Season series: This will be the third and final meeting between the teams this season. They split their first two games -- the Detroit Red Wings won 3-2 in Glendale on March 25, while the Coyotes won 4-2 at home on April 4.
Big Story: Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives. The Red Wings are three points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference, while the Phoenix Coyotes are five points back.
Coyotes: The lower-body injury that kept goalie Mike Smith out the past two games still is bothering him, but he plans on playing all four remaining games for the team, and hopefully more if the team can get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Smith returned to the lineup Saturday and made 38 saves, plus two more in the shootout, as the Coyotes defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 to remain alive for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.
"It's do-or-die right now for us, as far as making the playoffs," Smith said following the game Saturday. "We've got to put our bodies on the line and do what we have to do to win games. Blocking shots is one of those things … so lots of credit to guys who get down and do that. It was a huge team effort."
Forward Lauri Korpikoski, who has missed the past 12 games because of an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup tonight. Korpikoski has notched six goals and five assists in 32 games this season.
Defenseman Keith Yandle will play in his 300th consecutive NHL game tonight. He has not missed a game since March 22, 2009.
The Coyotes are 39-25-10 vs. the five teams in the Central Division - Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Nashville, and St. Louis - under Head Coach Dave Tippett.
Red Wings: Todd Bertuzzi has been out since Feb. 7 with a pinched nerve in his back, but told reporters Saturday in Vancouver that he feels close to being able to return.
The injury has sapped strength from his leg, but he said he feels like the strength is almost all the way back.
"I'll go back to Detroit and see the doctor again and then hopefully [return] in the next couple [games]," Bertuzzi told MLive.com. "Just got to work hard and cheer the guys on. Pretty confident in the guys. The guys will get the job done."
Who's hot: Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata has scored a goal in two straight games for the second time this season. The Coyotes are 24-5-6 in games when he scores a goal over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, center Martin Hanzal has notched two goals and one assist in two games vs. Detroit this season.… Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has three goals in his past four games.
Injury Report: Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski is out with an upper-body injury. … The Red Wings are missing forwards Darren Helm (back), Bertuzzi (back), Mikael Samuelsson (pectoral) and Drew Miller (hand).
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