LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20: Antoine Vermette #50 of the Phoenix Coyotes and Slava Voynov #26 of the Los Angeles Kings battle for the puck in the third period in Game Four of the Western Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Two days ago the Phoenix Coyotes handily avoided being eliminated by the LA Kings with a 2-0 victory in Los Angeles. If the Coyotes are going to stave off elimination again they are going to need to win tonight, remember everyone that the series isn't over until a team wins four. Some of the sports pessimists will point out that the Kings have not lost on the road during these playoffs and they have yet to lose twice to a team, but the sports optimist will counter that that just means that they are do for a lose tonight. In order to get the win tonight the team is going to need Mike Smith to play strong again and someone is going to need to step up and be the hero like their captain Shane Doan did last game, and if they play like they did Sunday I can see it happening. Despite playing last game Adrian Aucoin will be a game time decision this game as well, he was good but it looked like he is still dealing with his unknown injury.
Five For Winning
1. Special Teams. The penalty kill on Sunday was perfect not letting the Kings get a power play goal, but their power play unit also came to play getting the first goal. Hopefully the Yotes can do it again, the power play goal was the game winner last time, no reason it can't be the same this time.
2. Shoot everything. The Coyotes have started trying some different strategies for getting pucks past Jonathan Quick, they used a rebound and a shot off the faceoff last game, and by doing this they learned that they can get something past Quick. The only thing they need to do is do that more, hopefully Quick isn't going to be a wall tonight.
3. Keep the Kings to the outside. The Kings are going to get into the Coyotes zone, its a fact of hockey. They are also going to shoot on Smith, the important part is going to be keeping them to the outside so they don't get quality shots off and they don't get any rebound opportunities.
4. Win the faceoffs. The Coyotes were great doing this during the first two series but they haven't had the control of the dots that they need to succeed during this series. If they can control the faceoffs then they are going to be able to control the flow of the game.
5. Just win. I don't care if someone has to take off their skate and stab Dustin Brown with it, Happy Gilmore joke please nobody stab anybody, but we just need the team to find some way to pull out a victory tonight.
Players To Watch
|2011 - Ray Whitney||24||53||77||26||28|
Ray Whitney hasn't shined during this series like we need him to but he did get an assist on Doaner's power play goal. Hopefully that's a sign that The Wizard ready to get things going offensively.
|2011 - Anze Kopitar||25||51||76||12||20|
Anze Kopitar is a great player and incredibly annoying. The Coyotes need to neutralize him if they want to win tonight.
|2011 - Mike Smith||67||3903||38||18||144||2.21||2066||1922||.930||8|
Smitty isn't superstitious so he was able to use that word that described what he did on Sunday. I am superstitious though so it would be nice if something like that happened again.
|2011 - Jonathan Quick||69||4099||35||21||133||1.95||1863||1730||.929||10|
Sunday proved one thing to us all, Quick can be beaten.
Phoenix Coyotes Injuries
|Player||Injury Type||Injury Date|
Los Angeles Kings Injuries
Remember to come back tonight for the Game Day Thread and possible post game coverage depending on how things go.