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Wings go for sweep against Coyotes

by John Kreiser

(Detroit leads best-of-seven series, 3-0)


Big story: It’s win or go home for the Coyotes, who’ve lost the first three games of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series to the Red Wings. Detroit has scored four goals in each game and used fast starts to get the drop on Phoenix in the last two, including a pair of goals in the first three minutes of Monday’s 4-2 win.

Team Scope:

Red Wings:
It’s always easier playing with a lead, as the Wings showed again on Monday. They led 2-0 before many of the fans at Arena had found their seats, and scored quickies in the second and third period to keep the Coyotes at bay.

“Obviously we got off to a real good start,” coach Mike Babcock said. Helmer’s (Darren Helm) and Fil’s (Valtteri Filppula) lines were a real dominant force. They skated real well, were on the puck and in the end, that allowed us to get off a good start and take a little wind out of their sails. I thought they had a real good push for the last part of the first period and then in the second.”

Coyotes: Everyone wearing a Coyote jersey knows what’s at stake in Game 4.

“I think we can relax a little bit now. There's nothing to lose, eh?" said Phoenix forward Ray Whitney, trying to inject a little levity into a tough situation. "You play as hard as you can in Game 4 and hopefully extend it and do the same thing in Game 5.

"It's not a position you want to be in, for sure, but we're giving what we can. The fight was there. The energy was there. The crowd was there. But we got a couple of unlucky bounces right off the start and it really took the wind out of our sails."

Who's hot: Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk has 5 points and leads all players with a plus-5 rating. … Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard is 3-0 in the series with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

Injury report: Detroit is likely to be without forward Henrik Zetterberg (lower body) again – Zetterberg hasn’t played in the series. Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen had the day off from practice on Tuesday but will be in the lineup. … The Coyotes are still without defenseman Derek Morris (upper body).

Stat pack: Phoenix has scored all five of its goals in the last two games on the power play. … Detroit scored all four of its goals on Monday within the first 2:50 of the start of the period.

Puck drop: One thing Coyotes fans shouldn’t expect to see is a goaltending change. Ilya Bryzgalov has allowed four goals in each of the first three games, but coach Dave Tippett plans to stick with the man who got them to the playoffs.

"I think Bryz got us to this point, and we'll rely on him to get us out of this,” Tippett said Wednesday. “There's been some times when he could get more help."
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