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Red Wings-Coyotes Preview

Thursday, 01.11.2007 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Red Wings-Coyotes Preview
Detroit Red Wings vs. Phoenix Coyotes

Fresh off a perfect road trip, the Phoenix Coyotes look to keep alive their longest winning streak of this decade when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

The Coyotes (20-20-2) finished 5-0 on their recent road trip that concluded with a 5-2 win at Dallas on Tuesday.

"I would have bet the whole world we wouldn't have swept all five games," Coyotes center Jeremy Roenick said. "It's totally out of the realm of amazement."

Phoenix has won seven in a row overall, its best win streak since taking eight straight from Nov. 16-Dec. 2, 1999. The Coyotes are only two victories shy of the longest winning streak in franchise history, set in March 1985 when the team was still based in Winnipeg.

Keeping this streak going could be a challenge Thursday, facing a Detroit team which handed Phoenix its worst loss of the season - 9-2 on Oct. 11. That was the only matchup between the clubs this season, and the Coyotes have won only four of the last 22 meetings.

Phoenix, which is 8-0-1 in its last nine games, is suddenly making a push toward playoff contention with 42 points despite winning 12 of its first 33 games.

"We have a ways to go," coach Wayne Gretzky said. "We dug ourselves a pretty good hole. But I'm proud of the way the guys have gotten back in the race."

Shane Doan scored two goals Tuesday to give him 13 for the season, tying Yanic Perreault for the team lead, and goaltender Mikael Tellqvist stopped 29 shots to win his third straight start.

"We're going to try to ride this wave as long as possible," Tellqvist said. "Nobody thought we'd be in the playoff race a couple of weeks ago."'

Phoenix has outscored opponents 30-12 during the seven-game streak while going 11-for-35 (31.4 percent) on the power play - well above its 15.2 season percentage.

In addition to Tellqvist's solid play, No. 1 goaltender Curtis Joseph has allowed six goals in his four starts - including two shutouts - during the win streak.

Joseph struggled in the first meeting against his former team in October. He was pulled after allowing seven goals on 29 shots in two periods against the Red Wings.

Detroit snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout win at Colorado on Tuesday. Henrik Zetterberg tied Dan Cleary for the team lead with his 17th goal before scoring in the shootout.

It was the Red Wings' first win on their five-game western road swing, which ends Thursday. They have been outscored 20-12 on the trip.

"Any time you have been on the losing side, it takes a game like this to get you out of it," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we were awful in San Jose and a little better in L.A. and better in Anaheim and much better tonight."

Defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who scored three of his seven goals this season in the win over Phoenix, was scratched Tuesday with a sprained knee.

Veteran Chris Chelios returned to the lineup after missing six games following the murder of two employees at his Detroit restaurant on Jan 2.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 17 '07DET 4 at PHX 1H. Zetterberg
Feb 07 '07PHX 2 at DET 4H. Zetterberg
Jan 11 '07DET 5 at PHX 1T. Holmstrom
Oct 11 '06PHX 2 at DET 9M. Schneider
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GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%

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