GLENDALE AZ - OCTOBER 21: Lee Stempniak #22 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates with the puck past Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on October 21 2010 in Glendale Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Kings 4-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Carolina Hurricanes visit the Phoenix Coyotes today to wrap up one long Pacific Division Road trip to start their season. The Canes actually started the season in Helsinki against the Minnesota Wild with a short stop in Ottawa to play the Senators before their West coast trip. It's been a long road for them, but they've managed a 3-3-0 record up til this point. Hopefully the boys don't make it easy on them for the last game away from home.
The Coyotes finally managed to find some offense on Thursday against the Kings. Well Lee Stempniak at least found some. Stempniak had his first career hat trick in the game and Andrew Ebbett, called up to replace the injured Martin Hanzal, added one shorthanded goal. Those two guys account for all the goal scoring though and the Coyotes absolutely need to find more players to contribute in the Goals scored category.
The Coyotes will once again be without captain Shane Doan as he serves the second game of his three game suspension for the hit on Dan Sexton. Martin Hanzal still figures to be out of the lineup at least for tonight, though he is expected to go on the road trip and could be available against Montreal. The Canes have pretty much a clean injury sheet with only Jiri Tlusty out, though that shouldn't effect them much.
Five for Winning
Go Wolski Go: Well it worked for Lee, so I'm callin you out buddy. Wojtek Wolski has been absolutely silent thus far into the season. It's only game six, but it's time to get your name on the scoring report there guy. The puck handling and such have been great, but netting one would be great, heck at this point I'd take a primary assist out of you.
Draw some Penalties: Our power play hasn't always been the greatest, but it helps when you actually draw some to get some practice. The Coyotes have only had 8 power play chances in 5 games, one of the lowest in the league. On those 8 the Coyotes have exactly ZERO goals. Yep, with Andrew Ebbett's goal the other night the Coyotes have more shorthanded goals than power play ones. On the Upside Carolina is dead last in power play opps with 5 and has also not scored, so there's that.
Ray-United - Ray Whitney will face off against his former team for the first time tonight as has been mentioned by every news outlet covering the game. You never know how those matchups turn out though. Sometimes they push you to do better to show them up, and sometimes it goes the other way with a lackadaisical type of outing. I'm hoping it's the former rather than the latter and the Wizard can show his teammates how to beat Cam Ward.
Stay Dominant in the Circle: One trend I've noticed with this year's team is that early in the game they'll blast the other team out of the water in faceoff wins in the first period and then slowly lose more and more until the percentages are almost even. Overall though the squad does well in the circle as the only regular center under 50% is Martin Hanzal with 48.3% (28 wins and 30 losses)
Invisible Defense: Other than a mention here or there I haven't really heard any of our defense getting called out on broadcasts lately at all. They're not making many big plays, but on the flip side (Aside from a bad play by Yandle the other night) they aren't making a lot of defensive errors either. I'll take that. If the cost of having a solid defensive blueline is not having them score a bunch of goals like last year then I'll deal.
After a hat trick last game, I'm not expecting another 3 goals tonight, but getting on a roll wouldn't be a bad thing for the guy who seems to be the finisher for the hard working line he's on with Vernon Fiddler and Taylor Pyatt.
Top point getter with 3-3-6 for the Hurricanes he's a dangerous character and someone the Coyotes need to lean on tonight.
Phoenix Coyotes Injuries
Carolina Hurricanes Injuries
Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)
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