The Phoenix Coyotes continue to struggle, not only with ticket sales but with defeating Detroit as well. Shane Doan knows that tonight's game is do or die.
The Coyotes' main issue is the power play. Phoenix continues to struggle despite the fact that Detroit usually ends up short-handed.
Phoenix continues to step up its physical game, as proven in Game 2. Even its physical game was not enough to stop Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk. He continues to score. Phoenix knows Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard allows rebounds, and if the Coyotes can set up their points better and shoot, they will score.
The Coyotes need to also worry about their own defense. Their players have been out of position. This has allowed Detroit to get goals. Detroit has enough talent to get the job done; even without Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings can still score.
Turnovers have been an issue as well. Neutral zone turnovers should not be a problem for Phoenix, but they have been.
Ed Jovanovski cannot play defense alone. He is getting frustrated, and who can blame him? He is giving his all while other players are not pulling their weight. The Coyotes has talented defensemen. They just need to stop playing gritty and cover their man. If Phoenix wants to win, it will have to play a more disciplined defensive game.
One thing that Phoenix can look forward to is home-ice advantage. Nothing can make players feel better than hearing chants for their team. It's always nice to have a stadium full of people cheering you on.
The main issue with the Coyotes is the lack of goal scorers. Doan is good, but he is not that good. When he steps on the ice, Detroit knows it. If Phoenix scores, it's with Doan on the ice. Phoenix forwards like Ray Whitney, Lee Stempniak and Lauri Korpikoski need to step it up. They have enough setup men; now it's time to score. They need to crash the net. More bodies in front of the net mean more goals.
One main issue for Phoenix is goaltending. Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov may not have much help, but he needs to step up his game. His GAA for the playoffs is 4.10. 4.10 is unacceptable for a starting goaltender, and most of the goals have been scored by his fellow countryman Datsyuk.
In Bryzgalov's defense, Datsyuk is an amazing player, and his defensive support has been of little help. However, he needs to step it up. Phoenix does not have any other goaltender it can depend on. When the Coyotes took him from Anaheim, they took him with the thought of him being a great starting goaltender. Bryzgalov needs to get his confidence back and prove why he deserves his job.
Phoenix has a lot of things to prove, but if it wants to win, Game 3 will show what it has learned. The Coyotes gave Detroit a scare last game. All they need to do is crash the net and the goals will come.