Associated Press - Goalie Jason LaBarbera was too ill to play. Defenseman David Schlemko tried to go, but spent more time in the hallway than on the ice. So many other players were ailing that the Phoenix Coyotes had to keep buckets on the bench in case someone got sick.
Hit by a virus a day after losing three veteran players at the trade deadline and at a key juncture in the season, the win by the Coyotes on Thursday night might have been their most impressive victory all year.
Chad Johnson stopped 34 shots as a late replacement, Chris Conner scored in his Phoenix debut, and the Coyotes survived the flu -- not to mention a late flurry by Detroit -- to beat the Red Wings 4-2.
Phoenix kicked off a critical three-game homestand by beating Los Angeles, but went through an emotional ride at the trade deadline, when veterans Raffi Torres, Matthew Lombardi and Steve Sullivan were traded away for a prospect and two draft picks.
The Coyotes made the deals to gain assets for three players who were about to become unrestricted free agents, but also to give some of the young players in their system an opportunity. That chance came right away.
Johnson got two starts early in the season and was called up when Mike Smith went out with an upper body injury two weeks ago. Johnson didn't find out LaBarbera was too sick to play until about six hours before the game, but was sharp despite the short preparation, turning away 30 shots.
Conner, who played 147 NHL games before signing with the Coyotes, had spent the season with Portland of the AHL before being called up after the trades. He provided an immediate spark with his speed and feistiness, scoring his first NHL goal since 2011 in the second period.
Michael Stone and Shane Doan also scored in the second period, and Martin Hanzal made sure the Coyotes got a point in their fifth straight game with an empty-net goal with less than a second left.
Mikkel Boedker added a pair of assists for Phoenix, which moved up to 11th in the Western Conference, two points behind eighth-place St. Louis will 11 games left.
After sweating out so many close games recently, Phoenix enjoyed a rare cushion when Doan made it 3-1 with his 12th goal of the season late in the period. Yandle set it up, catching the Red Wings on a line change with a long pass to Hanzal, who flipped it ahead to Doan.
The Red Wings pulled within a goal when Cleary tipped in a shot by Johan Franzen, but the Red Wings couldn't get anything else past Johnson. Hanzal sealed it with his 10th goal of the season, giving the Coyotes the kind of pull-it-together win that could provide a spark for the remainder of the season.