Tonight the Phoenix Coyotes continue their road trip tonight against the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Last night the Yotes played in Vancouver, a game which they won 5-4, so they will be going into the game with some momentum even if they are going to be playing tired. The Desert Dogs have played exceptionally well against the Flames this season, 2-1-0, and are looking to continue moving up in the stands. If the Coyotes win this game they not only maintain their position in the standings but they will be tied with the Division leading Stars who have won more games.
Coming off a win in Vancouver the Coyotes' seem to be turning the month of March around. They started off the month pointless for the first fourth months, but since then they have gotten points in the past four games, including two regulation wins. The Coyotes are currently in 7th in the West and 2nd in the Pacific Division, they are currently 2 points behind Dallas for the Division and 3 points behind Chicago for a 6th place spot. The Coyotes are having problems scoring first, and have been chasing the past few games, although the win last night against Vancouver was the first time this month were they were able to overcome it with a victory.
Since the Flames beat the Coyotes to start out the month of March the two teams seemed to be moving the opposite way. The Flames are 5-1-1 this month and the have won their past four games, including against teams like the Wild who recently beat the Yotes. Currently the Flames are just 3 points out of a playoff spot, and they are playing like a team that really wants into the playoffs, hence their record for the month of March. With a record like that Calgary is going to be playing with confidence, and that confidence makes them dangerous but could also make them overconfident.
Five For Winning
1. Win in regulation. Calgary is a division rival who is a serious contender for the playoff spot currently held by the Coyotes. Letting them get one point tonight is one point more than we can afford to give them.
2. Limit turnovers. Turnovers lead to scoring chances and goals for the opponents.
3. Special Teams. The Coyotes had 3 penalties last night and only killed off one of them successfully. That being said they did get two power play goals, hopefully tonight then can get the power play goals without giving them up.
4. Score first. This has been a major problem for the Yotes, and even though they managed to turn it around last night they don't want to give the streaking Flames that advantage. The Coyotes do not need to spend another 60 minutes chasing the game, and scoring first could prevent that. Also with the Coyotes having played yesterday you gotta imagine that they are going to be tired by the end of the game so a good strong start will give them a buffer and control over the game.
5. Offense from everyone. The good thing about the Vancouver game is lots of different players scored who don't normally score including Antoine Vermette and Oliver Eckman-Larsson. These are players who have potential to score but don't show up on the scoreboard much. The Yotes are going to want to spend another game having everyone shooting the puck
|2011 - Ray Whitney||21||44||65||25||26|
The Wizard Ray Whitney has been playing great lately, getting points in five of the last seven games including 3 assists against Vancouver. Whitney can get goals too, with goals against Pittsburgh and Columbus, so expect him to make a difference tonight.
|2011 - Olli Jokinen||21||37||58||2||48|
Olli Jokinen is the Calgary player who has had the most success against the Coyotes this season. He is the only player who has scored in all three games against the Coyotes, including the game winner during the last game and the only goal on the February 9th game.
|2011 - Mike Smith||57||3289||31||17||128||2.34||1711||1583||.925||5|
Mike Smith may have let four goals in last night but he didn't let the Canucks win the game. He also won two of the three games that the Yotes have won so far this season against Calgary.
|2011 - Miikka Kiprusoff||61||3579||32||19||142||2.38||1787||1645||.921||4|
Only one Calgary goaltender has managed to pull off a win against the Coyotes this season, and that goalie is Miikka Kiprusoff. I have to imagine that he is going to get the start tonight.
Phoenix Coyotes Injuries
Calgary Flames Injuries
Remember to check back here tonight for the game day thread as well as head over to Matchsticks and Gasoline to see their side of the game. This should be an intense game, and hopefully the Coyotes know that and come out strong.