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Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Phoenix Coyotes
Venue: Jobing.com Arena; Phoenix, AZ
Time: 10:00 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FS-Detroit ; Phoenix- FS-Arizona
It came down to the wire and took a great save from Jimmy Howard, but the Detroit Red Wings (18-13-5, 41 points, 7th place Western Conference) were able to bounce back from an ugly performance against Chicago with a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. They will look to pick up their second straight win, and their sixth in the past seven road games, when they travel to Phoenix to take on the Phoenix Coyotes (15-15-6, 36 points, 12th place Western Conference).
The Red Wings jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead over the Avalanche on Monday night, but could not muster anymore offense and two third period goals, one with less than two minutes remaining, by the Avalanche made everyone at Joe Louis Arena nervous. The Red Wings were able to hold off the Avalanche in the final minute, thanks to a huge save by Jimmy Howard, to earn the 3-2 victory. The victory ended a short two game losing streak for the Red Wings, who had won their previous five games out of six, all road victories. The powerplay was shutdown once again, so the Red Wings will look to get that going once again where they had found recent success on the road after struggling the first half of the season to score a road powerplay goal. It could be tough to get one against the Coyotes as they own the leagues 10th best penalty killing unit, with an 83.1% success rate. Despite recent success on the powerplay (8 consecutive games with a powerplay goal), the Red Wings are still only 19th overall in the league with a 17.5% success rate.
Phoenix comes into this matchup playing a little bit better than the last time the Red Wings played them. At that point, the Coyotes were on a five game losing streak, and the Red Wings extended that streak before it ended at seven games total. The Coyotes have won two of their past three games, but still have won only two of their past ten overall (2-5-3). They come into tonight’s game off of a 3-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings. In their previous eight losses, offense has been an issue for the Coyotes, scoring three goals only once and the rest of the time scoring two or less. The Coyotes have not had much luck against the Red Wings in the past 10 meetings. In that time th Coyotes have lost nine of the ten games.
This will be the second game in a three game regular season series for the two teams. The Red Wings took the first match 3-2 in Phoenix back on March 25th. Jonas Gustavsson got the stgart in net that night and played a strong game, stopping 28 of 30 shots to earn the victory. The Red Wings used the powerplay to defeat the Coyotes in that game, posting two powerplay goals on five opportunities. Hopefully, the powerplay can carry over from that game into this one for the Red Wings.
Jimmy Howard will return to the net tonight for the Red Wings. He sat out the last meeting between the two clubs but has posted excellent numbers against the Coyotes in his career. Howard is 7-0-2 with a .928 save percentage and a 2.23 GAA in nine career games against Phoenix. Forward Damien Brunner will miss tonight’s game with an undisclosed injury, but should be back for tomorrow night’s game. Henrik Zetterberg will return to the lineup tonight after missing the past two games with an upper body injury. It is not confirmed, but there is the chance that defensman Dan DeKeyser will make his NHL debut tonight against the Coyotes. The Red Wings signed DeKeyser as an undrafted free agent last week.
The Coyotes will turn to Jason LaBarbera in net again as Mike Smith conitnues to sit out with an injury. LaBarbera was in net in the last game against the Red Wings and gave up 3 goals on 35 shots en route to the loss. LaBarbera has struggled against the Red Wings in his career, posting a 1-4-2 record with an .887 save percentage and a 3.65 GAA in nine games. Labarbera has played very well in his past two games though, giving up only two goals on 34 shots against the Sharks and 1 goal on 40 shots against the Kings.
Players To Watch:
- If he plays, Dan DeKeyser will be the main player to watch in tonight’s game as this will be his NHL debut. Many analysts suspected that DeKeyser would be capable of top four minutes right away, which the Red Wings could use.
- Jimmy Howard has been stellar in his career against the Coyotes as previously stated. Howard will look to stay unbeaten in regulation against the Coyotes while improving on his already stellar GAA and save percentage.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been a steady presence for Phoenix all season long. To date, he has posted 19 points (3 goals, 16 assists) in 36 games. He has been held pointless in his past four games, with his last point coming against the Detroit Red Wings when he registered an assist.
- Radim Vrbata has accumulated 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist) in his past three games and had 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) in 6 games in March. Last season Vrbata posted a career high in goals with 35 in 77 games but has struggled to match that rate so far this season while tallying assists at a higher rate.
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