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The Phoenix Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings have met in the postseason twice in the last three years. Now they're both trying to reach this year's playoffs.
Seeking some much-needed points, the Coyotes will try to build on a win and earn their first victory at slumping Detroit in nearly 2 1/2 years Monday night.
Phoenix (19-17-8) and Detroit (20-16-8) met in a pair of first-round series in 2010 and 2011 with the Red Wings winning both, but the clubs are outside of playoff contention with time running short.
Detroit is attempting to extend a team-record, 21-year postseason run while the Coyotes are trying to make the playoffs for a fourth consecutive time.
"We're just trying to stay alive right now. Guys are working and desperate," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We need to run the table. If we don't get points in every game, we don't have a chance to make the playoffs. The players are playing accordingly.
"We want to keep ourselves alive going into a huge game against Detroit."
Phoenix helped itself with a 3-2 shootout win at Western Conference-best Chicago on Saturday, ending an 0-1-2 skid. Mike Smith made 36 saves through overtime in his return after missing two games with a lower-body injury. He intends on playing in Phoenix's final four games.
"We're fighting for our lives. That extra point is huge and I think we deserve it," said defenseman David Schlemko, who had the shootout winner.
The Coyotes, 2-0-2 in their last four road games, will next try to come away with two points at Detroit for the first time since Oct. 28, 2010. They've dropped five straight there, including two in the 2011 playoffs.
The Red Wings, though, have gone 1-2-3 in their last six and 3-5-3 in 11, a stretch that includes a 4-2 loss in Phoenix on April 4. Detroit is 1-3-2 in its last six home games, and plays three of its final four at Joe Louis Arena.
"We don't care how our (home) record is now," captain Henrik Zetterberg told the team's website. "We know we got to win games to get into the postseason. Of course, we're happy to be at home than on the road, but we got to go in and focus on Monday."
The Red Wings are averaging 1.73 goals in their last 11 games after registering 2.67 per contest in their first 33. They got their only score in a 2-1 shootout loss in Vancouver on Saturday in the final seconds of the first period.
"We have to find a way to score more goals," coach Mike Babcock said. "We will just continue to work hard."
The teams have split their two games this season, both in Phoenix. Detroit won 3-2 on March 25 with Jonas Gustavsson stopping Lauri Korpikoski's late penalty shot.
Jimmy Howard will likely be in net and he might want to keep a close eye on Martin Hanzal, who has eight goals and an assist in his last eight regular-season games against the Red Wings. He had a goal and an assist in the win earlier this month.
Detroit star forward Pavel Datsyuk's 57 career points versus Phoenix are his most against any opponent outside the Central Division and fourth-most against any team. Datsyuk, though, has just one goal in his last nine regular-season matchups and two goals in his last 11 overall contests.
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