RED WINGS (30-15-1) at COYOTES (21-19-7)
TV: FS-D, FS-A PLUS
Last 10: Detroit 7-3-0; Phoenix 3-4-3.
Season Series: Thursday's clash marks the third of four regular-season meetings between Detroit and Phoenix. These Western Conference foes have met in each of the last two postseasons, with the Red Wings winning both series. Detroit has taken both head-to-head meetings this season on home ice, and squares off with Phoenix for the second time in seven days after a 3-2 shootout triumph against the Coyotes on Jan. 12 at Joe Louis Arena.
Big Story: The Red Wings return to Jobing.com Arena for the first time since completing a four-game sweep of the Coyotes in the opening round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Detroit storms into the desert riding a four-game win streak after earning a 3-2 road shootout victory against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Phoenix, meanwhile, ran into the surging Anaheim Ducks and suffered a 6-2 road defeat on Wednesday night.
Red Wings: Coming off a franchise-record 15th straight victory at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday, Detroit looks to put its road struggles to rest when it takes on Phoenix on Thursday night. Backup goalie Ty Conklin closed out the team's three-game homestand by stopping 25 of 27 shots and Jiri Hudler scored a second period equalizer and the lone shootout goal as Detroit rallied past Dallas in a 3-2 decision. The Red Wings sport one of the NHL's best marks at home this season (18-2-1), but are only 12-13-0 on the season on the road.
The Wings' balance on both ends of the ice was the driving force behind their four-game win streak, but coach Mike Babcock knows it will take improvements in other facets of the game to find more success away from home.
"We're averaging 1.7 (goals-against) at home and 2.7 against on the road," Babcock told the Associated Press. "You can't win without checking. It's impossible. You can't outscore your mistakes. You've got to be diligent without the puck if you're going to have success."
Coyotes: Phoenix has found the win column only twice in eight games since the start of the calendar year, but charged into SoCal for a Wednesday night clash with the Ducks after routing the Colorado Avalanche two days earlier. Kyle Chipchura and Daymond Langkow notched goals for Phoenix, and the game was tied midway through the second period, but Anaheim would respond with four unanswered goals to seal a 6-2 loss for Dave Tippett's squad.
"I thought there were some good things in the game for us," Tippett told NHL.com. "You probably don't believe that in a 6-2 score. We were doing some things fairly well, I thought. They got some timely goals to break the game open – it was the difference in the game."
Who’s Hot: Valtteri Filppula has been a point-per-game force for the Red Wings as of late, compiling five goals and seven assists over his last 12 games.
Injury Report: Kurt Sauer (post-concussion syndrome), Martin Hanzal (upper body), and David Schlemko (lower body) are on IR for Phoenix. … Patrick Eaves (jaw) is expected to miss Thursday's game for Detroit.
Stat Pack: The Red Wings have five players among the League leaders in plus-minus, with Ian White at plus-25 (T-4th), Johan Franzen at plus-24 (T-6th), Nicklas Lidstrom at plus-22 (T-9th), Todd Bertuzzi at plus-21 (T-11th) and Pavel Datsyuk at plus-20 (T-13th).
Puck Drop: Phoenix sports the second-worst power play conversion percentage (12.9 percent) in the League, and struggled again in that regard by going 0-for-4 on the man advantage in Wednesday's loss to Anaheim.
"It's something we've been working on," Daymond Langkow told NHL.com. "Our power play and our penalty kill – it can win you games. It's not like we're not trying. We've just got to bear down a little bit more and work a little bit harder on the special teams."