Martin Hanzal fires Saturday's winning goal past Jimmy Howard in the third period. The Coyotes scored the game's last five goals. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
Glendale, Ariz. — Maybe the Red Wings were tempting fate all along and should have expected a result like this.
Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes was startling in the way the Coyotes rallied with five consecutive goals beginning in the final minute of the second period.
But considering the Red Wings allowed 33 shots on net (Saturday’s total) or more in six of the last seven games, a team is asking for trouble.
And even during the four-game winning streak that ended Saturday the Red Wings allowed 37 shots to Columbus and 40 to Colorado, although goalie Jonas Gustavsson secured Red Wings victories.
This time, the Coyotes made the Red Wings pay.
“Obviously when you’re giving up that many shots, you don’t have the puck as much as you’d like,” forward Daniel Alfredsson said. “That’s where we can get better. We did that early on (in the season) and had puck possession and that makes it tough for the other team..”
Phoenix was only credited with six shots in the second period Saturday but Detroit was playing sloppily and eventually allowed a last-minute goal to forward Antoine Vermette that ignited the Coyotes.
“It seemed like we got a little bit selfish (in the second period),” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. “We weren’t getting pucks deep in on them, we were turning it over. Next thing you know, they got the one (goal) going into the third (period).”
Allowing too many shots on net was troubling coach Mike Babcock even during the winning streak.
Babcock felt the Red Wings have been trying to do too much when they had possession of the puck.
“I don’t think it’s our play without the puck as much as our play with the puck,” Babcock said. “We don’t care of the puck enough. We’re hoping to get something done on every shift.
“(But) lots of shifts in hockey are 50-50. We have to be more patient with the puck so we can be better defensively.”
It was more of the same against the Coyotes — and it cost the Red Wings.
“We turned the puck over too much and didn’t play enough in their zone,” Babcock said. “We can’t be stubborn, we have to play the game to our self and we have to go straight ahead.
“We paid for it (taking too many chances). The play at the end of the second (period) got them going but we should have been able to regroup in here and get after them. But we never did that.”
There was history in Saturday’s game.
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith became only the 11th goalie all-time to be credited with a goal. Smith scored into an empty net with one-tenth of a second remaining.
“The guys were in my face, so I didn’t actually see it until I saw a replay,” Smith said. “I do shoot the puck quite often in practice, but an awful lot of things have to go right for that to happen.”
Howard and defenseman Brendan Smith returned to the lineup Saturday with varying degrees of success.
Howard missed three games with a bruised left hand but returned to make 28 saves. It wasn’t enough.
“I felt good, that’s the frustrating part,” Howard said.
Smith replaced Niklas Kronwall (concussion) after being a healthy scratch the last four games.
Smith had a minus-3 rating Saturday — and is now a team-worst minus-7.
“I’m not going to comment on any individual,” Babcock said. “I know he’s had some time off and came (Saturday) to try to play hard.”
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall (concussion) hopes to return at some point this week. Kronwall expressed optimism Saturday he might be able to skate as early as today, if given clearance.
... With a game tonight at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings flew home Sunday morning after staying overnight in Phoenix.
… The Coyotes swept the two-game season series against the Red Wings.
“They are a pretty good team,” Vermette said. “Those wins do not come easy. We’ll take it.”