Last word from Wings-Coyotes

April, 24, 2010

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Despite the two days off between games, Coyotes captain Shane Doan didn't make his return from an upper-body injury Friday night.

"He's right there," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said after the Game 5 loss. "It's one thing where he has the desire to go, but he has to be functional to go. You can't put a player in there that can't compete in the game, especially the way he plays. We'll continue to monitor that. He gets better every day. We'll see if he's ready to go next game."

The Wings' penalty kill

Detroit has now killed 19 of 22 Phoenix power plays in the series, a huge factor in the Red Wings leading 3-2.

Just a year ago, despite a trip to the Cup finals, the Wings struggled mightily on the PK. What's changed?

"Well, everything," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We were working toward this last year. [Assistant coach] Brad McCrimmon has done a good job."

Babcock also said spending some time last summer with New Jersey Devils coach Jacques Lemaire in preparations for the 2010 Canadian Olympic team gave him an opportunity to learn some PK tricks.

"We took everything Jacques did and introduced it," said Babcock. "Obviously, we've tweaked it."

Combine that with Jimmy Howard's goaltending, the emergence of Darren Helm and the offseason additions of Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller and -- voila! -- you've got yourself a better PK unit.

Jimmy's OK

After last Sunday's Game 3 loss, Red Wings fans were worried about Jimmy Howard. Since then he's allowed only one goal in two games and has looked ultra-confident. Babcock talked last Monday on the eve of Game 4 about the need for Howard to show he can bring it come playoff time.

"That's what players do, they bring it," Babcock said. "[Henrik] Zetterberg is a better player every year at playoff time. He just is, that's the facts. [Brad] Stuart is the same. As a goaltender, if you can be that guy that's good all the time but really good at playoff time, you obviously have a really happy team."

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer



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