Wings-Coyotes preview

BY foxsports • February 6, 2012

Following a rare defeat, the Detroit Red Wings will try for another sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes.

The NHL-leading Red Wings will attempt to clinch an unblemished record in the season series and a positive end to their season-high road stretch Monday night (8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports).

Detroit (35-16-2) lost for only the second time in 11 games Saturday by failing to finish its comeback from an early two-goal deficit.

After scoring his 300th goal early in the third period, Todd Bertuzzi tallied a tiebreaking one with 3:41 remaining, but the Oilers answered with 39 seconds left in regulation then won 5-4 in the sixth round of the shootout.

"It's disappointing to lose the extra point when we had the lead with under a minute to play," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game up and then took the lead. So it's tough to take when you lose after battling back like that."

The Red Wings, 9-1-1 in their last 11, will try to avoid consecutive defeats for the first time since Dec. 21-22 by adding to their recent dominance of the Coyotes (23-21-8). Detroit has won seven in a row over Phoenix, beginning with a sweep in last year's Western Conference quarterfinals.

The Red Wings have prevailed in shootouts during the past two games against Phoenix, including a 3-2 win Jan. 19 that was also opened a season-high six-game homestand for the Coyotes.

After dropping the first two contests, they've prevailed in two of the last three, with Lauri Korpikoski's two-goal effort paving the way for a 5-3 win over Pacific Division-leading San Jose on Saturday.

"San Jose is one of the top teams in the conference, and this is a quality win," defenseman Keith Yandle said. "We harped for three days in practice of being a better and more consistent team and (against San Jose). We did a great job of execution."

The victory helped Phoenix improve on its lackluster 11-10-4 home record, but the Coyotes might have some trouble in their attempt to win back-to-back games at Arena for the third time this season.

Including the past two postseason matchups, Phoenix is 5-17-6 over its last 28 home games against Detroit. The Coyotes, though, haven't made it easy over the last three regular-season meetings - pushing each beyond regulation.

The Red Wings have a little more experience with that lately, having played past 60 minutes in seven of their last 11.

Detroit might look to journeyman goaltender Joey MacDonald to help win the next contest. MacDonald, called up from AHL Grand Rapids on Friday to replace injured All-Star Jimmy Howard (broken finger), stopped 22 of 23 shots after Ty Conklin was pulled Saturday.

MacDonald has never faced the Coyotes, while Conklin is 1-3-0 with a 3.27 goals-against average in four lifetime matchups. Phoenix starter Mike Smith has a 3.30 GAA in the three matchups against Detroit this season, while backup Jason LaBarbera is 1-3-2 with a 3.73 GAA in eight all-time meetings.

Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk had a team-best six points during last year's playoff sweep and has totaled five assists in the three games this season. His 54 career points versus the Coyotes are his most against a non-Central Division opponent, and he's helped the Red Wings win 18 of the past 23 regular-season matchups.