The Detroit Red Wings players react after victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
Video by Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Detroit Red Wings scored both with the man advantage and while shorthanded to come away with a victory in the desert.
Luke Glendening gave the Wings their first lead of the game with 3:24 to go in regulation when he scored during the Coyotes’ sixth power play. Martin Frk scored a power play and Jimmy Howard made 33 saves as the Wings beat the Arizona Coyotes, 4-2, at Gila River Arena Thursday.
“In this league, special teams and goaltending is a huge factor in wins and losses,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That was the difference in the game – we won the specialty teams battle because of the shorthanded goal. Our penalty kill got us through a really bad first period. And then the power play goal by Frky, he’s got that dangerous shot.”
More Red Wing!
Henrik Zetterberg also scored and Frans Nielsen secured the victory with an empty-net goal.
Here are the major story lines from the game.
Glendening’s big night: During a Coyotes power play Howard denied Clayton Keller a hat trick with a terrific save on a wrist shot, and then Dylan Larkin and Glendening took off down the ice. Larkin picked up his second assist of the night when he fed Glendening.
Glendening also spent 4:38 minutes killing penalties.
“What he does for this team, a lot of nights it just goes unnoticed,” Howard said. “For him to get rewarded for how much he does for us and how much he sacrifices his body and how well he plays on the PK, it’s great to see him get the game winner.”
Penalty overload: The Wings came out attacking in the second period, with Tomas Tatar spinning around down low and forcing a save from Louis Domingue (who took over after the first period because Antti Raanta left with a lower-body injury). A third delay of game penalty for sending the puck over the glass left the shorthanded for the fifth time overall, and this time, the Coyotes broke through. Howard made the initial save but the puck came loose in the paint and Nick Jensen was unable to reach the puck before Clayton Keller, who turned it into a 1-0 lead.
Frk living the dream: The Wings got their first full power play midway through the second period. Frk came out with the Frans Nielsen power play unit. Mike Green got the puck at the blue line and passed to Frk, who hovered above the left circle. Frk sent the puck back to Green. Green wired another pass and Frk one-timed a knuckleball to make it 1-1.
Frk said Green, “told me be ready – I will try to pass to you as much as I can. I am just ready for the puck.”
Frk called having three goals in four games, “living the dream. I am just enjoying every game and I’m trying to help the team win. It was good I helped the team win with a goal.”
The Wings have won every game in which Frk has scored.
“It’s one thing to score, that’s obviously a weapon he brings,” Blashill said. “But he’s doing all the other little things really well – he’s making real good plays on the wall, he’s responsible, all the things that gives a coach confidence. He’s doing a great job and I’m really happy for him.”
Zetterberg regains momentum: Keller scored again with 1:44 left in the second period when he tapped in a nice pass from Max Domi. That could have deflated the Wings, giving up a goal late in a period like that. But the Wings retied the game with 41.7 second to go in the period. Zetterberg weaved the puck into offensive zone before dropping a pass to Larkin. Zetterberg cut to the net, was left alone by Oliver Ekman-Larsson and sent a bouncing puck into the net for a 2-2 game.
“The Zetterberg goal was big,” Blashill said. “To come in tied is a huge thing.”
First period struggles: For a second straight game the Wings struggled to win draws early on, leaving them starved of offensive zone time. It didn’t help they took four penalties, two of them overlapping by 1:31. The penalty killers were especially outstanding that stretch, though, limiting the Coyotes to two shots on net. The Wings improved enough on face-offs that they were at 50% by the end of the period. Howard made 11 saves.
Kronwall joins lineup: Veteran defenseman Niklas Kronwall made his season debut after being sidelined by a tweaked groin. He was paired with Mike Green. Danny DeKeyser missed the game after blocking a shot Tuesday at Dallas.
Contact Helene St. James: [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.