Detroit — Red Wings fans probably would have been better off watching the baseball game.
Phoenix defenseman Michael Stone scored at 15 minutes 13 seconds of the third period, just as a Coyotes power play was expiring — and Antoine Vermette scored an empty-net goal — giving Phoenix a 4-2 victory.
The loss evened the Red Wings record at 2-2-0.
“We weren’t good enough,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We were poor. We lost the first seven faceoffs in our zone, we didn’t skate very good, we gave up odd-man rushes.
“We got the game back (tied 2-2) but that’s not good enough for us in any way. We’re going to have to look at how we’re playing everybody.”
Joakim Andersson and Jonathan Ericsson scored for the Red Wings.
Derek Morris and Mikkel Boedker had the other goals for the Coyotes (2-2-0).
The Red Wings weren’t very good in many areas but particularly in the faceoff circle. Phoenix dominated, winning 46 faceoffs to 24 for the Red Wings.
“We knew they were good in faceoffs but we should be able to be better than that,” said Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg, who won four of five draws. “It’s something we can work on.”
Said Babcock: “We’ve never been beaten like a drum like that at home, ever. Obviously their intensity was much higher than ours and we addressed it from the first period on, but were never able to do anything about it.”
The line of Stephen Weiss centering Johan Franzen and Daniel Alfredsson, which has been slow to get going this season, combined to go minus-10 against the Coyotes.
“They lost the faceoff on the first one, broke down in coverage on the second, and anyway you look at it, it puts you in a tough spot,” said Babcock, who could be close to changing personnel on the lines.
Trailing 1-0, the Red Wings quickly went ahead in the second period as Andersson and Ericsson scored their first goals this season 53 seconds apart.
Andersson put back a long rebound past Smith at 5:07. Jakub Kindl made a good play rushing the puck up the ice and put a shot on net that Smith steered away.
But the rebound went to Andersson, who snapped the shot into the net.
“It’s always nice to get that first one out of the way,” said Andersson, whose line with Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary had its best game this season. “We were better today, we had more chances and we scored one. It was a step forward.”
Ericsson extended the lead to 2-1 at the 6-minute mark.
The Coyotes failed to clear the puck along the boards, the puck reaching Ericsson at the point.
Ericsson flicked the puck toward the net, where it appeared to be deflected by Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek near the circle.
Justin Abdelkader, near the crease, attempted to get his stick on the puck but missed, though that could have further distracted Smith.
But the Coyotes rallied to tie the game on Boedker’s goal at 7:04 of the second period.
Phoenix did a fine job working down low and it paid off when Boedker put back a rebound past Howard after missing a shot on a redirect.
“When they got a chance, it went in, and we had a tough time getting much going,” said Weiss, who had two shots and two takeaways in 17:16 of time, and lost 16 of 21 faceoffs. “It was not one of our best nights.”
Morris opened the scoring for the Coyotes with his first goal this season.