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Red Wings' shutout of Coyotes boost playoff hopes

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings got their offense on track, particularly the power play, and gave their playoff push a boost.

Jimmy Howard made 34 saves for his 15th career shutout and Johan Franzen scored twice in the Detroit's 4-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night.

Three of the Red Wings' goals came on the power play after they had only scored 19 goals in their previous 11 games, in which they were 3-5-3.

"I thought our power play was the star of the game. For them to go out there and get three power-play goals for us, especially when the power play hasn't been all that great," said Howard, who recently signed a six-year, $31.6 million contract extension. "But finding the back of the net, for them to do that hopefully we gain some confidence going into Wednesday night (when Detroit hosts Los Angeles)."

Both the Red Wings and Coyotes are currently out of the playoffs with Detroit ninth, one point behind Columbus for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

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

Phoenix is 11th place in the Western Conference.

"We had our opportunities to score and we didn't. They found ways to score," Coyotes' captain Shane Doan said. "Just got to find a way to win the next one and give ourselves a chance."

Damien Brunner had a goal and an assist and Valtteri Filppula also scored for Detroit (21-16-8 ), which has three regular-season games remaining. Captain Henrik Zetterberg had three assists and Niklas Kronwall two helpers.

It was Howard's fourth shutout of the season.

"Howie once again came up big. He gives us a chance to win," Zetterberg said. "He's been unbelievable for us this year and keeps playing real well."

The Red Wings have made the playoffs in 21 consecutive seasons, the longest current streak in North American professional sports.

"We've been standing here many years and playing these games and it hasn't really mattered for anything," Zetterberg said. "It's nice to play games that are playofflike hockey and it's going to be like that for the rest of the year now; we've been playing that for probably the last five-six games."

Mike Smith stopped 19 shots for Phoenix (19-18-8), which also has three games left.

Detroit led 2-0 after the first period despite being outshot 12-4 in the first 20 minutes. That's when Howard did his best work and the Red Wings killed off two Phoenix penalties. Meanwhile, the Red Wings scored twice on the power play in the opening period.

"The first period, I thought we played hard and did a lot of things well, but they capitalized on their power play," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We didn't play well with the man advantage and that was the difference."

Franzen capitalized on Antoine Vermette's holding penalty by tipping in Damien Brunner's shot/pass from the point just 2:37 into game.

Brunner switched roles with just 36 seconds left in the first period when he tipped in a cross-slot pass from Zetterberg for Brunner's 12th goal.

"It was nice to get that start, get that one on the power play and get a goal," Zetterberg said. "Our PK was huge for us in the first. Howie once again came up big. He gives us a chance to win."

The Red Wings got their third power-play goal of the game with 3:51 remaining in the second period when Filppula put in a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle. It was his eighth goal.

Franzen added his second goal, into an empty net, with 1:22 left for his 12th goal.

Notes: Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle, who is from the Boston suburb of Milton, is giving a jersey that honors Martin Richard, the 8-year-old who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, to the child's family. Yandle had intended to auction the jersey, which has "MARTIN RICHARD" on the back with "8" below it but the family reached out to him and told him they would like to have it. Yandle wore the jersey in warmups in Chicago on Saturday. He also had "Pray for Boston" written on one of his skates in both Saturday and Monday night's games. ... Detroit forward Drew Miller missed his first game since breaking his hand in Saturday night's 2-1 shootout loss in Vancouver. ... Phoenix defenseman Lauri Korpikoski returned after missing 12 games with an upper body injury, and fellow Coyotes' blueliner Derek Morris was back after sitting out one game with a lower-body injury. ... Phoenix right wing Chris Connor is from the Detroit suburb of Westland and is a former Red Wing, and Coyotes' right wing David Moss is from the Detroit suburb of Livonia and played at the University of Michigan. ... Detroit forward Daniel Cleary is a former Coyote.
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