Published April 13, 2011
DETROIT – Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen scored midway through the second period to put the Detroit Red Wings ahead, and they went on to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 Wednesday night in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.
Brian Rafalski and Jiri Hudler padded Detroit's lead late in the second period and early in the third.
Jimmy Howard made 26 saves for the third-seeded Red Wings.
Kyle Turris scored 2:16 in to put Phoenix ahead in his playoff debut. Radim Vrbata had a goal midway through the third period to pull the sixth-seeded Coyotes within two goals, but they couldn't get any closer.
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all nine shots he faced in the first period, but gave up three goals on 17 shots in the second. He finished with 32 saves.
Game 2 is Saturday in Detroit.
The Red Wings lost their postseason opener last year at Phoenix, where they won Game 7.
Detroit got off to a better start this time in large part because it killed four penalties in the first period — including a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 91 seconds — and dominated the second to build a two-goal lead.
The Red Wings seemed to get energized when Datsyuk tied it 1-1 at 7:38 of the second. He scored on a wraparound off an assist from Franzen, who then netted the go-ahead goal 4½ minutes later on a wrist shot from just inside the blue line.
Rafalski made it 3-1 with 1:44 left in the second on the power play after keeping the puck in the Phoenix end along the left boards with his glove. He made a cross-ice pass to Valtteri Filppula, and then got the puck back for a one-timer.
Another subtle play put Detroit ahead 4-1 in the third when Jonathan Ericsson knocked Michal Rozsival off the puck near the red line. Drew Miller passed the loose puck off the boards up the ice to a hustling Hudler, who scored from the bottom of the left circle.
NOTES: Detroit is making its 20th straight playoff appearance, the longest active streak in North America's four major leagues. ... Phoenix's franchise hasn't advanced since 1987, when it was the Winnipeg Jets. ... C Mike Modano was a healthy scratch for the Red Wings. ... Phoenix D Derek Morris was scratched because of an undisclosed injury.