Glendale, Arizona — Special teams and goaltending will get a hockey team a victory if those ingredients are good enough.
They were certainly critical positive factors for the Red Wings Thursday, helping them to a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
A shorthanded goal from Luke Glendening at 16:36 of the third period broke a tie.
Frans Nielsen added an empty-net goal to end the scoring, as the Red Wings improved to 3-1 on the season.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard made 33 saves, including a big one on Clayton Keller (who had both Arizona goals) preceding the Glendening goal.
The Red Wings killed five of six Coyotes power plays.
“In this league special teams and goaltending are a huge factor in wins and losses,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Everybody is so close and the games are so tight. That was the difference, we won the special teams battle because of the shorthanded goal and our penalty kill got us through a real bad first period.”
Glendening’s goal — off a 2-on-1 rush with Dylan Larkin — occurred just moments after Howard robbed Keller in close, which would have given the Coyotes the lead.
“They just threw it backdoor and I was probably fortunate (Keller) didn’t go one-timer, so it gave me a second to get over and I was able to get a pad on it,” Howard said.
Frk (power play) and Henrik Zetterberg scored second-period goals, both assisted by Mike Green, who is tied for the NHL lead with eight assists.
Frk opened the Red Wings’ scoring with his team-leading third goal.
On the power play Green fed Frk near the top of the circle, and Frk unloaded his powerful one-timer that handcuffed Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue — who replaced an injured Antti Raanta — tying the game 1-1.
“I’m just living the dream,” said Frk, who has taken advantage of Andreas Athanasiou’s contract stalemate to earn a roster spot. “I didn’t think I’d have three goals in four games. I’m just enjoying every game and trying to help the team win.”
Keller, one of the more impressive rookies in the NHL, had two Coyotes second-period goals, one on a power play.
Zetterberg tied the game 2-2 with 41.8 seconds left in the second period.
Larkin (two assists) found Zetterberg just outside of the crease, and Zetterberg slightly swiped at the puck, which somehow found its way through the pads of Domingue at 19:18.
“It was big because we kind of gifted a goal back on a neutral-zone turnover,” Blashill said. “We have to do a better job of managing the puck, that’s one thing over the last two (games) we haven’t done a good enough job with.
“But the Zetterberg goal, to come in tied is a huge thing.”
Keller’s second goal had temporarily given Arizona a 2-1 lead at 18:16.
Keller opened the scoring on the power play, poking a loose puck past Howard at 6:12 of the second period.
The Red Wings had three delay of game penalties in the first two periods, one reason they had to kill four of five Arizona power plays through two periods.