Wednesday's playoff opener for the Detroit Red Wings was another case of Pavel being Pavel.

Pavel Datsyuk was strong on the puck, finding open teammates with slick passes, stripping opponents of the puck and playing strong defensively against the Phoenix Coyotes' top line.

He also was a bit more assertive, with a season-high eight shots, including a wraparound goal that got his team rolling on the way to a 4-2 victory.

Then he delivered a couple of his humorous, sometimes indecipherable, one-liners in the dressing room.

"Pav is Pav. He's one of those magicians on the ice," teammate Niklas Kronwall said. "He can do things that not a lot of other guys can. We need him to keep playing like that every night. He's going to be a huge factor for us."

It was the kind of all-around performance that is particularly important in the absence of fellow star Henrik Zetterberg, who is not expected to return until Game 6, at the earliest. Zetterberg, who skated for 15 minutes before Thursday's optional practice, might even be out for the series because of a sprained left knee suffered April 6 in Carolina.

If the Red Wings are to win this series without him, Datsyuk needs more games like Wednesday's. Game 2 is Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.