The Phoenix Coyotes appear to have found their footing again, they are 2-0-2 in their last 4 with their last regulation loss coming against the Detroit Red Wings. The Desert Dogs are coming off an impressive 3-1 win against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, but remain on the outside of the playoff picture. Although the team wasn't in complete sell mode yesterday at the deadline, they did move a few pending UFAs marking the first time the Coyotes haven't been buyers at the deadline for several years. The Coyotes have not given up on the season and have brought forwards Chris Brown and Chris Conner up from the Portland Pirates to fill the holes left by Raffi Torres, Steve Sullivan, and Matthew Lombardi.
With the loss of Niklas Lidstrom, Detroit has not been the powerhouse this season that we have come to expect, but they still sit in a playoff position as the seventh seed in the West, 2 points ahead of eighth seeded St. Louis, with a 18-13-5 record, including a 8-7-2 record on the road. Since beating the Coyotes last Monday they were shut out by the San Jose Sharks 2-0 and suffered a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks before winning 3-2 against the Avalanche the next day. Although it probably won't be too much of a factor the Red Wings do play the Avalanche again tomorrow, so it's possible that that they may try to conserve energy for that game.
Five For Winning:
1. Score first. Scoring first seems to be a good way to win. Hopefully they can continue that trend.
2. Special teams. The Coyotes penalty kill has again become impressive, stopping the Kings' power play unit from scoring during their three opportunities. Now the power play unit needs to find its legs.
3. Discipline. Thankfully this has become less of a problem but as we saw in the loss to the Red Wings last time, they are a deadly team with the man advantage, so the Coyotes need to stay out of the box as much as possible.
4. Protect the lead. If the Coyotes do manage to find themselves up on the Red Wings it is important that they protect that lead and do not allow Detroit to come back. This doesn't mean they should let up and stay defensive, more they should keep pressing and build off any lead they get.
5. Everyone step up. With the Coyotes trading off some players it has made spots available for new players to step up into. The Portland guys should look to do something impressive to prove their worth.
Likely Starting Goalies:
Jason LaBarbera played great against LA stopping 39 of 40 shots for a .975 save percentage. Hopefully he continues to impress tonight against Detroit.
Jonas Gustavsson had the win the last game against Phoenix, and it seems like he would be a good pick to start today.
Players to Watch:
Keith Yandle was extremely impressive Tuesday against the Kings with his two goals helping the Coyotes walk away with the win. Hopefully he continues to be impressive in the next few games.
As one of the few players with an adjective named after him Pavel Datsyuk is definitely a player to watch in this and every game.
Mike Smith: Upper Body
Zbynek Michalek: Upper Body
Lauri Korpikoski: Upper Body
Kyle Quincey: Fractured cheekbone
Todd Bertuzzi: Back
Darren Helm: Back
Feel free to stop back in later tonight for our game day thread, and you can always head over to Winging it in Motown for the Detroit side of things.