Sports

Red Wings eye win streak against Coyotes

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings hope to record a second straight win at the start of a four-game homestand when they welcome the hapless Arizona Coyotes for Tuesday's clash in the Motor City.

The Red Wings haven't posted consecutive victories since a three-game run from Feb. 26-March 4, but Detroit won for just the third time in nine games when it posted a 2-1 overtime victory Sunday versus St. Louis.

Despite the recent rough patch, Detroit is more than likely headed for a 24th straight trip to the playoffs, which would extend the longest active stretch in the NHL. With 89 points, the club is sitting third in the Atlantic Division and is four points ahead of Ottawa for the division's final automatic playoff bid.

The Wings also are five clear of the Boston Bruins, who sit just outside the East playoff picture after the Senators passed them with a win on Monday. Both the Bruins and Sens are idle on Tuesday.

If they are able to make it into the playoffs again this spring, the Red Wings will match the Montreal Canadiens (1970-71 to 1993-94) for the fourth longest postseason streak in NHL history.

Justin Abdelkader helped further Detroit's cause by scoring a power-play goal 24 seconds into overtime on Sunday to help the Wings down the Blues and halt a two-game slide. Detroit had failed to score on its first five chances with the man advantage in the game before cashing in when it counted most.

Patrik Berglund was whistled for tripping with 1:21 to play in regulation and the third-period horn sounded before the Red Wings could take advantage. Early in the extra session, Marek Zidlicky fired a shot on net from the left circle. St. Louis goaltender Jake Allen made the stop, but Abdelkader was there to push in the rebound for the win.

Abdelkader finished with a goal and an assist, Erik Cole also scored and Jimmy Howard made 23 stops for the Red Wings, who had lost four of five heading into Sunday.

"St. Louis is a real good team and they're hard to matchup against," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "The guys stepped up and we got some good play from all four lines along with Howard."

Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk missed his third straight game with a lower- body injury. Despite skating with the team on Monday for the first time in eight days, the Russian star is expected to sit out again tonight.

Howard will get the call in net again tonight. He is 8-3-2 with a 2.33 goals against average in 13 career games versus the Coyotes.

The Red Wings are 20-7-7 as the host this season and had won four straight on home ice against the Coyotes before losing a 4-2 decision on Oct. 10, 2013. Arizona has claimed three of the past five overall tilts in this series, but Detroit recorded a 3-1 win in the desert on Feb. 7 when the clubs met for the first of two encounters in 2014-15.

Arizona, which is ahead of only Buffalo in the NHL standings, is mired in an awful stretch at the moment. The Coyotes have lost eight straight and have dropped the last six in regulation.

The club's offense has been virtually non-existent during the slide, with the Coyotes hitting the net a total of seven times during the 0-7-1 drought. Arizona scored four of those goals during a recent three-game homestand, but also surrendered 11 tallies.

The Coyotes, who are only three points ahead of the Sabres, lost a 3-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. Alexander Edler's power-play goal with 3:13 left in regulation broke a 1-1 tie and Henrik Sedin added an empty- netter a little over two minutes later to seal the win.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the Coyotes' lone goal and Mike Smith turned aside 41 shots in the team's eighth straight loss.

"Everybody played hard and battled," said Ekman-Larsson. "We had a bad start and we didn't play well with the puck."

Ekman-Larsson has been one of the few bright spots for Arizona this season and he has three goals over his last three games. The Swede has 20 goals on the season, one more than countryman Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators for the NHL lead among defensemen.

Arizona is beginning a three-game road trip tonight. The club has lost seven straight away games (0-7-0) and is 11-21-3 as the guest this season.

The swing will continue with Thursday's game in Buffalo before the Coyotes complete the trip Saturday against Pittsburgh.