Playing on the second half of a back-to-back at home after a 6-2 loss to the Ducks, the Coyotes started Mike Smith again, who did a much better job in keeping his team in the game against the Detroit Red Wings. However, Jimmy Howard was one better in the shootout, stopping all three shooters while Todd Bertuzzi scored for the 3-2 win.
The Coyotes had the advantage of 5v5 play in the game, especially once Raffi Torres wrapped around and scored the first goal of the game. However, the Coyotes were going through déjà vu from the previous game against the Ducks, as they started to break down. A turnover on a clearing attempt led to a solid set up for Ian White's blast within the first two minutes of the second period, followed by Todd Bertuzzi's shot on Smith's glove-side due to poor defensive coverage gave Detroit the 2-1 lead.
To make matters worse, Daymond Langkow left the game not too long after the Wings went up after taking a puck to the face. Langkow got most of the team's chances in the first and was one of the better players for Phoenix as of late.
The Coyotes didn't fall behind too much, though, as Gilbert Brule scored to tie the game at two within three minutes of Bertuzzi's goal. By this point, Phoenix regained control of the 5v5 flow, helped by out hitting the Red Wings, 28-15, by the end of the second period. The game then remained at a standstill until Bertuzzi recorded the game-winner in the shootout.
Phoenix had the edge in play 5v5, but with the chippy flow due to penalties and the Wings' domination of zone time when 4v4 and 5v4, it didn't give the Coyotes a chance to really establish momentum or build off of their better play on even strength. Of course, it all looks worse when the Coyotes went down three times for "too many men" infractions.
Detroit is now on top of the NHL in points and wins -- despite their shaky play on the road. Meanwhile, the Coyotes are two points out of a playoff spot behind the Stars, Wild and the Avalanche, who hold the final eighth spot right now.