The Phoenix Coyotes won seven less games this season than last. They collected eight fewer points.
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They went from unbeatable to unlucky in overtime. They allowed more goals. Their penalty killers went from top six to bottom six in the League. They struggled on home ice and had to battle through more injuries. And while they have the same Stanley Cup Playoff opponent in the Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix will have to open the series -- and if it goes the distance, end it -- in Hockeytown's Joe Louis Arena instead of their own Jobing.com Arena.
So why do the Coyotes feel even better this time around about their chances to change yet another part of the script from last season -- getting past the Red Wings? What makes them think they can reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, when the Winnipeg Jets did so during Ronald Reagan's second term in office?
"This is a different team," defenseman Ed Jovanovski said. "We have a lot of things going for us. We're more ready for what's coming."
These Coyotes have more playoff experience. The addition of Stanley Cup winner Ray Whitney
and veterans like Eric Belanger up front is one factor, but having more than a dozen players who took part in the seven-game war with the Red Wings as a group last year makes what's ahead less of an unknown...
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