Technically, it isn't a must-win game. But the Phoenix Coyotes are in desperate need of a win in their NHL first-round playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings, or face the fact that the series has gotten away from them and that they will be on the brink of elimination.
With that in mind, the Coyotes, down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, should take the ice with a sense of purpose and urgency Monday night at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. While every seat might not be filled, most folks will be wearing white in an attempt to create more atmosphere in the arena.
That might not be enough, if the Coyotes can't put together a consistent three periods of hockey and get the same kind of all-out effort from others that they've seen from captain Shane Doan, who spent the two games in Detroit knocking Red Wings into next week and scoring goals.
The Phoenix defenseman have struggled in front of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who was touted as one of the hottest netminders going into the playoffs but has given up eight goals in two games. Perhaps Ed Jovanovksi will inspire, having been boarded Saturday in Game Two and leaving the game in the second period but expected to be well enough to play Monday.
At least it appears the Coyotes' power play has been revived, with three power-play goals for the team in a 4-3 Game Two loss.
And then there remains the spectre that Game Three and Four on Wednesday could be the last two home games for the Coyotes, ever. While the team has played good, winning hockey over the past two seasons, now more than ever it seems as if it might not be in Arizona next season with all of the political wrangling going on in the background.
Is there something to build off of from being completely outplayed for a time in Game Two to seizing momentum and finishing the game with three unanswered goals? That question will be answered Monday night.
Be sure to check in with the live game thread at Five For Howling as well as their Game 3 preview.
Coyotes Tracks - April 18, 2011 - The Whiteout Returns Tonight - Five For Howling
The Phoenix Coyotes play the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal tonight. Westgate should be covered in white, as the Dogs faithful followers look to help their squad out by making the Job inhospitable for the Wings. The game can be seen at 7:30 p.m. MST on Fox Sports Arizona. The pre-game starts at 6:30pm.