By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will play their 2010-11 home opener on Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
The game is the first between the clubs since Game 7 of last season’s Western Conference quarterfinals when the Red Wings bumped the Coyotes from the playoffs with a 6-1 victory.
"The team that knocks you out of the playoffs the year before, that certainly leaves a bad taste in your mouth," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "So they're coming in, they're a very good hockey team, and we're going to have to play very well to beat them. It's a great challenge for us."
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
will start in net for Phoenix (1-1-0), which has not played since returning home from Prague with a split against the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere last weekend.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan
, who separated a shoulder in Game 3 of the playoff series with Detroit last season and missed the last four games, is eager to play this game.
"We're going to have a lot of fun and enjoy it," Doan said. "We have to establish that this is a place that we play well at, (and) when teams come in here it's going to be a tough night."
Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris
, who missed the first two games of the season in Prague because of a lower-body injury, is expected to play vs. Detroit.
The Coyotes will be looking to shore up not-so-tight defensive zone coverage that resulted in 79 shots against in the first two games vs. Boston.
While the Coyotes have played just twice, the Red Wings (2-1-1) have played four games, and are coming off back-to-back losses, including a 4-1 defeat in Dallas on Thursday.
Forward Johan Franzen, who has scored three goals in the four games, suffered a head injury vs. Dallas and may not play vs. Phoenix.
"Whether he plays or not, a lot, obviously, will be determined by the tests and how he's feeling (Saturday)," Detroit General Manager Ken Holland told the Detroit News. "We'll let this play out. Maybe the tests will be positive but he wakes up (Saturday) and he doesn't feel good. Maybe he does feel good. We'll just see what happens."
Center Mike Modano scored a goal in his debut with the Red Wings on Oct. 8 but has been held point-less in the past three games, including his homecoming game at Dallas.
► EDITOR'S NOTE:
to watch an interview with Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle