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Morning Skate: Game 4 - Mortal Kombat

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Finish them.

Finish off the Coyotes.

Finish them for the playoffs. Finish them and their entire tenure in Phoenix.

Either way after this game the Red Wings are flying back to Detroit.  The team needs to make sure that they're the only team flying back.  A first round sweep is big.  It adds to the confidence of this team and, most importantly, it adds some extra days of rest for those in need.  It's time to visit to the desert for the very last time.

3 down, 13 to go. 

Let's bust out the brooms.

Puck drop is at 10:30p ET on Fox Sports Detroit and Versus for us out-of-town folk.

Five For Howling is your SBNation Coyotes Blog

More awesomeness after the jump.

The Expected Lineup

Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Tomas Holmstrom

Danny Cleary -- Justin Abdelkader -- Todd Bertuzzi

Jiri Hudler -- Valtteri Filppula -- Drew Miller

Kris Draper -- Darren Helm -- Patrick Eaves


Nicklas Lidstrom -- Brad Stuart

Brian Rafalski -- Jonathan Ericsson

Niklas Kronwall -- Ruslan Salei


Jimmy Howard (starting)

Joey MacDonald


Scratches: Mike Modano, Jakub Kindl

Injuries: Henrik Zetterberg (knee), Chris Osgood (groin)

The Black Aces: Brendan Smith, Derek Meech, Doug Janik, Brian Lashoff, Tomas Tatar, Jan Mursak, Cory Emmerton, Jordan Pearce.

I said it last time and I'll say it again, why mess with a good thing?  This lineup right now is clicking on all cylinders.  Let's keep it that way.  The play of the third and fourth lines was the difference-maker in game 3.  In fact, the play of a team's third and fourth lines is usually what makes the difference in long Stanley Cup playoff run.  I hope Modano is enjoying his time with the Aces and Kindl, he very well could be there awhile. 


4.00 (1st) GOALS PER GAME 2.33 (T-9th)
2.33 (T-4th) GOALS AGAINST PER GAME 4.00 (Last)
25.0% (T-5th) POWER PLAY % 31.3% (4th)
68.8% (13th) PENALTY KILL % 75.0% (T-10th)
Johan Franzen (2 goals) GOAL LEADER Radim Vrbata (2 goals)
Pavel Datsyuk (5 points) POINTS LEADER Shane Doan (4 points)


Key to the Game:  Stay aggressive.  Phoenix will come out firing in this one.  It's truly is do-or-die for them in every way.  Not only will their season be over if they lose, but their franchise may be finished too.  The Wings need to handle their physical play and come right back at them.  They need to stay on gas pedal and don't let up.  Don't give this team a chance at life.

Match-up to Watch:  I'm personally intrigued by the Helm vs Ed Jovanovski battle.  Those two don't seem to like each other.  Helm seems to be getting under Jovo's skin.  Ditto with Eaves and Adrian Aucoin.  Those two battled it out in game 3.  What about Shane Doan vs Everybody.  What a captain that guy is?  Leading by example and making a home in the penalty box. 

Ultimately, the match-up to watch has to be Jimmy vs Ilya Brzygalov.  Many people claimed Bryzgalov was the best player in this series before it started.  That looks pretty comical right now.  Bryzgalov is a big reason why the Coyotes are down 3-0.  Jimmy might not be the most impressive goalie, but he's making stops at crucial times.  When the Wings are struggling and running around in his own zone, he's made the big save in the series.  That's what you need from your goaltender.  They don't have to win every game for you.  They just have to make the big save when needed the most.  So far Jimmy has done that.

For Discussion:  The Winnipeg Jets last ever game was a 4-1 home loss to the Red Wings in the first round of the 1996 Stanley Cup playoffs.  The team moved to Phoenix the next season.  Will the Coyotes last ever game be a 4-1 home playoff loss to the Red Wings?  And then the team moves to Winnipeg?  It would be very poetic.


Let's Go Red Wings.