Let’s get this going, shall we?
What once was old is new again, as the Red Wings and the Coyotes meet in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season. This time around, Detroit has home ice by virtue of the Western Conference’s third seed.
The Wings are the only team to have met Phoenix in the playoffs more than once, beating them in the 1998 Conference Semifinals and again in last season’s Conference Quarterfinals.
Of course, none of that history matters going into this series. You could argue that Detroit’s 2-1-1 record against the Coyotes this season means something, but given how inconsistently the Red Wings have played I’m not sure I’d even agree with that.
The way I see it, this series entirely depends on which Red Wings team shows up. Ilya Bryzgalov could steal the series, a goalie can always do that, but if the Detroit team that showed up in Chicago on Sunday is the one we see in the playoffs, Bryzgalov will have to steal the series for the Coyotes to advance. If the motivated, patient, focused Red Wings are what we see, they’re simply better than the Phoenix team.
That said, we could very well see the sloppy, lazy, disinterested Red Wings. If that’s the team that shows up, this is going to be a cake walk for the Coyotes.