For the better part of two periods, it looked like the Coyotes were going to continue their fall down the Western Conference standings.
Hosting the Detroit Red Wings, always an interesting show at Jobing.com Arena, the Coyotes found themselves down by three goals after the first two periods.
As has been the case of late, they were let down by special teams, surrendering both a power play goal to Johan Franzen, and a shorthanded score to Darren Helm. Drew Miller and Valtteri Filppula also netted goals, with Kyle Turris' late first period goal standing as the only Phoenix tally.
Many surely filed out of Jobing.com after those two periods, with the Yotes destined to drop their sixth consecutive contest. The Phoenix offense would have something to say about that.
It all started with a blunder by the Red Wings. A pass from Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard behind his net was fumbled by Darren Helm, leaving the net wide open for Mikkel Boedker, to help the Coyotes creep back in it.
The Coyotes' presence in front of the net would pay off late. Ray Whitney continued his steady play, with his 13th of the year to make it 4-3. With just under two to play, Martin Hanzal used his size in front of the net to slip a rebound past Howard to bring the Coyotes all the way back.
After the two sides played to an overtime draw, they would treat the sellout crowd to a shootout. The lone goal came from Radim Vrbata, on one of those backhanded shots which went top shelf on Howard. Detroit missed the net one two of their three shots, with Ilya Bryzgalov making the stop on Pavel Datsyuk's chance.
The win proved crucial for the Coyotes, who would have dropped down to a tie for seventh place, in terms of points, in the Western Conference had they dropped another.
Instead, the Coyotes remain in fifth, two points off the Chicago Blackhawks, and four behind the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks.
After a tough one against the Wings on Saturday, the Coyotes will get two days off to rest for a big one, when they host the Vancouver Canucks at Jobing.com on Tuesday.