Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard
couldn't have asked for a much better Thursday.
Early in the day, Howard found out he would be one of six goalies to take part in the NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa later this month. For an encore, Howard stopped 25 shots –plus three of four shootout attempts – against a pesky Phoenix Coyotes
team for his 100th career victory.
"It doesn't get any better than that. What a great day. It's been awesome," Howard said after the 3-2 victory, Detroit's 13th in a row at Joe Louis Arena. "I think the highlight of my day was probably when I woke up from my nap and my little guy had a T-shirt on that said, `My Daddy rocks."'
and Henrik Zetterberg
scored in the shootout for Detroit, which twice was made to come back from one-goal deficits against Phoenix.
and Johan Franzen
added equalizing goals during regulation for Red Wings (27-15-1), who can match a team record for consecutive home wins set in 1964-65 when they takes on Chicago in a highly anticipated matchup Saturday afternoon (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, TSN2).
Lost among the records was coach Mike Babcock, who recorded his 400th win.
"They're marks you think about later in life and can be proud of," Babcock said. "It's hard to even coach long enough in this League to get 400 wins."
scored in regulation and beat Howard in the shootout, and Taylor Pyatt
added a regulation goal for Phoenix (20-17-7). The loss was the Coyotes' sixth straight at the hands of Detroit, and despite goalie Mike Smith
's 40 saves, Phoenix suffered its second straight shootout loss -- the Coyotes were beaten 2-1 in New York on Tuesday.
"Smith was great, he gave us a chance to win," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the shootout got us again."
Datsyuk converted the first try in the shootout, but Vrbata scored in the second round to force a fourth shooter. Using a sweet one-handed move made famous by fellow Swede Peter Forsberg, Zetterberg slid the puck past Smith and Howard stopped Lauri Korpikoski
to seal the win.
"I don't get a chance (on shootouts) that often anymore," said Zetterberg, who usually is the team's fourth option. "When I get it, might as well try something fun. It's for the fans.
"If I missed that, I look kind of stupid. It was a gamble, but it worked."
Detroit forced overtime with 9:57 to play in regulation when Datsyuk's cross-ice feed snaked through to the back post, where Franzen was waiting for the easy tip-in. The goal was Franzen's 17th of the season.
"Not many (could make that pass), especially against a team like this that really clogs in front of the goalie," Zetterberg said. "He probably had to go through three or four guys to make that pass. I don't think Mule even knew the pass was coming. He just had his stick there and it went in."
After a scoreless second period, Pyatt gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead 3:02 into the third on his sixth of the season. Pyatt and Kyle Chipchura
mounted a two-man rush, with Chipchura tearing down the right side and Pyatt trailing in the center. At the final second, Chipchura swung inside and pushed the puck to the top of the crease, where Pyatt prevailed in the scrum to push it past Howard.
"Nobody thought just one goal would do it. We knew we needed to get another one," Coyotes captain Shane Doan
said of the tenuous one-goal lead. "We couldn't find the second one."
Vrbata gave Phoenix an early edge at 9:41 of the first with a sensational individual move. He collected the puck at his own blue line, skated up ice, paused on the edge of the left circle and ripped a shot high past Howard. The goal was Vrbata's 21st of the season.
With 51 seconds to play until intermission, Filppula equalized when he stripped the puck in the right circle off a faceoff, wound up and fired a slap shot past Smith for his 15th.
"I need too much time to shoot a slapper, so normally I tend to shoot a wrist shot," Filppula said. "I doubt that it's my first (goal on a slap shot), but I think you can count my slap-shot goals on one hand."
Material from team and national media was used in this report.