Power play lifts Coyotes past Wings

Derek Morris broke a tie early in the third period and assisted on

two other power-play goals in the Phoenix Coyotes’ 3-2 victory over

the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of the Western Conference series

Wednesday night.

Keith Yandle and Wojtek Wolski also scored, and Ilya

Bryzgalov made 38 saves to help the Coyotes win a playoff game for

the first time since April 20, 2002, the last year they were in the

postseason.

Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom scored for the Red

Wings.

Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard lost in regulation for the first

time since March 9.

The Coyotes are the better seed in the No. 4 vs. No. 5

first-round matchup, but lack the postseason experience of the Red

Wings, in the playoffs for the 19th straight year. The Phoenix last

won the first game of a playoff series in 1992, back when the team

was the Winnipeg Jets.

The Coyotes were 28th in the NHL on the power play in the

regular season and went 0 for 20 on the power play over their final

five games of the regular season, but scored on their first three

man advantages against the Red Wings.

Howard, in his first postseason game, made 32 saves. He was

13-0-2 in his last 15 games.

Matthew Lombardi added two assists for the Coyotes.

Morris scored the winner and gave Phoenix its first lead at

2:19 of the third period when he walked into the slot and blasted a

shot off Howard’s shoulder and into the net. The goal was the

defenseman’s first in the postseason.

Wolski, who has been a point-per-game player since being

acquired from Colorado at the trade deadline, made it 2-2 at 6:15

of the second with a one-timer set up by Yandle. The goal breathed

life into a Coyotes team that split four regular-season meetings

with the Red Wings.

Yandle evened the score at 1 just 10 seconds into a

first-period power play when his shot from the high slot slipped by

Howard, who was blocked in front by Shane Doan. The goal brought

the playoff-hugery crowd, dressed almost entirely in white as part

of the franchise’s traditional postseason WhiteOut, to its feet.

The celebration, though, was short lived. Nicklas Lidstrom’s

power-play goal 2:14 later, on a shot through traffic from near the

blue line, gave the Red Wings the lead once again.

Tomas Holmstrom’s wrist shot from the top of the left circle

put Detroit ahead 1-0 at 12:17 of the first period. Bryzgalov

seemed to have the puck in his sight, but it got past him when he

closed his glove.

The Red Wings started the playoffs on the road for the first

time since 1991.

Johan Franzen, who assisted on Lidstrom’s goal, has 42 points

in his last 40 playoff games.