Mrazek, Red Wings head to Arizona

( – The Detroit Red Wings aim for a second straight win to
begin a three-game road trip when they visit the Arizona Coyotes for
Saturday’s battle at Gila River Arena.

Detroit has won two straight overall since getting slammed 5-1 last week by
the Tampa Bay Lightning. The setback in Tampa was only the second loss in the
last 12 games for the Red Wings, who enter Saturday just two points behind the
Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division.

The Wings rebounded from the loss to the Bolts with last Saturday’s 4-1 home
win over the New York Islanders and were then idle until beating the Colorado
Avalanche 3-0 on Thursday to start the current swing.

Petr Mrazek made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and Detroit
scored two empty-net goals in the win over the Avalanche.

Justin Abdelkader’s power-play goal in the second period was the only one the
Red Wings needed to pick up their eighth win in nine games.

They got two more after Avalanche coach Patrick Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov for
an extra skater with around 3:05 left in the game. Darren Helm scored about 30
seconds later and Luke Glendening added another empty-netter in the final

Mrazek had 12 saves in the first period, nine in the second and secured his
third career shutout with seven stops in the third.

The Red Wings killed off three Colorado power plays, including two in a
scoreless first period.

“It was important the way we kept the game 0-0 for a while,” said Abdelkader.
“They came out strong as they always do here. We kept our shifts short. We
felt we got our feet going a little bit in the second period and we were able
to take the game over.”

Mrazek is expected to start again tonight for Detroit, but injured No. 1
netminder Jimmy Howard could return to the lineup when the Red Wings close out
this road trip Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Howard has missed the last nine games with a torn groin and Mrazek has started
all nine in his place, going 7-1-0 during that stretch.

The Coyotes had a two-game winning streak snapped its last time out, falling
2-1 in a shootout against visiting Carolina.

Elias Lindholm scored the lone goal of the tiebreaker after beating Mike Smith
in the first round. The Coyotes were unable to score in the shootout as Lucas
Lessio and Antoine Vermette each hit the post and Sam Gagner lost control of
the puck.

David Moss provided Arizona’s lone marker, while Keith Yandle extended his
point streak to five games with an assist. Smith turned aside 39 shots in

“I think there were parts of the game that were OK, but overall we didn’t do
enough things right to create enough chances,” said Moss.

Arizona, which is well out of playoff contention in the West, has lost four
straight on home ice and is 9-12-4 in the desert this season. The Coyotes have
won two straight and three of their last four home games against Detroit and
the Wings have lost four of six overall in this series.

Smith is 4-5-2 with a 2.49 goals against average in 11 career games against