By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will begin their postseason quest to win the Stanley Cup today when they play the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at Joe Louis Arena. The pucks drops at 4 p.m. (Arizona time).
The Coyotes enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. Detroit is the No. 3 seed.
The series is a rematch of a conference quarterfinal series between the teams in 2009-10. The Red Wings won that series, four games to three.
"There were lessons learned,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “But this is a different group and now you want to share the experience of advancing."
The Coyotes posted a 2-0-2 record vs. Detroit this season, including a 4-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 28.
will start in goal for the Coyotes. Bryzgalov posted a 2-0-2 record, and 2.63 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in four games played vs. Detroit this season.
"It's the playoffs," Bryzgalov said. "It's all marbles on the floor. You'd better play hard."
Coyotes captain Shane Doan
is eager for the rematch with the Red Wings, especially considering he missed the last four games of the 2009-10 playoff series after separating a shoulder in Game 3.
"To wait so long for that chance and to have it taken away just like that … it's one of the moments in my career I will never forget," Doan said. “I never wanted something more on the ice than to play in those games. But guess what? We have another chance."
Games 1 and 2 will be played in Detroit before the series shifts to Glendale. That’s OK with the Coyotes, who posted the fourth-best road record in the Western Conference (22-13-6) during the regular season.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris
will not play tonight because of an upper-body injury. He is considered day-to-day. Either David Schlemko
or Oliver Ekman-Larsson
will make his NHL playoff debut in place of Morris.
The Red Wings will play minus left wing Henrik Zetterberg, who is nursing a knee injury he suffered late in the regular season. Zetterberg led the Red Wings in points (80) and assists (56) during the regular season.
"You want to be playing at this time of year, so it is tough," Zetterberg said. "This is the first playoff (series) that I'm not really healthy. This is the best time of year and you want to be healthy."
Meanwhile, defenseman Niklas Kronwall is expected to play for Detroit despite a nagging injury.
Jimmy Howard will start in goal for the Red Wings. Howard posted a 2-0-1 record, and a 2.20 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in three games played vs. Phoenix this season.
The Red Wings are a dangerous team on the power play. They ranked fifth in the league at 22.3 percent this season and scored 67 power-play goals, 21 more than the Coyotes.
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