Playing for pride is all that's left for the Phoenix Coyotes, but if Wednesday night's victory over San Jose is any indication, the Desert Dogs still feel like they have a lot to show folks. For the fans, there will be the usual array of giveaways and fan-oriented arena fun, and hopefully one last victory on home ice to send fans into another off-season of ownership fun and excitement.
For the Avs, there is absolutely nothing to play for - they will finish 29th in the league this year, last in the West and only ahead of Florida in the East. After coming somewhat close to the playoffs last year, the Avs were looking to take the next step and return to the postseason during the shortened season, but injuries and all of the other issues that seemed to plague the Coyotes doomed them to this fairly disappointing finish.
This is the third meeting between the Avs and 'Yotes with Phoenix taking the first two match-ups by scores of 3-2 in overtime at Colorado and 4-0 in Glendale.
Five For Winning
1. Put On a Show. It's the final home game of the season (and possibly the final home game in Phoenix, maybe), so it would be nice to go out with a bang...like a 7 goal outpouring or something.
2. Get a #1? Despite the general disappointment of the season, Mike Smith is actually tied for first in the league with 5 shutouts; adding a 6th for the top spot would be pretty sweet.
3. Who is the scoring leader? Shane Doan leads the team with 26 points, but Keith Yandle and Mikkel Boedker are right behind him with 25 each, Radim Vrbata has 24, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson has 23. Can Doan hold off the younger guys through the final two games?
4. Play For a Spot. Chris Conner, Alexandre Bolduc, and Rob Klinkhammer (maybe to a lesser degree) are each trying to show the management that they deserve to be here in the fall. Conner's been the most impressive recently, but whether they will be this year's Gilbert Brule remains to be seen.
5. Win. For the fans, just because.
Players to Watch
#19 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes
Oct 10, 1976
|2012 - Shane Doan||46||13||13||26||6||35||0||0||2||127|
#92 / Left Wing / Colorado Avalanche
Nov 23, 1992
|2012 - Gabriel Landeskog||34||9||7||16||-3||22||0||3||1||106|
Doaner's had a lot of success against the Avs this year with a few goals (including the OT game winner), a few assists and some general feisty play. Landeskog is just a fun kid to watch play even if he isn't scoring as much as I would've expected.
Likely Starting Goalies
#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes
Mar 22, 1982
|2012 - Mike Smith||33||1891||15||12||80||2.54||910||830||.912||5|
#35 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche
May 16, 1977
|2012 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere||17||852||5||4||39||2.75||438||399||.911||0|
Can't imagine it's not Smitty for the 'Yotes. Varlamov and Giguere seem to be exchanging starts recently, so we'll go with J-S.
Rob Klinkhammer (concussion) - day-to-day
Derek Morris (lower body) - day-to-day
Erik Johnson (wrist) - day-to-day