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Tuesday, January 26th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (29-18-5) at Detroit Red Wings (25-18-8), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - It's been a long time since the Phoenix Coyotes were ahead of the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference standings this far into a season. The same can be said about the team's last victory at Joe Louis Arena.

Phoenix will be out to halt a seven-game losing streak in the Motor City when it concludes a brief road trip with tonight's clash against the slumping Red Wings.

The Coyotes, who haven't made the playoffs since 2001-02 and were forced to file for bankruptcy protection this past May, enter this evening's tilt in fifth place in the West with 63 points, five more than the defending conference champion Red Wings. Detroit has won two of the three matchups between the clubs this season, however, a continuation of its longstanding dominance of this series.

Since the start of the 2006-07 campaign, the Red Wings have gone 13-1-1 against Phoenix and won all seven games held in Detroit over that time period. The Coyotes' last triumph in Joe Louis Arena came on March 7, 2006.

Detroit hasn't exactly been intimidating as of late, though. The Red Wings come in having dropped four of their last five games (1-2-2) and failed to hold onto an early two-goal advantage in Saturday's 3-2 home loss to Los Angeles.

Valtteri Filppula and Todd Bertuzzi scored just over two minutes apart to give Detroit a 2-0 advantage 7 1/2 minutes into the contest, but the Red Wings' offense was shut down thereafter as the Kings fought back. Los Angeles netted two goals in the third period to forge ahead, with Brad Richardson's tally with 7:57 left to play providing the winning margin.

"I think [the Kings] took the game over in the second period," said Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. "Most of our shifts we spent the first 20 to 30 seconds in our zone, and it's hard to generate some offense when you're spending the first 30 seconds in your own zone."

Jimmy Howard ended with 30 saves for Detroit, which begins tonight's play tied with Calgary for the eighth and final playoff seed in the West with 58 points.

Injuries have played a part in the Red Wings' dropoff in 2009-10, but the team is expected to get one key player back this evening in defenseman Niklas Kronwall. The 29-year-old Swede, who recorded career bests of 45 assists and 51 points last season, has been out since November 21 due to surgery on his left knee.

Phoenix will play the back end of a challenging two-game road trip and tries to bounce back from Saturday's 4-2 defeat to the high-scoring Washington Capitals. The loss was the fourth in a row as the visitor for the Coyotes, who are 10-10-3 away from home this season.

The Coyotes were outshot by a 34-30 margin for the game and gave the potent Capitals seven power-play opportunities, two of which were converted into goals.

One bright spot for Phoenix in Saturday's loss was forward Lauri Korpikoski, who scored both of the team's goals.

"He plays at a good pace all the time," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "Tonight he got fortunate with some pucks around the net. That's the type of compete we need."

Robert Lang assisted on both of Korpikoski's scores and Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves for Phoenix in a losing cause.

01/26 10:46:48 ET


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