The Detroit Red Wings took an early lead over Phoenix on Saturday but frustration with the speedy Coyotes and the officiating quickly showed and led to a 4-1 loss, their second in a row after their record-breaking start.
Tomas Homstrom put the Red Wings out front just 2:23 into the game. Pavel Datsyuk broke into the Phoenix zone and moved to split the two remaining defenders but the puck was knocked back to Holmstrom, who skated into the slot and put a shot past Coyotes netminder Curtis Joseph. It was Holmstrom’s 100th career goal.
The Red Wings carried the play throughout most of the period but Phoenix players managed to beat them to lose pucks and block shots, keeping the score at 1-0.
With 4:01 left in the period, Chris Chelios was called for cross-checking Oleg Saprykin after another Coyote elbowed him. Chelios yelled at referee Paul Devorski and was given an additional two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Chelios continuted to argue and was finally given a ten-minute and a game misconduct, leaving the Red Wings on a 5-on-3, without one of their penalty-killers, and short a defenseman for the rest of the night.
The Coyotes evened the game with the two-man advantage as Mike Leclerc banged the puck past Chris Osgood on a rebound with 2:58 remaining.
Phoenix got a jump on the Wings in the second, outshooting them 16-8 and scoring two more goals on the power play.
With 2:34 left in the period, Jiri Fischer was called for a hooking penalty that couldn’t be seen on replay and Mike Johnson put Phoenix up by two. Kirk Maltby failed to clear the zone and Phoenix recovered to send a flurry of shots on net. Osgood came to the top of the crease to make a stop on Keith Ballard and the puck bounced out to the right circle, where Johnson picked it up and sent it into the net before Osgood could recover.
The Red Wings regained momentum in the third after killing off a four-minute penalty – two for elbowing and two for arguing with referee Chris Lee – to Tomas Holmstrom.
After getting a 5-on-3 chance of their own, it looked like the Wings had pulled to within one on a goal by Brendan Shanahan. The goal was called back, however, after replay showed that Shanahan had kicked the puck in after a series of chances from right on the doorstep.
The Wings never challenged again and Phoenix added an empty-net goal – also on the power play – by Mike Comrie.
Detroit finished the game with no power play goals on seven chances while the Coyotes scoed on four of their nine opportunities.
Osgood made 25 saves on 28 shots against. Joseph stopped 36 of 37 Detroit shots.
The Red Wings are back in action Sunday night in St. Louis.