Folks in the desert will have to rise early on Saturday morning in order to see their hometown Phoenix Coyotes try to even the opening round series against the hated Detroit Red Wings. When the puck drops at 10 A.M. MST, the Yotes will attempt to rebound after a disappointing loss to the Wings on the first day of this postseason.
That game saw Phoenix get off to a hot start, with the Coyotes gaining a 1-0 lead on the heels of a Kyle Turris goal, but slowly giving way to the seasoned Red Wings, who went on to win 4-2.
The loss was taken in stride by the Coyotes, who know almost exactly what they will have to do in order to prevent another let down in the Motor City.
Most of their woes can be traced back to the power play, or lack thereof. A power play long noted for its futility was as bad as anyone had seen, quite possibly since the 2009-10 season, failing to score on six of their sequences with the man advantage.
The other thing that will have to improve is the play of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. The big Russian, who is essentially the glue that holds this squad together, had a shaky outing on Wednesday, allowing four goals on 36 shots. He's already acknowledged he needs to be better in order for a different result on Saturday.
Just as they did on Wednesday, the Coyotes will be playing without defenseman Derek Morris and his upper-body injury. On the flip side, the injury news stays the same for Detroit, who will be without star forward Henrik Zetterberg.
If the Coyotes hope to grab a win in Hockeytown on Saturday, they'll have to get back to their typical game of defense-first and getting physical, something that was missing on Wednesday, as they found themselves outhit by Detroit.
As you wake up bright and early to catch the Coyotes on NBC, be sure to stop by our own Five for Howling, for the in-game news and analysis for Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.