GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 23: Valtteri Filppula #51 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck past Martin Hanzal #11 and Radim Vrbata #17 of the Phoenix Coyotes in the third period of Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 23, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Red Wings defeated the Coyotes 4-1 to take a 3-2 series lead. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Closing out the preview, we'll look at the offense.
The Coyotes' offense is very well distributed and that's their best asset. They get scoring from the top of their lines to the bottom (except BizzNasty). The Coyotes only have one goal scorer with 20 or more (Shane Doan, 20) but have NINE forwards with 10 or more goals. By comparison, the Red Wings have four with 20 or more and 11 with 10 or more goals. Although the Red Wings outnumber them in both, it also goes to show how well the scoring is distributed.
Follow the jump for the rest of the preview and the verdict.
The Coyotes are middle of the road in goals-per-game at 2.76 and shots at 30.3 but they find ways to get the puck in the net so it's not something to look past.
The Coyotes dealt Scottie Upshall earlier in the year, but it hasn't hurt too much as they have plenty of guys that have more than filled in. Radim Vrbata is one of those guys and could be a factor in this series as he can shoot the puck very well and has good hands. Another guy the Red Wings need to worry about is Martin Hanzal. Hanzal is a 6'5" forward with good hands and a long reach that helps him to protect the puck. Ray Whitney is still playing well at 38 and is a valuable assist man for the Coyotes offense, racking up 40 assist for the Yotes this year.
The biggest key for the Red Wings is to not underestimate the Coyotes' attack. I don't think that they will, but the minute they do the Coyotes will find the seams in the defense and make them pay. They're a very gritty and gutsy team (yeah, I hate using those adjectives too) and will work hard all game to create scoring chances.
The key players: Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, Martin Hanzal, Ray Whitney
The X-Factor: Shane Doan. Picked the same guy last year and will pick him again this year. Doan is the leader of the team and is a very capable set-up man and goal scorer. As he goes, so does the Yotes' offense.
Detroit Red Wings:
Unlike last season's low offensive production, this year the Red Wings are back to the high-scoring ways of old. Pavel Datsyuk went down with an injury earlier in the year and Henrik Zetterberg stepped up to fill the void. Now, it's time for Datsyuk to do the same as Zetterberg is out of the line-up for at least the first game of the series.
Detroit's top line of Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Tomas Holmstrom is very deadly when they're clicking and Holmstrom's positioning in the offensive zone is going to be essential to limit Ilya Bryzgalov's vision. Datsyuk's stickhandling is good enough to demand two defenders and this could free up Franzen to shoot.
The Red Wings can call on a handful of players to score each night and one of the "depth" combinations that could pay off is Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula. Hudler and Filppula work well together and can set each other or Drew Miller up. Each of them could be poised for a good postseason if they get the proper match-ups. The fourth line for the Red Wings is very capable of having a big impact as well as Draper-Helm-Eaves has exceptional speed and can create chances against the Coyotes with that speed.
The key players: Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen,
The X-Factor: Johan Franzen. Franzen's been MIA for far too long. Does that continue to be his course of action or does he show up in Mule-mode? Franzen is one of those guys that you hate when he's not doing anything because you've seen it before and you know how dominating he can be. What's the saying? Patience is a virtue.
Edge: Red Wings. I think the Red Wings have too much firepower top to bottom for the Coyotes to match.
Who has the edge on offense?
Phoenix Coyotes (3 votes)
Detroit Red Wings (158 votes)
Too close to call (4 votes)
165 total votes