Wings continue postseason push against Coyotes
COYOTES (29-18-5) at RED WINGS (25-18-8)
Phoenix 4-5-1; Detroit 4-4-2
This is the fourth and final meeting between the Western Conference foes. Detroit has taken two of three in the series and the only loss came in overtime.
The Red Wings have been nipping at the heels of the No. 8 spot in the West for weeks now, and a win tonight would finally put them over that hump and into a playoff spot. The Coyotes have been playing about .500 hockey for the past month or so, but that won't be enough to salt away a playoff berth in the competitive West.
Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will attempt to win his 27th game of the season, one off his career high set in 2007-08 with the Ducks and Coyotes. He came up short in a 4-2 road loss to the Capitals on Saturday. Bryzgalov has been busy of late, facing 75 shots in his last two games, including 41 in a 4-2 win against the Predators on Thursday.
"I don't think we managed the puck very well," coach Dave Tippett said after the win against Nashville. "When you give up that many shots, the other team has the puck too much, and that was a concern for us. Some of it was just some unforced errors with the puck. We feel we can be better."
They'll have to be against the Red Wings, who are averaging 37 shots per game in their last four contests.
Detroit has been playing better of late, but the Wings have been leaving points on the table of late, too.
A shootout loss at home to the Blackhawks, a regulation loss in Washington in which it let a third-period lead slip away, and another regulation loss at home in which a 2-0 lead turned into a 3-2 loss to the Kings have cost Detroit five points in the standings.
"We let it slip through our fingers," goaltender Jimmy Howard
said after the loss to Los Angeles. "We're up 2-1 going into the third and we needed to find a way to close them out, and unfortunately we couldn't do that."
Coyotes winger Scottie Upshall had a hat trick two games ago against the Predators. … For Detroit, Todd Bertuzzi
has goals in consecutive games and Valtteri Filppula
has 1 goal and 2 assists in his last three games.
For Phoenix, Daniel Winnik (upper body) is questionable for tonight's game. Defenseman Kurt Sauer (upper body) is out.
Detroit's laundry list of injuries remains impressive. Center Johan Franzen
(knee), defensemen Niklas Kronwall
(knee) and Andrea Lilja (concussion), left wing Tomas Holmstrom
(foot) and right wing Jason Williams (leg) are all out.
The Red Wings have blown a two-goal lead in three of their last four games. … Upshall's goals on Jan. 21 against the Predators were his first since Dec. 30. … In Saturday's loss at Washington, the Coyotes managed three shots on goal during their five power plays, but had six shorthanded shots during the Capitals' seven power plays.
"The teams we're playing are battling us for playoff spots. We have to get these points or we won't be in the playoffs." -- Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg