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Arizona Coyotes welcome Detroit Red Wings to Gila River Arena

A big game for the Arizona Coyotes with memories of playoffs past.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

That warm and loving feeling from 2010 and 2011 has faded, but the Arizona Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings have still combined for entertaining contests when the two teams meet.

Tonight Arizona and Detroit meet for the first time this season, among what will likely be a energetic and passionate crowd at Gila River Arena.

Matchup at a Glance

Detroit Red Wings Arizona Coyotes
Points 51 (2nd Atlantic) 48 (2nd Pacific)
Goals For 2.47 (20th) 2.86 (5th)
Goals Against 2.56 (13th) 3.02 (28th)
Power Play 17.2% (T-25th) 19.5% (12th)
Penalty Kill 79.1% (22nd) 77.8% (25th)
5v5 Corsi For 50.2% (T-13th) 46.6% (29th)
PDO 101.5 (T-4th) 101.5 (T-4th)

View from Detroit

For the Red Wings perspective, check out Winging It In Motown

Oh look, the Detroit Red Wings are in playoff position again. Color me shocked.

Yet this season has been a bit of a departure from Detroit teams of old. They don't score a lot, don't kill penalties particularly well, and are largely the beneficiary of Montreal and Boston's recent struggles.

Yet Detroit - much like Arizona - owes a lot of its success this year to an over-inflated PDO as Petr Mrazek has assumed the starting job in place of Jimmy Howard. It's not hard to see why; Mrazek has a .930 save percentage and a 2.16 GAA in 28 appearances this season. And with a young core of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and rookie Dylan Larkin, there's ample talent in Detroit's pipeline for the future.

View from Arizona

Shane Doan is not just hanging around, he's thriving. He leads the team with 15 goals this season, and has 14 goals and 22 assists in 67 career games against the Wings.

But the star of the past few games has been Max Domi, who recorded a hat trick for the Coyotes in their 4-3 overtime win versus Edmonton on Tuesday. His hat-trick was the complete package, featuring high skilled goals and gritty ones too. The Coyotes need Domi to be a threat from everywhere on the ice.

So far Arizona is 2-0 on their seven game homestand, and 12-6-2 at home overall. They need to keep the confines of GRA friendly against a Detroit team that always travels well.

Keys to the Game

  • Stop Taking Penalties - Arizona has been absolutely unable to defend the net while shorthanded. It's probably easier to ask the Coyotes to take fewer penalties than it is to ask them to kill those penalties off.
  • Keep Drawing Penalties - By contrast, Arizona is doing an excellent job making the most of their power play, as the team has gone from the basement of the NHL to the Top-15 in less than a month. Winning the penalty differential battle will be key to winning this game.
  • Close Quarters Combat - Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan have been particularly bothersome in front of opposing nets. That's where most of Arizona's second and third chance opportunities will be. The Coyotes need to bully Detroit's defenders in the low slot.

Players to Watch

Dylan Larkin keeps plugging along. He has a goal and three assists in his last five games, and 14 goals and 15 assists on the year as a whole.

With two goals and three assists in his last five games, Anthony Duclair is heating up again. Max Domi's presence on the roster is overshadowing a solid rookie year on Duclair's part.

Injury Report

Detroit has three important contributors on injured reserve; Drew Miller and Teemu Pulkinnen are both out until at least late-January, while Johan Franzen's career is in jeopardy due to recurring concussion issues.

Arizona has Mike Smith and Joe Vitale on injured reserve, but is otherwise healthy.

Puck Drop

Game time tonight is 7 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona or listen on 98.7 FM.