Coyotes race past Red Wings 4-2
Chris Conner scored in his Phoenix debut, Mikkel Boedker had a pair of assists, and the Coyotes held off the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 on Thursday night.Phoenix kicked off a critical three-game homestand by beating Los Angeles on Tuesday and left the Red Wings flatfooted with three second-period goals.Michael Stone got the flurry started, Shane Doan finished it off, and Martin Hanzal scored into an empty net with less than a second left. Chad Johnson stopped 34 shots in his third start of the season.Valtteri Filppula scored in the first period and Daniel Cleary had a power-play goal with 1:13 left in the third, but Detroit couldn't finish off the comeback and lost for the third time in four games.This familiar matchup - they have been playoff opponents two of the past three seasons - featured two teams fighting for a playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference.The Coyotes helped themselves by beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings 3-1 behind Jason LaBarbera's 39 saves and two goals from Keith Yandle.The Coyotes were active at the trade deadline, but not by adding players.Instead, Phoenix traded veterans Raffi Torres, Matthew Lombardi and Steve Sullivan for a prospect and two draft picks. The Coyotes insisted they weren't giving up on the season, though, saying the moves were made so they could get something for three unrestricted free agents while giving young players in their system a chance to play.The Red Wings came into Thursday's game in better position in the standings - sixth place - after winning four of their previous six, but have had to grind out games because of an injury count that has climbed over 200 games lost.Detroit was without center Damien Brunner, defenseman Kyle Quincey and right wing Mikael Samuelsson against the Coyotes, along with Todd Bertuzzi and Darren Helm, who have been out most of the season.The good news for Detroit was that captain Henrik Zetterberg returned after missing two games with a strained groin.The Red Wings had the jump early, turning a penalty on Rob Klinkhammer in the opening minute into a power-play goal by Filppula on a rebound.The Coyotes took over from there, firing 20 shots at Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard in the second period, their most since Feb. 14, 2009, against Calgary.Stone scored less than 2 minutes into the second period, beating Howard stick side with a hard slap shot from above the right circle.Conner, called up with Chris Brown after the trades, made it 2-1 midway through the period, taking a nifty pass from Boedker before whipping a wrister past Howard high to the stick side.After sweating out so many close games recently, Phoenix enjoyed a rare cushion when Doan made it 3-1 with his 12th goal of the season late in the period. Yandle set it up, catching the Red Wings on a line change with a long pass to Hanzal, who flipped it ahead to Doan.The Red Wings pulled within a goal when Cleary tipped in a shot by Johan Franzen, but the Red Wings couldn't get anything else past Johnson. Hanzal sealed it with his 10th goal of the season.NOTES: The debut of Detroit rookie D Danny DeKeyser was put on hold until at least Friday because Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wanted Brian Lashoff in the lineup for the penalty kill. ... Coyotes D David Schlemko didn't play after the first period due to what the team called an "ailment." ... Howard allowed more than two goals for the first time in seven road starts.
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