Phoenix Coyotes vs. Pittsburgh Penguins - Game 13 Preview

The Phoenix Coyotes return home after last night's dismal game in Dallas only to face the vaunted Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at 6 local time. As noted in earlier posts, the Coyotes looked terrible last night and nothing was going right. They gave the Stars penalty chances, were out of position constantly and just generally looked like one bad hockey team. Even the things we're normally good at like penalty killing and rotating a forward out when the defense moves up. None of that was going out way at all. Both goalies got roughed up and saw significant time so Ilya Bryzgalov should start tonight. Hopefully the team in front of him can give him a little more support this time out. 

This would be a good time to get things back on track as the Penguins have not had an easy time of things on their Western road trip. They first got blasted in Dallas on Wednesday as they fell 5-2. They were also in action last night as the Ducks won 3-2. The Pens tried to come back in that one after being down 3-0 late in the second, Sidney Crosby scored twice but they couldn't quite find enough to make it happen. Marc-Andre Fleury started that one so we should see "backup" Brent Johnson who actually has a better record than Fleury at 5-1-1 with an amazing .941 sv%. He's going to be tough to beat. Hopefully the Coyotes can dig deep and find a way to win one. 

Five for Winning

Lacking Discipline: I wish I could say it was just the young guys, but the entire team seems to be totally unable to stay out of the penalty box. It's especially bad when they kill their own momentum. Several times they've coughed them up right after they score a goal or after some sustained pressure that sees things start to go their way. All they seem to be doing is shooting themselves in the foot lately. 

PK not showing up: Even worse is that when the team gives up a call the PK has suddenly vanished. Last year it was a staple of the defense that the PK was one of the better units in the league. This year they get caught chasing the puck and just letting the opposition get to places with the puck that they simply shouldn't be getting to so easily. 4 goals on 6 chances? That's just abysmal. 

Defense getting caught: Last year when the defense pinched in to create some play the Coyotes were excellent at rotating out one of the wings to cover for it. This year it seems like the team is getting caught constantly with 4 guys near the goalline. The speed of some of the players covers for it at times but it's become a major issue. 

Return of Poor Passing: This used to be a problem under Gretzky, but it seems to have resurfaced. It's like the guys can't make the right pass at the right time or whoever they're passing to can't recieve it correctly. Either the pass is so light that it never even makes it to the target, it's so hard or off target that the guys can't catch up or It's right on target and the intended recipient just coughs it up or tips it away. It's creating odd man rushes and disrupts the offense with a disturbing frequency. 

Play your position: In addition to being caught on offense the defensemen just seem to be out of position on defense as well. Screening their own goalies, or getting caught on the boards, or as seen last night getting pucks deflected off of them and in against their own team. Get to your spot and play the man. 

Key Players


Wojtek Wolski

#86 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

6-3

210

Feb 24, 1986


He's been benched, had ice time cut at times and still just can't seem to find his game. He's hardly alone in that, but he wanted a bigger role and he hasn't owned that spot yet. Who knows if he even plays tonight...


Zbynek Michalek

#4 / Defenseman / Pittsburgh Penguins

6-2

210

Dec 23, 1982


Z returns to the Desert for the first time since signing with the Pens in the offseason. I don't think anyone really blames him for doing what he thought was best for him, but we miss the guy and know that he liked it here, but didn't like the uncertainty. 

Injuries


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kurt Sauer concussion 09/15/2010


Pittsburgh Penguins Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jordan Staal foot 09/16/2010

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