The Phoenix Coyotes special teams were on display Monday at Jobing.com Arena, putting in both a shorthanded goal and power play goal to hold off the Western Conference leading Detroit Red Wings.
Monday's win may only give the Coyotes two points in the standing, but it is a huge two points. They now sit only two points out of a playoff spot. The win will probably mean a lot more considering it was against the Red Wings as well. Detroit has beat up on the Coyotes at home recently, going 10-1-2 in their last 13 trips to the desert.
The Red Wings all-star goaltender Jimmy Howard has been sidelined since Thursday with a broken finger, so Joey MacDonald got an opportunity to start in net. Ty Conklin got the start Saturday for the Wings, but after allowing three goals on nine shots MacDonald finished the remainder of the game. MacDonald would stop 20 shots against the Coyotes Monday.
The Coyotes 11th ranked penalty has performed well for the Coyotes in big games, and Monday's was no different. It looked like bad news after Martin Hanzal was sent to the penalty box for a tripping early in the game, but near the end of the penalty Boyd Gordon would find himself all alone behind the Red Wings defense. Gordon had enough time to put multiple moves on MacDonald and easily slid the puck in. The goal gives Gordon six on the year.
Gordon's goal gave the Coyotes the all-important first goal and put them up 1-0 going into the first intermission. The Coyotes are 19-1-0 after getting the first goal.
The Red Wings defense blocked nine shots in the first period, four more than their goalie.
While the penalty kill has been a bright spot in the Coyotes game this year, the power play has been abysmal. The 'Yotes are ranked 30th, dead last in the NHL, on the man-advantage. However, the team managed to get a rare power play goal against the Red Wings.
The big bodied Hanzal usually post up in front of the net, providing a large screen for his shooters in front of the opositions goaltender. That would be the key to the Coyotes second goal. Ray Whitney circled the net, taking his time looking for an opportunity and then quickly fired one on net. The shot would tip off Hanzal's stick in front of the net and sneak in five-hole past MacDonald.
The Red Wings would get on the board at 17:14 of the second period on a power play goal from Johan Franzen. It was Franzen's 20th goal of the season. The goal was set up on a pair of beautiful passes from Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, giving them 70 assist combined this season.
The Red Wings would outshoot the Coyotes 14-8 in the second half, but the Coyotes still managed to hang on to the 2-1 lead going into the final period.
The teams would trade chances in the third and Detroit would get close a few times, but in the end the Coyotes came out on top. The win would be sealed with 29 seconds left when Martin Hanzal easily put away an empty netter.
Mike Smith shined in net for the Coyotes. Smith would stop 30 shots Monday against the Red Wings.
The Coyotes will try to keep their win steak alive tomorrow when they visit the Dallas Stars. The puck drops at 6:30 and will be available on Fox Sports Arizona Plus.