Arizona (19-22-3) at Detroit (33-16-2)

Light Rain Shower Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Feb 18, 2004
  • TV: ESPN2, FSD
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Phoenix Coyotes are on the verge of falling out of the playoff race in the Western Conference. A trip to Detroit and the absence of their second-leading scorer probably won’t help matters.

Phoenix tries to win for the second time this month when it faces the Red Wings—the NHL’s best home team.

It appeared the Coyotes would remain in the playoff race after Brian Boucher set an NHL record with five straight shutouts from Dec. 31-Jan. 9. Boucher, however, has struggled along with the rest of his teammates lately, contributing to the Coyotes’ 3-10-3-1 record in the last 17 games.

Phoenix has fallen to 13th in the West—nine points behind Dallas for the final playoff berth.

Boucher was victimized by a soft goal with 4:04 remaining in regulation as the Coyotes lost for the fifth time in six games Monday, 4-2 at St. Louis.

“It bounced over my stick and hit my pad,” Boucher said. “It’s a rotten bounce, bad luck. It should have been 2-2 going into overtime.”

Worse than the loss was a serious wrist injury sustained by left wing Ladislav Nagy late in the second period. Nagy, the team leader with 24 goals, collided with St. Louis’ Keith Tkachuk and immediately dropped his stick and left glove before heading into the dressing room for X-rays.

Team officials said Tuesday that Nagy will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a dislocated wrist.

The Coyotes were also without center Daymond Langkow on Monday. Langkow, third on the team with 16 goals and 41 points, missed the game to be with his expectant wife.

“Ladislav and Langkow are big parts of our team in a lot of different areas,” Coyotes coach Bobby Francis said. “I thought other guys responded and assumed a lot of the ice time extremely well.”

Following the birth of his son Monday, Langkow could return for Wednesday’s contest.

Detroit had a six-game unbeaten streak stopped Saturday with a 5-2 loss to Colorado, but rebounded Monday with a 2-1 victory over Edmonton.

Manny Legace stopped 29 shots despite not facing one in the second period, and Kris Draper and Mathieu Schneider scored for the Red Wings, 5-1-2 in their last eight.

“I got freezing cold, actually,” Legace said. “I came in (to the locker room) between the second and third periods and I was shivering.”

With Curtis Joseph still sidelined with a sprained right ankle, Legace should make his third straight start Wednesday. Legace has lost just once in his last nine decisions (5-1-3).

STANDINGS (through Feb. 16): Coyotes - 55 points, 4th place (tied), 17 PB, Pacific Division. Red Wings - 76 points, 1st place, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Coyotes - Nagy, 24 goals; Shane Doan, 38 assists and 59 points; Andrei Nazarov, 96 PIM. Red Wings - Pavel Datsyuk, 25 goals, 31 assists and 56 points; Brendan Shanahan, 84 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 16): Coyotes - Power play: 15.1 percent (38 for 251), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (239 for 291), 23rd. Red Wings - Power play: 19.8 percent (48 for 242), 5th. Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (195 for 229), 10th.

GOALTENDERS: Coyotes - Boucher (9-9-7, 5 SO, 2.34 GAA); Jean-Marc Pelletier (no appearances). Red Wings - Legace (12-6-4, 1, 2.11); Marc Lamothe (no appearances).

SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 1-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 24; Coyotes, 5-2. At Glendale, Ariz., Boucher made a career-high 44 saves and the Coyotes scored three times on the power play and once while short-handed.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Coyotes - 10-10-10-1 on the road; Red Wings - 21-5-3-0 at home.

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