Wings cap trip with test against Coyotes’ young stars

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News

Glendale, Ariz. — When the Red Wings put out their pocket NHL schedule for the fans, eyes immediately fell on January, when the dates of the preponderance of the Red Wings games were in blocks of white, not red.

It looked like a prohibitively tough stretch, especially early in the month.

Well, so much for that.

They are 4-1-0 five games into a six-game sojourn, that the players genuinely seem to like because it has allowed a roster still in a state of flux to bond — and, yeah, because the weather is generally nicer out west and they some time off along the way.

But the work is not done, and in the nip-and-tuck standings of the Eastern Conference, every game is, in fact, critical.

“Well, we certainly know this is going to be a tough challenge tonight,” Coach Jeff Blashill said, after the morning skate. “You look at the record of Arizona over the last 10 (7-1-2) and, obviously, they’ve won four straight.

“So, it’s going to be a heck of an opponent for us tonight.

“Tonight’s win would certainly be a big victory. It certainly would make it a heck of a trip.

“But we’ve got to get it done.”

Like the Wings, the Coyotes feature a high-scoring rookie who is much the talk of the NHL — except the Coyotes have two of them.

One is Max Domi, 20, who is the former tough-guy player Tie Domi’s son and has 13 goals and 18 assists in 42 games.

“I had a chance to watch them live the other night, here, against Edmonton,” Blashill said. “I think they were great.

“I thought Domi was awesome, obviously. He had a hat trick. But just his competitive level.

“He stops on pucks. He does everything that I think it takes to be a superstar. I don’t care about his age. He looked like a superstar when I watched him.”

The other is Anthony Duclair, 20, who has 12 goals and 12 assists in 41 games.

“Duclair is real impactful as well,” Blashill said.

“He’s got such great speed. He’s got good offensive instincts. He comes over the line and pulls up and it creates a lot of havoc on line rushes.

“So they have a number of good players.

“Obviously, Shane Doan’s been a good player in this league for a long time. They’ve got good chemistry among their lines.

“But those two guys have certainly stood out as real impactful.”