Originally Published: November 1, 2017 6 a.m.
DETROIT — As his team prepared to play the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night, Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill placed two salient points at the top of the game plan.
Start fast against the Coyotes, who were playing their second game in two nights. And, in their lone home game during an eight-game stretch, Blashill felt it vital that the Red Wings protect home ice.
Consider his order filled.
Detroit scored twice before the game was three minutes old and held on for a 5-3 victory over the Coyotes.
“We knew we had to jump pretty quick on them,” said right wing Anthony Mantha, who scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season. “Putting the puck deep was our key to start the game. I think it paid off.
“They had a better second period but I think we were all over them in the first. When we took the puck and we took control of it, they couldn’t do anything.”
Dylan Larkin had a goal and an assist for Detroit.
Knowing the Coyotes (1-11-1) had played the night before in Philadelphia, where they won in overtime for their first victory of the season, the Red Wings applied early pressure and fired the first eight shots on goal. Detroit was ahead 2-0 before Arizona forced Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard to make a save.
Nyquist opened the scoring, intercepting a clearing attempt by Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski and threaded a shot through traffic that beat goalie Scott Wedgewood at 1:31.
Detroit made it 2-0 at 2:37 when Luke Glendening snapped a high wrist shot past Wedgewood on the blocker side.
“I thought it was the best we had played, maybe all season, in terms of playing fast,” Blashill said. “We were fast in the neutral zone, our D went back for pucks, the forwards were available, we moved it up the ice, we attacked up the ice, we were fast in the O zone, we attacked the slot on quick-strike attack.
“It was really as good a period as we could have had. The only downside is we weren’t up by more.”
The Coyotes got on the board 11:36 into the second when Jason Demers took a feed from Clayton Keller and his point shot eluded a partially screened Howard.
But the Red Wings didn’t allow the Coyotes a chance to start feeling good. Mantha made it 3-1 at 13:03, chipping a pass from Andreas Athanasiou behind Wedgewood.
Detroit increased its advantage to 4-1 in the final minute of the second when Larkin’s backhand pass deflected off the stick of Coyotes defenseman Luke Schenn and over Wedgewood’s shoulder at 19:03.
“We put our toe in the water instead of diving in,” Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said of his team’s slow start. “We can’t afford to ease our way into a game. We have to play 60 good minutes, and we’re still not doing that.
“We played well in spurts tonight, but we made too many catastrophic mistakes that ended up in our net.”
Nick Cousins lifted a backhand past Howard at the two-minute mark of the third. Arizona pulled within a goal at 16:43 when Keller’s shot bounced past Howard.
Darren Helm scored into an empty Coyotes net at 18:34.
After wearing No. 40 in his debut Monday for the Coyotes, Wedgewood opted to switch to No. 31. ... D Niklas Hjalmarsson was out for the Coyotes with a lower-body injury sustained Monday at Philadelphia. ... Detroit D Danny DeKeyser (sprained ankle) missed his 10th straight game.
Coyotes: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, their first home game since Oct. 21.
Red Wings: Begin a four-game road trip through Canada on Thursday at Ottawa, where they won 2-1 in a shootout on Oct. 7.