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Wings wrap up road trip tonight against Phoenix

Saturday, 12.29.2007 / 9:01 AM / Preview
Associated Press
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Wings wrap up road trip tonight against Phoenix

Phoenix , AZ - Despite missing their top two goal scorers, the Wings have done nothing but win lately. Their matchups with the Phoenix Coyotes usually yield the same results.

The Red Wings look to continue their dominance over the Coyotes on Saturday night when they conclude a five-game road trip at Jobing.com Arena.

Injuries to key players figured to be one of the few things that could slow Detroit (28-7-3), which has won 13 of its last 15 games (13-1-1) to increase its league-best point total to 59 - five more than Ottawa.

The Red Wings have won both meetings this season against the Coyotes, and have outscored them 30-10 during a six-game win streak in the series. Detroit has five wins and one tie at Phoenix since a 5-2 loss on Jan. 24, 2004.

The Red Wings have rebounded from a rare loss in the opener of this trip with three straight wins, outscoring Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado by a combined 13-3 score.

Those results are more impressive because high-scoring forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom haven't played in any of those games.

Zetterberg, who is day-to-day with back spasms, leads the Red Wings and ranks among the NHL leaders with 50 points. Holmstrom, who is nursing a knee injury, is second on the team with 17 goals.

In their absence, second-line forwards Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler have stepped to the forefront, combining for six goals and three assists during the three-game streak.

Filppula scored two goals for the second straight game and Dominik Hasek made 22 saves in Detroit's 4-2 victory over Colorado on Thursday.

Filppula has eight goals in his last 10 games and 13 overall.

"The last two nights I got some pretty good goals. The puck is going in right now," Filppula said.

The Red Wings ended Colorado's five-game home win streak, improving to 12-5-2 on the road.

"We found a way to win the game," coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't have nearly the energy we normally have. We played a good team that is very comfortable at home."

Hasek and Chris Osgood have teamed to limit opponents to a league-low 84 goals. The two have alternated starts lately, meaning Osgood is in line to start. He is 6-1-0 with one shutout and a 1.86 goals-against average in his last seven games, and leads the NHL with a 1.73 GAA.

"We're playing really good team defense," captain and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We are limiting scoring chances, and our goaltending has been solid. We are playing so well defensively that we can be patient on the other end."

The Coyotes (17-17-1) registered a season-high 48 shots, but their home woes continued Thursday with a 3-2 loss to Minnesota.

Joel Perrault and Enver Lisin scored for Phoenix, which suffered its first regulation loss in six overall games (4-1-1).

The Coyotes are a league-worst 5-9-1 at home, scoring three total goals in their last three contests there.

"On the road, we're finding ways to win. And home, we're finding ways to come up short," captain Shane Doan said. "It comes down to being ready to start, and bearing down on our opportunities."

Ilya Bryzgalov has not allowed more than three goals in any of his seven career starts against Detroit - the first six coming with Anaheim.

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