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WGD: Game 18: Red Wings vs. Coyotes

What we now will always remember as the Cholowski vs. Chychrun game – the Red Wings are facing off against the Coyotes tonight at home.

We can declare with confidence that the Red Wings won that trade at the 2017 NHL Draft – sending the Chychrun pick and Datsyuk’s contract to Arizona for the picks that ended up being Cholowski and Hronek. But will the Red Wings win this game?

The Coyotes are underperforming right now and have quietly earned the “Are They The Best Team In The Pacific?” question. They are generating the sixth-highest amount of shot attempts per game in the entire league. Offensive dynamos like the Sharks and Flames are some other teams that are ahead of them.

They are getting these chances but they still carry the sixth-lowest PDO in the league – so they are just not getting any puck luck at all.

Tonight will overall be interesting with some good stories to come out of it. Hopefully Cholowski absolutely just turnstiles Chychrun somehow and scores some highlight reel goal, making everyone look so silly.

The Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

The Red Wings have been on fire recently. Just getting all the right bounces and beautiful goaltending has led them to be able to string some unexpected wins together in this early season. They still look terrible on paper, but have generally come back from the atrocious start to their season.

The Helm-Larkin-Mantha line continues to produce both in the underlying stats and on the boxscore. Mantha had two goals against the Hurricanes, breaking the streak of his previous four games ending with him pointless. Larkin, Nyquist, and Athanasiou are clearly the offensive leaders on this team and they might be without one of them before the deadline this season.

On the backend, the Red Wings have their returning veterans messing up the young excitement that we all felt when we got to see a full defensive group under the age of 25. But the wins are now coming and that is more due to the offense than the defence. Cholowski has been absolutely outstanding, but besides that there is not much to get excited about. Nick Jensen has been steadily climbing offensively, so he might be a key trade deadline piece for a playoff team. Other than those two players, these are just old and slow players.

The Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes lines via DailyFaceoff

LW C RW
Brendan Perlini
BRENDAN PERLINI
Derek Stepan
DEREK STEPAN
Clayton Keller
CLAYTON KELLER
Richard Panik
RICHARD PANIK
Alex Galchenyuk
ALEX GALCHENYUK
Christian Fischer
CHRISTIAN FISCHER
Michael Grabner
MICHAEL GRABNER
Brad Richardson
BRAD RICHARDSON
Vince Hinostroza
VINCE HINOSTROZA
Nick Cousins
NICK COUSINS
Dylan Strome
DYLAN STROME
Josh Archibald
JOSH ARCHIBALD
LD RD
Oliver Ekman-Larsson
OLIVER EKMAN-LARSSON
Jason Demers
JASON DEMERS
Niklas Hjalmarsson
NIKLAS HJALMARSSON
Jakob Chychrun
JAKOB CHYCHRUN
Kevin Connauton
KEVIN CONNAUTON
Jordan Oesterle
JORDAN OESTERLE

Forever the Next Big Thing in the NHL, the Coyotes have a mix of young players and veterans that will face the Red Wings tonight. Players like Derek Stepan and Michael Grabner have been key decent acquisitions to bring this young team up from the bottom of the league. Vinnie Hinostroza was a throw-in player for the Blackhawks trade that saw Marian Hossa’s contract come to Arizona and he has been a key contributor for the success that the Coyotes are seeing early on. At just 24-years-old, Hinostroza has 8 points in 16 games and that’s with just seeing over 15 minutes of TOI per game.

On the blueline, the almost-Red Wing Jakob Chychrun has returned from injury at a perfect time to see how much better Dennis Cholowski is.

They are still without veteran Alex Goligoski but the top-4 that the Coyotes have currently is more than enough to get some wins out of. They are essentially Blackhawks West and they might get some of that leftover championship magic that they had.

Between the Pipes

After Jonathan Bernier got the start against the Hurricanes, Jimmy Howard will be your starting goaltender against the Arizona Coyotes at home. Howard has a career .919 sv% against the Coyotes and the Wings are 11-4-3 in the same situation. So far this season, he has a .918 sv% after bouncing back from a terrible October.

Darcy Kuemper will be the starting goaltender for the Coyotes in Detroit. He has only faced this team three times in his career, but has a .933 sv% and allows less than two goals on average. Small sample size, but Kuemper has performed extremely well when playing against the Red Wings. He has a .921 sv% this season so it appears that he is giving the Coyotes a chance to win most nights.

How to Watch

Puck drop is at 7:30pm ET and will be available on Fox Sports-Detroit and Fox Sports-Arizona (if you’re reading this from Arizona for some reason).

As always, make sure to follow us on twitter for instant reactions and all the hilarious inevitable photoshops of curly fries when we somehow win this game.