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Coyotes aim to recover, draw even with Wings

by Brian Hunter

(Detroit leads best-of-seven series, 1-0)


Big story:
Prior to the series starting, the Red Wings talked about the need to regain their home-ice advantage at Joe Louis Arena after a mediocre 21-14-6 record there during the regular season. They went out and did just that in Game 1 against the Coyotes, using three second-period goals to take control in a 4-2 victory, and will now try to put their opponent firmly behind the eight ball heading back to Phoenix.

Team Scope:

Coyotes: The NHL's 23rd-ranked power play during the regular season was one of the major culprit's in the series-opening defeat, as Phoenix got an early goal from Kyle Turris but could never build on that 1-0 lead despite having 7:09 of man-advantage time in the first period alone, including a lengthy 5-on-3 that Detroit killed. The Red Wings went on to score the next four goals. The Coyotes know they'll have to capitalize better on opportunities Friday and seemed confident they can do so.

"We have to win a game in this building," forward Vernon Fiddler said. "We came here and realistically, you look at a split as maybe a good thing. We're going to go after that second game. That's no secret. We have to be much better and more physical, but I expect us to be much better the next game."

Red Wings:
There's probably not as much Detroit will want to change in Game 2, except maybe getting off to a better start and staying out of the penalty box -- while the Phoenix power play hasn't been anything special, why take any chances? Otherwise, there was a lot to like as Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen took charge in the absence of leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg and turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead with goals 4:24 apart in the second. Brian Rafalski tacked on a power-play goal late in the period and Jiri Hudler scored early in the third.

"I think it was very important for us," said goalie Jimmy Howard, who was sound in making 26 saves. "Things haven't been going well for us at home down the stretch. It's something that we needed to change."

Who's hot:
Radim Vrbata had a third-period goal and a team-high six shots for the Coyotes in the opener. Lauri Korpikoski assisted on Vrbata's goal and has a three-game points streak dating back to the regular season. … Datsyuk and Franzen combined for 13 shots for the Red Wings, with Datsyuk leading all skaters in Game 1 with eight.

Injury report:
Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris missed Wednesday's game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day. … Zetterberg got back on the ice Thursday and skated for Detroit, a positive sign as he works his way back from a lower-body injury, but after skating again Friday morning he ruled himself out for Game 2. He will travel with the team to Arizona, a sign his return could be nearing.

Stat pack:
Coyotes captain Shane Doan had a game-high eight hits Wednesday, while Fiddler won nine of his 11 faceoffs. … Twelve different Red Wings combined to block a total of 18 shots in the opener, with veteran defenseman Ruslan Salei leading the way with four.

Puck drop:
Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski pointed to Detroit's shot-blocking effort as a key facet of its Game 1 victory, particularly when it came to the home team's success in penalty killing.

"At this time of year, that's what it takes," he said. "You've got to sacrifice your body, whatever it takes, to block shots. They had more of that than we did [Wednesday]. You've got to pay the price this time of year."

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