After ending a long skid against one opponent their last time out, the Phoenix Coyotes will be pursuing a similar goal on Saturday night as they try to halt an eight-game losing streak against the visiting Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
“You can’t lose forever,” said Phoenix’s Ilya Bryzgalov, who made 30 saves to win his second straight start.
The Coyotes are 6-3-0 overall since Nov. 26, and have won back-to-back contests following Sunday’s ugly 7-1 loss at Chicago. On Saturday, they’ll try to match their season-high three-game winning streak from Nov. 8-12.
“The way we’ve played the last couple of games, we have to bring that game every single night,” said Jokinen, who has three goals in two games after missing six with a shoulder injury. “It’s been the ‘A’ game for us.”
Phoenix will need another strong performance as it enters its first meeting of the season with Detroit (19-5-4). The Coyotes posted a 5-2 road victory on March 7, 2006, but have since lost eight straight to the Red Wings, getting outscored 37-14 in that span.
They are also 0-6-0 with a tie following their last home win in the series on Jan. 24, 2004.
“We just have to treat this like any other game and any other team,” Michalek told the Coyotes’ official Web site. “Obviously, they are the Stanley Cup champions and they are a great team, but we just have to come out and play hard. Anything can happen.”
Captain Shane Doan, who leads the Coyotes with 13 goals and 28 points, has 10 goals and 12 assists in 45 lifetime matchups against Detroit. Meanwhile, Jokinen has three goals and an assist in 14 lifetime contests versus the Red Wings, and is Phoenix’s second-leading scorer with 10 goals and 21 points.
Aside from getting continued production from its stars, Phoenix may also succeed with effective penalty killing. The Coyotes killed off all five penalties Thursday, and opponents are just 6-for-53 against them in those situations over the last 13 contests.
The Red Wings have converted a league-leading 28.2 percent of their man-advantage opportunities this season, but faltered on all three chances on Friday in a 3-1 loss at Dallas.
Despite 38 shots, only Brett Lebda was able to beat Marty Turco. The Red Wings scored 17 goals against the Stars netminder during the Western Conference finals en route to their eventual championship.
“We had lots of good chances,” said Detroit forward Marian Hossa. “They played well defensively. Their goalie played well. But we’ve got to play 60 minutes and not 40, not 30.”
Hossa tops Central Division-leading Detroit with 15 goals and 29 points, and has six goals and an assist in his last eight meetings versus Phoenix.
Osgood is 13-13-0 with five ties and a 2.83 goals-against average in 33 career games versus the Coyotes.