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NHL Playoff Predictions 2011: Red Wings Vs. Coyotes

The 2011 NHL playoffs begin on Wednesday, kicking off a two-month-long journey that will see 16 teams compete for the Stanley Cup. Before the playoffs do get going, SB Nation's NHL writers chimed in with their picks for the first round, and what they had to say about the Red Wings/Coyotes series is pretty interesting.

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The consensus among the four predictions made for the Red Wings/Coyotes series is that it will go six games. As for which team will win, that decision is split down the middle with two people picking the Red Wings and two people picking the Coyotes.

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Travis Hughes and Mike Chen have the Coyotes taking the series in six games. Hughes thinks goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will steal a few games for Phoenix early on, giving the Coyotes momentum to take the series. Chen believes the absence of Henrik Zetterberg could hurt the Wings just like the Coyotes were hurt by the absence of Shane Doan a year ago, which is why he picked Phoenix.

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Steve Lepore and Zachary Zielonka have the Red Wings taking the series in six games. Lepore thinks the Wings' offensive firepower will be too much for Phoenix to keep up, whereas Zielonka thinks the Wings' experience and talent level will be enough for them to advance to the second round.

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SBNation.com has more Western Conference playoff predictions, as well as Eastern Conference playoff predictions.