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Morning Skate: The Showdown

Going to go a little bit different route today with the morning skate. This post is going to touch on what  happened (or didn't happen) in the last game  and how it will carry over. A post later will serve as a preview for game 7

  • First off, happy birthday to our link man and Nightmare on Helm Street front-man Drew!
  • The PK success was too good to be true. You figured it would falter a tad after the great surge in success it had but really? 3 goals, AGAIN? That needs to be an issue that is seriously addressed in the off-season. The PK has been spotty at best over the last two seasons and the guys on the ice are too good to be giving up that type of success to the opponents so you gotta think it's something wrong schematically.
  • Ilya Bryzgalov was just on a different level than we've seen him play in the series thus far. He had far better rebound control than any other game and was moving very well in his crease while seeing the puck well. He was playing like his team was on the brink of elimination (because well, they were) and he helped to carry his team when they let the shots through. I normally don't like to say that momentum carries from game to game but confidence does. Bryzgalov surely has high confidence in his team after the way he played.
  • I know it sounds weird to say given the 5 in the goals allowed column, but Jimmy Howard didn't really perform all that bad in Game 6. Howard was either hung out to dry or the victim of deflections/screens on 3 (possibly 4) goals. The guys in front of him need to do a better job clearing the bodies out of the way. If he can see it, he normally will get a piece of it but there was one burning example of that. On one of the Phoenix power-play goals, one of the Coyotes forwards screened Howard without a Red Wing within 10 feet to push him out of the area. If he can't see it, he's not going to stop it.
  • It was good to see that spark of physicality from Justin Abdelkader. Sure, he got his ass handed too him by Derek Morris but it was a good hard hit on Morris' teammate that drew the attention. Gator stepped on a stick while standing up and the fight was doomed for him from that point. Gator later had more of a ground-and-pound MMA style fight with Keith Yandle that gave the crowd a bit of a boost. The physical play doesn't translate into point on the board but it was good to see that someone was willing to stand up for himself.
  • Let's face it, there just wasn't that much pretty about Game 6. Detroit had some great scoring chances surely but the inability to capitalize paired with the Phoenix players playing a hell of a game just sucked the wind out of any hopes for clinching in 6. The Wings need to simply forget about that game and focus on Game 7 and what's at stake. 
  • Give credit where credit is due. The Coyotes played a hell of a game on Sunday (unfortunately) and they worked for everything that they got in that game. They played a great team game and worked around the penalties they took while making the most of whatever they got. If they carry over that attitude of exceptional team play again to Game 7, it could be an incredible battle between both teams.
  • The power play has gone 0 for 11 in the last two games combined. Detroit needs to find that scoring with the extra man again and they just had hardly any success in Game 6. A lot of the chances from the power play in Game 6 were from the point and with three guys (2 Coyotes, 1 Red Wing) in addition to Bryzgalov all in front of the net, the chances of anything actually getting through were very slim.
  • Around the league: Chicago eliminated Nashville from the playoffs with a 5-3 win and a 4-2 series win. Nashville's power play was downright awful in the series, going 1 for 27--that's 3.7%. Jaroslav Halak's brilliant 53-save performance extended the postseason life of the Habs as they knocked off the Capitals. That series shifts back to Washington for Game 7 and you can bet the weight of the DC area is on the shoulders of Alex Ovechkin & Co. to solve Halak. Boston and Tuukka Rask eliminated the Sabres in six games. Weird.
  • It's practically official. Jiri Hudler will be a member of the 2010-2011 Red Wings squad. To clear the way for his big salary, the Wings are expected to cut or not re-sign a trio of players including Jason Williams, Brad May, and Kirk Maltby. I'm wondering if Maltby and May just flat out retire instead of trying to look for jobs elsewhere.

Remember to check back later for a preview of the game tonight and how the Red Wings can advance to the next round and ruin the party in Phoenix.