Red Wings-Coyotes Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings (4-1-0) at Phoenix Coyotes (1-3-1).
TIME: Saturday, 10:00 p.m. EDT.
Every game the Phoenix Coyotes have been involved in this season has been decided by one goal. They probably wouldn't mind that if they came out on the winning side a few more times.
Phoenix will try to post its second win of the season when it faces the highest-scoring team in the league, the Detroit Red Wings.
Of the Coyotes' five one-goal contests, they have one win, three losses in regulation and one shootout loss.
"We've got to keep believing what we're trying to accomplish here and stay within ourselves, not get too emotionally excited and not get too down, simple as that," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said.
Ladislav Nagy scored a power-play goal with 2:04 left in regulation to force overtime, but the Coyotes failed to score in the shootout in a 5-4 loss to Nashville on Thursday.
Starting goaltender Curtis Joseph should be back in the lineup Saturday after missing two games with a sore groin muscle. Rookie David Leneveu was in net for a 3-2 loss at Dallas on Tuesday and Thursday's shootout loss.
Captain Shane Doan has been held to one goal in five games this season, prompting Gretzky to put him on a line with veteran forwards Geoff Sanderson and Petr Nedved.
"If Shane has done anything in the negative, it's that he tries to do so much that he overbattles and overworks just from his caring and wanting to win every night," Gretzky said. "With Petr there, that will give him more of a guy that's a playmaking centerman."
Detroit is off to an impressive start, winning four of its first five, including a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday in captain Steve Yzerman's season debut.
Kirk Maltby and Jiri Fischer scored short-handed goals in the third period for Detroit, which has scored a league-high 22 goals.
Yzerman, the career points leader among active players and sixth all-time, began his 22nd NHL season after sitting out the first four games with a groin injury sustained in the preseason.
"I really enjoyed it," Yzerman said. "I played a couple of preseason games, but the atmosphere tonight was totally different. The pace is much quicker and more intense, but it was easier to get into it."
Detroit has received offensive contributions from several players, including right wing Mikael Samuelsson, a noted defensive player, who leads the team with four goals.
STANDINGS (through Oct. 13): Red Wings - 8 points, 1st place (tied), Central Division. Coyotes - 3 points, 5th place, 3 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Samuelsson, 4 goals; Jason Williams, 6 assists; Henrik Zetterberg, 7 points; Brendan Shanahan, 19 PIM. Coyotes - Three tied with 2 goals; Seven tied with 2 assists; Three players tied with 4 points; Tyson Nash, 25 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 13): Red Wings - Power play: 25.0 percent (8 for 32), 4th in NHL. Penalty killing: 93.9 percent (31 for 33), 3rd. Coyotes - Power play: 21.9 percent (7 for 32), 5th. Penalty killing: 75.0 percent (18 for 24), 25th (tied).
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (4-1-0, 0 SO, 2.41 GAA); Chris Osgood (no appearances). Coyotes - Joseph (1-1-0, 2.02); Leneveu (0-2-0, 3.31).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: 1-1-2.
LAST MEETING: March 18, 2003; Tied, 1-1. At Phoenix, Shanahan scored in the second period to give the Red Wings the lead and the Coyotes answered in the third period.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 2-0-0 on the road; Coyotes - 1-0-1 at home.