I suppose it is better to be old and cunning than smart and talented.
They were the ones to made the big miscues. Their normally staunch defense was the one slipping up, and the Wings jumped in to take advantage; a complete inverse of that bleak Sunday that now seems forever ago.
Tonight, it was Bryzgalov that found himself staring at the oncoming train as the team in front of him collapsed rather than Howard.
Tonight, it was Bertuzzi who gained superior position in front of the net and tossed the puck home rather than Jovanovski.
Heck, tonight it was Phoenix trying to make the cute play on the 5 on 3, shooting ineffective shots rather than taking control of the ice with a two man advantage.
You want another sign of the mirror universe we peered into tonight? Brad Stuart, taking advantage of a poor decision by a Coyotes defenseman and putting the puck on a largely abandoned Bryzgalov.
Someone hide the Blue Kryptonite... I think we're in Bizarro World.
Was it the pressure of Game 7 that did in Phoenix? Was it, ironically, the pressure of the home crowd behind them that caused them to tighten up? I don't know... that's for someone who's followed the Coyotes more to analyze.
All I know is that once again, somehow, this gang of veterans put it together for one more game, and have thus guaranteed at least four more.
Does their struggles against Phoenix bode ill against the coming Sharks? Who knows.
If there's one thing the NHL playoffs have demonstrated is a professional sports application of the Wall Street creed; "Past performance is no guarantee of future results."
It could be a four game sweep for either team. It could be another seven game marathon.
The Wings won the regular season series against the Sharks. That means just as much.
There's no way to know how the next series will shape up.
But tonight, finally, we can be sure we'll find out.