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Backup goalie guides Wings past Coyotes

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Seldom-used Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson will enjoy a day off in the Arizona sunshine a little more after his play Monday night.

Gustavsson made 28 saves and also stopped a late penalty shot, and the Red Wings rallied to beat the skidding Phoenix Coyotes 3-2.

"It's going to be nice," Gustavsson said of Detroit's extra day in Phoenix on Tuesday after playing back-to-back days. "It's good we got the win and we'll be able to relax."

Gustavsson signed a two-year, $3 million free-agent deal in the offseason to back up Jimmy Howard, but after a brief, 19-minute cameo in Detroit's season opener, he was sidelined for the next 13 games with a groin injury.

The start Monday was Gustavsson's first since March 13.

"Things haven't gone great for him this year," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "He's been hurt all year long, and it's hard to get in a rhythm and get your confidence going, so hopefully this will be a confidence builder for him."

Pavel Datsyuk scored his team-leading 11th goal and added an assist, and Ian White and Johan Franzen also scored for the Red Wings (17-11-5). Detroit won for the fifth time in six games.

"It was nice to find a way to get two points," said Henrik Zetterberg, who set up Datsyuk's goal. "We knew it was going to be important for us."

Martin Hanzal and Rob Klinkhammer scored for the Coyotes (13-15-4). Phoenix is winless in its past six games (0-5-1), the longest losing streak in coach Dave Tippett's four seasons.

"It's frustrating," Tippett said. "Right now, we're saying all the right things, but we're just not getting it done. We'll just keep pounding at it."

On Detroit's fourth power play, early in the third period, Niklas Kronwall worked the puck to Zetterberg, who looped behind the net from left to right. Zetterberg then slid a pass to the front of the net. The puck bounced off defenseman David Schlemko's skate and onto Datsyuk's stick for the deciding goal.

"We're right where we're supposed to be, but it goes off Schlemmer's skate and right to Datsyuk," Tippett said. "That's the way it goes right now."

Phoenix's Lauri Korpikoski was awarded a penalty shot with 4:12 left in the game when he was hauled down by Jakub Kindl on a short-handed breakaway, but his attempt was kicked aside by Gustavsson.

"I just tried to be patient and try not to make a move before he made his first move," Gustavsson said "I guess it paid off this time."

White gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead at 4:01 of the first period when he beat Jason LaBarbera on a blast from the point.

Raffi Torres nearly tied the game 40 seconds later when he took a shot that bounced off both the right and left posts before ricocheting away from the crease. However, Hanzal did what Torres could not, taking a pass from Oliver Ekman-Larsson to the left of Gustavsson and backhanding the puck just inside the left post at 7:56 of the period.

Klinkhammer made it 2-1 at 12:17 of the first, skating in from high in the zone to claim a long rebound sitting just right of the net and flipping the puck just under the crossbar.

Franzen tied the game at 2-2 with 38.6 seconds left in the second period on a one-timer from between the circles off a pass from Kronwall.

LaBarbera finished with 32 saves.

NOTES: Detroit has scored a power-play goal in eight straight games. ... Kronwall played in his 500th career game. ... Red Wings center Damien Brunner had been a healthy scratch Sunday against Los Angeles. He played more than 14 minutes Monday. ... Phoenix was without goaltender Mike Smith, who sustained an upper-body injury when he was charged by Vancouver's Alexander Edler. ... Howard was given the night off after stopping 33 shots against the Kings. ... Coyotes right winger David Moss returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a lower-body injury. He got an assist on Klinkhammer's goal. ... Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek missed his seventh straight game with a lower-body injury.
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