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Coyotes at Maple Leafs - Game #34 Preview - We're Just Visiting

Just in case there was any confusion amongst the general hockey public, this is only a brief stop in Ontario. We're not staying. Just wanted to clear that up real quick like. Your Phoenix Coyotes will take on the oft schizophrenic Toronto Maple Leafs in their only meeting of the year. As one would expect the media is swirling with the boys in town what with all the mess over the summer and now the impending sale. I would think that by this point the guys aren't going to be influenced by that much and can hopefully just focus on the game and prevent what happened on Monday from occurring again.

Toronto has been up and down in the standings this year getting off to a terrible start. Though as of late they've really turned their game up a few notches and have climbed back within reach of a playoff spot. The Leafs are 7-3-0 over the last 10 games and have won the last five games they've played at Air Canada Centre (re? Really?) The Coyotes aren't too shabby themselves at this point with a 6-3-1 over the last ten, but the Coyotes need to improve on their road record. treading water at 7-7-2 is alright, but if we want to make a push in the standings we need to collect more road points.

Five for Winning

Bryz Needs to be Solid Early
At the beginning of the Detroit game Ilya Bryzgalov was "fighting the puck" as Tyson Nash repeatedly stated on the broadcast. He was all over the place and didn't seem to have vision of the puck at all with 2 of the 3 goals against beaing really awful goals. He needs to be the anteater and collect any and all pucks in his vicinity early on to get his confidence up. Though if his behavior in the locker room with the media today was any indication, hes loose and hopefully ready to go.

Test Toskala Early
Vesa Toskala has been suspect in goal for the Leafs at the best of times this year. Toronto fans go back and forth on wanting to drive him out of town with pitchforks and then loving him and wondering who the heck the new goalie in net is when he does well. Hopefully we see swiss cheese Toskala and not not the one doing flips to make saves.

See Just How Truculent the Leafs Are
Truculence was one of the buzzwords that seemed to stick on this now Brian Burke built team. THe idea was that they were going to be a really tough group of guys to play against. While at times the Leafs have shown spurts of that toughness, they've also had a great deal of games where they simply get pushed around. Not only that, but the Coyotes seem to have their best games when they are out there hitting. We need to get out there and put the body on a few guys early to set the tone.

The Curse of the Toronto Born Player
According to many Toronto fans the worst thing in the world is to have a Toronto born or Toronto traded player come back to play against them. It's very often a harbinger that the player will score a couple goals or do something else spectacular against them. Well tonight resident "enforcer" Paul Bissonette gets to play his first game in front of his family in Toronto. Already SkinnyFish of Pension Plan Puppets said:

Since Bissonette is a fighter, I’m calling the Gordie Howe hattrick for him tonight. Book it. Done.

We'll see soon SkinnyFish.

Do the Small Things Right
We couldn't get anything going against the Wings on Monday. Our Faceoffs were awful, we turned the puck over all the freakin' time. It was UGLY. Those are typically the things that we've had locked down that have helped us win so far this year. We win the faceoffs and control the puck. We've been pretty responsible in our own zone and kept teams from entering cleanly. Hopefully the practice that Tippett had them run through yesterday reenforced that as we just have to get back to basics.


Key Players

Radim Vrbata

#17 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes



Jun 13, 1981

Had a laser to beat Jimmy Howard on Monday and leads the team in goals. It seems like his scoring touch from a few years ago hadn't completely evaporated and the move to get him fro Todd Fedoruk and David Hale was a great one.

Matt Stajan

#14 / Center / Toronto Maple Leafs



Dec 19, 1983

In case you didn't know he's the Leafs #1 Center. Seriously. I expect hate mail just for talking about this. Check out Bloge Salming for more information about this.


The Owie List

Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kurt Sauer head 10/07/2009

Toronto Maple Leafs Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Colton Orr eye 12/16/2009

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mike Van Ryn knee 09/30/2009
John Mitchell knee 11/24/2009
Carl Gunnarsson elbow 12/01/2009