Coyotes opening eyes as they host Red Wings
Opponents would be wise not to sleep on the Arizona Coyotes, especially when Brad Richardson misses his pregame nap.
Richardson was unable to take part in the long-established hockey ritual prior to his last contest, and he took out his frustrations with a four-goal outburst.
Fresh off an output that accounted for 25 percent of his career-high goal total in 2018-19, Richardson hopes to send the Coyotes to a season-high sixth straight victory on Saturday when they host the Detroit Red Wings in Glendale, Ariz.
"I was (angry) when I got here because I hadn't napped, but maybe I'll keep that trend going," the 34-year-old Richardson said after Arizona improved to 3-0-0 on its season-high seven-game homestand.
Richardson became the first Coyotes player since Keith Tkachuk to score four goals in a game in Thursday's 5-2 victory against Vancouver.
Vinnie Hinostroza and Richard Panik set up three goals by Richardson, who joked that he had even loftier aspirations on Thursday despite mustering just three tallies all of last season.
"Six would've been nice," Richardson said. "I thought Vinnie and (Panik) had quite a few chances, too. It was a good night, it could've been really good, but the two points (in the standings) is the big thing."
Workhorse goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves vs. the Canucks to win his sixth consecutive start and improve to 14-3-2 in his past 19 decisions. The 28-year-old wasn't as fortunate in his last meeting with Detroit, yielding five goals on 17 shots en route to a 6-1 setback on Nov. 13.
Anthony Mantha scored in that contest and extended his point streak to four games (two goals, five assists) with his team's lone goal in Tuesday's 8-1 shellacking by Montreal. The Red Wings have been outscored 30-16 during their six-game winless streak (0-4-2).
"I like to use the word urgency over desperation, but whatever word you want to use, I didn't think it was high enough," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said.
"... I just think some of the simple principles of good hockey -- stopping on people, stopping on pucks, winning puck battles, winning puck races and not letting people beat you back to the net. That was the basic principles of everything we did (in Thursday's practice)."
Jimmy Howard permitted six of those goals on Tuesday before being pulled in his third consecutive start. The 34-year-old fared substantially better in the first matchup with Arizona, turning aside 24 shots to improve to 12-4-3 with one shutout and a .920 save percentage in his career against the Coyotes.
"To be honest, going through the video, it's just being off by a fraction," Howard told the Detroit Free Press of his recent troubles. "Not having the correct angle. When you don't have that as a goalie, guys can put the puck in tight areas and that's what's happened."
Defenseman Mike Green, who scored one goal and set up two others in the first meeting with Arizona, returned from an illness for Friday's practice. He has six points (one goal, five assists) in his last six contests.
The Coyotes confirmed Friday that forward Derek Stepan will miss four to six weeks due to a lower-body injury. Stepan suffered the injury during Thursday's win.
"He's been playing good hockey for us," head coach Rick Tocchet said following practice on Friday. "It's a big blow, but what I love about our team is we had a great practice today. (The players) weren't somber ... 'Next man up.' I know it's a corny statement, but for our team it really matters."
Stepan, an alternate captain, has 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 64 games.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 1, 2019