Yeah, there’s no such thing as a “must-win” until you’re facing elimination but it’s pretty clear that we’re past the “feeling out” phase of this series.
The Red Wings did what they had to do in Glendale, they came back home with a split and turned the series into a five-game affair in which they have home ice advantage. “All” they have to do is hold serve at home and the series is theirs.
In Game One the Red Wings failed to play the kind of game they will need to play to win this series. In Game Two they got there but it wasn’t a consistent sixty-minute effort. If the Wings continue to play the way they played the third period of Game Two, they will win this series.
They have to be strong on the puck. They have to drive to the net. They have to get shots through to Ilya Bryzgalov. They have to not back down from Phoenix’s physical play.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, seem to be in a bit of disarray. They know they can win when they make the Red Wings play Phoenix’s game but can they win one where the pace is dictated by Detroit? They’re also battling injuries, with Vernon Fiddler and former Red Wing Robert Lang not yet confirmed to be in the lineup this afternoon.
We already know how I feel about afternoon games and games on national broadcasters. This one’s a 3:00 start on NBC.