GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 18: David Schlemko #6 of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrates with teammates Mikkel Boedker #89, Kyle Turris #91, Vernon Fiddler #38 and Taylor Pyatt #14 after Schlemko scored a second period power play goal against the Detroit Red Wings in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Red Wings defeated the Coyotes 4-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Tonight, the Detroit Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes play game 4 of the Conference Quarterfinals at Jobing.com arena. The Red Wings have shown that they were a better team than the last ten games of the regular season suggested, and the Coyotes have shown quite the opposite.
The Red Wings ripped a page from the Coyotes' playbook and played a more physical game against them, and have just confused the desert dogs. The pucks have found ways behind the Coyotes' netminder Ilya Bryzgalov and the team looks like they have more questions than answers.
Will the Red Wings complete the sweep? Will the Coyotes find ways to extend the series to five?
It's time. The talking is done, the stakes are high, and the series future is on the line. I can break down the Xs and Os for everybody, but we've seen what they have and we've seen what the Coyotes have. I have to admit that I'm a bit surprised in both the former and the latter.
The Red Wings at the end of the regular season shown that they were at least human. But I have to wonder if the attention to detail during the regular season, or the lack thereof on the Coyotes' behalf, proved to be their possible undoing? We lamented over the points lost, and the teams they should have beaten, only to have it come crashing down for a final game of a playoff series.
To win this series, they will have to play this final game four times. The odds are very much stacked against them. I could quote you the perentages of teams that have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win, but I will take Han Solo's advice, "Never tell me the odds!"
So is it over? Should the Coyotes fold up and go home? Hell no! It's up to them just how long they want to extend this series and how far they can push themselves, and how much better they can be.
Even though the task is a huge undertaking, it's not impossible. If it was impossible, why play the fourth game? And the last time I checked, the first team to win four games wins the series. The Red Wings just have a little head start.
Because if the Coyotes can look to last year in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals where this one team, the Philadelphia Flyers, decided that they were not done, that they were going to play this thing through until the last team stood. They were down 3-0 to the Boston Bruins and the Flyers conquered the challenge and won four in a row.
They decimated the Montreal Candiens in the Eastern Conference Finals 4-1 and they had a shot at the Stanley Cup.
So, it's not over.
History can be made - it's up to the Coyotes to make it.