Red Wings at Coyotes
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green would love to celebrate his 32nd birthday on Thursday by continuing his sizzling start to the season. Green has recorded six assists in his first three contests for Detroit, which makes its third stop on a four-game road trip with a visit to the Arizona Coyotes.
"I just think last year and the beginning of this year he's been excellent for us," coach Jeff Blashill said of Green, who set up a pair of goals in Tuesday's 4-2 loss at Dallas. "He's really done a good job of breaking us out and then a good job of making a ton of plays coming up the ice. He's attacking the game. He's been good defensively. He's a total winner." Arizona still is searching for its first win after dropping both ends of a home-and-home series to the expansion Golden Knights, including an emotional 5-2 setback in Vegas on Tuesday. "I don't know if we're in shape, and I have to take full responsibility for that," coach Rick Tocchet said following the contest. "We're going to have to get back to the grindstone here. That’s the one thing that disappoints me ... from five or six guys (Tuesday), the effort wasn't there."
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NHL.TV, FSN Detroit, FSN Arizona
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (2-1-0): While Green is providing all the answers along the blue line, Detroit finds itself dealing with questions in the form of the availability of fellow defensemen Danny DeKeyser (lower body) and Niklas Kronwall (groin). Blashill is entertaining a wait-and-see approach until Thursday morning for both players, noting that DeKeyser's availability will depend on pain tolerance. "It's getting there definitely," Kronwall said of his health after Wednesday's optional skate. "No setbacks, so I think I'll be good to go tomorrow. We'll see what they say here. I'll be ready."
ABOUT THE COYOTES (0-2-1): Tobias Rieder has seen both his goal total and expectations rise in each of his three previous seasons, as the 24-year-old German adjusts to the NHL. Rieder scored for the second time in as many contests and ran his point streak to three games with a goal midway into the first period against the Golden Knights on Tuesday. That tally, however, came six minutes after Antti Raanta was pulled from the contest after yielding three goals on five shots.
1. Blashill said versatile F Luke Witkowski could also play the role of a defenseman should Detroit need help on the back end.
2. Arizona's Brendan Perlini sustained an upper-body injury during the first period of Tuesday's tilt, prompting the club to place him on injured reserve and recall fellow forward Emerson Etem from Tucson of the American Hockey League.
3. The Red Wings and Coyotes have struggled in the faceoff circle this season, with the former winning an NHL third-worst 43.8 percent of their draws while the latter is second-worst at 38.0 percent.