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Khan: one way or another, the Red Wings will face a familiar foe. It’s Coyotes or Catfish

The San Jose Sharks ’ 3-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night earned the Sharks second place in the Western Conference, and, according to MLive’s Ansar Khan, while the Western Conference Standings still look somewhat spaghettified, the 3rd-place Wings can only face one of two possible opponents:

Anaheim defeated Los Angeles 3-1 and clinched the fourth seed. The Red Wings will play the No. 6 seed in the first round of the playoffs, which will be either Nashville or Phoenix.

If Chicago defeats Detroit on Sunday (in regulation or overtime), the Red Wings will play Nashville. If the Red Wings beat the Blackhawks (regulation, overtime or a shootout), Detroit will face Phoenix.

If Chicago beats Detroit in a shootout, that will create a three-way tie between the Blackhawks, Predators and Coyotes for the fifth, sixth and seventh seeds (each club would have 99 points and 38 regulation/OT wins). Their standing would be determined by the season series tiebreaker, which Chicago would win, giving the Blackhawks the fifth seed.

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Comments

CC Moor's avatar

George,

Who would you rather play?  I know the argument for less travel, but I would rather play Phoenix first round.  Let Nashville and Anaheim kill each other; Nashville’s defense is real trouble for any opponent.

Bluntly, I do not think Detroit can beat Nashville—I do think they can get by Phoenix,

Your thoughts?

Posted by CC Moor from Washington DC on 04/10/11 at 03:44 AM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

Three years in a row where we’ve faced an opponent in the first round that’s never won a playoff series.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 04/10/11 at 03:57 AM ET

Riviera's avatar

I’ll take a win tomorrow for a second season in a row starting the playoffs here in Phoenix please.

Posted by Riviera from Phoenix on 04/10/11 at 04:06 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

They’re incredibly similar teams. Both have tactically-minded coaches who believe that relying on their gigantic goalies, playing classic trap defenses, getting the puck in deep and cycling it down low and crashing and banging the opposition into submission are the ways in which you win games, and both Tippett and Trotz are line-matchers of the first order.

The Yotes are deeper up front and the Predators’ back end is more mobile, but especially with Rinne being 6’5” and Bryzgalov 6’3,” these teams are almost identical as far as the match-up is concerned. The Wings will have to withstand physical pushes, break through trap defenses by skating hard and fast through the neutral zone instead of doing that endless loop-back-and-send-one-guy-into-four-opponents crap, and the only way you stop a team from cycling the puck down low in your end and feeding endless pucks toward players open for back-door passes is to dominate possession and control of the puck in all three zones.

That and the Wings will have to face the usual “There’s a Crease Rule for the Red Wings” crap with two goalies who love to initiate contact and try to draw calls.

Same difference.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/10/11 at 04:07 AM ET

Avatar

Chicago is still playing for something tomorrow. I’d love to see DET win and DAL win to send CHI to the golf course.

Posted by Stuck in the Soo on 04/10/11 at 04:09 AM ET

PuckRules's avatar

Either way Phoenix and Nashville are due for a series win.

Posted by PuckRules on 04/10/11 at 04:16 AM ET

sloaner's avatar

I think Nashville for the travel. The Wings score on Bryz a hint easier but the age makes flying a bigger deal.  Both teams are going to try to knock the crap out of them so that’s a wash. And that last Nashville win can’t be discounted for the mind game aspect.

And though it would seem that these teams have to break their winless streak, the same thing was said about the Buffalo Bills. If Z can play they have a good shot.

Posted by sloaner from Los Angeles, CA on 04/10/11 at 05:31 AM ET

Baroque's avatar

Either way Phoenix and Nashville are due for a series win.

Posted by PuckRules on 04/10/11 at 03:16 AM ET

I think even more Nashville. They have been very close for a while now, and not only are they apparently poised to break through and win a series, I think they are poised to do it against Detroit more than many other teams. They have played the Red Wings enough that they know exactly what to expect, so there are no surprises, and they have always played Detroit tough even when they weren’t especially good against other teams as well.

Also, they were doing extremely well a few years ago, and will remember that.

I would be surprised if Zetterberg plays the first playoff game - and even if he does, he won’t be 100% and that will hurt the team quite a bit. If the matchup is Nashville, I could easily see them beating Detroit in the first round.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 04/10/11 at 09:26 AM ET

CC Moor's avatar

Thanks for your comments George, and interested as well in the other readers’ opinions here.  Cannot disagree.  I’m afraid this just is not their year and even if they get through the first series then they have to be on the road against San Jose and Vancouver.

It looks bad at the moment, but on the other hand, you still have to play the games and run the gauntlet.  Look forward to your coverage!

Posted by CC Moor from Washington DC on 04/10/11 at 01:31 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.