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Talent, experience has Red Wings in control

Yotes.jpgDetroit Red Wings vs. Phoenix Coyotes 2:00 p.m. EDT, April 25, 2010 Live on NBC

The Phoenix Coyotes have been the feel-good story of the season, but unfortunately uplifting and motivating stories don’t translate to wins on the ice. Although the Coyotes finished the season with more wins and a better overall record, the Red Wings were no doubt the best team headed into the playoffs not just in this series but in the NHL as well.

Detroit rebounded from a number of devastating injuries to start the season to become the most balanced and hottest team down the stretch. The defense was stifling and the offense returned, bolstered by the stellar goaltending of Jimmy Howard.

So now we have the Phoenix Coyotes, back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and now facing elimination after initially being ahead in the series 2-1. It looked for a bit there as if the Coyotes would pull it off, knocking off the Red Wings in the first round and continuing the rebirth of playoff hockey in Arizona.

But as the series has progressed, not even the trapping system of Dave Tippett or the goaltending of Ilya Bryzgalov have been able to overcome the talent and experience of the Red Wings.

While the injury to captain Shane Doan initially sparked the Coyotes to a big Game 3 victory at Joe Louis Arena, they have since scored just one goal in the past two games. If the Coyotes are to have any chance at pulling off a series win, they have to stop playing it safe, hoping for a mistake and finally start taking chances on offense.

There is the hope that Shane Doan will return for the game today, which should help balance out the counterattack of the Coyotes. Playing back, a trap style in hope of slowing the offense of the Red Wings, hasn’t been working as planned. Expect to see an attacking and aggressive Coyotes team on the ice today, especially if Shane Doan does in fact return.

For the Red Wings, they’ll keep doing what has worked the past week; a steady, crisp approach that waits for the holes in the Coyotes defense to develop and then taking advantage. They’re the best team right now, and the only thing that will keep the Red Wings from having the series head back to Phoenix is another effort and energy letdown.