By Jerry Brown | NHL.com Correspondent
GLENDALE – Danny Cleary
was all alone in a corner with the puck, and had plenty of time to wait for Ilya Bryzgalov
to make a mistake of habit.
Bryzgalov's pad came off the post it was guarding and gave Cleary just enough room to bank in the game-winning goal with 6:19 left in regulation, snapping a 3-3 tie and sending the Red Wings to a 6-3, series-clinching win Wednesday night at Jobing.com Arena.
Detroit, which beat the Coyotes in seven games in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last year, has dominated the Coyotes in Arizona, winning five of the six meetings.
added a goal with 4:26 left on a shot that deflected off a skate of Phoenix defenseman David Schlemko
to ensure the Red Wings would advance to the Western Conference Semifinals in their 20th straight trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Patrick Eaves
added his second goal of the game into an empty net with 35.2 seconds left, but it was Cleary's goal that opened the floodgates (see KEY MOMENT
Bryzgalov, Phoenix's most valuable player in each of the last two seasons, allowed 17 goals in the four-game series.
"They are a hell of a team," Bryzgalov said. "They execute well and they have excellent players."
Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Kronwall also scored for the Red Wings, while Taylor Pyatt
, Shane Doan
and Martin Hanzal
scored for Phoenix in a game that was tied three times and headed to the third period deadlocked.
After spotting the Coyotes a 1-0 lead in Game 1, the Red Wings only trailed one other time in the series, when Doan gave the Coyotes a short-lived 2-1 lead in the first period on Wednesday. But even without Johan Franzen (head, ankle) and Henrik Zetterberg (knee), the Red Wings kept applying pressure and dominated the final period.
|Photo by Getty Images.
"It's funny how it goes," Cleary said. "When an important player like (Zetterberg) is out, it's almost like you play smarter, play harder. You realize you're missing your top offensive guy. Certainly our depth was key for this series. We're going to need that as time goes on.''
For the third straight game, the Red Wings jumped out in front after just 3:47 of play, again using an artful play by Pavel Datsyuk to do it. Skating through the slot on the rush Datsyuk faked pass to Mike Modano before feeding Holmstrom with a blind backhand pass. Holmstrom flipped the puck over Bryzgalov's shoulder for his second goal of the series.
But the Coyotes ramped up their physical game – they were credited with 18 hits in the first period -- and the work paid off with some fortunate bounces and goals.
Pyatt's centering pass for a charging Lee Stempniak
caught the skate of Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and went past Jimmy Howard for one goal at 5:46, before Doan took a puck out of the linesman's skates, peeled off the wall and fired a wrist shot that glanced off Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom and squeezed between Howard's pads – barely crossing the line.
Phoenix had two even-strength goals – matching its output for the first three games, and the 2-1 lead was their first since Kyle Turris
scored less than three minutes into Game 1. But the Coyotes could never find a comfort zone.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Late in the period, Darren Helm put a big hit on defenseman Keith Yandle
and wound up taking out Phoenix defenseman Michal Rozsival
as well. With two Coyotes down, Helm skated around the net and found Eaves for the easy tap-in at 18:47.
"They kept coming, and there's just not much room out there against those guys," Yandle said. "Every guy on that team came hard, finished checks and if you turn it over, they have the skill to make you pay for it. If they play this well, they're going to go far."
The teams traded power-play goals early in the second. Hanzal had a wide-open net and buried a Radim Vrbata
feed at 1:09 for Phoenix's sixth goal in its last 10 power-play chances. But the Red Wings needed just 20 seconds of Lauri Korpikoski
's high-sticking penalty to respond, with Kronwall running down a rebound and scoring high-glove side from the slot at 4:49 to tie the game for a third time.
► EDITOR'S NOTE:
Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com compiled this recap.