9:00p ET, Jobing.com Arena
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Coyotes Blog: Five For Howling
This game feels like a trap.
The Red Wings have gone 4-0-0 for an undefeated week. I think we can all agree that they badly needed it too. The last time the Wings lost was against these very Coyotes on October 10. Since that game, Phoenix has gone 2-0-2, so neither team has suffered a regulation loss since their matchup. Both teams, points-wise, appear to be playing good hockey.
Here's where the concern comes in… It's a game Detroit should win and the Wings get back their starting goaltender (according to Khan(!). Jimmy Howard is likely going to be a bit rusty. Who knows if he's going to be thinking about his hand every time he tries to catch the puck instead of simply thinking about making the save. Plus, not having Niklas Kronwall in the lineup is undoubtedly going to hurt them on the blue line in every facet of the game. And, let's not forget that this means Brendan Smith is going to back in the lineup. He clearly cannot do anything right on the ice and will probably cost the Wings a goal or two. Ken Holland should seriously consider calling up Adam Almquist from Grand Rapids. He's averaging a point a game down in the AHL.
For Phoenix, tonight will be their second night of a back-to-back. They fell to the Ducks on the road last night 3-2 in a shootout. They should be the more tired team, but the Wings are playing their fourth game in the last six nights. I doubt either team will be playing their best hockey. The Coyotes also consider the Red Wings one of their bigger rivals, so I'm sure they'll be coming out trying to crush the Wings.
Hopefully the Wings can finish up their quick road trip with another two points. Five straight wins and the points them come along with that will go a long way in the race for the Atlantic, especially with a tough game against the San Jose Sharks coming up early next week.
Let's see how the kids can hold up on the blueline. Not a single player on defense tonight is over the age of 30. Seriously… when's the last time the Red Wings could say that? Let's see how Jimmy looks in his return to game action. Let's see if the new Two Kids and a Goat line can keep producing offensively. It's not a must win game tonight, but it sure would be a nice two points to add to the resume.
The Expected Lineup
|Henrik Zetterberg||Pavel Datsyuk||Daniel Alfredsson|
|Johan Franzen||Stephen Weiss||Justin Abdelkader|
|Daniel Cleary||Joakim Andersson||Todd Bertuzzi|
|Drew Miller||Luke Glendening||Jordin Tootoo|
|Danny DeKeyser||Jonathan Ericsson|
|Kyle Quincey||Jakub Kindl|
|Brendan Smith||Brian Lashoff|
|Jimmy Howard (starting)|
Scratches: Mikael Samuelsson & Tomas Tatar
Injuries: Niklas Kronwall (concussion)
LTIR: Darren Helm (body), Patrick Eaves (knee and ankle)
|RED WINGS||THE MATCH-UP||COYOTES|
|6-2-0 (12 pts; 1st in Atlantic)||Record||4-2-2 (10 pts; 4th in Pacific)|
|2.75 (13th in NHL)||Goals Per Game||2.75 (14th in NHL)|
|2.25 (5th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.88 (23rd)|
|23.1% (9th)||Power Play %||16.7% (20th)|
|81.8% (14th)||Penalty Kill %||80.6% (20th)|
|Henrik Zetterberg (6 goals)||Goal Leader||Radim Vrbata (4 goals)|
|2 tied with 10 points||Points Leader||Martin Hanzal (7 points)|
Player to Fear: Shane Doan . He's dirty. He's reckless. He'll be running around trying to hit anything that moves. Don't fear him because he's going to put up points and actually play hockey. Fear him because he might do something stupid.
X-Factor: I'll go with Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The kid is good. He'll likely be matched up against the Wings' top line and will see plenty of time on the power play and penalty kill. If the Wings keep making a parade to the box, he's going to burn them eventually.
Familiar Faces: No former Red Wings on the Coyotes. David Moss is from Livonia, though, and he played at Detroit Catholic Central. Plus, pretty sure he was teammates with our pal Michael Petrella (The Production Line). So that counts for something, right?
Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Phoenix): The weather is nice and it's always a home game away from home when the Wings visit Glendale.
Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Phoenix): Mike Ribeiro is on their team. He dives a lot. He's a weasel.
Bullets of Knowledge
- The Red Wings are 65-42-22-3 all-time against the Coyotes/Original Jets.
- Detroit is 0-1-0 on October 19 since the 2003-04 season. That one game was in 2006 and the Wings lost to the Sharks 5-1. San Jose went 5 for 13 (!) on the power play. Patrick Marleau had two goals. Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and Mark Bell added the other three goals. Detroit's lone goal also scored with the man advantage by Jiri Hudler. 12 (!) different Red Wings received penalties on the night. Tomas Kopecky, Mathieu Schneider, Robert Lang and Brett Lebda all led the way that night with 4 PIMs each.
- This is the third Saturday game of the season. The Wings are currently 1-1-0 on Saturdays.
- The Red Wings are 4-2-0 when they play on the same night as the Tigers during their playoff run. The Tigers on the other hand, they're 3-3 with two straight losses when they play on the same night. However, the silver lining is that they're 1-0 in elimination games that occur on the same night as the Wings. This most likely means absolutely nothing, but irrelevant stats are fun.
- Howard is 8-2-2 all-time against Phoenix with a 2.19 GAA, .932 SV% and one shutout.
Prediction: Wings win 4-3. Daniel Cleary is your player of the game.
NOTE: The WiiM prediction contest is back. Two of our WiiM faithful are undertaking the task of keeping track of all the predictions and you can click on the link above to read all the details. How will it work? Just leave your predictions in the comments of the morning skates before the game starts. Tell us what you think the final score will be, which team you think will win, and who you think the POTG (Player of the game) will be. For example: 4-2 Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg POTG.