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Coyotes vs Red Wings

It should be a given that you're rooting for the underdog Coyotes. You would fee like some sort of monster who steps on baby chickens if you rooted against Travis Hair's favorite team and wished ill will upon Arizona's snake tossers. Just in case you're still not sold here are some words from a blogger beloved in Canada: Two Line Pass.

There's one reason, and just one reason, to really, really hate the Detroit Red Wings: their fans. They think Detroit is "Hockeytown" despite the fact that I could hop on Ticketmaster and buy lower bowl seats to any playoff game I wanted right this second if I had any desire to go to that decaying hellhole. (Ed note: he is technically correct which is the best kind of correct.)

Oh, I know, "the economy sucks," but Buffalo hasn't had a local industry besides Seasonal Affective Disorder since the '70s and they bang out their rink every night. But sure, you're the best fans in the league, got it. Oh and also they think Chris Osgood is one of the best goalies in NHL history. Because they are idiots.

Hard not to agree with TLP on this one. Red Wings fans insulting Phoenix for not selling out and not being a hockey market would do well to speak with their wallets on this one. Not only are lower bowl seats available but you can grab four tickets in the $40 range to game three at the Joe right now for face. Just process that for a while. How long would $40 tickets be on the market in Toronto for a playoff game? For that matter how long would they be on the market for a preseason game against Timbits?

Phoenix blog Five For Howling offers this as why you should cheer for Phoenix:

I look at your team and my team and I see in yours what we were a couple years ago. We were just starting to rebuild the right way. There may be a lot of work to be done in Toronto, but the pieces are starting to be put together and could be something special in the near future.

That old saying "flattery gets you nowhere" is completely wrong. We're able to be purchased for a bare minimum of flattery and a feel good pat on the back.

Matchup wise the Coyotes went 2-2-0 vs the Red Wings (Detroit went 2-0-2 against Phoenix). Phoenix scored 11 goals to Detroit's 13. Phoenix is 24th in goals per game (2.57) compared to Detroit who finished the season in 14th (2.74). On the other side of the puck Phoenix had the third stingiest goals against per game (2.39) while Detroit finished 7th in that stat (2.52). Oddly enough Detroit was outscored five on five (0.93 5-5 F/A ratio) and Phoenix took only 329 minor penalties (7th in the NHL). Here's that in handy chart form:

Season Series (Points) 4 6
Goals per Game 2.57 2.74
Goals Against / Gm 2.39 2.52
5 on 5 GF/GA 1.15 0.93
PP% 14.6 19.2
PK% 84.5 83.9

Detroit's Jimmy Howard looks like a good goaltender but Ilya Bryzgalov looks like he's taking home the Vezina. The key to this series for Phoenix is going to be containing Detroit without taking minor penalties. If the Coyotes can do that (and if their ice is bad enough to hamper Detroit's puck possession game) they have a good chance at winning this series.

Detroit's really rolling right now though; this has potential to be a real battle and might be the best series of the first round. What do you think is going to happen?