With Division Title in Reach, Coyotes Visit Wild In Regular Season Finale

Mar 6, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) gives up a goal to the Phoenix Coyotes during the second period at the Scottrade Center. The Coyotes defeated the Blues 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

End of the regular season road for everyone tonight as the Phoenix Coyotes venture into Minnesota for their eighty-second game. One of only two teams with a back to back it hopefully won't have much of an effect on the Coyotes as it's just an hour flight to face the Wild.

Both teams are playing very well right now despite being on different postseason paths. The Wild are likely looking at a lottery pick, but in the last Five games are 4-0-1. The Coyotes though are similarly streaking as in the last 4 they're 4-0-0 and have given up only one goal. This isn't going to be an easy game in the least.

The Coyotes definitely have the edge in motivation though. They're looking to lock up their first division banner as a franchise and get the 3 seed. The good news is that if they do it will not be a matchup with Detroit again thanks to their game earlier with Chicago. The Blackhawks are squarely in the 6th seed now. Any kind of win will do as well. Their seeding is completely in their own hands tonight, all they have to do is win.

Five for Winning

Do NOT Treat this like an easy game - Sure, the Wild may be a lottery team at this point, but much like the Blue Jackets this season they haven't exactly been an easy out. Play the same game you would against any other opponent and shut them down.

Don't let the pressure of the title get to you - In big games the Coyotes sometimes have a tendency to gip the stick too tight and wind them selves up so much that the goals and defense just fall apart. Stay loose and natural.

Count on Mike Smith, but you know, help a little - Last night was a huge improvement on the previous games where it was just open season for shooting on Smitty. 30 shots is much better than 54. The Wild are not the most offensively powered team, but they do have Dany Heatley and I'm sure some other guys too. So give him a bit of a break.

Take advantage of mistakes - Just like always. Last night every time the Blues had a small breakdown the Coyotes pounced. Odd man rushes, finding open guys in the slot, lots of opportunites opened up. Do the same against the Wild and this game won't be a problem.

Whatever you do, don't get hurt - Sure Division banners are important and good, however if the team isn't healthy going into round 1 that'll be a big deal. For the love of god do not get hurt on some stupid fluke play.

Key Players


Mikkel Boedker

#89 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

5-11

195

Dec 16, 1989


With a goal and an assist last night Boedker really showed how he can be a special player. If he can be another gy for the team can rely on for offense heading into the playoffs that would be a huge boost.


Mikko Koivu

#9 / Center / Minnesota Wild

6-2

200

Mar 12, 1983


On a bad Minnesota team he's one of 6 players that are actually a + in +/- and the highest by far at +11. Basically when he's on the ice good things happen for the Wild. The Coyotes need to be paying attention when he's on the ice.

Starting Goalies


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Mike Smith 66 3843 37 18 143 2.23 2042 1899 .930 8


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Niklas Backstrom 45 2530 19 17 101 2.40 1271 1170 .921 4

Injuries


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

No Injuries.



Minnesota Wild Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Pierre-Marc Bouchard groin 01/05/2012
Mike Lundin sports-hernia 02/17/2012
Guillaume Latendresse concussion 12/15/2011


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