The Arizona Coyotes and Mike Smith needed a win against the Kings, and though it wasn't easy, they came up on top with a 3-2 win.
Tonight the Coyotes will be facing off against one of the teams in the bottom of the league, as the Edmonton Oilers come to Gila River Arena.
Matchup at a Glance
|Edmonton Oilers||Arizona Coyotes|
|Points||12 (6th Pacific)||17 (3rd Pacific)|
|Goals For||2.69 (15th)||2.80 (T-11th)|
|Goals Against||3.13 (T-26th)||2.87 (T-22nd)|
|Power Play||24.0% (4th)||11.5% (29th)|
|Penalty Kill||78.0% (20th)||82.1% (12th)|
|5v5 Corsi For||48.0% (24th)||47.6% (26th)|
|PDO||98.4 (24th)||101.5 (9th)|
View from Edmonton
For the Edmonton perspective, be sure to check out Copper & Blue
Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Edmonton Oilers are bad this season. They currently sit near the bottom of the Western Conference, in front of only Calgary and Colorado.
The team's fortunes seemed to be changing for the Oilers before this season. They drafted Connor McDavid, brought in Peter Chiarelli to be general manager, Todd McLellan to be the new coach, and Cam Talbot to hopefully end their problems in the crease. They also now have two former Coyotes with Rob Klinkhammer and Lauri Korpikoski. So far none of that has worked.
The Oilers may have proven themselves to be the unluckiest team in the NHL this season. Franchise draft pick Connor McDavid broke his collarbone in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers and is likely to miss a few months. Granted the Oilers are still stacked with talented forwards, but losing McDavid is a serious blow.
View from Arizona
The Coyotes have struggled to find consistency this season, and with back to back wins against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings they have hopefully found what they needed. Tuesday's game also carried an important milestone: Martin Hanzal's first goal of the 2015-16 season.
Despite a small sample size Hanzal has been more than solid this season. He centers Tobias Rieder and Anthony Duclair, two players that have also had great seasons, and the three are currently 13-18-31 with a majority of the assists coming from Hanzal.
The big question mark for tonight's game is going to be who is in goal. Mike Smith has struggled during much of the season but was great against the Kings on Tuesday and kept the team in the game during a few stretches. On the other hand, Anders Lindback looked great against the Anaheim Ducks the night before, stopping 33 of 36 shots for a .917 SV%. If the team is still looking to keep their starter happy Smith will likely be the starter, but the question is which Mike Smith will show up?
Keys to the Game
Start strong. Edmonton is in their second game of a back to back and may be low on energy. The Coyotes can set the tone early on and control the momentum of the game.
Penalty Killing. The Coyotes have allowed the other team to score a power play goal in five of their last six games. It would do well for the Yotes to break that streak.
Protect the goalie. Depending on who gets the start the team needs to do their best to help out their goaltender. Both netminders are coming off of solid outings, but the best way to build momentum is give them easy games.
Players to Watch
Hanzal currently has points in 10 of his 13 games this season and is third in the NHL in assists as of this being written. His two goal game against the Kings was his 4th multi-point game of the season so far.
Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists in the Oilers game last night and has points in all but two of his games with the Oilers this season.
Steve Downie was unable to play against the Kings and is nursing an upper-body injury. Nicklas Grossmann is currently on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and is not expected to return to return, and Joe Vitale is still out with a fractured orbital bone.
Matt Hendricks is questionable tonight with a foot injury, Justin Schultz is on the injured reserve with a back injury, former Coyotes Lauri Korpikoski and Rob Klinkhammer are currently on injured reserve with a head injury and a leg injury respectively, and as mentioned McDavid is out with a broken collarbone.
Puck drop is at Gila River arena at 7PM Arizona time. If you are unable to make it out the game will be on Fox Sports Arizona as well as ESPN 620 AM. This will be the last home game until November 25.