The first game is at 7 p.m. EST Wednesday in Phoenix.
Phoenix finished the season with 50 wins for 107 points. The Red Wings finished with 44 wins and 102 points. The teams are seeded fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Wings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday to secure the fifth spot in the West. Their one-point advantage over the Los Angeles Kings spares the Red Wings from a first-round meeting with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Phoenix Coyotes
The Coyotes went 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. Phoenix was hot in the first couple months of the season. They slowed down a bit in the latter half, but were able to put some streaks together in order to stay among the top teams in the West.
The franchise is bankrupt. Their future in Phoenix is yet to be determined for certain. However, the team ignored all the negative hype around the organization and just played hockey. Clearly, they stunned the league by notching the most points in franchise history. The Coyotes really put together quite a story this season. At this point, anything could happen. They are a bag of surprises.
Detroit will have its hands full with a team of youngsters and journeyman. The Red Wings will want to intimidate the Coyotes in the first couple games in Phoenix. This will not be easy to do.
Personally, I'm thinking this series will go to six games. The Wings may drop a couple games in Phoenix. The Coyotes have been playing without fear or respect for anyone all season. I can't see why this should change now.
Already, the gurus are putting Detroit as far as the finals. The Coyotes will surely be sold short by the media and so-called hockey analysts. This is exactly what the "Dogs" have been hearing all season. They feed off this.
Detroit will need to take this team seriously. Yes, they should feel better about facing Phoenix instead of Vancouver, but only due to traveling reasons and Roberto Luongo.
Like I said, anything can happen with a team which has already beaten so many odds and quieted so many naysayers.
Let's go. The 2010 NHL playoffs are among us.