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NHL Playoffs 2011, Red Wings Vs. Coyotes: Game 1 Preview

As a sports fan, there are a lot of great times of the year: the start of college football season, bowl games all day on New Year's, the NCAA tournament and all of the madness that comes along with it and baseball season beginning with opening day.

All of these things are great moments for sports fans, but I don't think any of them top the NHL playoffs. From now until June, playoff beards will be grown, late nights will be spent watching hockey on the west coast and towels will be waved as fans cheer on the their team.

For the Detroit Red Wings, this is the 20th straight year they are taking part in this annual tradition, and quite honestly it's tough to think of anything better than watching the Winged Wheel in the playoffs. Tonight their journey for a 12th Stanley Cup will begin with Game 1 of their first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes. We have already taken a look at a preview of the series, so let's examine Game 1 specifically.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has established the lineup for tonight's game. We already knew that Henrik Zetterberg wasn't going to be in it, so the big news today is that Mike Modano is a healthy scratch. Jakub Kindl is also a healthy scratch, which means Niklas Kronwall will be in the lineup. Via Ansar Khan, here it is:

Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Tomas Holmstrom
Dan Cleary-Justin Abdelkader-Todd Bertuzzi
Jiri Hudler-Valtteri Filppula-Drew Miller
Kris Draper-Darren Helm-Patrick Eaves
Mike Modano (scratched)

Nicklas Lidstrom-Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson-Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall-Ruslan Salei
Jakub Kindl (scratched)

Jimmy Howard
Joey MacDonald
Chris Osgood

Phoenix will be without defenseman Derek Morris tonight because of an upper-body injury. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will give his spot to either David Schlemko or Oliver Ekman-Larsson.