As we've thoroughly discussed, there wasn't much about the first game (save the power play conversions) that we'd like to see oft repeated in this Coyotes season. As the Phoenix Coyotes travel to Texas for this afternoon matinee with the Dallas Stars, they will be looking for a decidedly better defensive showing to help notch their first win of the year.
For the Stars, they are returning home after dropping the second leg of a home-and-home affair with Chicago 5-2, but it will likely be starter Kari Lehtonen returning to the pipes this afternoon. Lehtonen was phenomenal in his opening night win over Chicago, turning aside 37 of the 38 shots he faced.
The Coyotes will likely let Mike Smith try and redeem himself after a less than stellar debut with the Coyotes. The Coyotes also will be without Michal Rozsival who was placed on IR today with an upper body injury after taking a puck to the face in the game at San Jose. Chris Summers has been recalled from Portland, but is unlikely to be in the lineup today as David Schlemko was already with the team and will step in to the 6th D role.Key Players
|2011 - Shane Doan||2||0||2||-1||2|
Happy 35th birthday, Captain Coyote! Now go out there and continue what you started in San Jose...you're on pace for 164 goals and all.
|2011 - Vernon Fiddler||1||0||1||0||0|
Fiddy already has a goal on the season, but it'll be his penalty killing prowess that is most likely to frustrate the Coyotes on the ice today.
Five For Winning
1. Stay outta the box, particularly the defensemen. The Coyotes defense took five penalties on opening night; it's not gonna be pretty if they do that again.
2. Take the play to Dallas at even strength. The Coyotes aren't generally stalwart special teams players, and they did almost nothing in San Jose 5-on-5. This needs to improve quickly.
3. Mike Smith redemption. The fifteen saves in the third period was a step in the right direction and showed the promise that the coaches see in him.
4. More grit. Expect to see a few more minutes of Paul Bissonnette and his fourth line mates, particularly if the Coyotes can keep this one close. Gritty play will be a staple for this team to be successful.
5. Give up less shots. It will be almost unthinkable for the Coyotes to not achieve this, what with 52 shots given up in the first game. Cutting that number in half this afternoon would go a long way towards helping the team pick up their first win.
Gameday thread will be up at its typical time and we'll be following all the action live. Let's Go Coyotes! AWOOOO!!!!