That was a tough overtime loss last night, but the guys get a chance to turn right around and get the Coyotes train right back on track as we face off against our Pacific division rival Anaheim Ducks tonight at the Honda Center. Off to a 1-1-1 start and 3 points the Coyotes are trying to define their season, along with every other team. It would certainly help to pick up a couple points quickly to build their confidence.
The Ducks have frankly gotten off to a poor, though not unexpected, start. With a 1-3-1 record they haven't fared all that well. They had a great game against the Canucks on Wednesday in a 4-3 win in Anaheim and then lost in overtime to Atlanta on Friday night. Their top players in Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have played alright but are didn't really start getting point until those last two games.
This Ducks team is not the same one that competed for titles in past seasons, in fact many think they've taken a step back from last year when they missed the playoffs. Up front they have some talent, but defensively things are pretty thin. Lubomir Visnovsky is the biggest name on the blueline and Cam Fowler will be good but is a rookie. The Ducks even signed Andreas Lilja who the Sharks had in camp just a couple weeks ago. It's quite frankly a team that we need to beat tonight.
Five for Winning
Knock off the Penalties: Way too many penalties last night and they were of the dumb variety. The Ducks a re a team that can get under your skin with Corry Perry being a jerk and George Parros running around, but the Coyotes need to play smart and make sure they're drawing the holding and tripping calls instead of giving them away. If we give the Ducks 8 power play chances that's another likely loss.
OEL will eat minutes: He's had more than 20 minutes in each of the first three games and should continue playing big minutes tonight. He made some mistakes last night, but also made some really great moves with the puck that just had me amazed. With a 19 year old player you have to take the good with the bad. Remember Keith Yandle in his rookie year? It was painful at times, but look what happened. This kid is going to be special, he just has to clean up his game.
Point Doaner: Shane Doan has been completely blanked on the score sheet so far this year and you know he's hungry to make something happen. even if it's assist a point is a point and he needs to get rolling. We may not lean on him for goals as much now, but he still has to chip in some significant numbers.
Keep the shot count lower: On average Ilya Bryzgalov has seen 37.3 shots per game coming his direction. That number is just simply to high. Last night may have only been 33, but the team needs to find a way to lower the count since Zbynek Michalek isn't there to block a dozen chances a night anymore. Bryz will save a lot of them, but why let chence take things over, control the puck and create turnovers so that that number starts getting sub--30 at least.
Exploit the Defense: Like I said earlier, the Ducks are really thin on the blueline. They're using a lot of budget guys and young guys too to try and keep things together. there's some talent back there, but the Coyotes need to be constantly pushing them to see where they break down. up the forecheck to frazzle them when possible and make it a nightmare. Basically keep the puck on the defensemen and don't allow them to distribute to the forwards.
Like I said above, he needs to get some points and he's hungry for them. He'll be intense out there after the loss too so hopefully he can use that chip on his shoulder to get things going.
Does anyone outside of Anaheim like this guy? No? Me neither. What a jerk.