Red Wings host Coyotes; both teams playing for playoff spot
Detroit, Phoenix will battle for vital 2 points as season nears end
Time may be running out on both the Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes.
Authors of a remarkable 21 consecutive playoff appearances, the Red Wings look to chip into their growing deficit in the Western Conference when they host the Coyotes on Monday.
Detroit, which has dropped five of its last six games (1-2-3), trails both seventh-place Minnesota and Columbus by three points with just four contests remaining.
The Red Wings are winless in their last two outings following a 2-1 shootout loss to Vancouver on Saturday. Phoenix kept its slim postseason hopes alive when it snapped a three-game winless streak (0-1-2) with a 3-2 shootout victory over Chicago on Saturday.
The Coyotes sit five points out of eighth place with four games remaining.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS, FSN (Detroit)
ABOUT THE COYOTES (19-17-8): Mike Smith made a triumphant return to the lineup. Sidelined for two games with a lower-body injury, Smith made 36 saves - and denied Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook's bid for a hat trick with a stop in overtime. Radim Vrbata scored for the second straight game before defenseman David Schlemko converted in the shootout.
"I finally got a chance, so I figured I’d better bury it," Schlemko said of his first shootout attempt in an NHL game. “We’re fighting for our lives. That extra point is huge and I think we deserved it."
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (20-16-8): Johan Franzen saw his goal-scoring streak snapped at three games and his point streak end at four after being held off the scoresheet against the Canucks. It was just the second time this month he failed to secure a point in a contest.
Franzen scored a power-play goal in Detroit's 3-2 win over Phoenix on March 25 and had an assist in a 4-2 setback to the Coyotes on April 4.
1. Joe Louis Arena hasn't been a hospitable place for Phoenix, which has exited the building with five straight setbacks.
2. Detroit LW Drew Miller suffered a broken hand against Vancouver and is out indefinitely.
3. Phoenix failed to score on all five power-play opportunities versus Detroit. The Coyotes are 1-for-13 in their last four games.