Doan is out for Game 4 vs. Wings
Now, the question is raised; how will the Coyotes handle the pressure of an experienced Detroit team fighting for their playoff lives? A Game 4 loss would put the Wings in a 3-1 hole in the opening round series.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett expects that the Wings will bring their best effort to Joe Louis Arena tonight as they try to even the series.
“I think if you see the way the series has gone,” Tippett said, “the team that has won the last game, the other team has come out and played with an extra bit of urgency and an extra bit of desire. I expect that from them tonight.”
“We have to recognize that at as a group,” Tippett continued, “and we have to recognize that their desperation level is going to be very high. We have to make sure that we can match that to give us the best chance to win.”
However, the Coyotes will face a determined Wings’ squad without their captain. Tippett confirmed that Shane Doan will not dress tonight, and will be replaced by Vernon Fiddler, who did not play in Game 3.
“He will not play tonight,” Tippett said of Doan. We’ll put him in the ‘day-to-day’ scenario, we just feel like we’re two days before the next game, we just feel it’s best for him to wait a couple days.”
Former Red Wing Robert Lang said dealing with injuries is simply a part of the playoffs, and his team will be ready to play with or without their captain.
“Teams are going to have losses, especially in playoffs,” Lang said. “You’re going to have some injuries and stuff like that. It’s tough to overcome. Some guys have to step up; some guys have to change their game a little bit. But we finished the game last game pretty strong when Shane went down, and we just have to build on that.”
Defenseman Ed Jovanovski displayed confidence in his team heading into Game 4.
“You hear all this ‘[Detroit] should win this game’,” Jovanovski said. “Why? We’ve worked hard all year, and it’s going to be no different here tonight.”
“We know they’re going to be good,” the veteran said. “They’re a veteran team with a lot of character out there … I think, like I’ve said from day one, we just have to concern ourselves with what we do on the ice, and if we execute at the levels that we can, that will give us the best chance to win.”
Tippett said that his team’s closeness would help in overcoming the loss of Doan in time to handle the Wings’ pressure tonight.
“Our group is pretty strong that way,” the Coyotes’ coach said. “We’ve had some players go out, I like the way our group has bonded in there. I know Shane wears the ‘C’, a couple guys wear the ‘A’s, but for the most part our group is very tight in there, and they’ll hopefully be able to fill that void.”