By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will look to end a two-game trip on a positive note tonight when they play the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time). The game will be televised nationally on Versus.
Phoenix (29-18-5) is looking to rebound from a lackluster outing against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night in which it committed eight penalties and lost 4-2.
“We’ve got to get back to doing the little things because the little things are what make us successful,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan
said. “When we are struggling we try to cheat, and we try to get away from stopping on the puck and getting the puck deep and being on the right side of it.”
, who is one win shy of setting a career-high for wins in a season, is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes, who haven’t beaten Detroit at Joe Louis Arena since March 7, 2006, a span of six games.
“With the players they have and the experience they have… it’s important for us to get back to working first and playing good defense,” Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall
said. “I think if we do that we can take the crowd out of the game early, and I think that will be a key to some success against these guys.”
Phoenix enters the game with 63 points, which ranks fifth in the Western Conference. The Red Wings (25-18-8) are in eighth place in the conference with 58 points.
“They’ve battled a lot of injuries through the year but they’ve kept their head above water and eventually they are going to get those guys back in the lineup,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “In the meantime, they’ve got some young players that have really played hard for them and they’re still a very, very good team.”
Red Wings star forward Henrik Zetterberg is pointless in his past three games. Pavel Datsyuk has just one assist in that same stretch.
The Red Wings are expecting defenseman Niklas Kronwall to return to their lineup tonight. He hasn’t played since spraining a knee ligament on Nov. 21 at Montreal. Still, he leads the Red Wings defensemen with five goals and is third among that group with 13 points.
“He gives you a dynamic guy on the back end, whether that be physical, whether that be defending, whether that be in the rush offensively, whether that be on the power play, whether that be on the penalty kill,” Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock told the team’s official Website.