The Coyotes have been facing problems since they started their road trip, dropping games against both the San Jose Sharks and the New York Islanders. While this isn't a major cause for concern yet there have been issues with the way that the team has been played on the road. In their last game against the Islanders the Coyotes gave up 6 goals.
In an effort to shake things up on the bench the Yotes sent rookies Lucas Lessio and Chris Brown down to the AHL earlier this week and replaced them with Brandon Yip and Tim Kennedy. The two will hopefully bring a more veteran presence that will help stabilize the Coyotes bench and result in a win. Kennedy has played in 125 NHL games where he had 13 goals and 18 assists along with 56 penalty minutes. Yip has played in 172 career NHL games where he scored 29 goals and 27 assists with 130 penalty minutes. On top of that, the Coyotes placed Chris Summers on waivers, presumably to clear up room for Rostislav Klesla on the roster, though he likely won't play tonight.
Detroit Red Wings
A lot of Coyotes fans were happy that the Red Wings moved to the Eastern Conference because it meant fewer games against them at Jobing.com Arena.
Detroit decided to spend their offseason signing players who had up until this season spent their entire career with only one NHL team. They added longtime Ottawa Senator Daniel Alfredsson to the mix during the offseason. The Red Wings also added long time Florida Panther Stephen Weiss who has played in 654 career games, logging 145 goals and 249 assists.
Keys To Winning
Top line support. So far the top line has been kept pointless. Mikkel Boedker did have an assist against the Islanders but he was playing with Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal at the time, and the Coyotes are going to need that line to generate offense for the team to be successful. Tippett did some juggling for the last game so it remains to be seen what the top line will be this game. Regardless, they need to score.
Tighten up defense. The Coyotes have allowed an unusually high number of goals in their past two games against the Sharks and Islanders. That needs to stop. There has been a variety reasons for this, but most of them can be resolved by the Yotes playing better in their own zone.
Score first, control the game. In all 3 games so far this season the winning team was the team who scored first in the opening 4 minutes of the game. So far the Coyotes have only done that once and their opponents have done it twice.
#17 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes
Jun 13, 1981
|2013 - Radim Vrbata||3||1||4||0||0|
Radim Vrbata leads the Coyotes in points with 4 scoring 3 goals in the first game and an assist on a Hanzal goal against the Islanders.
#40 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Oct 09, 1980
|2013 - Henrik Zetterberg||2||1||3||3||4|
Henrik Zetterberg currently leads the Red Wings with 3 points, 2 goals and an assist and so far he is the only Red Wings player with goals in multiple games.
Likely Starting Goaltenders
#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes
Mar 22, 1982
|2013 - Mike Smith||3||159||1||2||9||3.40||94||85||.904||0|
Although Smith did give up five on Long Island much of that can be laid at the feet of the defense. He looked very good in the first game against the Rangers and besides a slow start in the San Jose game he was solid. This will hopefully be a bounce back game for him, something to rebuild his confidence moving forward.
#35 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings
Mar 26, 1984
|2013 - Jimmy Howard||3||182||2||1||7||2.31||82||75||.915||0|
Jimmy Howard's numbers don't look particularly great this season but he has done enough to give his team 2 wins.
Detroit Red Wings
|25th (2.000)||Goals For||21th (2.000)|
|26th (3.67)||Goals Against||8th (2.33)|
|20th (14.3)||Power Play %||28th (0.0)|
|25th (64.3)||Penalty Kill %||18th (78.6)|
For the Red Wings Jonas Gustavsson is out with a groin injury and Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves are on the LTIR with a body and knee and ankle injury respectively.
The Coyotes Rostislav Klesla is still on the IR list with a concussion/whiplash symptoms however he did make the flight with the team. The added roster spot from Summers' departure means he could potentially see action but it is highly unlikely.
This will be another early start for the Coyotes as the game is set to begin at 4:30 PM Arizona time. You can catch the game on Fox Sports Arizona or KMVP 860 AM.