By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – The Coyotes pride themselves on playing solid defense and winning close games.
Neither happened on Friday night and the Detroit Red Wings evened their best-of-seven Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Phoenix at one game each with a 7-4 victory at Jobing.com Arena.
Game 3 is Sunday at noon (Arizona time) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg, who was noticeably quiet in Game 1, scored three goals, and linemate Valterri Filppula notched two goals and an assist for the Red Wings, who scored all seven goals in the final 34 minutes of the game.
"It's only two games in and you've got to keep going and play good for a longer period of time," Zetterberg told reporters. "Nothing is done yet. We stole one game. That's what we wanted to do."
Keith Yandle, Wojtek Wolski, Matthew Lombardi and Shane Doan scored goals for the Coyotes, who blew three leads - 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2. Simply put, Phoenix made too many mental errors on defensive assignments and line changes and the Red Wings made them pay.
“We can’t be giving up six goals,” said Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett, ignoring Detroit’s empty-net goal with 48 seconds left. “We’re not going to win many hockey games doing that.”
Forward Justin Abdelkader, who was added to Detroit’s lineup to better combat Phoenix’s physical play in Game 1, gave Detroit a 4-3 lead at 2:32 of the third period after stealing the puck from Wolski deep in Phoenix’s zone. Doan tied the score nearly seven minutes later when he capped an odd-man rush with Vernon Fiddler with a shot that slid between Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard’s left leg and the right post.
The Red Wings, however, regained the lead for good when Zetterberg scored his second goal with 6:06 left in the third period. (see KEY MOMENT below).
The Coyotes led 1-0 after 20 minutes thanks to Yandle’s second goal of the series. But the game turned into a goal-scoring clinic in the second period as the teams combined to score five times in a span of 3:58.
“It seemed like every chance was going in both ways for a little bit and when it got to the point where we were chasing it we couldn’t get it back,” Tippett said.
With the series tied one victory apiece, the Red Wings now hold home-ice advantage over the final five games.
Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock liked his team’s performance in Game 2.
“It was a step for our team tonight because it looked like we've not been engaged in the playoffs,” Babcock said. “Until you do that, you'll have a hard time winning.”
Tied 4-4 late in the third period, Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg tapped the rebound of a shot by Todd Bertuzzi from the top of the left circle into a half-empty Phoenix net.
• Center Vernon Fiddler suffered an upper-body injury late in the third period. He's listed as day-to-day and his status for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon in Detroit will be updated on Saturday.
• The Coyotes were 36-3-3 in the regular season in games in which they scored the first goal. They scored first Friday but lost.
• Center Matthew Lombardi won 11 of 16 face-offs.
• The teams combined to score five goals within a 3:58 span of the second period. It was the third-fastest five goals scored in NHL playoff history. The record for the fastest five goals scored in a playoff game is 3:06 in Chicago's 6-2 victory over the Minnesota North Stars on April 21, 1985. Second is 3:20 in the North Stars' 6-5 win over Philadelphia on April 29, 1980.
• The Coyotes tied a season-high by allowing seven goals. The Buffalo Sabres also scored seven times vs. Phoenix this season on Jan. 18 at Jobing.com Arena.
• The Coyotes scratched Paul Bissonnette, Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider, Viktor Tikhonov and Jim Vandermeer. The Red Wings scratched Doug Janik, Jakub Kindl, Daniel Larsson, Brett Lebda, Brad May, Derek Meech, Mattias Ritola and Jason Williams.
"We played into their hands for the most part. Halfway through the second period, we started thinking that we could trade (goals) with them. But when we make that many mistakes, they're going to beat us."
"I think both teams worked hard and they just capitalized on mistakes that we made and found ways to score and we didn’t."
"We know they are good in front of their goalie, they are taking a lot of ice away and it's tough to get pucks on the net. You just have to find ways to do it from different angles and go in for second chances."
• GAME 3: April 18, 2010
• GAME 4: April 20, 2010
• GAME 6: April 25, 2010*
• GAME 1: PHX 3, DET 2
• GAME 2: DET 7, PHX 4
• GAME 5: April 23, 2010*
• GAME 7: April 27, 2010*