The Detroit Red Wings faltered late in the first period but controlled the rest of their Saturday matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes, crusing to a 7-3 win in the first game of a home-and-home series.
All seven goals were scored on former Red Wings goaltender Curtis Joseph, who was replaced for the third period after making twenty saves on 27 shots. His replacement, Philippe Sauve, stopped all seven shots he faced while his former understudy, Manny Legace, finished the game with 32 saves on 35 shots.
With Mikael Samuelsson out with a sore wrist, Mark Mowers re-entered the Red Wings’ lineup and made an impact immediately, scoring the game’s first goal.
Just 59 seconds into the game, Mowers drove to the net and took a pass from Tomas Holmstrom, reaching out for a backhand deflection over Joseph and into the top of the net.
At 3:26 of the first, Detroit got a second goal on a delayed penalty. The Red Wings barely kept control of the puck before Nicklas Lidstrom poked it into the slot. Brendan Shanahan jumped up and pounded a shot past Joseph to put Detroit up by two.
The Wings extended their lead again 9:10 later, when Henrik Zetterberg scored on a three-on-one rush.
Zetterberg tried to pass to Pavel Datsyuk on the play, but the Phoenix defenseman cut off the option and the puck bounced back to Zetterberg. Joseph was already cheating to the far side, so the Swede was left with the near corner of the net open to put a shot into.
The Coyotes surged back late in the period, scoring twice with the man-advantage after a cross-checking call put Chris Chelios in the box.
With Datsyuk already serving a penalty when Chelios was called, Phoenix had a long five-on-three to capitalize on and Shane Doan did just that, one-timing a blast past Legace with 1:22 remaining in the period.
Steven Reinprecht tipped a shot by Zbynek Michalek past Legace with 50 seconds remaining in the period to pull the Coyotes within one.
Steve Yzerman started Detroit’s scoring back up with 8:31 remaining in the second period, putting in his own rebound from the slot after Robert Lang got him the puck from behind the goal.
Phoenix responded just 1:20 later on a goal by Mike Recci but the Red Wings went on to score three-straight to end the period.
With 4:50 remaining in the second, Zetterberg scored his second of the night as the Wings skated with a four-on-three advantage. Lang got the puck at the bottom of the left circle and sent it to Zetterberg, who was all alone in the slot to settle it down and rifle a shot past Joseph.
Just 15 seconds later, with Joseph improperly set to face a shot and the teams skating four-aside, Lidstrom fired a sixty-footer that slipped past the Phoenix goalie.
Shanahan’s second of the night closed the game’s scoring with 1:03 remaining in the period, when he deflected a Matheiu Schneider blast from the high slot.
Neither team scored in a third period that saw Lidstrom given a penalty shot while the Coyotes were on a five-on-three.
The Red Wings finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play. The Coyotes scored on two of their ten power play chances.
The two teams will meet again in Detroit on Tuesday for the second half of the home-and-home series.
Yzerman’s goal was his 93rd career game-winning goal.