for this game

Red Wings shoot for sweep of Coyotes

Apr 20, 2011 - 3:11 PM
(Sports Network) - The third-seeded Detroit Red Wings will try to punch their ticket to the second round tonight, when they go for a sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at Arena.

The Red Wings have taken a commanding 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven series by posting wins at home in Games 1 and 2 and notching a 4-2 decision in Monday's tilt in the desert.

If Detroit can win tonight it will have knocked the Coyotes out of the playoffs for the second straight year. The Red Wings ousted Phoenix in seven games during the first round in 2010.

The sixth-seeded Coyotes, meanwhile, need to become just the fourth team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series.

The Coyotes have never won a postseason series since moving to Phoenix from Winnipeg. Phoenix has lost 17 times in its 19 all-time playoff series dating back to the franchise's days as the Jets. The club hasn't won a postseason series since Winnipeg bested Calgary in 1987 .

Phoenix is hoping being pushed to the brink of elimination can help it play looser in Game 4.

"I think we can relax a little bit now. There's nothing really to lose," Coyotes forward Ray Whitney said. "It's not a position we want to be in for sure ... Play as hard as you can in Game 4 and hopefully you can extend it."

Valtteri Filppula's goal early in the second capped a three-goal burst for the Red Wings in Monday's win. Drew Miller, Ruslan Salei and Johan Franzen all had goals for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard stopped 28 shots in the win.

Howard has stopped 84-of-91 shots thrown his way in this series and he has improved his career playoff record to 8-7.

Whitney and David Schlemko each scored for the Coyotes, while Ilya Bryzgalov give up all four goals on 34 shots.

Bryzgalov has been torched for 12 goals on 101 shots in the series for a .881 save percentage and 4.11 goals-against average.

Detroit once again played without star forward Henrik Zetterberg, who has missed the first three games of this series with a knee injury. Zetterberg, who led Detroit with 80 points during the regular season, is dealing with an MCL sprain in his left knee and is expected to miss tonight's test.

Derek Morris has missed all three games for Phoenix with an upper body injury and the defenseman is questionable for tonight's game.

Phoenix had a 21-13-7 as the home team during the regular season, while the Red Wings had a 26-11-4 record on the road. If Detroit fails to close the series out tonight it will host Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena on Friday.

Detroit has won all three of its playoff meetings against the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise.