By Jerry Brown | NHL.com Correspondent
The Detroit Red Wings entered Monday's Game 3 feeling if they could survive the first 10 minutes against the Coyotes and their hyped-up, white-clad crowd, they would be in great shape to take command of this Western Conference Quarterfinal series.
As it turned out, Detroit needed less than three minutes to put both Phoenix and the series in a choke-hold.
Ruslan Salei and Drew Miller shocked the Coyotes with two goals in the first 2:41 of play and Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard made it stand up with 28 saves as the Red Wings took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series with a 4-2 win at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes figured to have an edge in goaltending when the series began, but it has been anything but that. While Phoenix star Ilya Bryzgalov
has allowed 12 goals in four games and struggled, Howard has been strong on his end. He was at his best in Game 3, frustrating the hard-charging Coyotes at every turn with big saves to keep Detroit in front all night.
"He made two exceptional saves in the first period and came up big for us," Detroit Head Coach Mike Babcock said. "Tonight he had way more work and it was a tougher game for him. They had better traffic at the net and they played in our zone for longer periods of time."
The Red Wings, who ousted Phoenix in seven games in last year's first-round series, have now won four of five playoff games against the Coyotes in Phoenix over the last two years. They can close out the series and sweep the Coyotes with one more – Game 4 is here on Wednesday night.
"You pretty much have to do something in the next game or you don't have a game after that," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "That's plenty of motivation right there...We were excited to play tonight and you get kicked right in the teeth like that early. We’ve got lots of try, lots of will in that room; we’ve just got to turn that will into having some success on the scoreboard."
Detroit scored all four of its goals in the first three minutes of each period – and on their first shot of each period. Valtteri Filppula made it 3-0 just 2:50 into the second to put the Red Wings in complete control and Johan Franzen added a breakaway goal in the opening minute of the third to seal it.
and Ray Whitney
scored on the power play for Phoenix midway through the second period and third period respectively, but the Coyotes never got closer than two goals after Detroit's initial burst.
Whitney said Filppula's goal – just moments after Phoenix defenseman Adrian Aucoin
hit the post – was especially deflating.
"You put the work in, you put the effort in and get a post from making it a close game and a shift later the puck is in your net and you're down three goals," Whitney said. "It's frustrating when you have the fight in you and it's not amounting to a whole lot."
Looking to feed off the momentum of a rocking "WhiteOut" crowd, the Coyotes instead watched the Red Wings turn all the momentum their way.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Just 44 seconds after Salei's goal (see KEY MOMENT
below), Niklas Kronwall's shot from the right point deflected off Miller's right shin pad in the slot. Suddenly the Red Wings, who had a 4-0 lead 21 minutes into Game 2, had a 2-0 lead before the Coyotes had sent a single shot toward Howard.
The Coyotes stabilized and put pressure on Detroit's net for the rest of the period, but Howard – who had outplayed Bryzgalov in all three games – made big stops on Schlemko, Andrew Ebbett
and Taylor Pyatt
to keep the lead intact.
Filppula made it 3-1 when he won a faceoff, took a return pass from Jiri Hudler, pulled Bryzgalov across the crease and beat him over the pad at to put the Red Wings in complete command.
Phoenix finally found some life when young fourth-liners Mikkel Boedker
and Turris, were given a power-play shift and set up Schlemko, who put a wrist shot over Howard from the base of the left circle at 11:43 to make it 3-1.
But Franzen finished off a poor Michal Rozsival
turnover with a breakaway to being the third period, beating Bryzgalov over the glove to snuff out any hopes.
Whitney's power-play goal made it 4-2 with seven minutes left I to go, but the Coyotes never got any closer.
► EDITOR'S NOTE:
Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com compiled this recap.
• Defenseman David Schlemko
had three shots on goal and scored his first NHL playoffs goal. It was a busy night for Schlemko, who suffered a lower-body injury in the second period but returned in the third period. Meanwhile, forward Mikkel Boedker
assisted on Schlemko's goal for his first NHL playoffs point.
• Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
host lost four straight decisions dating to the final game of the regular season vs. San Jose. He allowed 15 goals in those four games.
• The Coyotes have scored five power-play goals in the past two games but zero five-on-five goals in those games.
• The Coyotes outhit the Red Wings 36-27. Forward Lauri Korpikoski
led the way with six hits.
• Defenseman Derek Morris
missed the game because of an upper-body injury. He is considered day-to-day. Morris also missed Games 1 and 2.
• The Coyotes' next game is Game 4 on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. (Arizona time) at Jobing.com Arena. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and Versus, and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).