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Coyotes, Wings meet for first time since playoffs

by Dan Rosen
RED WINGS (2-1-1) at COYOTES (1-1-0)

TV: FS-D (HD), FS-A (HD)

Season series --
This is the first of four meetings between the clubs this season. The Wings took six points in the season series a year ago (2-0-2).

Big Story -- The Coyotes' 2010-11 home opener is against the same team that closed down Arena nearly six months ago. The teams haven't met since last season's Western Conference Quarterfinals. Detroit won the series in seven games, taking Game 7 in Glendale by a 6-1 margin. Phoenix has not played since returning home from Prague with a split against the Bruins in the 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere. The Red Wings are coming off back-to-back losses, including a 4-1 shellacking in Dallas on Mike Modano's homecoming night Thursday.

Team Scope:

Red Wings -- Detroit could be a skater or two short Saturday in Glendale due to the questionable status of both Johan Franzen (head) and Dan Cleary, who crashed into the boards during practice Friday and had to be helped off the ice, the Detroit Free Press reported. The Wings do not have enough salary cap space to call anyone up.

However, the news on Franzen is reportedly good. He was hit in the head by a Mark Fistric check Thursday night in Dallas, but on Friday GM Ken Holland told reporters that he was feeling better and had gone for some tests. Holland wasn't sure if Franzen would be able to go against the Coyotes.

"It's certainly encouraging that he's feeling better," Holland said, according to the Detroit News. "Now, whether he plays or not, a lot, obviously, will be determined by the tests and how he's feeling (Saturday). We'll let this play out. Maybe the tests will be positive but he wakes up (Saturday) and he doesn't feel good. Maybe he does feel good. We'll just see what happens."

Coyotes -- They split in Prague, beating Boston in the season-opener, 5-2, before getting blanked, 3-0, in the capper on Sunday. The Coyotes are eager to erase the bitterness that they can still taste from last season's season-ending loss to Detroit in front of a sellout and whiteout crowd at Arena. Captain Shane Doan did not play in that game, or the three that preceded it, due to a shoulder injury.

However, more than just getting some revenge, the Coyotes want to get their home schedule off to a good start. Their 29 home wins last season tied them for third in the NHL with Chicago (Washington and Vancouver won 30 home games). Expect Ilya Bryzgalov (2.50 GAA and .937 save percentage in Prague) to get the start in goal.

"We want to be a strong home team, but the team that knocks you out of the playoffs the year before, that certainly leaves a bad taste in your mouth," coach Dave Tippett told the Arizona Republic.

Who's Hot --
Todd Bertuzzi leads all Red Wings with six points (1 goal, 5 assists) after four games. … It's hard to say anyone on the Coyotes is on a hot streak considering they were shut out in their last game, but Radim Vrbata had a pair of goals in the season-opening win.

Injury Report -- Franzen and Cleary are questionable for the Wings while Brian Rafalski is out after undergoing knee surgery earlier in the week and Kris Draper is on IR with a nagging groin injury. Rafalski is supposed to miss about a month. … For the Coyotes, defenseman Derek Morris missed the first two games with a lower-body injury but is likely to play Saturday.

Stat Pack -- Bertuzzi picked up his 400th career assist Thursday night in Dallas. Phoenix has gone five straight days without a game. It won't have that long of a break again this season, save for the All-Star break. The longest the Coyotes went last season without a game was four days (happened twice), except, of course, for the Olympic break.

Puck Drop -- "It's not really a week off," Doan told the Arizona Republic. "Recover the first couple days just trying to get your head back in it, but it's nice to have an opportunity to get to breathe."

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