By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to earn another road win tonight when they play the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The puck drops at 5:30 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (20-17-6) will enter the game looking to snap a five-game losing streak to the Read Wings dating to last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The teams have played only once this season; Detroit won that game, 5-2, on home ice on Dec. 8.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett will coach his 700th NHL game tonight and become just the 39th head coach to reach the 700-game mark. His .610 points percentage is the fifth-highest among active head coaches.
Center Gilbert Brule, whom the Coyotes claimed off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, will make his Phoenix debut wearing sweater No. 8. In 27 games with Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League this season, Brule notched eight goals and 10 assists. Brule, 25, was drafted sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Coyotes defenseman David Rundblad (see PODCASTS below) will be in the lineup for just the second time since being acquired from Ottawa on Dec. 17 for Kyle Turris.
Mike Smith is expected to be in goal for the Coyotes. Smith has allowed one goal in four of his past five starts and has stopped 135 of 142 shots (.951 save percentage) in that span.
Photo by Getty Images.
The Red Wings (26-15-1) have won their past 12 home games, two short of the franchise record set in 1964-65, and are 15-2-1 overall at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit is ranked among the top six in the NHL in goals for, goals against and power-play proficiency.
Forward Pavel Datsyuk, who missed the team’s last game at the New York Islanders on Tuesday because of injury, is leading Detroit with 30 assists and 43 points. Datsyuk is expected to play tonight.
Goalie Jimmy Howard is leading the NHL with 24 victories, and he ranks sixth in goals-against average (2.05) and 10th in save percentage (.924).
Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock is one win shy of 400 career NHL victories.
Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata scored Phoenix's lone goal in regulation and its lone goal in the shootout on Tuesday vs. the New York Rangers.
Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg has notched nine points in eight games since the Christmas break, including six in the past four.
The Coyotes and Red Wings rank first and second, respectively, in the NHL in fewest penalty minutes per game. The Coyotes are averaging 8.2 and the Red Wings are averaging 8.5.
Coyotes center Boyd Gordon will appear in his 400th career NHL game tonight.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona and XTRA Sports 910 AM at 5:30 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.