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Morning Skate: Red Wings wrap-up West Coast trip in Arizona against the Coyotes

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Red Wings close out a pretty successful West Coast road trip with a final stop in Arizona.  The Wings played a well-fought game against the Kings, and I hope to see that level of effort continue but bring us better results tonight.  Last time we saw the Coyotes was back in December when we beat them 5-1 with the GWG from the currently ice cold Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard minding the net.  Tonight the guys will be playing in front of red-hot Petr Mrazek.

Overall record:

67-43-22-4  (W-L-T-OL)

The good moment:

Ending something of a storybook season for the (Phoenix) Coyotes when we won Game 7 by a score of 6-1 back in 2010.  Remember?  Pavel Datsyuk scored twice in less than two minutes and Nicklas Lidstrom added a pair of goals as well.  Our old friends Brad Stuart and Todd Bertuzzi each tallied a goal to complete the destruction of the Coyotes postseason.

We won't talk about what happened after that.

The bad moment:

Shane Doan.

How we match-up:

The Coyotes are a fairly high scoring team, and historically against us they average 3.05 goals per game.  On the flip side, we average 3.52 goals against them per game, although this season overall we average only 2.5 goals per game.  In any case, games against the Coyotes are usually pretty exciting for us and always draw a big crowd of Red Wings fans.

Maybe more importantly, this could be the night the powerplay starts to click.  The Coyotes take their fair share of penalties and their penalty kill is 24th in the league, which leaves us a great opportunity - as long as we stay out of the box because our penalty kill isn't much better.

The coaching match-up:

Jeff Blashill will be matching wits with Jack Adams winner Dave Tippett.  Tippett fact: he spent his final season playing hockey with the Houston Aeros as a player-coach.

Player I forgot I hated:

Steve Downie, who was once traded from the Lightning to the Avalanche for Kyle Quincey. Quincey was traded later that very same day to the Red Wings for a first-round pick and Sebastien Piche.

Closing thoughts:

After getting pushed around by the Kings, we're in for another physical game against the Coyotes.  Look for Helm to draw a penalty or two or three, he's been on fire, and for our powerplay to finally score a goal.  Our usual goal scorers have been a bit quiet, so we've got a couple guys overdue for big games (leave a guess in the comments as to who you think will break out tonight!) Kronwall-Ericsson as a defensive pairing gives me black lung, but there are no signs of Blashill planning to split them apart.  Marchenko has been great, and you didn't need me to tell you that, so naturally that means it's time for him to ride the bench.

Let's finish the road trip strong and grab those two points!

LET'S GO RED WINGS!

9:00pm ET, Gila River Arena

Glendale, Arizona

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket/1270 AM

Coyotes Blog: Five for Howling

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