Coyotes hope home cooking helps

MORRIS DALLA COSTA QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:35 PM ET

The Phoenix Coyotes will activate their last lifeline Monday.

They play at home.

How long it will be home is in question but, no matter, the Coyotes hope Jobing.com Arena provides some of the bounces they feel have gone the other way.

Down 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference best-of-seven quarterfinal series, the Coyotes have been done in by their inability to play a full 60 minutes. One could argue the Coyotes have played the Wings even -- or better -- in four of the six periods.

In Game 1, the Wings scored three goals in the second period to take control of the game.

In Game 2, the Wings took a 3-0 lead in the first period, build a 4-0 lead early in the second and then had to hang on as the Coyotes came back to make it 4-3. The Coyotes had the Wings on the ropes as the final buzzer went.

The Coyotes hope they can avoid the temporary insanity that has put them in trouble early. There is also bound to be an emotional component when the Coyotes and Wings take to the ice for Game 3.

Unless the Coyotes come up with a pair of wins, these could be the last NHL game played in Glendale.

The Phoenix to Winnipeg saga blew up yet again on the day the Wings-Coyote series began, with reports that as soon as the Coyotes were eliminated from the playoffs, they were headed to Winnipeg.

In most cases, that news would be enough to distract a team from the job at hand. But not the Coyotes.

The players have been down this path before.

Most won't comment, except to say the only thing they have control of is how they play.

The funny thing is, for two years the Coyotes have lived under this cloud of uncertainty. Yet they've had two highly successful seasons.

Despite a 2-0 lead in this series, it would by highly dangerous for the Wings to believe this thing is over.

They will have to play more than 30 minutes in Arizona if they want to get at least a split.

The Wings have gotten most of the bounces in the first two games and that can change.

That was reflected in Detroit's 3-0 first-period lead Saturday.

"We weren't dissatisfied with the way we played the first 20 minutes," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "They found ways to get pucks through to the net and capitalized on their opportunities."

That should be a warning to the Red Wings. The Coyotes haven't played as badly as reflected by their 2-0 disadvantage.

The Wings have also taken too many penalties. The Coyotes power play woke up Saturday and scored three times.

Doan has made it his personal goal to carry this team and he will try to ignite the crowd at home. That said, the Coyotes have some issues they need to address.

The obvious is their need to control Pavel Datsyuk. He's been involved in five of the Wings' eight goals.

The not-so-obvious is Tomas Holmstrom. Datsyuk is Rembrandt to the world of hockey while Holmstrom is a house painter. But Holmstrom couldn't be moved from the front of the net in Game 2, resulting in the first two Wings goals before he scored the fourth himself.

The Coyotes have to fix it soon because otherwise house painter or art master, the picture being painted won't be a particularly rosy one.


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