By Associated Press
The Detroit Red Wings fell behind soon after the puck dropped and their early parade to the penalty box gave the Coyotes a chance to build a big lead.
Phoenix failed and Detroit took advantage.
Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen scored midway through the second period to put the Red Wings ahead after they killed four penalties in the first, and Detroit beat Phoenix, 4-2, on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series at Joe Louis Arena.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett lamented the missed opportunities in the opening period, especially a five-on-three power play that lasted 91 seconds.
"That was the difference in the game," Tippett said.
Brian Rafalski and Jiri Hudler added to the lead, and Jimmy Howard finished with 26 saves for the third-seeded Red Wings.
scored 2:16 in to put Phoenix ahead in his playoff debut. Radim Vrbata
had a goal midway through the third period to pull the sixth-seeded Coyotes within two goals, but they couldn't get any closer.
, who had 32 saves, stopped all nine shots he faced in the first period but gave up three goals on 17 shots in the second.
Phoenix will get its next chance Saturday before the series shifts to Arizona.
"Hopefully it's a kick in the pants for us and hopefully we can come back in Game 2 and get a win," Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle
said. "We try not to get too frustrated (in the power play). We moved it around pretty well. We just didn't get to score. We've just got to simplify things and get pucks to the net and get guys in front of the net."
The Red Wings lost their postseason opener last year at Phoenix, but advanced with a Game 7 win there. They got off to a better start this time in large part because of the penalty-killing - including a two-man disadvantage.
|Photo by Getty Images.
The Red Wings seemed to get energized when Datsyuk tied the score 1-1 at 7:38 of the second. He scored on a wraparound off an assist from Franzen, who then netted a go-ahead goal 4 1/2 minutes later on a wrist shot from just inside the blue line.
Franzen, who scored in just two games over the last two months of the regular season, produced as he usually does in the playoffs. He has at least a point in 13 games since being scoreless in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals.
Rafalski made the score 3-1 with 1:44 left in the second on the power play after keeping the puck in the Phoenix end along the left boards with his glove. He made a cross-ice pass to Valtteri Filppula, and then got the puck back for a one-timer.
Another subtle play put Detroit ahead 4-1 in the third when Jonathan Ericsson knocked Michal Rozsival
off the puck near the red line. Drew Miller passed the loose puck off the boards up the ice to a hustling Hudler, who scored from the bottom of the left circle.
► EDITOR'S NOTE:
Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com compiled this recap.
• Forwards Kyle Turris
and Mikkel Boedker
, and defenseman David Schlemko
all played in their first Stanley Cup Playoffs game on Wednesday. Turris scored a goal on his first shot.
• Defenseman Rostislav Klesla
and Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi fought briefly midway through the second period.
• Captain Shane Doan
led all players with eight hits.
• Center Vernon Fiddler
won nine of 11 faceoffs.
• Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris
missed the game because of an upper-body injury. He is considered day-to-day.
• The Coyotes' next game is Game 2 on Saturday at 10 a.m. (Arizona time) at Joe Louis Arena. The game can be seen on NBC and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).