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

The Phoenix Coyotes Can Win Because…: 

Phoenix CoyotesThey 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 Ilya Bryzgalov. 

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. 

Jimmy HowardGoaltender 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 for him. 

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 Betting Prediction: 

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