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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  - 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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80