PHOENIX (Reuters) - The Detroit Red Wings remained on course for their third straight Stanley Cup final appearance by dominating the Phoenix Coyotes 6-1 in their Game Seven series showdown on Tuesday.
Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom scored twice as Detroit captured the first round series 4-3 and set up a meeting with the top-seeded San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference semi-finals.
"Our big guys were fantastic today -- they really came to play," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters. "To be successful at this time of year, that's what you need."
After a scoreless first period, a rampaging Datsyuk netted his first two minutes into the second, then followed it up with a wrist shot less than two minutes later to put Detroit 2-0 up.
Vernon Fiddler pulled one back for Phoenix a few minutes later, but the Red Wings closed out the game with four unanswered goals.
Lidstrom and Brad Stuart added a goal each in the second, Todd Bertuzzi netted a wrister in the third, before Lidstrom scored his second on a power-play.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard made 32 saves for Detroit, who fired 50 shots at Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov.
The thrashing ended the Coyotes' bid to win their first playoff series after they surprised the league with 50 regular season victories to clinch their first postseason berth in eight years.
The decorated Red Wings, contesting their 19th straight postseason, have not lost in the opening round of the playoffs since 2006.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett praised his team, who had fought back to force Game Seven with a 5-2 win at Detroit on Sunday.
"This is a very special group of players," he said.
"The camaraderie and the way these guys interact, it's very rare. There's a lot of things that really went very well for this group this year. It's a good foundation."
(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Patrick Johnston/Ian Ransom)