And they sure looked like a contender Tuesday night in a 5-2 victory over the conference-leading Detroit Red Wings.
"If we play like this more often, I really like our postseason chances," Joseph said. "Every time people start to count us out, we rally and show what kind of team we can be. This win in this building, two games after beating Dallas, absolutely gives us a confidence boost coming down the stretch."
Joseph made 35 saves and Mike Comrie scored twice for Phoenix, which had won only one of its previous six games and is ahead of only three teams in the conference.
Brendan Shanahan pulled the Red Wings within a goal early in the second period, but they couldn't rattle their former teammate between the posts -- or get closer.
They were even given a penalty shot with 5:03 left only to see Joseph turn away Mark Mowers' shot.
The Western Conference-leading Red Wings peppered Joseph with shots -- 12 in the first, 15 in the second, 10 in the third -- and hit the post and crossbar.
"We gave them a lot of great chances and Curtis played outstanding," Comrie said.
Detroit's Manny Legace gave up three goals on six shots 14:02 into the game and finished with 19 saves.
"It seemed like there were five guys in front of me the whole time," Legace said.
The Red Wings hurt their comeback hopes in the first half of the third period with two penalties, the second of which led to Comrie's goal that gave Phoenix a 4-2 lead.
Shane Doan went high when Legace went low with 4:09 left in the third, giving the Coyotes another three-goal lead.
"We've got a long way to go, let's be honest," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "We know we've got an uphill battle, but nobody's going to quit."
Detroit had lost only one of its previous nine games, with the setback coming in the first game after the Olympic break last week when it didn't have five players from Sweden's gold medal team.
The Red Wings came up short on their rally against Phoenix, but their first goal came after a milestone assist. Nicklas Lidstrom
reached his 600th on Datsyuk's goal, becoming the 14th defensemen in NHL history with that many assists.
"Too bad it didn't happen during a win," he said.
Lidstrom joined teammate Chris Chelios and Boston's Brian Leetch as the three active defensemen with at least 600 assists and became the 68th NHL player to reach the mark.
The Red Wings honored Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, Niklas Kronwall and Mikael Samuelsson before the game for helping Sweden win the gold medal. They also honored bronze medalist Robert Lang of the Czech Republic. ... Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris, who was out with an injured ankle, played for the first time since Dec. 28. ... Joseph and Devereaux are former Red Wings, and Phoenix assistant Barry Smith was on Detroit's coaching staff for 11 seasons. ... Samuelsson is day-to-day with a sore right wrist.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Joe Louis Arena Location: Detroit, Michigan
Referees: Blaine Angus, Rob Shick Linesmen: Pierre Champoux, Jonny Murray
Attendance: 20,066 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Mike Comrie (20)
Assists: Dave Scatchard, Paul Mara
Boyd Devereaux (7)
Assists: Steve Reinprecht, Shane Doan
Dave Scatchard (13)
Assists: Boyd Devereaux, Mike Johnson
Pavel Datsyuk (22)
(Power Play) Assists: Mathieu Schneider, Nicklas Lidstrom
Brendan Shanahan (29)
Assists: Kris Draper, Andreas Lilja
Mike Comrie (21)
(Power Play) Assists: Zbynek Michalek, Shane Doan
Shane Doan (21)
(Power Play) Assists: Boyd Devereaux, Paul Mara