There aren't many games left for the Red Wings and they can't afford to lose many of them.

Giving away points is costly, but that's exactly what the Red Wings did Thursday losing to Phoenix 4-2.

The Coyotes scored three goals in a less than crisp second period for the Red Wings, who play in Colorado tonight capping a quick two-game road trip.

"There's no hiding from that, the second period wasn't really good at all," said defenseman Niklas Kronwall, as Phoenix outshot the Red Wings 20-5, scored three goals, and completely turned the complexion of the game. "We gave them a few goals and dug a hole we couldn't get out of."

The Red Wings (18-14-5, 41 points) maintained their seventh-seed lead, although St. Louis moved to within a point (with the Blues having played two less games) with an overtime victory over Chicago and Columbus moved to within two points of the Red Wings with a victory in Nashville.

Valtteri Filppula (power play) and Daniel Cleary (power play) scored for the Red Wings.

Cleary cut the lead to 3-2 with a goal at 18:47 after Phoenix forward Mikkel Boedker was penalized for delay of game, shooting the puck into the stands.

The Red Wings, though, couldn't get the tying goal despite good pressure on Coyotes goalie Chad Johnson (34 saves).

Martin Hanzal scored into an empty net for the Coyotes with a second left.

"We're disappointed in ourselves," coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't feel we had the second period our team is capable of. We let one slip away."

Michael Stone, Westland native and former Red Wing Chris Conner — making his Coyotes season debut — and Shane Doan added goals for Phoenix (16-15-6, 38 points).

Filppula put the Red Wings ahead 1-0 with his seventh goal — his first in eight games and first point in seven games.