(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes will try to avoid their longest losing streak in over two years as they host a Detroit Red Wings club that is set to wrap a five-game road trip this evening at Jobing.com Arena.
Phoenix had charged to the top of the Pacific Division with an eight-game winning streak from Feb. 5-22, but a subsequent 0-4-1 slide has pushed the club into a tie with Los Angeles for second place, six points behind leading San Jose.
The Coyotes also find themselves tied with the Kings for sixth overall in the Western Conference standings after Thursday's 1-0 setback to Los Angeles.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 17 saves, with the lone goal allowed coming with defenseman Rostislav Klesla in the penalty box for high-sticking in the third period. Klesla was playing in his second game since being acquired from the Blue Jackets and had scored in his debut with the club on Tuesday.
"Unfortunately, it seemed like whoever was going to get the first goal was going to win that game," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "Unfortunately, they got a bounce that went off the shin pad and in, and we couldn't get the one to tie it."
Phoenix will now try to avoid losing six in a row for the first time since Jan. 27-Feb. 7, 2009 in the opener of a three-game homestand. The Coyotes have won five of their last six as the host.
Forward Martin Hanzal missed Thursday's game with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day.
The Red Wings will try to get their offense on track in the desert as they have been held to just one goal in each contest of back-to-back road losses. Detroit had a six-game road winning streak end in Anaheim on Wednesday, then didn't give Phoenix any help with a 3-1 setback the following night in San Jose.
Tomas Holmstrom had a goal and Joey MacDonald gave up three tallies on 28 shots for Detroit, which has lost four of six overall and dropped three of four to San Jose this season.
"They seem to get up for us," Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart said of the Sharks.
Detroit is 2-2 on its five-game road trip and was without blueliner Brian Rafalski for a fourth game in a row due to back spasms. He is questionable for this game.
The Red Wings remain four points back of Vancouver for the top spot in the NHL and Western Conference, but the third-seeded Sharks have pulled to within three points of second place.
Tonight marks the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the Coyotes and Red Wings this season, and first since Nov. 8 in Detroit. Detroit has won two of the three matchups, but both victories came in overtime.
The Red Wings were 2-1 overtime winners when the clubs last met at Jobing.com Arena on Oct. 16. Detroit has nine wins and a tie in its last 12 trips to the desert.
Howard is 4-0-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average versus Phoenix, while Bryzgalov is 7-8-5 with a 2.76 GAA when facing the Red Wings.
The puck drops at 6:00 p.m. local time and will be broadcast Fox Sports Arizona Plus (channel details here). Follow along with other Coyotes fans at the live game thread at Five for Howling.