If the Phoenix Coyotes were deemed to be one of the underdogs that could
potentially spring a first-round NHL playoff upset, they sure didn’t look like
it in Game 1 against the Detroit Red Wings.
While they scored the first goal of the game, Detroit
would go only to score the next four en route to a relatively easy 4-2 win.
Coyotes Can Win Because…:
They know exactly what they have to do.
The Coyotes absolutely dominated the first period of this
game, which many people would perceive to be the toughest to play. On the road
in the first playoff game, facing an experienced team with a raucous crowd, yet
it was Phoenix who put the pedal to the metal in the first twenty minutes.
Their power play needs to improve – there is no question
about that – but the good news is that they have two days to work on it.
Secondly, they need a better effort – or a regular effort – from goaltender
While he is normally excellent, Bryzgalov had an awful
outing in Game 1 and need to tighten things up in Game 2 if they hope for any chance to continue in the NHL playoffs.
That was really the difference. If the Coyotes can get a
boost from their special teams and avoid letting in weak goals, they’ll have a
good chance to steal one at Joe Louis Arena.
The Detroit Red
Wings Can Win Because…:
The Coyotes are deflated right now.
The Phoenix Coyotes got exactly what they wanted in Game 1: an early
goal, plenty of power play opportunities, plenty of scoring chances and a
chance to quiet the crowd at Joe Louis Arena. The result: they still wilted and
the Detroit Red Wings won rather easily.
Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was supposed to be the key
advantage that the Coyotes had in this series but instead, he let in a number of
soft goals. Johan Franzen’s go-ahead goal was a simple wrist shot while Jiri
Hudler also scored a softy early in the third period.
On the flip side, Red
Wings netminder Jimmy Howard was outstanding. He kept the Red Wings in it early
on in Game 1 as he was blitzed in the first period. The Coyotes could have
easily been up by two or three after twenty minutes of action had it not been
The Coyotes have a number of issues that aren’t exactly
clear to the naked eye. The one that is well-documented is their power play,
which as been pathetic against Detroit this season.
They were 1-for-17 with the
man-advantage against Detroit in the regular season and were embarrassingly bad
in Game 1. The Coyotes went 0-for-6 on the power play in Game 1 and barely even
threatened at any point with the extra man - and even with a two-man advantage
in the first period.
On top of that, the Coyotes are without Derek Morris, who
plays on the top defensive pairing with Keith Yandle. Yandle looked off all
night long without Morris, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The Coyotes just don’t have the same level of talent and
if they aren’t at 100% and if Bryzgalov can’t stand on his head, this series
won’t take too long for Detroit.
Outlook & NHL
The Coyotes can possibly get a win if this game happens
to be low scoring and one or two goals is all it takes to win it. But truth be
told, the Red Wings won’t let that happen.
Even without Henrik Zetterberg in the lineup – Detroit’s
leading scorer in the regular season – the Red Wings still managed to score
four goals. Their depth at the forward position is overwhelming the Coyotes
defenseman – especially with Morris sidelined.
I am backing the NHL odds boards here and sidint with the Red Wings. Bryzgalov will have to stand on his head for the Coyotes
to get this win and while that’s a possibility, what is more likely to happen
is Detroit gets to him again in Game 2.
Pick: Red Wings