DETROIT – Jimmy Howard bounced back.
The Detroit Red Wings did, too.
Howard had a 29-save shutout, Henrik Zetterberg scored twice and Pavel Datsyuk had a goal, leading Detroit to a 3-0 series-evening win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
Howard’s saves included one without his helmet.
“I’m going to enjoy it here for a couple minutes,” said Howard, who gave up four goals to lose Game 3. “Then, just like I did the other night, forget about it and get ready for Friday night.”
That’s when fourth-seeded Phoenix will back at home for Game 5.
“We got home-ice back, and now we have to defend it,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.
To win, Phoenix likely will have to figure out a way to slow down Zetterberg.
The power forward had a hat trick to lift Detroit to a win in Game 2 and scored two more goals to even the series.
“He’s been real good at playoff time each and every year,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “He seems to score at a higher rate.”
That’s a fact.
Zetterberg, who was named the top player of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs, has 44 goals in 89 post-season games and has scored 206 times in 506 regular-season games.
“He’s certainly a special player, without a doubt,” Tippett said.
At least one of the Coyotes, though, thought Zetterberg’s first goal should have been negated by video review.
Zetterberg raised his stick from the slot to redirect Niklas Kronwall’s shot.
“First goal was a high stick,” defenceman Derek Morris said.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 32 saves for the Coyotes. The Vezina Trophy finalist stopped the first 24 shots he faced before giving up Zetterberg’s goal with 4:27 left in the second period.
Then, after keeping the Coyotes in the game, he couldn’t stop Datsyuk’s one-timer with 4:07 left in the game or Zetterberg’s shot from the corner 25 seconds later.
Bryzgalov’s teammates didn’t help him out much, getting shut out despite six power plays, including a 5-on-3 chance in the third period.
“I thought our opportunities were a lot from the outside,” Tippett said. “Part of that is their penalty kill has done a good job of getting to the lanes.”
The Red Wings stuck with their rookie in net after he gave up four goals in each of the previous two games, choosing to keep veteran Chris Osgood on the bench. Howard rewarded their faith.
“It’s what we expected,” Babcock said. “That’s what he’s done all year long. Good for him. He made a couple saves when they outshot us 5-1.”
Howard passed his first test by making a kick save on Sami Lepisto’s shot in the opening minute and finished with a shutout for the first time in his four career playoff games after blanking three teams in the regular season.
“I wanted to feel the puck early, which I did, that was key,” Howard said.
Red Wings fans became more confident in Howard as the game went on and chanted, “JIM-MY! JIM-MY!” after some key stops and again toward the end of the game.
“That was pretty cool, pretty surreal,” Howard said. “It’s great knowing that the fans have got my back.”
The Coyotes hope to get their leader and perhaps best skater back for Game 5.
Captain Shane Done, whose right shoulder took the brunt of a collision with the endboards early in the second period of Game 3, was scratched Tuesday night.
“When you lose a big guy like that, you’re certainly going to miss him,” forward Lee Stempniak said. “But at the same time, we played without him and won Game 3.”
Babcock tweaked the lineup, replacing Tomas Holmstrom with Dan Cleary on the top line with Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, but was most pleased with the result.
“We won, so we got what we wanted,” Babcock said.
The two-time defending Western Conference champions seemed to skate and hit harder, playing with a sense of urgency that they didn’t appear to have in Game 3 at home.
“They were a very determined team without a doubt,” Tippett acknowledged.
NOTES: Phoenix is hopeful Doan will be healthy enough to play in Game 5 after four days’ rest. … Datsyuk was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, giving him a chance to win the award for the NHL’s top defensive forward for the third straight season. … The Coyotes got F Vernon Fiddler back in the lineup after he got hit in the lip by a stick in Game 2 and was scratched from the next game.