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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.
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.
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.
Pavel Datsyuk scored at the 7:38 mark of the second period on the wrap-around shots. That was followed at the 12:02 point with a snap shot by Johan Franzen and then again at 18:16 by Brian Rafalski’s slap shot.
The Coyotes have come back many times this season and are going to need a big third period to avoid going down 0-1 in the series.
It took just 2:16 into the first period of Game 1 for the Phoenix Coyotes to get their first goal Kyle Turris punched one in with assists going to Ray Whitney and Shane Doan. The Red Wings got off nine shots on goal compared to 11 for the Desert Dogs.
Be sure to check in with the live game thread at Five for Howling for plenty of fan discussion during and after the game.
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.
(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.
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.
With the NHL playoffs set to get under way Wednesday night with five games on the schedule, here's all the match-ups with my completely biased and arbitrary picks for who I think will be winning their opening round series.
A rematch twice removed as these teams have faced off the past two postseasons with Chicago emerging victorious each year. This Chicago team had its struggles this year following a cap salary-induced team overhaul, but have played their best hockey recently. Vancouver was simply the best team in the league all season and won the President's Trophy. That being said, Roberto Luongo and co. have not exactly shined in postseason's past. The team's split the season series, but haven't played since February. Vancouver in 7.
Two Pacific Division rivals squaring off in the first round here in what should be a high energy affair. The Kings have to deal with a few key injuries, including to leading point scorer Anze Kopitar, while the Sharks need to prove that, like the Canucks, they can win when it counts. Joe Thornton showed last year that he could lead his team through a few rounds, but ultimately came up empty of the big prize. For LA, this young team will rely on Jonathan Quick to keep them in this one. Ultimately, I think the Sharks have a bit too much fire power. San Jose in 6.
A rematch of last year's heartbreaking seven game series loss by the Coyotes, this one should be an energetic affair. For all the talent of Detroit, the Coyotes played them tough all season, taking points in each game. The biggest difference between the two teams from last year's match-up, a healthy Coyotes squad that hopefully won't lose its captain to a freak shoulder injury two games into the series. With Ilya Bryzgalov again playing some of the best hockey of any goaltender in the league, it should be a tight, low scoring series if the Coyotes play their style. If it gets run-and-gun, it could spell trouble for the Desert Dogs. Coyotes in 6.
The Ducks have one of the best top lines in all of hockey, with the league's only 50-goal scorer in Corey Perry skating with Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. Combined with an aging, but still dangerous Teemu Selanne, they pack a fairly effective offensive punch. Unfortunately, they draw one of the best defensive teams in the league led by Shea Weber and Finnish netminder Pekka Rinne. Barry Trotz has never had much (read any) postseason success, but this is a fairly favorable match-up as the Ducks' goaltending carousel could be ripe for getting a little lit up here. As with Phoenix, if Nashville can control the pace of play and force a defensive, grind-it-out style, they should have success, otherwise, look for the Ducks to move into the second round. Predators in 7.
(more abbreviated due to slightly greater lack of familiarity)
The Capitals struggled earlier this year to adapt to a more defensive style of play, but have been one of the hottest teams over the past month and a half. The Rangers barely made the playoffs, needing to win their final game of the year and get help from the Hurricanes losing their last game. Washington is the more complete team, but with possibly shaky goaltending, the Rangers have the goaltending, but are more shaky elsewhere. Capitals in 6.
The Flyers are the anti-Caps, playing solid all season and then struggling down the stretch without veteran defenseman Chris Pronger, who should be returning for the playoffs. Goaltending is the constant issue in Philly, whereas Buffalo has one of the best in the business with Ryan Miller. The Sabres, however, lack the depth that the Flyers have in their roster up front, and that could spell the difference in the series. Flyers in 6.
An old-school original six rivalry that has seen everything get much more heated recently after the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty. These two teams, and fan bases, don't care much for one another and this series is likely to be one of the most physical that we see in the first round - personally in a physical series I'll take the team with Chara and not the team with a lot of 5'10" speedy forwards. Boston in 5.
Will Sidney Crosby return this postseason? Does it really matter considering how well Pittsburgh has played without him and Evgeni Malkin (who definitely will not return)? And Tampa Bay certainly didn't finish the season strongly, and was greatly aided by shootout wins earlier in the year. Will Marc-Andre Fleury and Jordan Staal be enough to stand up to Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis and co. Personally, I wouldn't put it past them. Pittsburgh in 7.
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
With last night's win, the Phoenix Coyotes have (finally) clinched a playoff berth in the uber-competitive Western Conference. With the way things currently stand, a team with 97 points is likely to be left on the outside looking in. The Coyotes meanwhile, can finish anywhere from 4th in the West to 7th depending on what happens the remainder of this weekend.
We will look team-by-team and check the current standings, playoff odds and who they would play with their current match-up and how what they do could affect the Coyotes.
As a primer, the tie break system in the NHL for this year is as follows if teams are tied in points: (1) Regulation/OT wins (ROW); (2) points earned in head-to-head games; and (3) goal differential.
Vancouver Canucks - 81 G, 53-19-9, 115 Points
Playoff Odds: IN (all odds courtesy of Sports Club Stats)
Weekend Schedule: Saturday @ Calgary
Current Match-up: Chicago
Best Possible Outcome (for the Coyotes): Doesn't matter whatsoever what happens in this game. The Coyotes cannot be the eight seed and won't be seeing Vancouver until at least the second round.
San Jose Sharks - 81 G, 47-25-9, 103 Points
Playoff Odds: IN
Weekend Schedule: Saturday vs. Phoenix
Current Match-up: Anaheim
Best Possible Outcome: Considering that last night was the Coyotes' first win in 9 tries against the Sharks, I'd rather not see them in the first round. The last few games between Anaheim and San Jose have been spirited affairs, so that would be a pretty entertaining (and potentially bloody) match-up.
Detroit Red Wings - 81 G, 46-25-10, 102 Points
Playoff Odds: IN
Weekend Schedule: Sunday @ Chicago
Current Match-up: Los Angeles
Best Possible Outcome: With the way Detroit looked last night against a highly-motivated Chicago team, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to play this team. A lot of key players (Datsyuk, Zetterberg) are banged up a bit and second year goalie Jimmy Howard has looked shakier than last season. But for a rocking Jobing.com Arena full of Coyotes fans, I'd prefer to avoid these guys if possible in the first round.
Nashville Predators - 81 G, 44-26-11, 99 Points, 38 ROW; series split 4 points each; +27 goal differential
Playoff Odds: IN
Weekend Schedule: Saturday @ St. Louis
Current Match-up: Phoenix
Best Possible Outcome: It would be the most defensive of the series' in the first round with these two teams facing off as both Nashville and Phoenix like to play a grinding style and wait for a mistake to create a scoring opportunity. Because Nashville holds the tie breaker with Phoenix, the Coyotes need to earn more points than Nashville in the final game of the season to get home ice. Go Blues!!!
Phoenix Coyotes - 81 G, 43-25-13, 99 Points, 38 ROW; +7 goal differential
Playoff Odds: IN
Weekend Schedule: Saturday @ San Jose
Current Match-up: Nashville
Best Possible Outcome: The Coyotes have been road warriors all season, so I'm not sure not having home ice advantage will really faze this squad. That being said, getting on a roll and winning a few games is better for the team morale and drawing energy from a sold out arena also will be key in the postseason. Gaining more points than Nashville tonight locks up the 4th seed for the Coyotes.
Los Angeles Kings - 81 G, 46-29-6, 98 Points, 36 ROW
Playoff Odds: IN
Weekend Schedule: Saturday vs. Anaheim
Current Match-up: Detroit
Best Possible Outcome: Last night's loss to the Ducks gave the Coyotes the first tie break against Los Angeles, so if they finish even in points, the Coyotes get the benefit here. If the Coyotes get at least a point tonight, they will finish ahead of Los Angeles in the standings.
Anaheim Ducks - 81 G, 46-30-5, 97 Points, 42 ROW
Playoff Odds: IN
Weekend Schedule: Saturday @ Los Angeles
Current Match-up: San Jose
Best Possible Outcome: With Anaheim's win last night against Los Angeles, they clinched a playoff berth. If they win again tonight and the Coyotes and Predators lose in regulation, they will jump all the way to the 4th seed and have home ice in the first round of the playoffs. Pretty remarkable for a team that was fairly recently on the outside looking in.
Chicago Blackhawks - 81 G, 44-28-9, 97 Points, 38 ROW; series split 5 points each; +32 goal differential
Playoff Odds: 85.6%
Weekend Schedule: Sunday vs. Detroit
Current Match-up: Vancouver
Best Possible Outcome: A win by Chicago and loss by the Coyotes in regulation will allow the Blackhawks to leapfrog the Coyotes in the standings. If they win and Nashville loses in regulation, they will leapfrog Nashville as well (they hold all tie breakers with the Predators). With a win, they will also leapfrog either Los Angeles or Anaheim depending on the outcome of that game. And if Chicago loses in regulation, Dallas can still overtake them if Dallas wins in regulation or overtime because Dallas won the season series 6-3. Confused enough? For the defending Stanley Cup champs, taking a point from bitter rival Detroit is all they need to focus on for the time being.
Dallas Stars - 81 G, 42-28-11, 95 Points, 37 ROW; Coyotes win head-to-head 8-6
Playoff Odds: 14.4%
Weekend Schedule: Sunday @ Minnesota
Current Match-up: Out of the playoffs
Best Possible Outcome: Despite having won their last four games, Dallas' playoff odds plummeted by over 15% last night with the wins by Nashville, Phoenix, Anaheim and Chicago. Now Dallas' only hope is to beat Minnesota in regulation or overtime and see Chicago lose in regulation against Detroit. That Dallas or Chicago could finish the season with 97 points and not make the playoffs is amazing and that it all comes down to the final game of the season is a fantastic outcome for the NHL.
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.
The NHL regular season is drawing to a close, and the playoffs are very nearly upon us. Let's take a look at the teams that are currently in the playoffs, who they have left on the schedule and who they would play if the playoffs started today.
Slated to play: Blackhawks
Games left: Coyotes (2)
Slated to play: Ducks
Games left: Blackhawks (2)
Slated to play: Coyotes
Games left: Ducks (2)
Slated to play: Predators
Slated to play: Kings
Games left: Sharks (2)
Slated to play: Red Wings
Games left: Kings (2)
Slated to play: Sharks
Games left: Red Wings (2)
Slated to play: Canucks
Outside Looking In:
Game left: Canucks
Games left: Avalanche (2), Wild
As I'm sure you noticed, some of the teams are pretty close in the standings, so even though there are just a few games left, there is still a pretty good chance that the standings won't look exactly like this when the playoffs start. We'll be covering the NHL Playoff picture as it evolves in this StoryStream.
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