For the Detroit Red Wings, this could be the last time they have to come to Phoenix in this first round playoff matchup. For the Phoenix Coyotes, this could be the last game they play in Phoenix, period.
The Red Wings can sweep the Coyotes out of the first round with a win tonight. Detroit, which leads the best-of-seven series 3-0, will be heading home whether they win or lose as they host a potential Game 5 on Friday. Phoenix on the other hand may not have a home at all if the Red Wings prevail.
The Coyotes' ownership situation is as murky as ever. Businessman Matthew Hulsizer is apparently still in the running to keep the team in the desert, but reports out of Canada have been swirling that the deal is close to dead. Winnipeg-based True North Entertainment is said to be waiting in the wings to buy the team if Hulsizer can't, with plans to move the club back to its original home in Manitoba once the Coyotes are eliminated.
If the latter is true, it would highly ironic: the Red Wings were the last team the Winnipeg Jets played before they were moved to Phoenix.
Meanwhile, the Coyotes have an actual game to worry about. The Coyotes haven't been able to keep up with the Red Wings at even strength, as Phoenix has scored five of their seven goals in the series on the power play. At 5-on-5, Detroit has outscored Phoenix 9-2.
The Red Wings have done this without leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg, who is expected to miss his fourth-straight playoff game tonight with an MCL sprain. The team is hoping that they can win the series without Zetterberg and have him return in the second round.
OUT: Henrik Zetterberg, MCL; Chris Osgood, groin
Questionable: Derek Morris, upper body
Who to watch
Johan Franzen, Red Wings: Franzen had a 13-game playoff point streak snapped, but he started another one with a sick breakaway goal in Game 3.
Ilya Bryzgalov, Coyotes: Bryzgalov has been left out to dry in the series, but he's not been his best either. He needs to be better if the Coyotes plan on taking the series back to Detroit.
No surprises as head coach Mike Babcock will stick with the same group that won the first three games:
Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Tomas Holmstrom
Danny Cleary-Justin Abdelkader-Todd Bertuzzi
Jiri Hudler-Valtteri Filppula-Drew Miller
Kris Draper-Darren Helm-Patrick Eaves
Nicklas Lidstrom-Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson-Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall-Ruslan Salei