There were no brooms out when the Detroit Red Wings lined up against Phoenix for the final time in the regular season.
Coyotes fans know all too well how tough it is to sweep Detroit. Winnipeg-Phoenix has only done it twice in franchise history most recently 14 years ago.
By the end of the first period Monday night, the achievement was out of reach again, as Igor Larionov, Pat Verbeek and Brendan Shanahan scored on consecutive power plays in a 3-1 victory their third straight after beating St. Louis, Colorado.
"It's big," Shanahan said. "We didn't want it to become a mental thing, and we were coming off a couple of big wins especially coming back from 3-0 down against Colorado and we had an opportunity to make this a special road trip.
Ken Wregget, spotted an early lead, stayed focused and stopped 28 shots to extend his unbeaten streak to six games (5-0-1).
"We went through a little bit of a spell after Christmas, up until the All-Star break, where we kind of got away from our game, and I think this road trip we're kind of taking it one game at a time," Wregget said.
Greg Adams scored during a Phoenix advantage in the second period, but otherwise the Coyotes had difficulty getting past neutral ice after Detroit turned defensive.
In 1982-83 and 1985-86, the Coyotes swept three-game series against Detroit. They reached that plateau this year, but had one more game in the new NHL scheduling format.
"They're a proud team," Coyotes coach Bob Francis said. "They had in their mind that they didn't want to be swep, and we knew we had our work cut out for us."
Martin Lapointe had two assists, and Shanahan had one.
Larionov scored on Detroit's second shot and Verbeek on the third.
The Wings are 17-0-4 when Verbeek scores, and when Shanahan made it 3-0 with his 30th goal with 5:13 remaining in the first period, the suspense went out of the contest.
The outburst came within one of Detroit's franchise record of power-play goals in a period, set against the New York Rangers on Nov. 5, 1942.
Phoenix goalie Sean Burke had 19 saves, but only four in the first period, when the game was decided. Bob Essensa replaced him in goal for 47 seconds in the second period but didn't face a shot.
The Coyotes stopped Detroit's fourth and last power play, but their bad luck continued.
The Coyotes had a 5-on-3 advantage for 41 seconds in the second period, because Steve Yzerman delayed the game by sprawling on the puck during Phoenix's original power play.
"They've got a great team over there," Doan said. "They did a great job of burying us when they got the chance. It's tough to come back from a three-goal deficit, especially when it's Detroit."
It took just 16 seconds of the first Red Wings power play for Larionov to score, just 1:33 in. Shanahan took a shot from the slot, and Larionov poked the rebound past Burke's stick side.
Tocchet was called for boarding minutes later, and Verbeek scored at 6:03.
"Our power play won the game for us," coach Scotty Bowman said. "Basically, we went over some stuff before the game and made some changes. We were 0-6 last game, and this game we score three goals."
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