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Red Wings-Coyotes Preview

Saturday, 10.20.2007 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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

If Henrik Zetterberg is playing with an injury, the rest of the NHL may not want to see him when he is completely healthy.

Zetterberg looks to continue his torrid scoring as the Red Wings conclude a four-game road trip Saturday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Red Wings (5-2-1) are off to another fast start with one of the league's best records, and Zetterberg may be the biggest reason for that success.

He is leading the league with 15 points, picking up at least one in all eight games. Zetterberg has goals in five straight contests, matching his career high set March 9-18, 2006.

The fifth-year forward has 20 goals and 22 assists in his last 20 regular-season games.

Zetterberg missed Wednesday's practice with a hip flexor but was healthy enough to contribute a goal and an assist in a 4-2 victory Thursday at San Jose.

Defenseman Brian Rafalski - another ailing Red Wing - matched a career high with three assists and Matt Ellis added his first NHL goal for Detroit, which is tied with Minnesota for the Western Conference lead with 11 points.

"We fought through a lot, and once we started skating, we had fun," coach Mike Babcock said. "We're relatively short-staffed, so guys had to dig in. We're going through a rough time, sure, but that gives a guy like Ellis an opportunity, and he came up big."

Rafalski sat out Friday's practice with a minor knee injury but is expected to be in the lineup Saturday.

Mikael Samuelsson was scratched Thursday with a strained groin, and fellow right wing Dallas Drake left in the second period with an injured cheekbone. He will not play Saturday.

"I hit my face, my cheekbone, on the partition of the glass, and I was a little woozy coming off," Drake said. "I have a bad headache, but that's to be expected."

Although Dominik Hasek remains Detroit's No. 1 goaltender, backup Chris Osgood continues to make a case for more playing time.

Osgood stopped 23 of 25 shots Thursday and is 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average this season. Hasek, meanwhile, is 2-2-1 with a 2.94 GAA.

The Red Wings have won four straight against the Coyotes by a combined 18-5 score. Detroit is 9-1-0 with three ties in its last 13 visits to Phoenix.

The Coyotes (2-4-0) hope to avoid going winless on a three-game homestand following losses to Minnesota and Edmonton.

Despite a season-high 41 shots on goal, Phoenix was a 4-2 loser Thursday to the Oilers.

"Our effort was solid. We didn't give up a lot of chances. We did a lot of things really well tonight," coach Wayne Gretzky said. "We just came up on the short end again. We've got to find a way to figure out the things we need to do to win."

Rookie Peter Mueller responded to being a healthy scratch in the last game with his first NHL goal. The 19-year-old center is one of several young players who must produce for Phoenix if the team has any chance to reach the playoffs.

The Coyotes have been one of the league's worst offensive teams with 14 goals in six games. Captain Shane Doan, one of their few veterans, is still without a goal this season.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 30 '08PHX 2 at DET 3N. Lidstrom
Dec 29 '07DET 4 at PHX 2P. Datsyuk
Dec 01 '07PHX 2 at DET 3D. Cleary
Oct 20 '07DET 5 at PHX 2K. Maltby
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%

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