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At a Glance: Phoenix Coyotes

Playoffs are at stake when Red Wings and Coyotes hit the ice

Monday, 04.22.2013 / 2:05 PM ET / Preview
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor |
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At a Glance: Phoenix Coyotes

The Red Wings' defense must prevent Coyotes center Martin Hanzal from setting up shop in front of Jimmy Howard. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – The Red Wings know the score as they gear up for the final week of the season.

They can secure the eighth and final seed in the West if they win all four remaining games, beginning tonight when the Wings host the Phoenix Coyotes, who are also in the four-team race for the No. 8 spot.

Even though they’ve produced a 3-3-3 record in April, the Red Wings still control their own playoff destiny. Should Detroit and Columbus – who current holds the No. 8 seed with 51 points – both win out, the Wings will clinch the last playoff spot, one-point ahead of the Blue Jackets.

However, should the Coyotes win on Monday, the playoff picture for the Wings becomes much cloudier.

“Big one tonight, eh? Should be fun,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said following Monday’s morning skate. “If you're watching any games around the league right now, they're competitive … and I don't expect this one to be any different.”

The Coyotes are 5-2-2 this month, and defeated the Red Wings, 4-2, in Glendale on April 4.

It’s expected that veteran goalie Mike Smith will start his second game since returning from a lower-body injury. He returned Saturday and made 38 saves – plus two more in the shootout – as Phoenix defeated Chicago 3-2.

Besides, their goaltending, the Coyotes’ centers are tremendous in the faceoff circle, ranking fifth in the league, winning more than 52 percent of their draws. Antoine Vermette and Boyd Gordon are two of the league’s top centermen in the circle, winning 58.3 and 58.2 percent of their draws, respectively.

“The faceoff circle is going to be important because they got two guys that are absolutely dominant in that area,” Babcock said. “We're going to have to be mentally tough in that area and strong. There's not going to be much room out there tonight, so it's going to be make or break on a few small plays in the game.”

Martin Hanzal
Center - PHX
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 21
SOG: 85 | +/-: 0

C MARTIN HANZAL – The 6-foot-6 veteran center has one point in the last six games, however, Hanzal has a tremendous track record against the Red Wings. Over the last two seasons, Hanzal has scored at a rapid pace against Detroit, netting five goals for six points in five games against the Red Wings.

“He’s a big center who can skate and he’s strong on the puck,” Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl said. “He’s very strong down low, just good on the draws and strong. … You have box him out and not just let him go in front of the net that’s got to be our biggest focus.”

In his six NHL seasons, the Pisek, Czech Republic native has produced 10 goals and seven assists in 20 games against the Red Wings.

Over the last two games, the Wings held Calgary and Vancouver to just 31 shots combined. Detroit will need another strong defensive effort, Kindl said.

“We have to play hard, especially the way we did in Vancouver,” he said. “We got to go into those areas where the puck is, going in those hard areas and just play hard because we are in a race, they are in a race. They are going to come out of the gate hard and they will play hard and play like it’s a playoff game too. It’s going to be a very exciting match.”


Season Series: 1-1-0

2011-12 Season Series: 3-2-0

All-Time Series Season: 63-40-22-3

Phoenix’s Season Record: 19-17-8

Top Scorer vs. Red Wings: Martin Hanzal – 5 Goals, 1 Assist in 5 Games.

Red Wings’ Top Scorer – Pavel Datsyuk – 1 Goal, 7 Assists in 6 Games.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

Tickets to this game and the two remaining regular-season contests at The Joe are currently available for purchase at the JLA box office (313-396-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets, and online at


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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