(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Coyotes will try to turn things around on their current five-game road trip when they visit the Detroit Red Wings for Thursday's clash at Joe Louis Arena.
The Coyotes began the 2013-14 season with a 4-1 home win over the New York Rangers, but have been blown out in consecutive road tests to begin their swing. Phoenix was dealt a 4-1 loss Saturday in San Jose before getting ripped 6-1 by the New York Islanders on Tuesday, giving the Coyotes a goal differential of minus-eight on the road this season.
John Tavares scored twice for the Islanders in Tuesday's lopsided win over the Coyotes, who received their only goal on the night from Martin Hanzal.
"We have a lot of work to do as a group. How we're doing things right now is unacceptable," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett.
Mike Smith, who took the loss in a 4-1 setback at San Jose on Saturday, surrendered five goals on 20 shots and was pulled at the start of the third period. Thomas Greiss made seven saves in relief.
Smith, who signed a six-year extension with Phoenix before the start of this season, is just 1-2-0 with a 3.40 goals against average in three starts this year. However, his head coach is not ready to place the brunt of the blame for this season's slow start at the feet of his No. 1 goaltender.
"The goaltender bailed us out of an even worse situation the other night," Tippett said, referring to Smith's performance in the 4-1 loss to the Sharks. "He didn't have his best night tonight. We had some bad breaks go against us, but that being said, we didn't do enough to win a game, and that's what it's about."
The Coyotes, who were just 7-10-7 as the road team in 2013, have two more games left on this trek after Thursday's test in the Motor City. Phoenix will visit Philadelphia on Friday before capping the swing Sunday at Carolina.
The Red Wings will try to bounce back from their first loss of the season on Thursday and they figure to have a good chance at doing so considering Phoenix's recent history in Detroit. The Coyotes have lost four straight and 11 of their last 13 games at Joe Louis Arena and the Wings have taken two of three overall in this series.
Detroit began its season with consecutive wins before running into the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Boston forward Brad Marchand scored less than a minute into the second to spark a string of three unanswered goals, as the host Bruins rallied to a 4-1 victory over the Red Wings at TD Garden.
Henrik Zetterberg scored the lone Detroit marker, while Jimmy Howard allowed all four goals on 37 shots for the Red Wings.
On the injury front, the Coyotes could be without defenseman Derek Morris for a second straight game after he suffered an upper-body injury in the loss to the Sharks. Meanwhile, Phoenix enforcer Paul Bissonnette is eligible to play tonight after serving a three-game suspension for an incident in the preseason.