The Coyotes were in an unenviable position, facing an early two-goal deficit while playing their second game in as many days.
But Phoenix scored five unanswered goals — four of which came in the third period — to storm back and beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 Saturday at Jobing.com Arena.
Phoenix (5-2-2) got two goals from center Mike Ribeiro, and Martin Hanzal scored a breakaway goal to take the lead just two minutes after Ribeiro tied it early in the third.
Ribeiro added his second at the 13:14 mark of the third to extend Phoenix’s lead to two goals, and goalie Mike Smith found an empty net as time expired for the Coyotes’ fifth goal.
Phoenix didn’t cave to early pressure, and remained the aggressor after pulling ahead midway through the third. The Coyotes had given up late leads in their past two games, and Saturday’s game was a big step toward correcting that before it became an issue.
Smith made 31 saves in addition to scoring his first NHL goal.
The Coyotes’ penalty kill was successful on each of its two chances, and the Coyotes had just two giveaways while winning the faceoff battle and out-hitting Detroit 33-21.
The Coyotes continued to turn the puck over at inopportune times, and it gave the Red Wings a breakaway look for their second goal.
Phoenix has also made a habit of falling behind early in games, though scoring five unanswered goals is a good way to put a slow start out of fans’ minds.
Smith became the 11th goaltender in NHL history to be credited with a goal after his 180-foot wrist shot found Detroit’s empty net with 0.2 seconds remaining in the third period.
The Coyotes will play their second straight home game on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the Calgary Flames.