doan left the game and did not return. He will be re-evaluated after the morning skate Tuesday to determine his availability for Game 4. Forward Vernon Fiddler, who missed Game 3 with an upper-body injury, is expected to return to the lineup.
Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski
didn't practice Monday, but coach Mike Babcock said it was just a maintenance day and he would play Tuesday.
Lepisto set a Coyotes/Jets franchise record for the fastest goal to start a playoff game, breaking the previous mark of 53 seconds held by Randy Carlyle for Winnipeg against Edmonton on April 25, 1985. … Tomas Holmstrom
's 155th career playoff game for the Red Wings moved him past Gordie Howe and into seventh on the franchise's all-time list.
Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who has a .908 save percentage in the series, was one of three nominees for the Vezina Trophy as announced Monday. During the regular season, he ranked third in the NHL with 42 victories and second with eight shutouts.
"It's a big honor for me and a big honor for my teammates because we were nominated," Bryzgalov told the Arizona Republic.