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Phoenix Coyotes @ Pittsburgh Penguins preview: Bounce-back game

Coyotes and Penguins meet for the second and final time this season tonight in Pittsburgh.

The Phoenix Coyotes (34-26-12) enter tonight's contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins (46-20-5) having lost the night before against the New York Rangers 4-3 in overtime. Tonight however, the Coyotes and Penguins faceoff for the second and final time this season. The Coyotes won the first game 3-1 back on February 1 at Arena.

Statistics Phoenix Coyotes Pittsburgh Penguins
Points 80 (4th Pacific) 97 (1st Metropolitan)
Corsi For% 50.1% 49.2%
Goals For% 49.2% 55.4%
Power Play 20.9% 24.1%
Penalty Kill 79.8% 86%

Phoenix Coyotes

Monday's game in New York was a tough loss for the the Coyotes, as goaltender Mike Smith left the game in the dying minutes of the third period, after Derick Brassard fell on his right leg. Thomas Greiss took over for Smith, but the Rangers would tie the game and force an overtime period. You have to feel for Greiss. I mean, he hasn't played for more than a month and stepped right into the game with no warmup. It's a tough position to be in, but it's a game you need to put behind you and take the one point you earned.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins enter this game having lost 1-0 to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. Despite peppering Blues goaltender Brian Elliot with 33 shots, the Penguins just couldn't score.

Pittsburgh is also having a tough time winning games. Ever since their home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Flyers about two weeks ago, the Penguins have gone 2-3-1 in that time. Injuries to key players don't help either, and that's something the Penguins are battling.

Keys to the Game

  • Go to the net: If you drive the net, you're bound to score goals. This is something the Coyotes don't do enough of. Last night against the Rangers, the Coyotes scored two of their three goals by rushing to the net. That's something they'll have to do tonight against the Penguins.
  • Watch the turnovers: Turnovers are deadly, and the Coyotes are a team that likes to turn the puck over from time to time. And with Pittsburgh being a fast, skilled team, you don't want to turn the puck over because it could get ugly.
  • Protect the lead: This is something we all talk about: Protecting the lead! How hard can it be? If you score two goals, don't stop trying, score more. It seems two-goal leads are a wicked curse in Yotes land!

Player to Watch

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

#23 / Defenseman / Phoenix Coyotes



Jul 17, 1991

G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Oliver Ekman-Larsson 13 27 40 1 46

Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been on fire as of late. He's really stepped up his offensive side, and has put up seven points in his past six games.

Projected starting Goaltender

Thomas Greiss

#1 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes



Jan 29, 1986

2013 - Thomas Greiss 16 757 7 5 2 30 2.38 384 364 .924 2

Thomas Greiss will get the start for the Coyotes. Greiss has played 16 games this season. In that time he is 7-5-2. Griess will need to be on his A game tonight.

Injury Report

The Coyotes will be without defenseman David Schlemko (foot) and goaltender Mike Smith (right leg).

The Penguins are missing Evgeni Malkin (foot), Kris Letang (stroke), Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), Pascal Dupuis (knee), Chris Conner (hand) and Paul Martin (foot).

Puck Drop

The puck will drop at 4 p.m. Arizona time and can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and heard on KMVP 860 AM.