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Playoff Preview - Phoenix vs Detroit

I've written about the Phoenix Coyotes several times: here, here and here.  I haven't said much about the Detroit Red Wings.  Let's see how their boxcars compare:

PHX 50 25 7 225 202
DET 44 24 14 229 216


Phoenix clearly looks like a better team, and their overall record is in line with their goals for and against (as is Detroit's).  Well, again we have the problem of overtime and shootout records distorting goal totals.  Let's look only at regulation:

PHX 31 25 26 206 195 537 527
DET 33 24 25 218 202 555 538


Removing overtime and shootout luck makes Detroit look like a slightly better team.  Well, it's more than "looks like."  Detroit is the better team - Bodog has them as 65% favorites to win the opening round series and almost three times as likely to win the cup as Phoenix. 

Let's take a look at the fundamentals - road Fenwick % with the score tied at even-strength:


Team Fenwick% PDO
DET 53.1 986
PHX 48.9 996


Detroit is simply better than Phoenix.  This shows up in scoring chances too - in the limited number of Detroit and Phoenix games that were scored, Detroit outperformed their expected chance ratio, while Phoenix underperformed. What about special teams?


5v4/4v5 SF/60 SA/60
DET 58.4 50.7
PHX 44.8 53.7


No good news for Phoenix here - they have a weak PP (#29 in the league), while Detroit's is strong (#2 in the league).  Their PKs are closer, but Detroit still has an edge.

I think I have to give Phoenix a slight edge in goal.  Ilya Bryzgalov is a known above-average quantity, even if he's not as good as he's played this season.  Detroit, on the other hand, has put their faith in Jimmy Howard, who is still not far enough in his career for us to know what to expect of him going forward.  The alternative - Chris Osgood - is simply not good.

Overall, I think Detroit is about a 54% favorite to win each game, which makes them a 60% favorite to win the series (Tom Awad has them at 51%.)  Hardly a runaway winner.  Series result: Detroit in 6.