Sunday, April 25, 2010

Preview: Wings VS Coyotes, Round 1 Game 6

"The bottom line is, we've got to make sure our legs are ready to go. The last time we came back for an early game, we didn't play very well." - Coach Mike Babcock

The Red Wings look to do something they've been unable to do in recent memory: win a damn day game!! Detroit plays host to Phoenix in Game 6 of this WCQF matchup and I personally do not want to see Arena again till next season. Should the Wings win their first afternoon match in eons, they will advance to Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with their 2nd round opponent yet to be decided.

So, hopefully for the last time in Round 1, let's calculate The Geek's Winning Formula!!

1.) Seize The Day!! - It hurts me to look back at how long it's been since Detroit last won an early game. I can't remember the last one they were victorious in, and this is going back months!! Detroit has got to come out standing on the gas and cannot afford to give Phoenix an early advantage. I think it was very wise of Babs to have the boys practice after getting home. As he said himself, the Wings did not benefit from the rest they took previous to Game 3. As long as the Red Wings come out fresh and raring to go, we should be fine; however, if the Wings come out flat, we're gonna need the Hockey Gods on our side to prevent a runaway game by the Coyotes.

2.) WTF Face-offs!!?? - Again, what the hell happened to all our face-off guys!? We're barely breaking 50% every game on the draws and this really really bothers me! Your first chance to control the puck comes from the face-off and we're giving that away to a Phoenix team that should not be winning as many draws from Detroit as they are. Our centers need to improve heavily on this to help ease the pressure created by badly timed face-off losses at key points of the game. Again, we've relatively gotten away with this without getting burned but man oh man, one of these times it's gonna come back and bite us bad, like leading to a tying or go-ahead goal late in a game we should have won. It just better not happen today.

3.) Maintain Physicality - We've been fortunate that Shane Doan has been out the last couple games, but should be make it into the lineup today, expect to see a much-revived Phoenix hitting game. If that is the case, Detroit will need to stand its ground. The amount of hitting and aggressive forechecking we've been doing the last while is proving effective and we cannot let up on this if the Coyotes all of a sudden start hitting back harder like early on in the series. We still need guys to drive hard to the net, punish opposing forecheckers, and win those grinding battles for puck-possession. As soon as we start letting up because of Phoenix's aggression, we're tipping the scales in their favor: physical is their style and they know it.

There are always little things that also factor in. Personally I'd like to see Detroit tighter in the neutral zone, but the Wings have tightened up greatly in the defense department, so I'm gonna lay off that for today's game.

It's almost gametime, Wingnuts! Let's cheer our team into Round 2!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!