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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 | DetroitRedWings.com
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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
PLAYER TO WATCH

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.”

NUMEROLOGY

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 DetroitRedWings.com.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 53 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 54 10 27 4 37
T. Tatar 53 16 17 0 33
G. Nyquist 54 14 16 0 30
P. Datsyuk 39 8 21 13 29
J. Abdelkader 54 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 40 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 50 7 8 13 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 4 .934 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89