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Red Wings v Coyotes - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals

Coyotes' GM: Off-ice issues no excuse for sweep

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix general manager Don Maloney is the first to admit two years without an owner and the looming possibility of the Coyotes leaving Arizona were an added and uncomfortable burden for his hockey team.

But he bristles at the notion that the weight of that talk finally undermined the club while being swept out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by Detroit in four games – and won't accept it as a convenient excuse.

"I'm disappointed to be standing here so early," Maloney said Friday as Coyotes packed up their gear and went through exit meetings at Arena. "I thought going into the playoffs we were better position to give Detroit a battle. I thought Detroit was vulnerable -- they were a little banged up -- but they really ratcheted up their game and we just didn't.

Wings glad to get a breather after sweep

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom will rest. Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg will heal. The penalty-killing unit will drill. And, hopefully, Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard won’t rust.

Detroit’s 6-3 win over Phoenix on Wednesday and four-game sweep of the Coyotes will give the Wings at least a week to prepare for their Western Conference semifinal opponent. That’s great news for those with bumps a bruises; Zetterberg (knee) and Franzen (head and ankle) should be ready to go when Detroit takes the ice again.

"We're obviously a way better team if we got Mule and Z. We're way deeper," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "It's a good series for us, anytime you can win four straight and not risk getting hurt."

Coyotes disappointed at quick exit

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

"I don't think we took anything for granted against Detroit, but after last year we certainly felt like we had a chance. We thought we could have played them better. We know we can. Getting swept isn't even in your thoughts. It's miserable." -- Adrian Aucoin

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After pushing Detroit to seven games in the playoffs last year and beefing up their defense through trades during the season, the Phoenix Coyotes were confident for their rematch with the Red Wings.

But it turned out to be a mismatch -- on every level. When it comes to skill, experience and poise, the Red Wings still own the hat trick. Phoenix was swept out of the playoffs for the first time since moving to Arizona, losing 6-3 in Game 4 on Wednesday night amid a flurry of third-period goals that the Coyotes simply couldn't stop.

"I don't think we took anything for granted against Detroit, but after last year we certainly felt like we had a chance," defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. "We thought we could have played them better. We know we can. Getting swept isn't even in your thoughts. It's miserable."

Red Wings' Franzen to miss Game 4

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Detroit forward Johan Franzen, bothered by ankle and head problems since a hard fall in Game 2, was a scratch for Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Phoenix on Wednesday.

Franzen was replaced in the lineup by veteran Mike Modano. Valtteri Filppula will move up to the first line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom on Phoenix's first line, with Henrik Zetterberg (knee) still out of the lineup.

The Coyotes also had one change. Enforcer Paul Bissonnette will make his first appearance of the series in place of Andrew Ebbett.

Red Wings aiming for a sweep

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – When the Detroit Red Wings were run out of the Western Conference Semifinals by San Jose in five games last year, they had no one to blame but themselves – and perhaps the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Red Wings felt a long, tough seven-game series with Phoenix – which included a third plane flight to Arizona when the Coyotes won Game 6 in Detroit and extended the series – to some of the zip and reserve they could have used down the line.

So with a chance to sweep the Coyotes in four games and rest their injured stars staring them in the face here Wednesday night, the Red Wings want to make sure those mangy Desert Dogs are following them back to Motown for another twirl around the ice.

"If we have extra time it'll be much better," said winger Pavel Datsyuk, who hasn't taken part in the last three Detroit workouts and struggled in Game 2, not getting a shot until the third period. "Kind of remember last year, we had Game 7 there last year. It takes lots of time, lots of travel, take our energy away."

Coyotes likely to shake up lines for Game 4

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes aren't quite sure how they found themselves buried in this 0-3 hole against the Detroit Red Wings. But one thing is perfectly clear:  What they've been doing so far hasn't been working.

The Coyotes spent two days plotting, planning and psyching themselves up for a big win in Game 3 on Monday, attempting to turn the Western Conference quarterfinal series into a real horserace. But before they even broke from the starting gate, they fell down two goals just 2:41 into play -- and their best-laid plans were in shambles.

They weren't Pavel Datsyuk, between-the-legs, twist-and-shout goals. Detroit's Ruslan Salei and Drew Miller scored hard-working, a-little-help-from-shin-pads-and-seat-cushions goals. But they are exactly the kind of tallies the Coyotes have relied on all season. 

Coyotes need Bryzgalov to be better

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- On and off the ice, the Coyotes tried everything they could think of to whip Arena into a frenzy for a Game 3 they had to have to keep the Detroit Red Wings within range in this Western Conference quarterfinal series.

They called in Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nil Lofgren, who had been a perfect 5-0 when playing the National Anthem before Coyotes games, for an encore performance. They trotted out 6-year-old sensation Joshua Sacco to deliver his impassioned rendition of Herb Brooks' pregame speech from the movie "Miracle," casting the Red Wings in the role of the invincible Red Army Russians of 1980.

Babcock expects Franzen back in lineup

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While his short stint on the ice didn't look too promising Monday, Detroit forward Johan Franzen is apparently ready to go for the Red Wings when they face the Coyotes in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Wearing a visor to cover the 23 stitches to his face suffered in a collision with Shane Doan early in Game 2, Franzen's stay on the Arena ice lasted only a few minutes and he appeared frustrated with the results as he leaned on the boards near his bench before leaving the ice before drill began.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he expects his lineup to remain unchanged from Game 2, although he said he will have a few extra players dress and take part in the pregame skate.

Wings know they have a long way to go

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Detroit Red Wings have certainly been here before: Up 2-0 after skating circles around a frustrated opponent, delighting the home crowd at Joe Louis Arena and giving every fan who smuggled a squid into the seats to have a chance to put it on ice.

But the last 11 times the Wings have gone up 2-zip, they went on the road and promptly lost Game 3 to a revitalized foe and their energizing fans. As recently as 2007, Detroit twisted Calgary into a pretzel twice in Detroit, only to head to Alberta and watch the Flames turn the tables and tied the series.

The Coyotes played their best hockey of the series in the final two periods of Game 2, scoring three power-play goals to turn a 4-0 laugher into a 4-3 white-knuckler. Good news for Phoenix, but that may also serve only to have the Red Wings more focused on taking complete control when the series moves to Arena for Game 3 Monday night.

Coyotes need to improve at even strength

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Coyotes know it's tough to match the skill the Red Wings put on the ice when the special teams units take over the game. Their power play and penalty kill units have to execute perfectly in order to keep Detroit at bay on one end and convert on the other.

But when it comes to even strength situations in this Western Conference Quarterfinal series, the Coyotes expected have better success. They got off to a good start when Kyle Turris scored two minutes into Game 1 off a strong forecheck, but haven't scored a 5-on-5 goal since.

That might be the biggest reason why Phoenix finds itself in a 0-2 hole in the series.  And while they were glad to see the power play produce three times late in Saturday's 4-3 loss in Game 2, the Coyotes know it will take more than special teams to turn the series.
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