Red Wings beat Coyotes 4-0 in push for playoffs

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm •  Published: April 22, 2013
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DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Red Wings' push to make the playoffs got a boost with two desperately needed points.

Johan Franzen scored twice and Jimmy Howard had 34 saves to help Detroit beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 Monday night in a matchup of two teams in a logjam for the final two spots in the Western Conference playoffs.

The Red Wings moved within a point of eighth-place Columbus in conference. They're hoping to finish the last three games of the regular season strong enough to extend the franchise's postseason streak to 22 years — the first without Steve Yzerman or Nicklas Lidstrom as a captain.

"Of course, taking over the captaincy, it means a lot to me for this team to do well," said Henrik Zetterberg, who had three assists. "We've been doing good the past 21 seasons and we want to keep that going."

Detroit had won only one of its previous six games, picking up a precious point in three shootout losses during the slump.

"This was a huge game for us, where we are in the standings and coming off a disappointing road trip," Howard said. "We have our work cut out for us. One down and now three to go."

The Red Wings close the regular season at home against the defending champion Los Angeles Kings, Nashville and at Dallas, which is also vying for one of the final spots in the West.

"We can enjoy this for a minute," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "But all it does is give us another opportunity."

Damien Brunner scored late in the first period and Valtteri Filppula had a power-play goal late in the second to help Detroit match its season high in power-play scoring. Franzen had an empty-net goal with 1:22 left.

The Coyotes, five points behind with Blue Jackets, are on the brink of elimination after losing for the fourth time in five games with the potential to earn just six more points in the fading regular season.

"Just got to find a way to win the next one and give ourselves a chance," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said.

Phoenix has been in the playoffs the previous three seasons, losing to Detroit in the first round in 2011 and 2010.

The Red Wings were skating hard and checking a lot — even Pavel Datsyuk had two big hits within the first 10 minutes of the game — in their quest to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990.

"They understand what's going on more than anybody," Babcock said. "They make their living here and they got a lot of pride in wearing the sweater."

Detroit scored on its first shot when Franzen redirected a puck past Mike Smith into the game on a power play.

The Red Wings didn't let a shot get to Howard for more than 6 minutes. Meanwhile, they went 13-plus minutes without a shot of their own and needed Howard to make some key saves to keep the lead. He stopped Doan's shot on a power play midway through the first period and got his stick and pads on Radim Vrbata's one-timer with 6 minutes left in the first period.

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