Saturday, November 05, 2005

GameDay: vs. Phoenix (6-8-1, 13 Pts) 7:30 ET

Tonight's game is the second of four games between the Wings and Coyotes this season. The Wings beat the Coyotes 2-0 on October 15 in Phoenix, with goals from Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Manny Legace recorded his first shutout of the season, the seventh of his career, and Brett Hull made the headlines by announcing his retirement at a press conference before the game. The Wings were on a nine-game win streak before losing 4-3 (OT) to Edmonton on Thursday. Tomas Holmstrom had two goals and Jason Williams one, but a Raffi Torres goal 1:51 into overtime ended the Wings' hopes for getting an NHL record 26 points in the first 14 games. They settled for tying the 1994-1995 Penguins' previous record of 25 points. The Wings are in charge of the Central Division, leading Nashville 25-18 in points. The Wings are tied with the Ottawa Senators with the most goals for and least goals against: 58 for and 28 against. The Coyotes are coming off a big 4-0 win against the LA Kings Thursday night. Before the game on Tuesday, Coach Wayne Gretzky put the Coyotes through a grueling practice that included 45 minutes of all out skating. Curtis Joseph recorded his second shutout of the season, and the Coyotes got off to a good start in November. The Coyotes will be without Petr Nedved, who hyperextended his left elbow last week in the Coyotes' 5-3 loss to the Stars. Chris Osgood will get the start for the Wings, in place of the injured Manny Legace. The Joe Louis Arena crowd may get the chance to welcome back Curtis Joesph, if he makes the start. Manny Legace is day-to-day with a sprained knee, thanks to a careless Matthew Barnaby, who fell into the goaltender during the Wings' 4-1 win over the Blackhawks on Tuesday. The Wings carry in the best power play in the league, with a 28.5% efficiency. The man advantage could be key tonight, as the Coyotes are an abysmal 79% on the penalty kill (24th in the league). Also impressive is that the Wings lead the NHL in penalty killing at 91.4% (7 goals in 82). Several Wings are cracking the points leader board, with Jason Williams (18), Datsyuk (17), and Zetterberg (15) all in the top 30. Don't be surprised to see success from Brendan Shanahan or Steve Yzerman, as Shanny has 69 points in 62 games against the Phoenix/Winnipeg franchise, Yzerman 65 in 57 games.


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