Dylan Larkin talks about the Wings' fast start in their win over the Coyotes. Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
Detroit — Making a rare home appearance, the Red Wings made themselves quite comfortable at home.
In the midst of playing only once in eight games at Little Caesars Arena, the Red Wings made their cameo at home count Tuesday with a 5-3 victory over Arizona.
In that sense, with so few home games lately, it was vital to take advantage, and especially against a tired and struggling team.
The Red Wings did just that.
“Absolutely,” said Dylan Larkin, who had a goal and assist. “Now we got on the road again (four games) but then we’re home for a good part of November and December and that’s going to define our season and it’ll be nice to get this groove at home.
“It felt like the fans were awesome tonight and there was good energy in the building.”
The Red Wings (6-6-1, 13 points) played good, give them credit.
But the Coyotes (1-11-1, 3 points), who only won their first game of the season the night before in Philadelphia, played like a team with the league’s worst record early in the game — and the Red Wings took advantage.
Gustav Nyquist and Luke Glendening scored goals in the first 2:37, and the Red Wings coasted from there.
“It’s definitely nice to jump out like that,” said goaltender Jimmy Howard, who stopped 30 shots. “In this league, it’s tough to play from behind.”
The Red Wings outshot Arizona 18-7 in the first period and dominated in every category against a team looking tired and playing sloppy.
“Our start was great,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We wanted to start out real fast and it was the best we’ve played all season in terms of playing fast. The only downside was we weren’t up by more and we had an opportunity.”
The Coyotes surged back in the third period, and a goal from rookie sensation Clayton Keller (his 9th goal) at 16:43 cut the Red Wings lead to 4-3.
But Darren Helm scored his second goal into an empty net at 18:38 to seal the victory.
“We played with a sense of urgency and we gave ourselves a cushion and we needed it in the end,” Larkin said.
Anthony Mantha added the other Red Wings goal.
Jason Demers and Nick Cousins also scored for the Coyotes (1-11-1, 3 points).
Jeff Blashill on the Wings' first period in their win over the Coyotes. Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
After Arizona cut the Red Wings lead to 2-1 in the second period on Demers’ shot from the point — Howard moments earlier stopped Keller on a breakaway — the Red Wings got goals from Mantha and Larkin to increase the lead to 4-1.
Mantha scored his fifth at 13:03, after a fine forecheck by Larkin regained control of the puck, he fed Andreas Athanasiou in the slot, and Athanasiou spotted Mantha alone at the post.
Larkin then pushed the lead to 4-1 at 19:03 of the second period, his second goal, when he centered the puck and it deflected off the stick of Arizona defenseman Luke Schenn and into the net.
“It’s going to be a process with that group,” Blashill said of the Larkin line. “They had shifts when they looked outstanding and they’d be the first to say there were shifts when they were too loose.
“It’s a matter of learning they will not need to cheat one bit to produce offense. Part of me putting them together is now they have to hold each other accountable and make sure they’re doing it the right way, and they will.”