DETROIT -- There is a fine line between winning and losing in the NHL and no team understands it better than the Detroit Red Wings.
In Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at Little Caesars Arena, the Wings came out of the gate hard, but when the Coyotes scored to make it 1-0 in the first period, it snowballed quickly into a 2-0 lead and Arizona never looked back.
Against Arizona, a season-long common theme once again plagued the Red Wings. They controlled the play and competed hard versus Arizona, yet whether it's puck luck or plain old bad luck, they can't buy a goal when they need it most.
Detroit may not be as bad as its 9-26-3 overall record would indicate, but the NHL is an unforgiving league and if the Wings don't find a way to pick up the scoring, they could wind up setting franchise records for futility in several categories.
Filip Zadina and Tyler Bertuzzi scored for the Red Wings, who showed signs of life after trailing 4-0 in the third period.
Clayton Keller (two goals), Carl Soderberg, Taylor Hall and Christian Dvorak lit the lamp for the Coyotes.
Jimmy Howard (2-12-1) returned to the Detroit net after missing the last 10 games with a groin issue. He stopped 40 of the 45 shots he faced for a save percentage of .889.
Coyotes backup netminder Antti Raanta (6-5-2) picked up the win for Arizona. The Wings fired 30 shots, with Raanta making 28 saves for a .933 save percentage.
The Wings have now lost four in a row and their overall win total of nine is the fewest wins they've accumulated heading into their holiday break since they were 8-18-9 on Dec. 23, 1982.
Up next the Red Wings will play back-to-back next weekend in Florida when they clash with the Panthers on Saturday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.
Arizona's next action is Monday in Nashville against the Predators as the Coyotes complete the second half of the back-to-back set.
1. Filip Zadina: Playing at the NHL level is a challenge for anyone but when you're a young player trying to establish yourself and your team is struggling, the challenge becomes even greater. Zadina, who only turned 20 on Nov. 27, is showing a lot of growth this season. Zadina did not make the Wings out of the preseason this year and went down to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins determined to continue working on the things that will make him successful. Although the Wings called Zadina up because of Anthony Mantha's knee injury, it is Zadina's evolution as a player that had the Wings keep him. Just seconds after the Wings' power play had expired, Zadina scored at 9:59 of the third period from the net-front area. It marked Zadina's third goal of the season and fourth of his career. Since his initial call-up on Nov. 24, Zadina is tied for second among rookies in scoring with eight points (3-5-8) in 13 games. In that same time frame, Zadina is tied for the team lead in points with Robby Fabbri and is third in goals behind Fabbri's five and Bertuzzi's four. Zadina finished with 16 shifts for 12:39, was tied with Patrik Nemeth for the team lead in shots with four, had two giveaways, one takeaway and was minus-2.
Quotable: "We had good momentum during the PP when we were on the ice and the puck just bounced straight on my stick and I just tried to fake it and kind of pull him on the left side and shoot between his legs and it was in. So it was great but unfortunately we didn't score earlier in the game, it would probably be a different game for us." -- Zadina
Quotable II: "It's been good to see. I think you can see what kind of player he is. He's still learning but you can see he's a shooter. You can see how dangerous he is, that when he does get the chance in those scoring areas, he's gonna be a good goal scorer in this league." - Frans Nielsen
Quotable III: "He's doing a good job of getting pucks on net. He's finding those areas where the puck seems to be following him, and he's able to put it home." - Howard
2. Tyler Bertuzzi: One night after scoring the Wings' lone goal in a 4-1 loss in Toronto, which was his 100th career point, Bertuzzi scored again at 15:31 of the third. Alex Biega and Nielsen assisted. The assist is Biega's first point with the Wings. The goal extended Bertuzzi's team lead in that category to 14 and also extended Bertuzzi's point streak to five games, tied with Anthony Mantha for the longest by a Wing this season. Mantha had a five-game point streak from Nov. 6-14. He has four goals and one assist in that span. Bertuzzi has scored in three straight games, which is a season high for the team. Bertuzzi finished with 19 shifts for 17:30, had two shots, one hit, two giveaways, one takeaway and was plus-1.
Quotable: "Bert has continued to make strides every single year. He just has that knack of finding the puck around the net and being able to put it in." - Howard
Quotable II: "Well, I'm just living my dream. I'm playing in the NHL. Obviously it's tough what we are going through right now as a team. But it can help me for me in my next future in the NHL or whatever. It's tough moments right now but we gotta battle through and I think the better days are coming." - Zadina
3. Jimmy Howard: Howard was activated from injured reserve before the game after a two-game conditioning stint with the Griffins. Howard missed 10 games with a groin injury suffered Nov. 27 at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Coyotes, a team that shoots the most in the first period, fired 15 shots Howard's way. Howard couldn't stop Keller, who scored at 13:25 and 16:43 of the first. In the second, Soderberg beat Howard just 39 seconds into the period. Hall, playing in his third game with the Coyotes, sniped one top shelf over Howard's glove at 5:41 of the third. But Howard did have his moments, stoning Jordan Oesterle on a 2-on-1 with Derek Stepan at 12:39 of the third. Howard also prevented Hall from scoring on a breakaway at 14:33 of the third. In all, Howard's 40 saves were the most for him this season and the most since making 43 saves on April 4, 2019 at Pittsburgh. It marked the 22nd 40-plus save game of Howard's career.
Quotable: "Physically it felt fine. I had fun being back out there. It's what good teams do to you. They hem you in your zone and it wears on you. It wears on you physically, it wears on you mentally out there. When you get it out, the only thing you can really do is dump it in and change, and the next line's up." - Howard
Quotable II: "Jimmy was ready. We got to be tighter defensively as a group. That's something we're going to keep working at to find ways to make sure we're limiting more of the scoring opportunities than we are right now." - Blashill
Quotable III: "I guess Christmas comes at a good time right now. Just get away from it a little bit and try and think about something else, be with the family. We were a step behind out there all night, and we've been that a lot of games this year. Something's gotta happen. Hopefully we can recharge the batteries a little bit here. We gotta look better than this coming back from this little break." - Nielsen