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Coyotes vs. Red Wings Preview

Arizona is seeking its fourth consecutive win on Thursday

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GLENDALE -- The Coyotes will try to extend their winning streak to four games on Thursday when they host the Detroit Red Wings. The puck drops at 7 p.m. Arizona time at Gila River Arena.

Arizona (26-35-8) has won three straight games, all by one-goal margins, including an 11-round shootout triumph at Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Mike Smith, who posted a 22-save shutout vs. Colorado in his last outing on Monday, is expected to start in goal. Smith has 126 wins with the Coyotes and needs two more to tie Bob Essensa for second place in franchise history. Ilya Bryzgalov holds the record with 130 victories.

Forward Max Domi scored two goals against the Kings on Tuesday.

"He's really playing at that high level we're used to," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "He had a slow start and then he had the injury (broken hand), but now he's back to where he's around the puck and you notice him even if he's not scoring." 

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will enter the game with a six-game point streak vs. the Red Wings. He has notched two goals and five assists during that stretch. 

Forward Teemu Pulkkinen is expected to be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past two weeks. Pulkkinen began his NHL career with Detroit, which drafted him 111th overall in 2010.

"It's going to be fun to play the first home game," said Pulkkinen, who played his only game for Arizona at Buffalo on March 2. "It's been a couple weeks that I haven't played and it's fun to be back in the lineup."

Video: Teemu Pulkkinen discusses playing vs. Red Wings

Pulkkinen notched 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in 70 games with Detroit before they waived him at the start of the season.

"He's fit in very well with our group," Tippett said. "This is his old team, so we thought we might get a little jump out of him. So he's excited to play against them. He's been a real good addition. We left the lineup together because we were winning there for a few games, but I just thought tonight it's against his old team. It might give us a spark." 

Defenseman Kevin Connauton, who hasn't played since March 2, skated for the first time on Thursday but is not close to returning.

Detroit (26-30-11), which owns the longest current streak of consecutive playoff appearances in professional sports at 25 seasons, is one point out of last place in the Eastern Conference standings with 14 games to play.

"They've had an unbelievable run there," Tippett said. "They're not out yet, but it's trending that way. You look at that organization, the stability and what they've done for a long time is pretty remarkable."

Video: Dave Tippett previews Thursday's game vs. Wings

The Red Wings have won just one of their seven games played in March. On Wednesday, they began a quick two-game trip with a 3-1 defeat at Colorado.

"We've still got games left, this is our job," captain Henrik Zetterberg told reporters after the loss to Colorado. "We have to go out and perform and do our best every night and try to get better every day."

Detroit has notched a 23-7-3 record against Arizona dating to the start of the 2006-07 season, but Arizona won the first game played this season, 4-1, at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 13. 

Zetterberg leads the Red Wings in points (55) and assists (14). Forward Tomas Tatar is the top goal scorer with 17.

Peter Mrazek likely will get the start in goal after watching Jimmy Howard tend net on Wednesday. Mrazek has faced the Coyotes twice and owns a 1.47 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage against them.

Video: Brendan Perlini discusses Wings, LPGA & more



TV: FOX Sports Arizona 

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM



Domi - Dvorak - Vrbata

Perlini - Martinook - Rieder

Crouse - Jooris - Doan

McGinn - Holland - Pulkkinen


Ekman-Larsson - Schenn

Goligoski - Murphy

Chychrun - DeAngelo





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