By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will look to defeat the Detroit Red Wings for the first time in four tries this season when the teams play a nationally televised game at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (23-21-8) is 0-1-2 vs. Detroit this season and has lost seven straight games to the Red Wings dating to last season’s playoffs.
“We've got another battle ahead of us, so it's going to be important just to take one game at a time and not look too far ahead and just compete like we did (on Saturday),” said Coyotes goalie Mike Smith
, who will start tonight.
The Coyotes are hoping to build on momentum gained after beating San Jose, 5-3, on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena. With 30 games left on their schedule, including four in six nights this week, the Coyotes are four points behind eighth-place Minnesota in the Western Conference standings.
“This is going to be a tough week for us,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said after Monday’s morning skate. “We start with Detroit tonight. The last two games we’ve played against them have been very tight; we lost (both) in a shootout unfortunately. We know how they play. Their top players are real top players. It’s a game where we have to go in and play a sound, sound game. They’re a team that will capitalize if you make mistakes. If you’re not willing to put the work in they’ll go right by you.”
Coyotes winger Ray Whitney
, who leads the team with 45 points, will play in his 1,200th NHL game tonight.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Detroit (35-16-2) will enter the game with a League-high 72 points but without All-Star goalie Jimmy Howard between the pipes.
Howard, who leads the NHL with 32 wins, suffered a broken finger last week in a game vs. Vancouver. Joey MacDonald, whom the Wings recalled from the American Hockey League on Friday, is expected to start tonight.
The Red Wings are 9-1-1 in their last 11 games.
Pavel Datsyuk is leading the way offensively with 53 points, which are tied for seventh-best in the NHL.
Defenseman Ian White is having a solid first season with Detroit with 25 points and a plus-31 rating, which ranks second best in the League behind only Boston forward Tyler Seguin (plus-33).