Set to play for the first time in nearly a week, the Phoenix Coyotes will have revenge on their mind this evening when they return to Jobing.com Arena for the first time this season to host the Detroit Red Wings.
The Coyotes were one of six teams to begin the season in Europe, where they split a two-game set with theBoston Bruins in Prague, Czech Republic. Phoenix won the opener of that series, 5-2, on Saturday, but was shut out the following day, 3-0.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 34 saves for the Coyotes, who went an excellent 29-10-2 at home last year and they will look to again make Jobing.com Arena at tough place for the opposition to play.
"We're going to have a lot of fun with [the home opener] and enjoy it," said captain Shane Doan on Phoenix's website. "We have to establish that this is a place that we play well at [and] when teams come in here it's going to be a tough night."
Detroit might be a tough club to intimidate. The Red Wings have points in each of their last six regular-season meetings with the Coyotes, going 4-0-2, and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 at Phoenix. That doesn't include last year's playoffs as Detroit eliminated Phoenix in the first round in seven games, winning the deciding contest, 6-1, at Jobing.com Arena.
That loss ended the Coyotes' first trip to the playoffs since 2002.
Bryzgalov is 6-8-3 with a 2.85 goals-against average in 17 career regular- season starts versus the Red Wings, but posted a 3.43 GAA in the seven playoff games last year.
Phoenix could be without forward Ray Whitney for tonight due to an upper-body injury, while Detroit will likely be without one of its top players in Johan Franzen because of a head injury suffered in Dallas on Thursday.
Franzen's injury came during a 4-1 setback as Niklas Kronwall scored Detroit's only goal in Mike Modano's first trip back to Dallas since joining the Red Wings this past offseason as a free agent.
Modano spent 20 seasons with the Stars franchise and posted 557 goals and 1,359 points, both all-time records among U.S.-born skaters. He scored on his first career shot with the Red Wings, but hasn't recorded a point since.
Fans gave a standing ovation to Modano about five minutes into the game during a stoppage of play.
"It was really nice," Modano said. "It's great to be back, great to see a lot of familiar faces and people. Now we can move on and get into the season. I'm glad it was early to get it over with."
Chris Osgood allowed four goals on 15 shots in the losing effort and Detroit could go back to Jimmy Howard in net tonight. Howard is 2-0-1 with a 2.62 GAA in three career starts against the Coyotes during the regular season and started all seven of the postseason games against them. He allowed three or more goals in four of those games, but just a combined two in the other three contests.