Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Game Preview- Coyotes at Red Wings

Sigh. Another game following an 8 goal loss. Hopefully this one works out the same as the Blues game following the Nashville loss did, a 5-0 Detroit win.

Phoenix outlook: The Coyotes are on a two game losing skid and have lost 7 of their last 10. Right now they're looking at an early trip to the golf course but could potentially still make the playoffs. Coming into tonight's game, the season series is 2-1 Detroit. The loss was a 6-3 loss, coming on Jan 20 in Phoenix. Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start for Phoenix more than likely. He's been one of the worst in goals allowed this season but is always capable of playing well if the defense works for him. Phoenix is no doubtedly been on the down hill lately, especially after trading away some of its best players (Jokinen, Morris). I think its obvious that Gretzky and the upper management are looking for future talent rather than immediate results.

Detroit outlook: The Red Wings have won 2 of their last 3 but the loss was the embarrasing 8-2 loss to the division rival Columbus Blue Jackets. The Wings still lead the league in goals scored per game at 3.61 but the goals allowed per game isn't that far away at 2.96. Detroit plays puck possession and will look to continue that way of playing tonight. A big part of the Wings' success with puck possession is their ability to win faceoffs. Draper, Datsyuk, and Zetterberg are all in the top 15 in faceoffs, a big reason for our ability to wear down the other teams. If the Wings can control the puck, they have the talent to out play the Coyotes easily.

What to look for: Detroit's powerplay is still tops in the league at 26.7% efficiency while the Coyotes have one of the league's worst penalty kill units. While the Wings also have one of the league's worst penalty kill units, they also take the 2nd fewest penalties per game in the league. I would look for how the powerplay unit works tonight. Once again, puck possession will dictate Detroit success tonight. Look for the Wings to spread out the Coyotes cross-ice and then late in the game try to get behind the Coyotes defense with outlet passes. Players to watch from Phoenix are Petr Prucha, Shane Doan, and Mikkel Boedker. Wings players to look for are Valterri Filppula, Henrik Zetterberg, and Niklas Kronwall.

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