The last time these two teams met on October 13th, the Phoenix Coyotes won 5-3 in a game that featured a staggering eighteen minor penalties, eleven of which were taken by Coyotes. They will look to sweep the season series in Glendale tonight.
Teams At a Glance
|Carolina Hurricanes||Phoenix Coyotes|
|Points||33 (3rd Metropolitan)||41 (4th Pacific)|
|Goals Per Game||2.27 (25th)||3.19 (4th)|
|Goals Against Per Game||2.73 (T-19th)||3.06 (T-25th)|
|Power Play Percentage||12.8% (27th)||21.5% (7th)|
|Penalty Kill Percentage||81.1% (19th)||77.5% (26th)|
Carolina is at the end of a six game tour of the Western Conference which included stops in Nashville, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary, with a home game against San Jose sandwiched in between. In that stretch, the Canes went a respectable 2-1-2, and have placed themselves in the top three teams in the Metropolitan Division.
More importantly for Carolina, several of their key players are making their way back into the lineup. Cam Ward is back after missing extended time earlier in the season, and Alexander Semin was activated off of IR just a few days ago. The Canes hope that steady goaltending and a little offensive infusion from Semin will help them get ahead in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.
For more on the Carolina Hurricanes, be sure to check out Canes Country.
After a rough stretch in Calgary and Vancouver, the Coyotes have produced two solid victories against the Colorado Avalanche and the New York Islanders. Although the team is still struggling to keep the puck out of their own net, their offensive totals appear to be holding up from the beginning of the year, and the power play remains a tremendous surprise.
The Coyotes do not play at home often this month, and right after this game Phoenix will embark on a trek through Eastern Canada. They would love to earn two more points in their home building before taking their show up North, where they have gone 10-2-2 on the season.
Keys to the Game
- Stay Out of the Box! Apart from their relatively anemic penalty kill, Phoenix's eleven minors against Carolina in their first meeting is a risk the Desert Dogs should not take again. You can't give up power play goals if you aren't shorthanded.
- Tighten Up Defensively. Two of the goals the Coyotes conceded against New York were probably preventable, were it not for the defensemen being caught behind the play and not clearing the shooting lanes quickly enough. Contain the rebounds, stay in front of the offense, and Phoenix will make their job significantly easier.
- Keep Your Distance. After falling behind 1-0, the Coyotes made a heck of an effort coming back, scoring four consecutive goals. Unfortunately, they allowed the Islanders to close the gap to 4-3. Phoenix can't afford to sit back and let the opposing offense take their shots, even if they have the lead.
Players to Watch
#53 / Left Wing / Carolina Hurricanes
May 16, 1992
|2013 - Jeff Skinner||11||9||20||2||10|
Jeff Skinner suffers from OEL Syndrome; his numbers would make him a well known name in the NHL if he didn't play for a Southern market team. His eleven goals this season have also come in just 22 games, a third less than his team has played.
#36 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes
Aug 12, 1986
|2013 - Rob Klinkhammer||7||7||14||15||8|
I think at this point it is safe to say that Rob Klinkhammer is for real. Colonel Klink had his second two-goal game of the season against New York Thursday night. His first? Against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Projected Starting Goaltenders
#30 / Goalie / Carolina Hurricanes
Feb 29, 1984
|2013 - Cam Ward||16||887||5||5||45||3.04||456||411||.901||0|
Although backup netminder Justin Peters is the hot hand right now, Carolina would love to have its #1 starter return to form. Given Peters played Thursday night in Calgary, it's likely that Ward goes tonight in Phoenix.
#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes
Mar 22, 1982
|2013 - Mike Smith||26||1513||14||6||-||76||3.01||842||766||.910||0|
After missing Tuesday night's game against Colorado, Mike Smith turned in a 21 save performance against the Islanders. He is still searching for that elusive first shutout of the season.
Carolina is without the services of defensemen Joni Pitkanen (heel) and Mike Komisarek (lower body), as well as backup Anton Khudobin (lower body), who are all on IR. Both Elias Lindholm (undisclosed) and Brett Bellemore (concussion), are listed as questionable for tonight's game.
The Coyotes will have to continue without their captain Shane Doan, who is out with an as-of-yet undetermined illness. Lauri Korpikoski (upper body) remains on IR, while Derek Morris (personal matter) is still away from the team.
Tonight's game begins in Glendale at 6 PM. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona or listen to the radio broadcast on Arizona Sports 620 AM.