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A Philly freeze-out

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The Coyotes start the second half of the season in Philadelphia looking to end a six game losing streak. But can they beat mother nature?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Coyotes start play again Tuesday night as the season's longest roadtrip continues in Philadelphia. With snow preparing to ravage the Eastern Seaboard, the Yotes hope to end their own personal cold streak.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes Philadelphia Flyers
Points 37 (6th Pacific) 45 (5th Metropolitan)
Goals per game 2.22 (28th) 2.69 (t-18th)
Goals against per game 3.33 (29th) 2.94 (t-23rd)
Power play 21.5 (7th) 23.0 (5th)
Penalty kill 76.0 (26th) 74.4 (t-27th)
5v5 Corsi for* 48.8 (t-22nd) 48.8 (t-22nd)
PDO* 97.1 (30th) 99.3 (t-22nd)

*courtesy waronice.com

The View from Arizona

The Coyotes didn't end the first half of the season well. At all. Losers of six straight games, including the opening three games of this eight game roadie, the All Star break came at a good time, giving the Coyotes a chance to catch their breath and try to come up with a plan for the rest of the season.

Scoring has been an issue recently for the Coyotes, as they have tallied only nine goals during the losing streak and managed only five goals in the three road tilts to start this trip. With leading scorer Mikkel Boedker on the shelf for a few more weeks with a lacerated spleen, Arizona will need contributions from further down the lineup. Lucas Lessio scored his first career goal last Tuesday in Chicago, the only highlight in a snuff film disguised as a sporting event.

The Coyotes will likely turn once more to the beleaguered Mike Smith. Smith actually performed very well against the Blackhawks, all things considered. He may have allowed six goals, but it easily could have been 10 or 11 as Smith made some fantastic saves, stopping 45 of 51 shots. Yes, 51 shots and if Chicago hadn't been on cruise control in the third, that number would have easily been over 60. The Coyotes recalled Mike McKenna before the break and he should get some game action on this trip, but Smitty will likely have the pipes tonight.

The View from Philadelphia

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The Flyers enter play 12 points out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. Despite having two of the NHL's three leading point producers in the lineup, Philly has struggled this season. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek have been great, but the rest of Philly's lineup hasn't. R.J. Umberger hasn't been able to replicate the performance of the player he was traded for, Scott Hartnell. Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read haven't played at the same level they did in 2014, and Sean Couturier hasn't taken the next step in his development.

The Flyers are 3-4-0 in their last seven games. They did start off this current five game homestand in a big way with a 3-2 overtime win over their hated rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins. That game wasn't without controversy, with 81 combined penalty minutes and a nasty hit from Zac Rinaldo that resulted in an eight game suspension yesterday.

The Flyers will likely turn to Ray Emery in net, especially with Chris Mason on the injured list. Emery's numbers aren't great this season, as he has posted a 3.27 goals against with .890 save percentage in 19 games. He is 2-2 in four starts against the Coyotes with a 2.76 gaa and a .890 sv%.

Keys to the Game

  1. Defense. The Coyotes allowed 51 shots against Chicago. That's way too many. The poor defense gave Mike Smith no chance. Giroux and Voracek will feast on a defensive performance like that.
  2. Discipline. The Flyers have an awesome power play. The Coyotes penalty kill is not awesome. Stay out of the box and don't let Philly get free chances.
  3. Depth. The Coyotes need to start getting scoring from the whole lineup. With Boedker out, Tobias Rieder, Kyle Chipchura, Lauri Korpikoski, and David Moss need to up their game.

Who's Hot

For Arizona, it's Oliver Ekman-Larsson. OEL had a good showing at All Star weekend in Columbus. He did well in the skills relay, weaving through the mini pucks with ease. He scored on both his chances in the shootout relay. He had one assist in the game proper, even if he and defense partner Dustin Byfuglien were both -5. Hopefully his experience grows his game even more.

Jakub Voracek had a huge All Star game. He had 3 goals and 3 assists in the game, and his imitation of Ryan Johansen's breakaway move was the comedic highlight of the weekend.

Injury Report

The Coyotes will be without Mikkel Boedker, who is now missing his spleen. They will also likely miss Zbynek Michalek, who is questionable with an upper-body injury.

The Flyers will be without Chris Mason, who is week to week with a lower body injury. The Flyers are also without Kimmo Timonen, who hasn't played all year due to blood clots. Joining Timonen on IR are defensemen Niklas Grossman and Braydon Coburn, as well as center Scott Laughton, out with a concussion. Zac Rinaldo will not play after the above-mentioned suspension, and Philadelphia also may miss blueliner Nick Schultz, who missed the last game with an upper body injury and is questionable for Tuesday.

Puck Drop

The game is scheduled to start at 5 PM Arizona time. It will air on Fox Sports Arizona and will be heard on 620 ESPN Radio AM. That is unless the snow causes changes. Stay tuned.