3 reasons why Wings advance; 3 reasons why Wings won’t advance

It’s one down and three more rounds to go for the third-seeded Detroit Red Wings in their quest for a 12th Stanley Cup.

Round 2 starts tonight in the city where their season ended last season: San Jose.

The Sharks took out the Wings in five games last year.

Here are three reasons why the Wings will advance to the next round and three reasons they won’t.

Three reasons why Wings move on

1. Pavel Datsyuk: Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle said this about Datsyuk after Game 2 of their opening round series: “The guy’s disgusting. He’s fun to watch, but not fun to play against.”

Datsyuk was the Wings’ best player in Round 1. He had two goals and four assists in four games.

And with all their forwards back healthy, Datsyuk could have an even bigger impact in this round.

2. Still that Franzen factor: Johan Franzen had two goals and an assist in the three games he played against Phoenix. That gives him 62 points in 54 games during the past four springs. He has 37 goals and 35 assists in 78 career playoff games.

3. A well rested team: That equals a fully healthy team.

The Wings will have Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen in the lineup to begin the series. Zetterberg, who led the team in scoring during the regular season, missed the entire first round with a sprained left knee. Franzen missed Game 4 of the series with Phoenix with a hurt left ankle.

When these teams met last year, Detroit had one day off before opening the next round in San Jose.

Three reasons why Wings don’t move on

1. Penalty woes: The Wings’ penalty kill struggled mightily against a Coyotes team that struggled all season with the man advantage. After killing off all six of Phoenix’s power plays in Game 1, the Coyotes scored six times on their next 12 chances.

And Detroit can’t give up any 5-on-3 opportunities. Phoenix had three minutes and 21 seconds of two-man advantage time.

2. Unfinished business: Prior to this year, San Jose has averaged close to 50 wins during the regular season over the last six seasons. But come playoff time, the Sharks have yet to find the right formula to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

In the last six seasons, San Jose has lost in the conference finals twice, semifinals three times and quarterfinals once.

And their top players aren’t getting any younger.

3. A well rested team: When the Wings open the next round they will have had eight days off between games. That’s their longest playoff break since 1999, when they had nine days between games following their first-round sweep of Anaheim. They lost to Colorado in the next round, winning the first two games before losing four in a row.

PREDICTION: Wings win in 6.


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