GLENDALE, Ariz. – To say the Red Wings are comfortable in high-scoring games is
an understatement. And in the postseason, scoring a lot of goals usually works
Henrik Zetterberg collected his first playoff hat trick, including the game-winner with 6:06 left, and linemate Valtteri Filppula added two goals and an assist as the Red Wings lit up Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov for six goals and evened their Western Conference quarterfinals series with a 7-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday night.
The Red Wings scored all seven of their goals in the final 35 minutes of play and won their 50th consecutive playoff game when scoring at least four times. But even with
Zetterberg, Filppula and linemate Todd Bertuzzi combining for eight points, No. 50 took a while to salt away.
"We know they are good in front of their goalie, they are taking a lot of ice away and it's tough to get pucks on the net," Zetterberg said. "You just have to find ways to do it from different angles and go in for second chances. It was nice to see the puck bounce off (Bryzgalov) a few times."
The Coyotes led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 in the second period, but Detroit answered each time during a wild flurry that featured five goals in a span of 3:58. But during the flurry, Zetterberg found his stride and the Red Wings took off.
Justin Abdelkader scored early in the third to put Detroit in front for the first time. Phoenix captain Shane Doan tied the game for the fourth time when he scored with 10:36 left in the regulation, but Zetterberg pounded home a rebound off a Todd Bertuzzi shot to put his team ahead for good.
"He probably got tired of the guy across from him (Doan) competing," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Zetterberg. "He's a proud guy and he thinks he's a good play, but if the guy across from you plays harder, he's going to have success. But if 'Z' plays, he can play, and he's a world-class guy, he's going to have success. In the second and third period, I thought he took over the game."
Filppula added a power-play goal with 2:06 left before Zetterberg hit the empty net to complete his hat trick.
The Coyotes not only lost the game and home-ice advantage in the series, they lost center Vernon Fiddler to an upper-body injury late in the third period. He's listed as day-to-day and is questionable for Game 3 Sunday afternoon in Detroit (3 p.m. EDT, NBC).
After a solid defensive effort in a 3-2 win in Game 1, Phoenix paid a big price for trying to play run-and-gun with a team as skilled as the Wings.
"We played into their hands for the most part," Doan said. "Halfway through the second period, we started thinking that we could trade (goals) with them. But when we make that many mistakes, they're going to beat us."
The Coyotes, who were 36-3-3 when scoring first during the regular season, got the early goal they were looking for 10:23 into the game when defenseman Keith Yandle scored his second goal in as many games. But that was lost in a White Out blizzard of goals in the second period, with the teams trading tallies and like championship fighters trading punches.
Zetterberg got the Wings even with a power-play goal at 6:27 on Detroit's first shot of the period. Wojtek Wolski answered just 38 seconds later for Phoenix, pouncing on a misplay by Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard at 7:05. The Red Wings needed only 1:10 to strike back, withPavel Datsyuk smacking home a pretty feed from Johan Franzen at 8:20 as the game's throttle opened to full bore.
A mere 49 seconds later, Phoenix regained the lead 3-2 with Doan sending Matthew Lombardi in for a backhander that slipped neatly between Howard's pads. That lead lasted all of 1:16 before Filppula chased down Bertuzzi's floater and beat Bryzgalov to pull the Wings even once more.
"It seemed like every opportunity that was going at the net was going in," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said.
The teams traded goal one more -- Abdelkader stripped the puck from Wolski just inside the Phoenix blue line, raced in and beat Bryzgalov up high at 2:32 and Doan tucked in a 2-on-1 pass from Fiddler just over eight minutes later -- before Zetterberg and the Red Wings finally pulled away.
"It was a step for our team tonight because it looked like we've not engaged in the playoffs," Babcock said. "Until you do that, you'll have a hard time winning."
Three star selections
1st: HENRIK ZETTERBERG
2nd: VALTTERI FILPPULA
3rd: SHANE DOAN