After Hot Start, Red Wings Drop Coyotes 4-2 In Game 1

Prepare to throw your snakes.

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Coyotes Drop Game 1 To Red Wings, 4-2

Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Johan Franzen picked up a goal and one assist as Detroit used a three-goal second period to down Phoenix, 4-2, in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at Joe Louis Arena.

Pavel Datsyuk, Jiri Hudler and Brian Rafalski also tallied for the Red Wings, while Jimmy Howard stopped 26 shots.

Kyle Turris and Radim Vrbata hit the net for the Coyotes, who fell behind in the set despite 32 stops from Ilya Bryzgalov.

Game 2 takes place in Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

The home team finally hit the scoreboard just after a power play expired, at 7:38 of the second period, when Datsyuk's wraparound beat Bryzgalov to the right post.

Franzen's harmless shot through a screen from long distance gave Detroit a 2-1 lead inside of eight minutes left in the second, and a point blast by Rafalski on another advantage made it 3-1 with 1:44 left before intermission.

Hudler scored from a tight angle inside the far post from the left wing at 3:16 of the third period, but Vrbata beat Howard to the long side for a 4-2 game at 7:38.

The Coyotes couldn't cut into their deficit on a subsequent power play, then had to fend off several quality Wings chances to the empty net in the final 90 seconds.

Turris opened the scoring just 2:16 after the opening faceoff, ripping a shot from the top of the right circle high and over Howard's glove.

Detroit survived a lengthy two-man disadvantage, then the Wings got a break when Coyotes captain Shane Doan failed to release a shot on a short-handed breakaway with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first.

Game Notes

On Monday, the Wings revealed that forward Henrik Zetterberg would miss the game with a lower-body injury...It is the second straight meeting between the clubs in the first round...Detroit won a seven-game decision last year, and has won all three previous matchups (1996 vs. Winnipeg, 1998, 2010 vs. Phoenix)...Prior to the game, Phoenix recalled a host of players from its AHL affiliate in San Antonio...The Red Wings finished 1-for-3 on the power play and the Coyotes came up empty on six tries.

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Phoenix Coyotes, The Desert Underdogs, Battle The Detroit Red Wings For Respect

There's a lot of noise going on about the Phoenix Coyotes and little of it is positive. Even today, in what certainly was (or could be) a calculated conspiracy, the Canadian media floated new rumors about the team leaving the desert. Was it an accident these rumors surfaced hours before Game 1 of the playoff series with the Red Wing? Not likely.

The Coyotes have dealt with this nonsense for 18 months and today's silliness isn't likely to distract them from the task at hand which is beating the Red Wings and coming home with at least one win. It's a tall task for the underdog Phoenix team who's giving up 1 1/2 goals on the Vegas line.

The great folks at Coyotes blog, Five for Howling, are admittedly bias for their team but they have put together a compelling 19-point list of why Phoenix can upset Detroit. Check it out:

19 Reasons the Coyotes Will Defeat the Red Wings - Five For Howling
The Phoenix Coyotes may be the most snake bitten franchise in the NHL.  During their 15 years in the Valley they've never won a playoff series.  Dating back to their days as the Jets, the franchise hasn't won a playoff series period since 1987.  After the jump, the 19 reasons why this year is going to be different.

 

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Phoenix Coyotes Vs. Detroit Red Wings: Series Preview

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes halted a six-season playoff drought in 2010. Thanks to the Detroit Red Wings, the franchise is still looking for its first postseason series victory in 24 years.

The Coyotes will have revenge on their mind when they battle the Red Wings in the opening round for the second straight season. Phoenix made it to the second season for the first time since 2002 a year ago as the fourth seed, but dropped a 6-1 home decision in Game 7 to Detroit and lost for the 17th time in its 19 all-time playoff series dating back to the franchise's days in Winnipeg.

In fact, the club hasn't won a postseason series since the Jets bested Calgary in 1987 with a roster that featured the likes of Dale Hawerchuk, Brian Mullen, Dave Ellett and goaltender Pokey Reddick.

The Coyotes used 50 wins and 107 points -- both club records -- to claim home- ice advantage last year, but dipped to 43 wins and 99 points this season. A lack of offense could have had something to do with that as Phoenix ranked 15th with 231 goals and was tied for 23rd on the power play (15.9 percent).

While the 'Yotes didn't light the lamp at a blistering pace, they did display excellent depth. Shane Doan was the club's only 20-goal scorer, hitting the mark exactly, but 10 other skaters netted at least 10 tallies. Forwards Lee Stempniak, Lauri Korpikoski and Radim Vrbata all had 19 goals.

Doan also paced the Coyotes with 60 points and Ray Whitney was another constant points producer, ranking third on the club with 40 assists and 57 points.

Phoenix added to its depth towards the end of the regular season, getting center Martin Hanzal (16 goals) back after he missed a month of action with a lower-body injury.

Of course, Phoenix was able to sacrifice a bit of offense thanks to the season goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov had. He was among the league leaders in wins after going 36-20-10 with a 2.48 goals-against average and career-high tying .921 save percentage, and his seven shutouts in 68 games were just one off his career-best pace set last year.

The Coyotes don't get much offense from their blue line, but possible Norris Trophy candidate Keith Yandle ranked third in the NHL amongst blueliners with 59 points. Adrian Aucoin ranked second among Phoenix defenseman with 22 points.

Aucoin led the Coyotes with a plus-18 rating and is just one of the many steady performers on the roster, along with Rostislav Klesla and Derek Morris. That list also includes Ed Jovanovski, a 220-pound defender who played in Phoenix's final three games after being sidelined since mid-February with orbital bone fractures.

The Coyotes finished the season 10-3-3 following a five-game slide from Feb. 23-March 3 and ranked 13th in the NHL in goals allowed with 226.

Bryzgalov, meanwhile, may have to be Phoenix's best penalty killer after the club ranked 26th at just 78.4 percent.

MATCHUP

Similar to last year's playoff meeting, the 2010-11 season series was a tight matchup with each team winning twice. However, both of Detroit's victories came past regulation, while Phoenix also won a shootout over the Red Wings.

Lidstrom led all Detroit scorers with four assists and five points in this year's season series, while Zetterberg had a goal and four points. Howard started three of the games, posting a 2.21 GAA.

Datsyuk had five goals and eight points in last season's quarterfinals matchup, with Lidstrom turning in three goals and six points. Howard posted a 2.59 GAA in the series with a shutout.

Doan managed just one assist in three meetings this year and had a goal and a helper through the first three games of the postseason meeting before missing the final four contests with a separated shoulder. Hanzal had three goals in 2010-11 against the Red Wings, with Yandle and Korpikoski scoring twice each.

Bryzgalov struggled to a 3.43 GAA and .906 save percentage in last year's playoffs, but went 2-0-2 with a 2.64 GAA in the four meetings this season.

Detroit and Phoenix are meeting for the fourth time in the postseason, with the Red Wings winning each of the previous series.

Injuries certainly derailed the Red Wings for a bit last year, causing them to earn a lower seed than they probably deserved. They stayed healthy for the most part this season and that is why they are back among the Western Conference elite.

Phoenix gave Detroit all it could handle last season, but the Red Wings were clearly the better team. That also holds true this year as the Coyotes will need Bryzgalov to steal a game or two unless Detroit continues to struggle at home.

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NHL Playoffs 2011: Phoenix Coyotes Face Detroit Red Wings In Snake Vs. Octopus Rematch

The Phoenix Coyotes will once again face the Detroit Red Wings in the opening round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, 2011 Edition. The two teams met last spring in a great series that went all the way to a seventh game before the Coyotes hopes were crushed in a 6-1 loss. This year will be different (or maybe it won't, we don't really know). 

Don't worry if you haven't paid much attention to hockey this season. With all the ownership drama and the obstructionist meddling from the Goldwater Institute it's been hard to fully commit to this "will they stay, will they go" team. Hang your head in shame if you must but don't be so prideful that you avoid jumping on the playoffs bandwagon -- there's always room for one more.

The series kicks off Wednesday in Detroit with Game 2 also in the motor city on Saturday where Eminem is rumored to be making an on-ice appearance rapping about the prowess of his gritty home town while riding on top of a Chrysler-built Zamboni. While that might not actually happen, we are guaranteed to see dead octopus thrown on the ice in a tradition that makes about as much sense Eminem singing (anything).

The series returns to Phoenix for two home games at Jobbing.com arena on Monday and Wednesday next week. No word yet if Darcy Olsen from the Goldwater Institute will be in net taking slap shots with no pads during pregame warm ups. 

Here's the full TV schedule for the playoff series that promises to deliver hard hitting, fast skating action:

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011   7:00 PM           Phoenix at Detroit                 VERSUS  

Saturday, April 16th, 2011       1:00 PM           Phoenix at Detroit                   NBC (HD) 

Monday, April 18th, 2011        7:30 PM           Detroit at Phoenix                    VERSUS  

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011   7:30 PM           Detroit at Phoenix                 VERSUS  

Friday, April 22nd, 2011           7:00 PM           Phoenix at Detroit                   VERSUS  

Sunday, April 24th, 2011         TBD                 Detroit at Phoenix                    TBD                   

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011   TBD                 Phoenix at Detroit                  TBD       

*All times local   

 

Coyotes blog Five for Howling has all details of this great series and a full snake-throwing primer.

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NHL Playoff Picture: Coyotes Can Clinch If Dallas Stars Lose To Avalanche

The Phoenix Coyotes don’t play Thursday evening, but that doesn’t mean that fans should take the night off from watching hockey.

The game to pay attention to will be played in Dallas as the Stars host the Colorado Avalanche at the American Airlines Center. While it doesn’t seem like a game between two teams currently out of the playoffs should matter, it does — very much so — to the NHL playoff picture.

If the Stars lose — either in regulation or overtime — or the game is forced to go to a shootout, the Coyotes will clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season. Colorado has won both games the two teams have played so far this season.

Even if the Stars win in regulation tonight, the Coyotes only only need to earn one more point in the standings to clinch a playoff berth with the home-and-home series against San Jose, beginning Friday night, all that is left this season.

Go Avalanche!?

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