Not much has gone right for the Phoenix Coyotes lately, but they may have earned their most important win of the season Wednesday night.
The win was just the fourth in 16 games for Phoenix (4-11-1) and came in the most stunning fashion after the teams skated through most of the third period tied 3-3.
Jeremy Roenick skated down the right side and slipped a centering pass to Tkachuk, who fired the puck past Detroit goalie Norm Maracle at 19:59.
"This is huge," said Tkachuk. "We've been going through a lull with a lot of injuries and not playing well, and this was huge for us."
Roenick said he wasn't sure how much time was left when he passed to Tkachuk. He just knew he wanted the Phoenix captain to take the final shot.
"I was just waiting for Keith to get his stick down," Roenick said. "He got it down and it wound up in the back of the net. That's what happens with a guy like that."
Tkachuk was equally complimentary of his linemate.
"That's the type of player Jeremy is," Tkachuk said. "Every time we get in the zone he's looking for me."
Detroit's Martin Lapointe said the Red Wings sat back in the third period and got burned.
"In the third, at the end, you can't play sloppy like that, especially against a team like that," Lapointe said. "They've got a lot of snipers, and we paid."
Mike Stapleton, Greg Adams and Teppo Numminen had the other goals for the Coyotes. Kozlov had two goals and an assist and Nicklas Lidstrom also scored for Detroit.
Just two nights after blowing a three-goal lead in a 5-5 tie with Carolina, the Coyotes looked like they'd have to settle for another tie. Then Roenick and Tkachuk struck.
"I thought if we went ahead it would be nice if we didn't have a lot of time left, so that worked out fine," Phoenix coach Jim Schoenfeld joked.
| Sergei Fedorov returned from a suspension and Kirk Maltby began one. (AP)|
Shtalenkov stopped 28 shots in his first appearance since the Coyotes obtained him in a March 11 trade with Edmonton.
Maracle had 24 saves in his third straight start for regular Detroit goalie Chris Osgood, who was a healthy scratch.
Detroit's Sergei Fedorov was scoreless in his first game after serving a five-game suspension for slashing the New York Islanders' Zdeno Chara on Feb. 27. The Red Wings played without forward Kirk Maltby, who was serving the first game of a four-game suspension for breaking the arm of Colorado's Valery Kamensky with his stick last Sunday.
The teams were tied 1-1 after one period and the Red Wings led 3-2 after two. The Red Wings preserved the lead by killing off a 1:48 two-man advantage for Phoenix late in the second.
But the Coyotes scored the tying goal 3:48 into the third when Corkum won a faceoff back to Numminen, whose shot beat Maracle on his stick side.
The Red Wings had an apparent tie-breaking goal from Doug Brown 34 seconds later waived off because Steve Yzerman's left foot was in the crease.
"It's a rule that serves all equally," Brown said. "You have to be a little careful and just keep your toes out of there."
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