Phoenix Coyotes at Dallas Stars - Game 12 Preview

GLENDALE AZ - NOVEMBER 03: Ed Jovanovski #55 of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrates with teammate Ray Whitney #13 after Jovanovski scored his third goal of the night against the Nashville Predators during the third period of the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on November 3 2010 in Glendale Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Predators 4-3. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Coyotes will try to get on a winning streak for the first time this season tonight in Dallas against the Stars. With Phoenix's middling start out of the gates they actually played a decently balanced game against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday. Ed Jovanovski recorded his first career hat trick as Pekka Rinne was all over the place in goal and A couple good shots and a little luck made it happen. Lee Stempniak also netted one on a Coyotes power play that actually managed to be effective for once. The question is can the Coyotes as a team find that performance again? Certainly Jovo won't have another 3 goal game but someone among the forwards needs to step up and get scoring. 

The Stars are probably one of the more surprising teams in this young season with a 7-4-0 record  thus far. Many predicted them to be battling the Ducks for the basement of the Pacific Division though they are instead just a step behind the Kings. Brad Richards leads the squad with 15 total points (4-11-15) and Loui Eriksson leads in goals with 7. After dropping 3 straight the Stars have won the last two in impressive fashion shutting out the Buffalo Sabres and frustrating the Penguins 5-2. The Penguins were so stymied that Sidney Crosby threw a hissy fit that many are calling a "fight". Go figure. Starting goalie Kari Lehtonnen has an alright GAA with 2.84 and a .908 save percentage. Backup Andrew Raycroft has been very Un-Raycroftian giving up no goals in his one start and a relief appearance. Unfortunately for the Stars he is in fact Andrew Raycroft and that won't keep up.

Five for Winning

Offensive Forwards: The lack of forward goal production is quite offensive indeed. We're still waiting for guys like Shane Doan, Ray Whitney and Wojtek Wolski to score a goal. 11 games in and a total of zero goals for the lot of them. That's both sad and not going to continue. At some point one at least has to get a goal by accident right? When Lee Stempniak is the team's leading scorer, that's both awesome, but sad all at once since he has only 4 so far. I know we're not going to blow the doors off scoring, but this is weak.

1.21 Gigawatts!: Okay maybe not that much power, but the power play worked, at least for a night. After a lengthy stretch of futility the Coyotes went 2 for 3 with the man advantage and that was absolutely the difference in the 4-3 win. The question is was it a fluke or is it something that the Coyotes can build off of to make the power play at least average rather than pathetic. Certainly the team won't go 66% from here on out, but something close to 20% would be just lovely.

Disproportionate Goals: Last year the team made a living at scoring just slightly more than they gave up. They didn't score much which meant that the 2.39 GA/g was exactly what they needed. So far this season they're almost at a full 3 per game while only scoring 2.46 a game. It's not the worst in the league, but If we can't generate goals then preventing them has to be a bigger priority as is typical of a Dave Tippett coached team. 

Find some sort of identity: If there's one identifiable trend with this year's edition of the Coyotes it's that there's no real identifiable trend. 11 games in and each game has looked so different from previous versions that there's no clear picture of what this team is. If there was one thing that's been consistent is that they give up a lot of shots. That's really it. No one is coming out as the obvious offensive or defensive leader, everyone is just... average. 

Bryzzie Still has it: I guess one other trend is that Ilya Bryzgalov is still doing everything that he did last year. A lack of goal scoring has hampered things in the win column, but a .920 SV% is nothing to scoff at. He's looked good most of the time and great the rest of it. Not many soft goals on the big Russian this time around. 

Key Players


Martin Hanzal

#11 / Center / Phoenix Coyotes

6-6

228

Feb 20, 1987


His return to the lineup last game was huge. While he may not have been the goalscorer, a couple of assists and solid penalty kill and defensive play brought a lot of little things back to the ice. 


James Neal

#18 / Left Wing / Dallas Stars

6-2

205

Sep 03, 1987


I still dislike the guy. Remember that one hit that one time on Petr Prucha? No? Well I do. Boooooo.

Injuries


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

NULL SET



Dallas Stars Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Stephane Robidas other-excused 10/30/2010
X
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