9 ET, Phoenix at Los Angeles, Game 3 (NBC Sports Network)
To paraphrase Southern California television legend Ron Burgundy: "This is really getting out of hand fast."
This is an all-hands on deck moment for the Coyotes, except they don't have all hands available to get on the deck. Of course we know Raffi Torres isn't around and now Martin Hanzal is suspended for Game 3.
In other words, I'm not liking the Coyotes' chances very much. And I feel safe saying that if the Coyotes don't win Game 3, this series is done. I can't see the Coyotes flipping a switch and somehow winning four straight, two of them in L.A.
The problem is right now the Coyotes have no one area they can point to and say "This needs to get better and we'll win." That list of improvements is long. They can't keep the Kings from suffocating them in their own zone and they aren't getting much in the offensive zone. If you take away the fluke goal from Derek Morris in Game 1 that came from center ice, the Coyotes scored one goal in two games at home.
I'd say perhaps they could turn their fortunes a little bit by winning more draws and hopefully for Phoenix that could lead to more puck possession. It's amazing how much more mortal a team can look when they don't have the puck on their sticks. But the problem with that? Phoenix is already winning draws. The Coyotes had 38 faceoff wins to the Kings' 26 in Game 2, a pretty sizable advantage.
To be frank, I am just not sure there is anything that the Coyotes can do at this point. The Kings are just playing that well. The way L.A. is going right now reminds me of that aura of invincibility that surrounded the Bruins this season when they had that insane stretch mid-season.
But the worst thing that could happen to the Kings to derail that would be reading their press clippings, buying into feeling that they're superior. Right now that seems to be about the only thing that could get in their way.
Thing is, the Kings have all their lines rolling well, that is what makes them much more "recession proof." They are getting production no matter who they put on the ice. You have to be scared outside of L.A. now with Jeff Carter finding he can score goals too in Game 2, recording a hat trick.
With all that said, perhaps the only hope the Coyotes have now is bringing out that deepest level of desperation. I don't believe in that angle a whole lot, it indicates that in a conference final the Coyotes already weren't giving it their best. It's insulting to suggest they were saving some in the tank. In other words, they weren't playing 100 percent. But if that's your sort of angle, it's there to watch, how desperate the Coyotes are.
Heaven knows they need something, anything, to crawl back into this series because it has escalated quickly.
- Team Canada was given an early exit from the Worlds with a stunning loss to Slovakia in the quarters. No medal for Canada. (IIHF)
- The uncertain labor situation for this summer has led already to the cancellation of the NHL Young Stars tournament. (Edmonton Journal)
- All that talk about Jordan Staal not being able to return to Pittsburgh? Not what Ray Shero is hoping to see. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- They're working on a new arena in Edmonton and, well, here's a computer-generated fly-by of the proposal with music that reminds you more of a spa than a hockey arena.