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Montreal Canadiens vs Phoenix Coyotes preview: last meeting of the season

For the final time of the regular season the Phoenix Coyotes face off against the Montreal Canadiens at Arena.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Coyotes are still fighting for a playoff spot and despite some losses, they are still within one point of 8th place in the West. With such a competitive division, the Coyotes desperately need to string together some wins and two points tonight will definitely help.

Matchup at a Glance

Montreal Canadiens

Phoenix Coyotes


77 (3rd in the East)

67 (9th in the West)

Goals Per Game

2.48 (20th)

2.68 (16th)

Goals Against Per Game

2.41 (8th)

2.82 (20th)

Power Play Percentage

19.2 (14th)

20.3 (10th)

Penalty Kill Percentage

84.9 (4th)

79.4 (27th)

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal has been one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference this season and they are currently ready to play their third game in a four-game road trip in the Western Conference. Since the Olympic break, they have a 3-1-1 record with wins coming against top teams: Penguins, Maple Leafs and Ducks.

Perhaps the biggest potential problem for the Canadiens going forward is the fact that Carey Price came back from the Olympics with not just a Gold Medal but a lower-body injury. He has yet to play since the season restarted and with Montreal acquiring Devan Dubnyk from Nashville, it is possible he may be out longer than anticipated.

Phoenix Coyotes

Phoenix managed to pull out a win at home on Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks ending a four-game losing streak which saw them drop games to the Blues, Jets, Avalanche and Stars. They managed to win that game by playing the style of Coyotes hockey fans have come to expect from them over the years: low scoring, keeping their opponents shots to the outside, great goaltending and capitalizing on their opponents mistakes. Antoine Vermette continues to impress scoring the Coyotes lone goal of the evening and leading the team in faceoff percentage winning 65 percent.

Keys to the Game

Discipline. The Coyotes did not take a single penalty in their last game. This is a stark contrast to prior games which saw the Coyotes take stupid penalties that killed their momentum and/or allowed the other team to score. Staying out of the box is the best way for the Yotes to win.

Score first. In their past two games, the Coyotes scored first and it allowed them to control the play for most of those games. While it didn't work out the first time, the second time it was paramount to them winning the game.

Don't let up no matter what. No matter what the Coyotes need to play a full 60-minute game. If they score first they need to keep up the pressure, if the Canadiens score first they need to keep going and not give up.

Likely Starting Goaltender

Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes



Mar 22, 1982

2013 - Mike Smith 52 3017 21 18 137 2.72 1582 1445 .913 3

Mike Smith did not allow a struggling Vancouver team to score on Tuesday, and though a lot of that has to do with the Coyotes quality defensive showing, he still managed to make a few nifty saves when he needed to.

New Player to Watch

Martin Erat

#10 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes



Aug 29, 1981

G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Martin Erat 1 23 24 1 22

The biggest move that the Phoenix Coyotes made before the trade deadline was going out and acquiring winger Martin Erat from the Washington Capitals for Rostislav Klesla and Chris Brown. Although he didn't get a chance to practice with the team on Wednesday, expect Erat to give a little extra his first game with the Coyotes in the hopes of impressing the coaching staff and his fellow teammates.


Derek Morris took a stick to the face in the Coyotes last game against the Vancouver Canucks causing him to sit out most of the game, however he did practice with the team on Wednesday and should play. Martin Hanzal is still listed as day to day with a lower-body injury.

Montreal's starting goaltender has been out since the Olympics. Michael Bournival and Brandon Prust are also both out with a concussion and an upper-body injury respectively.

Puck Drop

Puck drop will be tonight at 7 p.m. at Arena and will be airing on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and on the radio at KMVP 860 AM.