Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Season Opener Part Two | Detroit Red Wings vs Phoenix Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings are back in Joe Louis Area after a short road trip and four off days to take on the Phoenix Coyotes at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

After having four days off it almost feels as if the Red Wings are having another season opener tonight and hopefully they will go back to playing like they did against Buffalo in the season opener. Over the past two game the Red Wings have not looked like a good team, in Carolina it took a crazy last-minute goal to tie the game and in Boston they were steamrolled. If Detroit wants to compete they have to out hustle and out work the other team.

Phoenix has had an interesting ride their first three games of the season, they beat the Rangers soundly, but then got crunched by both the Sharks and the Islanders. Mike Smith has been less than stellar in net so far this season, but he is a solid goaltender and the Red Wings cannot let him get comfortable in net. The Wings will have to limit Radim Vrbata‘s and Martin Hanzal‘s chances, as well.

Projected Line-up

Forwards

Henrik Zetterberg – Pavel Datsyuk – Justin Abdelkader

Johan Franzen – Stephen Weiss – Daniel Alfredsson

Todd Bertuzzi – Joakim Andersson – Daniel Cleary

Drew Miller – Cory Emmerton – Mikael Samuelsson

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson

Jakub Kindl  Danny DeKeyser

Brendan Smith  Kyle Quincey

Goaltender

Jimmy Howard

Jimmy Howard has not been given much help in the first three games of the season and if the Wings want to have a chance at competing for the Cup, that has to change.

The defense is giving u to many second chances in front of Howard and need to do a better job of clearing the front of the net on the penalty kill.

If the offense does not stay in position on the penalty kill, then the defense is left in no mans land along with Howard. Johan Franzen did just that during the Bruins game.

The power play has not fared well for Detroit either, the Wings need to find a way to put the puck in the net while up a man.

Tomas Tatar did not fare well against the Bruins on the fourth line and Mike Babcock has turned back to Mikael Samuelsson for tonight’s game.

The Red Wings’ third line has been an issue for the team as well, they have been outplayed during the first three games and have yet to put a point on the board.

Jordin Tootoo has been medically cleared to play, but has not yet been taken off of IR.

Prediction: The Red Wings will be facing a well-known opponent for the first time this season in the Coyotes and I think it will show in a 3-1 Red Wings victory.

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