Wild @ Coyotes Preview: When Losing Streaks Meet

Something has to give on Thursday evening in Glendale when the Phoenix Coyotes and Minnesota Wild. Both teams who have struggled lately will meet up. The Wild are clinging to faint playoff hopes, while the Yotes hoping to avoid being in the same position in a couple of weeks time. On paper this game is the easiest of the three games in the Coyotes upcoming home stand. Of course, on paper Phoenix should have beaten the Columbus Blue Jackets at least twice this season. The Wild are dealing with a slew of injuries as well as trade deadline moves that appeared to hurt their blueline. The Coyotes have no excuses in this one. They need to come out and dominate a team short of NHL bodies and confidence.

Five For Winning

1. Score early in the 1st period. The Yotes badly need some confidence. An early goal would help.

2. Don't give up multiple goals in the 1st period. Not rocket science this one.

3. Limit odd man breaks and turnovers. As seemingly everyone has said over the past few days mistakes are killing Phoenix right now.

4. Special teams. The Wild's power play is almost as bad the Yotes. The Dogs need to make sure at minimum the special teams numbers stay even. If the Coyotes aren't going to score on the man advantage they need to make sure the Wild do the same.

5. Bring energy for 60 minutes. This is where a guy like Kyle Chipchura is missed most. This also relates to #2. The team has to find a way to engaged earlier in games.

Key Players

Radim Vrbata

#17 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

6-1

190

Jun 13, 1981

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2011 - Radim Vrbata 67 30 25 55 20 22 7 1 10 200

The Coyotes need to score goals right now and there has been no one better at doing that this season than Vrby. He hasn't scored a goal in the last 7 games. He's due.

Dany Heatley

#15 / Left Wing / Minnesota Wild

6-4

220

Jan 21, 1981

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2011 - Dany Heatley 67 20 26 46 2 22 6 0 3 203


The former Sharks buried the puck a fair amount against the Yotes back when he was in San Jose. He had a goal for the Wild in the game in Glendale last December and he's the most skilled forward on the Minnesota roster.

Likely Starting Goalies

Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-4

215

Mar 22, 1982

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Mike Smith 54 3104 29 17 120 2.32 1591 1471 .925 4

Smith should feel rested after his brief appearance in Tuesday nights tilt in Columbus. While his GAA has gone up recently his play, minus his wandering outside the trapezoid, has been steady. The problem has been the defensive breakdowns, turnovers, and odd man rushes his teammates has been creating.

Josh Harding

#37 / Goalie / Minnesota Wild

6-1

197

Jun 18, 1984

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Josh Harding 27 1451 9 10 69 2.85 769 700 .910 1

We're not certain whether Wild coach Mike Yeo will go with Harding youngster Matt Hackett on Thursday. Hackett started the Wild's game in Colorado on Tuesday, but was pulled after giving up 4 goals. He was replaced by Harding. Harding has played a bit more than expected this season due to Niklas Backstrom's groin issues.

Update (3/8/12 12:00pm) : Jason Labarbera will start for the Coyotes. Wild beat writer Michael Russo is reporting Harding will start.

Injuries

Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
David Schlemko foot 01/08/2012
Derek Morris groin 02/12/2012
Rostislav Klesla other-excused 02/17/2012
Kyle Chipchura wrist 02/19/2012

Minnesota Wild Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Cal Clutterbuck other-illness 03/07/2012
Justin Falk leg 03/07/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Clayton Stoner other-excused 02/03/2012
Mikko Koivu shoulder 02/16/2012
Pierre-Marc Bouchard groin 01/05/2012
Mike Lundin other-excused 02/17/2012
Guillaume Latendresse concussion 12/15/2011
Jarod Palmer other-excused 12/31/2011


For more information head over to Hockey Wilderness.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Five For Howling

You must be a member of Five For Howling to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Five For Howling. You should read them.

Join Five For Howling

You must be a member of Five For Howling to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Five For Howling. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker