It's like the Red Wings keep playing the same teams over and over again.
Since the new year began, we've seen Dallas twice, the Blackhawks twice, and now the Coyotes tonight for the second time. Thankfully, the Wings have won all those previous games because they're a better team than Chicago and the Stars and Phoenix. That's not saying any of the wins were easy, but games against Stars and Coyotes -- and to a smaller extent, the Hawks -- are games the team should be winning.
And the Red Wings should win tonight.
The Coyotes won't just lay down of course. They'll come out hard and Shane Doan will lead the way (and go out of his way to hit every Red Wings in sight). Detroit needs to take those hits and make sure they're physical right back. Phoenix doesn't have the skill to hang with the Wings in a run and gun type game. They're going to try to grind the Wings down and hit them hard. Detroit needs to do the same. The Coyotes played last night in Anaheim and got smoked by Ducks 6-2. Take advantage of a team that played the night before and traveled. The Wings are rested. Come out with energy. Start the game on time. Take the game to the Coyotes. If the Wings dictate the pace and play the game how they want to then they cannot be stopped.
Points are at a premium. The race for the division and the playoffs has already begun. Don't let this opportunity slip away.
Five For Howling is your SBNation Coyotes' blog.
Puck drop is just after 9p ET on Fox Sports Detroit.
The Expected Lineup
Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler
Danny Cleary -- Darren Helm -- Drew Miller
Cory Emmerton -- Justin Abdelkader -- Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White
Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart
Jakub Kindl -- Jonathan Ericsson
Jimmy Howard (starting)
Scratches: Mike Commodore and Jan Mursak
Injuries: Patrick Eaves (jaw)
|RED WINGS||HOW THEY MATCH UP||COYOTES|
|30-15-1 (61 pts; 4th in West)||Record||21-19-7 (49 pts; 11th in West)|
|3.17 (4th)||Goals Per Game||2.55 (20th)|
|2.28 (6th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.57 (10th)|
|18.7% (12th)||Power Play %||12.9% (29th)|
|81.4% (22nd)||Penalty Kill %||83.1% (10th)|
|Johan Franzen (18 goals)||Goal Leader||Radim Vrbata (22 goals)|
|Pavel Datsyuk (49 points)||Points Leader||Ray Whitney (39 points)|
- The Red Wings are 62-39-22-3 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Old Jets/Phoenix Coyotes.
- Henrik Zetterberg has nine goals this season (one goal in his last 15 games). He's on pace for 16 goals. His lowest total since his second year in the league in 2003-2004. Scary to think where this team would be without Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula playing so well. Also, scary to think how good this team would be if his production was higher.
- A win tonight...would give the Wings a 13-13-0 record on the road. You have to get to .500 before you can get about it.
- A win tonight...would put the Wings in first place in the Western Conference and, depending on what the Rangers do against the Penguins, could put them in first place in the entire league.
- A win tonight...would give the Wings a five game winning streak. It would be their third winning streak of five or more games this season.
- The Coyotes are 2-3-3 since the calendar turned to 2012. All six losses have come on the road and both wins came at home (5-1 win over the Islanders and a 6-1 win over the Avalanche).
- According to the AP, Jimmy Howard is 6-0-1 with a 2.24 GAA in his last seven road starts against the Yotes (including playoffs). Overall, he's won six straight against Phoenix regardless of location.
Prediction: Wings win 3-1 and Niklas Kronwall is your player of the game with power play goal and an assist.
Let's Go Red Wings.