Shane Doan was a beast out there in Game One for the Phoenix Coyotes.
He may not have shown up on the scoresheet at all, but his physical presence was more than enough to derail the Red Wings in the first game of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series.
Red Wings fans are going to learn to dislike the Coyote enforcer much the same way they learned to hate guys like Chris Pronger in the past if this keeps up.
The Red Wings will have to have a physical answer for Phoenix's armored tank out there. Doan and the rest of the Coyotes repeatedly smashed Red Wings players into the boards all night, and the Red Wings' physical answer didn't come until after the final horn.
The Coyotes played more physical than Detroit for the whole game. The final hit count was 43 to 20 in favor of Phoenix. Nine of those hits belonged to Doan. Ed Jovanovski added seven more of his own. Between those two beat sticks, the Red Wings seemed to have their hands full.
The Wings have not been known as a physical team in the recent past, but they will need to step it up in this series in order to win this one.
They have the answers on their team right now. Niklas Kronwall, who did not register a hit in Game One, is known for being the heavy hitter on the team. Brad Stuart has been known to lay a few guys out also. Tomas Holmstrom can give back the cross-checks and whacks that he receives standing in front of the net each night. Even Pavel Datsyuk plays a fairly physical game for a finesse player.
Regardless of who does it, the Red Wings will have to give back the punishment that guys like Doan and Jovanovski dished out in Game One in order to stand a chance in the rest of the series.
Game One also proved that the Red Wings will have to get more physical, but do it while staying out of the penalty box. The Wings' penalty kill lost its hot streak and allowed the Coyotes to go 3-for-4 on the power play. Those three goals literally cost the Red Wings a win in this one.
I still think the Wings will pull out the series in probably six games. In order to do that, however, they will have to get a win on the road. That is something that they can only do by getting more physical and getting their penalty kill out of this short slump.
The goal scoring will pick up once the physical intensity gets stronger out there.
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