Gametime: 4:30 PT - FSN Arizona and XTRA 910 AM (On TSN in Canada and NHL Net in the US)
Tonight our Phoenix Coyotes finally play their second game with a chance to do something no other Pacific Division team has yet to do. Win a second game. The task won't be helped by the fact that we get to face Evgeni Malkin and some other guy as the Defending Stanley Cup Champions. We also get featured on NHL Network here in the US and on TSN in Canada. If we ever wanted to make a statement and shut up some announcers that will inevitably mention the summer issues at length tonight now is the time.
The Coyotes are coming off of a big season opening win against the Kings in which they scored goals in just about every way concievable. Garbage goals, turnovers, straight slapshots. THey had everything going except for the penalty kill. That could be big tonight as the Penguins powerplay has done well so far this season, especially with the talented scorers they have. Know it has been a weakness though, Dave Tippett and the rest of the coaching staff has been working hard to get the Kill in order in preparation. Luckily they've had 4 days off to work on it.
Five for Winning
KILL IT! - As already mentioned, the Penalty Kill was terrible Coach Tippett said the other day that The first two parts of the penalty kill were to not get penalties and to have a good goal tender, which we did. We only took 4 penalties and Ilya Bryzgalov played pretty well, but on 3 of those 4 chances we couldn't manage to cover our men or clear the puck. That has got to improve to win tonight.
Keep up that good effort - The Coyotes worked their tails off diving for pucks, blocking shots, doing everything they could to keep possession. Leading in puck possession time tonight would be great as that means less Penguin scoring chances.
Nice Saves. - Bryz got a couple assists from the posts against the Kings, but even without those he was making some great saves out there. If he can keep up the effort and have the PK be stronger we'll have a good chance tonight.
Vrbata got going. - After having a bad experience in Tampa Bay and going to play in the Czech Republic Vrbata got things going right in game one with two nice goals. Having him and other players going early will be a big key to this team being successful.
Who Cares? - The Penguins may be defending champs, but so what? New season, blank records and a mostly new team. We can't let the fact that the Pens won the Cup influence our play at all. We still have to do those fundamental things that got us the win in LA. Protect the lines, play solid defense and hit them when they touch our puck.