It will be a playoff atmosphere tonight at the Joe Louis Arena when the Detroit Red Wings host visiting Phoenix Coyotes for a game with play-off implications. The Coyotes sit at 11th in the Western Conference Standing but only 6 points out of the 8th and final play-off spot. This game is important for both team but more so of the Coyotes because a loss will all but eliminate them from the NHL playoff race.
The game tonight begins a three game home stand for the Detroit Red Wings. After that they host the Kings and Predators before finishing the season in Dallas. Winning tonight will bring them within one point of the Columbus Blue Jackets and put them two points ahead of the Dallas Stars in the race to make the Western Conference playoff. It would also keep the Detroit Red Wings in control of their own destiny and put a lot of pressure on the Blue Jackets to continue their amazing stretch run.
The Wings could get some help from Todd Bertuzzi who has been working to return from injury this season. Bertuzzi’s return could be the spark the Wings need but it is unknown exactly if or when he will return. Or how much he can contribute.
Bertuzzi recently told MLive.com
“You don’t want to come in and disrupt, you want to make sure that you’re actually ready to go,” Bertuzzi said. “You don’t want to be a hitch, so I have to make sure that I’m more than ready, because we have a lot of healthy bodies. “The team is bigger than the individual, so we’ll see what happens.”
Even if Bertuzzi isn’t at 100% his return should help the Detroit Red Wings team trying to regain the playoff fire of years past. His return will almost certainly re-energize the Joe Louis Arena crowd which at times has been stunned by the Red Wings recent scoring ineptitude.
You can catch the tonight’s game from Joe Louis Arena on Fox Sports Detroit at 7:30pm