Detroit tied up the series with a good 3-0 win over the Coyotes on Tuesday. Game 5 is huge for this series I believe and the winner of this game could take the series with the momentum gained. The Red Wings need to continue that Game 4 success against Phoenix in front of what will likely be a loud and riled up crowd.
First off, let me apologize for the lack of posts. I hate when school--projects and finals--are getting in the way real life. Luckily, I'm pretty much done with that stuff for the semester.
The PK needs to continue to be solid. They've killed 14 straight penalties and have limited the Coyotes to even strength goals, something they might not want to go head to head with Detroit in. Credit the
- On the opposite side, the PP needs to continue the success. The power play units have scored a goal in every game so far and that man advantage success is crucial against a goalie that has the ability of carrying a team completely.
- Pace of play is important. In Game 4, the Red Wings and Coyotes kind of plodded along with both teams playing rather tentatively. This works in heavy favor of Detroit as eliminating Phoenix's speed advantage is the best way to force them into playing into Detroit's hands.
- It would be awesome if Justin Abdelkader could get another goal. Not that I exactly expect him to but it would continue to add to the legend of Gator.
- Phoenix wanted to play a physical game and the Red Wings have responded with some physicality of their own. Brad Stuart, Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen, and even Henrik Zetterberg are all stepping up the physical play. The hits have come often lately and it has taken a bit of the intimidation factor that the Coyotes had out of the game.
- Jimmy Howard is coming off a shutout and it'll be important to watch how he plays in tonight's game. If he plays strong and continues that momentum it'll be huge for the rest of the season but sometimes goalies come out the night after a shutout and toss up a stinker. Hopefully, it's the first of those two.
- Tiberius didn't face the toughest shots from Phoenix in Game 4 so expect the Coyotes to test him with a bit more of pressure and shots from better angles. If Jimmy's ready, it might not even matter though.
- Although the defense played better in the last game, they still need to eliminate the dumb turnovers and odd man rushes. Press the Coyotes to the boards and force the puck to the exterior while giving Howard plenty of vision room.
- Pavel Datsyuk's been the best guy in the circle for the Red Wings in this series. Winning 54.6% of the draws he takes, Datsyuk is helping the Red Wings out of some tight spots and just to play the puck possession style with his success in the dot.
- Henrik Zetterberg has been the offensive force that Detroit needs. Hank is tied for the NHL lead in goals scored with Nicklas Backstrom, Sidney Crosby, and yeah...Mikael Samuelsson...with 5. Hank's been all over the ice making plays this series and his 21 shots on goal (making his shooting percentage 23.8%) are helping the Red Wings to define their offensive attack.
- I have this feeling, deep down inside that Johan Franzen will take over the game tonight. Franzen's slowly been getting the gears turning and I think tonight's the night that he gets back into full playoff form. He's been quietly finding his spots on the ice and is getting involved in every aspect of the play from hitting to great set ups to linemates (two great set ups to Datsyuk).
- Around the league: The Philadelphia Flyers knocked the New Jersey Devils out of the playoffs with a 3-0 win and a 4-1 series win. Three straight 1st round exits for the Devils and Ilya Koval-bust might have been a huge waste of a trade. Pittsburgh tried to eliminate Ottawa in Game 5 but the Senators won on a dribbler in the 3rd overtime and pushed the series back to Ottawa. Chicago beat Nashville 3-0 to tie that series at 2 games. SJ won 5-0 over Colorado, taking a 3-2 series lead.
- Shane Doan is a game time decision.
Five For Howling is the SB Nation Phoenix blog.