With the way the Red Wings kind of meandered into the playoffs, there were a lot of fans hoping that their team could face the older, and not sharp looking Wings in the playoffs. If there were Coyotes fans hoping for that they’re rethinking that wish now as the Wings have put the Coyotes season on the brink after taking them out 4-2 tonight to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
Just like in Game 2, the Wings came out fast and furious getting goals from Ruslan Salei and Drew Miller in the first three minutes of the game to get ahead 2-0. Valtteri Filppula would make it 3-0 just 2:50 into the second period and while David Schlemko would score on the power play later on in the second, the Wings with Jimmy Howard (28 saves) would hold strong.
Johan Franzen would cast the final dagger of the game with a breakaway goal just 45 seconds into the third period to make it 4-1. A late power play goal from Ray Whitney would make it 4-2 but the Coyotes would get no closer.
For Phoenix, being unable to get out to a good start in any of the periods tonight crushed them. If the Coyotes came out with any fire, Detroit brought it to them harder. Add in that Ilya Bryzgalov isn’t playing as sharp as he’s capable of doing (even in spite of making 30 saves tonight) and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. The scary part of all this is that Detroit isn’t palying completely sharp on top of it all. They’re making mistakes and taking penalties just the same and their penalty kill has been miserable, but they’re still winning the games.
Unfortunately, factoring into the discussion is how this makes Wednesday’s Game 4 a deja vu situation in the most twisted of ways. In April 1996 the Red Wings knocked the Winnipeg Jets out of the playoffs in Game 6 of their first round playoff series in Winnipeg. With the rumors of relocation growing louder as the season wound down and into the playoffs, the possibility exists that it could be the last game played in Arizona.
It’s morbid to ponder that but there’s just that nagging feeling with there being no news at all updating the situation in a positive way and Canadian buyers waiting quietly to be allowed to make their move, the NHL’s “History Will Be Made” commercials might have a really awkward comparison to be made in the near future. To avoid that in the meantime, Phoenix will have to play as desperate and as hungry as they ever have before and make a little history of their own and storm back from being down 3-0 in the series to win it. Considering tonight’s loss was the first time all season the Coyotes have lost three in a row in regulation, anything is possible… But it doesn’t look good.