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Arizona Coyotes attempt to turn the page against the Boston Bruins

After several notable moves at the end of the week, the Arizona Coyotes will try and find a way to win at home against the Boston Bruins.

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Sitting at 2nd to last in the Western Conference, the Arizona Coyotes decided that enough is enough and made several roster changes to try and change their fortunes. The first test of this Coyotes team will be tonight against the Boston Bruins.

Boston Bruins Arizona Coyotes
Points 29 (5th Atlantic) 23 (6th Pacific)
Goals Per Game 2.41 (22nd) 2.30 (24th)
Goals Against Per Game 2.59 (13th) 3.11 (25th)
Power Play Percentage 17.2% (20th) 20.2% (15th)
Penalty Kill Percentage 78.6% (22nd) 77.3% (24th)
5v5 Fenwick Close Percentage 51.95% (9th) 46.09% (27th)
PDO 99.31 (19th) 98.05 (28th)

View from Boston

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The Boston Bruins have undoubtedly been hurt by long-term injuries to Zdeno Chara and David Krejci, but that doesn't really tell the whole story of this team. Offensively, the Bruins are struggling to score goals: Brad Marchand currently leads the team with just six. That lack of offensive production has hurt them on this four game Pacific Division road trip during which they've gone 0-3-0 while scoring six goals and giving up twelve.

Boston still has several potent players in their lineup that could turn their fortunes around. Patrice Bergeron leads the team in points with five goals and thirteen assists, and remains a perennial contender for the Selke Trophy. Carl Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton have both stepped up admirably in the absence of major lineup cogs. And the ever dangerous Tuukka Rask remains the team's netminder.

View from Arizona

To say the Coyotes have disappointed would be a significant understatement. The team is currently dueling with the Edmonton Oilers for the right to be called worst in the West. After a listless 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, the Coyotes' brass decided enough is enough.

General Manager Don Maloney traded depth forward Rob Klinkhammer and a pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Phillip Samuelsson. He also placed forward Kyle Chipchura on waivers, assigned defenseman David Schlemko to the AHL, and called up defenseman Andrew Campbell and forward Jordan Martinook. While the core team remains intact, these moves undoubtedly were meant to both shakeup a lackluster roster and send a shot across the bow that underperformance was unacceptable.

The number of players who need to be better is quite large, unfortunately. Mikkel Boedker and Antoine Vermette continue to have down years, while Sam Gagner has not been able to replace the offense the team lost with the departures of Mike Ribeiro and Radim Vrbata. Tonight will be the first test of a revamped lineup.

Keys to the Game

  • Play With Something to Prove - Management's moves this week prove that the team's play this season has not been good enough. This should be the hardest fought, highest intensity game the Coyotes play all season.
  • Don't Be Stupid - That being said, there are plenty of guys on the Bruins who specialize in getting people in trouble. Milan Lucic is the obvious example, but players like Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are perfectly capable of mixing it up as well if needed. Play a hard game, but play a smart one.
  • Kick Them When They're Down (metaphorically) - Boston has not played well on this road trip. Their defense does not look good and their offense is having a hard time scoring goals. If the Coyotes can play with energy and speed, they can beat this team.

Who's Hot

Nobody is particularly hot on the Bruins right now, but Reilly Smith did pot a pair of goals in Thursday night's 7-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

For the Coyotes, the best player on the ice has almost unanimously been Tobias Rieder. He has three goals in his last five games, and has been a spark plug for an otherwise lethargic looking offense.

Injury Report

As noted above, the Bruins are without Zdeno Chara (knee) and David Krejci (groin) for the foreseeable future. Adam McQuaid (thumb) is also out for the next several weeks. The only other injury to really note is David Warsofsky (groin), who has resumed practicing but is not yet cleared to play.

Arizona will continue to be without Brandon Gormley, who is on IR. However, both David Moss and Connor Murphy could return to tonight's action. They are both game-time decisions.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game begins at 6 PM in what is assuredly going to be a raucous and split crowd at Gila River Arena. You can watch the game at home on Fox Sports Arizona or listen on Arizona Sports 620 AM.