Morning Skate: RELEASE THE KRAKEN

Game three was a crapfest by the defense and so was game two for that matter. The Wings are in a 2-1 series hole heading into tonight's game and it's a must-win tonight at Joe Louis Arena.

  • The Kraken I'm referring to is Johan Franzen. Franzen had a nice goal in game 3, putting the puck in the only open spot that he had to shoot at. If Franzen continues to get back on track and gets back to the playoff monster that we know he can be, the Wings should be able to get some goals. 
  • If the defense doesn't step it up, the Red Wings will need to fire on all cylinders on offense against the Coyotes. The defense has been bad (to say the least) in two of the three games and the Coyotes have exploited those gaps.  The Coyotes have found the seams and are getting behind the defenders after they gain the zone. 
  • The Wings need either better backchecking from the forwards or just better play from the defenders to cure the last problem. For the most part, Phoenix is able to just keep the puck as they enter the zone and the Wings defenders have primarily stayed on their heels in a conservative mode rather than pressuring the puck carrier. Speed will kill. 
  • The turnovers are still a problem. Yuck.
  • This is the biggest game of Jimmy Howard's career. He's under some fire for the way he played in game three and the leash is getting shorter and shorter as the GAA stays inflated and the L's mount up. I personally don't think you take him out, even if it's a 3-1 series. He got you here and it's not him that's making you lose it right now, the defense in front of him has stumbled to say the least.
  • Shot selection is key. The Wings have averaged about 37 shots per game but the locations haven't been the best. They need to get back to shots from inside the face-off dots against Bryzgalov. The Coyotes have done a good job filling passing and shooting lanes but the Red Wings need to do something to counteract that.
  • Penalty Kill has returned to normal. 4/4 in game 2 and 3/3 in game 3. Keeping that up is important to limiting their chances over all and the way the Wings play the pace of the game.
  • Scores from last night's games:   Boston 2-1 over Buffalo on a late third period goal from Patrice Bergeron (BOS leads 2-1). Washington chased Jaroslav Halak with a 5-1 victory (WSH leads 2-1). LA's power play boosted them to a 5-3 victory over the Canucks (LAK leads 2-1)
  • Shane Doan's status is still uncertain for the game. We'll update you as we know.
  • Five For Howling is your SB Nation Coyotes blog.
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