It was deja vu for the Phoenix Coyotes (20-17-7) against the Detroit Red Wings (27-15-1) Thursday as they lost in a shootout for the second straight game. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk would score for the Red Wings to give them them their 13th straight home victory.
Mike Smith played another outstanding game in net for the Coyotes stopping 40 shots and continues to keep the Coyotes in games against the elite teams in the league.
"Smith was great, he gave us a chance to win," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the shootout got us again."
Jimmy Howard would stop 25 and record his league leading 25th win, as well as his 100th career win.
Radim Vrbata got the Coyotes off to a good start in the first period after he ripped a shot past Jimmy Howard from the slot. It was Vrbata's 21st of the year and David Rundblad was credited with the assist.
The final minute of periods continue to be a thorn in the side of the Coyotes. Valtteri Filppula tied the game in the final minute of the period after his shot went off Derek Morris stick and past Smith high glove. It was Filppula's 15th of the year. Morris' luck has not got any better and it seems like he deflects more pucks past Smith than the opposition. He would finish a minus two on the night, bringing his season total to minus 13.
Before Thursday's game Coyotes were 25-3-4 when Taylor Pyatt scored; unfortunately, this game added one to the overtime loss column. Pyatt's goal would give the Coyotes the lead until Johan Franzen tipped in a Datsyuk pass at the halfway mark of the third period to make it 2-2. The teams would trade chances for the rest of the period but overtime would be needed to decide a winner.
After an uneventful overtime period the Coyotes would have to try to get the win in a shootout. Datsyuk would open up the scoring as the first shooter but Vrbata would tie the shootout up in the third round. Vrbata pulled off his patented backhand that has been been undressing goalies regularly this year.
After both teams missing in the third round Zetterberg sat at center ice, ready to take his chances against Smith. The Swedish superstar took the puck down the center of the ice, pulled Smith to his left and then reached around the Coyote goaltender to just barely push the highlight reel game-winner home.
The Coyotes cannot hang their heads. They have lost to two elite teams in back to back games and can take a lot away from the matchups. It would have been great to gather the full four points after these games, but the 'Yotes escaped with two valuable points and still have a chance to get four out of six on this three game road trip against the lowly Blue Jackets Friday.