The Coyotes have shown flashes of being a serious Cup contender in these first two games against Detroit, but they've spent the bulk of it being outhit and outplayed by the well-oiled machine that is the Red Wings.
After a hot start in Game 1, the Yotes fell behind due to their lack of a power play in the 4-2 loss. Game 2 was actually the opposite, with the bad penalties killing the Coyotes in their 4-3 loss. But that game could have been a lot worse.
The first period was as ugly as any period Phoenix has played all season. They were vastly outplayed by the veteran Wings, who controlled the puck for the majority of the opening frame. But it's what happened down the stretch that should have Coyote fans optimistic as the series heads to the desert.
Despite the punishment they took against the physical Red Wings, the Coyotes started hitting back, finishing with 38 hits for the game. They also outshot the Wings, nearly staging an incredible comeback from the 4-0 deficit the faced, eventually losing by just a 4-3 count. It wouldn't have been the first time this season Phoenix has overcome a huge Detroit lead.
But while the Coyotes will easily make these next two games competitive, it won't matter if they can't stop Pavel Datsyuk, who had four points in the Detroit win on Saturday. The incredible Russian forward has dazzled in these first couple games, meaning it's going to take an increased effort from all on the ice when Dats is out there. Expect to see the likes of Shane Doan to match up against him constantly on Monday.
A big theme in Arizona sports these days is grit. The Coyotes showed that they have it on Saturday, and that grittiness could cause a headache for Detroit if it comes in 60 minute increments against the Wings.
Shane Doan may have said it perfectly when he stated that the Coyotes wouldn't be in trouble until they lose their first game at home. After what we saw in the latter parts of Saturday's game, these Coyotes should have no problem getting up for their first game at Jobing.com Arena on Monday.