Just over two minutes into the game, the Red Wings took a 2-0 lead behind goals by Todd Bertuzzi (2) and Valterri Filppula (9). They would score another pair of goals within a minute and a half later in the period on goals by Tomas Holmstrom (5) and Darren Helm (4) to make it 4-0. Jiri Hudler netted the fifth goal of the period with under a minute to play in the first.
Detroit and Phoenix put the same number of shots on net in the first period (12) and overall (32), but the Red Wings were able to make the most of their opportunities, forcing the Coyotes to pull goaltender Mike Smith after the fourth goal. Jimmy Howard allowed a goal in each of the final two periods, but stopped 30-of-32 shots for his league-leading 16th win of the season.