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Arizona Coyotes look for a follow-up win versus Winnipeg Jets

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After a hard fought victory in Montreal the Coyotes return to the original home of the franchise, as they face off against the Atlanta Thrashers Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For the first time this season the Coyotes head to their own home and face off against the Winnipeg Jets. Both teams are currently fighting for playoff spots in their respective divisions, and could really use a win tonight.

Arizona Coyotes

Winnipeg Jets

Points

21 (3rd Pacific)

20 (6th Central)

Goals For

53 (13th)

54 (10th)

Goals Against

56 (6th)

62 (4th)

Power Play

13.5% (29th)

15.9% (23rd)

Penalty Kill

82.2% (12th)

80.5% (17th)

5v5 Corsi For

47.8% (26th)

51.4% (11th)

PDO

101.4 (6th)

100 (17th)


View from Arizona

The Coyotes have been a mixed bag of very good and very bad all season. Last night was one of the good nights.

Arizona avoided the slow starts, inconsistent goaltending, and overreliance on rookies to score that have plagued their losses. The Coyotes even managed to score a rare power play goal, pretty good for the now-second worst power play unit in the league.

If you had told most people that the Coyotes would be contending for a playoff spot before the start of the season people would have thought you were crazy. But thanks to some solid wins and an extremely weak Pacific Division, the Coyotes are currently holding on to the Pacific Division's third playoff spot. Granted it seems very likely the Anaheim Ducks will move up at some point, and the Central is likely to take both playoff spots, but as of right now the Yotes are surprising the experts and competing.

View from Winnipeg

For the Winnipeg perspective make you check out the awesome site Arctic Ice Hockey.

Last season the Jets made it to the playoffs for the first time since moving North, but with the way things are going now they aren't going to return this year. They are currently 6th in the stacked Central Division with 20 points and very much fighting for a wild-card spot.

Despite a good October the Jets are having a terrible November. They have won only two games this season and have lost four games against division rivals, including a 7-0 loss to the Nashville Predators last Saturday. In their last nine games this season they have been outscored 35 to 19,  with their only wins coming against the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Keys to the Game

  • Start strong. The Coyotes managed to break their recent trend of forfeiting the first goal and playing from behind. Hopefully it was the first of many games where they score first.
  • Offense from the vets. For most of the year the Coyotes have relied on the rookies and they have been more then up to the task. Lately we have been getting more points from veterans, Shane Doan, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal have combined for 14 points from the past five games.
  • Goaltending. Mike Smith seems to have earned the starter role back, and has had some solid games recently. This trend needs to continue if the Coyotes are going to stay in the playoff race.

Injury Report

For the Yotes, Steve Downie is still questionable with an upper body injury and Niklas Grossmann and Joe Vitale are still on the injured reserve list with a lower body injury and a fractured orbital bone respectively.

For Winnipeg, Grant Clitsome is on the injured reserve list with a back injury. Blake Wheeler was hit in the face with a shot from Dustin Byfuglien during a practice on Friday and is questionable for tonight's game.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game is at 5PM Arizona time in Winnipeg and will air on Fox Sports Arizona and ESPN PHX 620 AM. That's just after the end of the Territorial Cup, so be sure to tune in after the game is over!