Big story: The Red Wings have held the upper hand in both the offensive and physical aspects of the first two games of this series and now head to the desert with the opportunity to take a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Coyotes. In the 20 straight seasons that the Wings have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they maintain a 19-4 record in respective series in which they won the first two games.
Red Wings: Detroit held a 4-0 lead early in the second period of Game 2 on Saturday, but nearly squandered the game due to nine total penalties and a spirited comeback effort by Coyotes' veteran captain Shane Doan. But the Wings' mix of grace and grit was just enough to top three unanswered Phoenix goals, including two third-period tallies by Doan, to escape Joe Louis Arena with a 4-3 victory.
Superstar Russian winger Pavel Datsyuk paced Detroit's offense with one goal and three asssits, including a great toe-dragging tally for the first goal of the game and an amazing between-the-legs manuever leading to a shot that Coyotes' goalie Ilya Bryzgalov surrendered a rebound on and Darren Helm buried to give the Wings a 3-0 first-period lead.
The grit from Saturday's effort came from veteran forward Johan Franzen who was back on the Detroit bench midway through the second period following tests for a concussion and sporting fresh stitches to his face and a plug of gauze in his right nostril received as a result of a crushing hit by Doan early in the first period.
"I probably should have stayed out," Franzen joked with reporters after his team continued surrendering the lead upon his return. "But I just needed to clean up a bit and that concussion test takes a long time. I probably should have been back out there earlier than I was."
Coyotes: No one could question the Coyotes' valiant attempts at capping the comeback with two third-period goals by Doan on Saturday, but what put Phoenix behind the eight ball was five first-period penalties that led to two early power-play goals by Detroit.
But despite the disappointing loss, Phoenix improved its numbers from Game 1 to Game 2, outshooting the Wings 33-31 on Saturday and putting up a respectable 3-for-7 showing on power-play chances.
Now that the 'Yotes are improving upon their statisical output, they will need to accomplish what matters most on Monday.
"You put yourself in a hole, you've got to find a way to dig out of it," Doan said following Saturday's loss. "We've got to find a way to pick up a win."
Who's hot: Not only has Datsyuk paced the Wings' offense so far, but he leads all playoff scorers with two goals, three assists and a plus-four rating over two games. ... Leading the Coyotes' offense are Doan (2 goals and 2 assists over two games) and right wing Radim Vrbata, who had a goal and an assist in Game 2 and also tallied a goal in Game 1.
Injury report: The Wings' Henrik Zetterberg hasn't played since April 6 with a lower-body injury, but the latest reports were that he would be traveling with the club to Phoenix and will be a game-time decision Monday night. ... Coyotes' defenseman Derek Morris has missed both playoff games with an upper-body injury and is currently listed as day-to-day.
Stat pack: The Coyotes entered the NHL for the 1996-97 season and have yet to win a playoff series while in Phoenix. This means that the last time the Coyotes franchise won a Stanley Cup playoff series was back in the 1986-87 season when the club played in Winnipeg and were known as the Jets.
Puck drop: Like most teams do when it matters most, the Coyotes will be counting on their team captain to help them earn their first playoff game win since April 25, 2010.
"He's not going to let us quit," defenseman Keith Yandle said of Doan. "He's going to put us on his back to make sure we don't quit."