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Coyotes hope for a better fate in Montreal

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After getting pummeled by the Ottawa Senators Saturday afternoon, the Arizona Coyotes will play the Montreal Canadiens.

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A quick turnaround is in store for the Arizona Coyotes after getting thrashed 7-2 by the Ottawa Senators. Less than 24 hours after playing in Kanata, the Coyotes will head to the city with the richest history in the NHL to take on the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes Montreal Canadiens
Points 40 (6th Pacific) 67 (2nd Atlantic)
Goals For 2.24 (T-26th) 2.56 (22nd)
Goals Against 3.35 (29th) 2.23 (1st)
Power Play 21.0% (7th) 16.4% (24th)
Penalty Kill 76.8% (27th) 85.4% (5th)
5v5 Corsi For 48.7% (23rd) 48.5% (24th)
PDO 97.1 (30th) 101.9 (1st)

View from Arizona

It was nice while it lasted. After taking three points out of four in their last two games, the 2014-15 Arizona Coyotes returned, losing 7-2 to Ottawa. They actually outshot the Sens in the game, but their defense was porous and the goaltending was poor.

The goaltending, in particular, will be of interest today, as it is highly possible Coyotes draft pick Louis Domingue gets his first career NHL start. It will be interesting to see if Dave Tippett goes to his young netminder again today. Called up the day before the Ottawa game, Domingue was thrust into action after Mike Smith surrendered five goals yesterday. Domingue would give up two after facing eleven shots in just under a period's worth of work.

The offense, though poor, continues to get points from players that need to get going. Sam Gagner scored again after deflecting a Lauri Korpikoski shot, and Zbynek Michalek managed to score his first goal of the season early on against the Sens. Top Six and defensive goals from players not named Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle are going to be extremely important for the Coyotes going forward.

View from Montreal

The Montreal Canadiens are a team that seemingly should not be as good as they are. Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec are dynamic offensive forces, and P.K. Subban remains one of the best defensemen in the NHL, but outside of those players, Montreal doesn't look that impressive on paper. They don't score a lot, their power play is relatively anemic, and their possession stats are somehow worse than Arizona's.

However, the Canadiens are near the top of the Eastern Conference because of a guy by the name of Carey Price. Price is 27-10-2 on the season with a 2.03 GAA, a .933 SV%, and four shutouts. He should be one of, if not the, frontrunners for the Vezina Trophy this year, and should also be in discussions for the Hart Trophy for league MVP. The team leads the league in PDO largely because of Price's efforts.

Keys to the Game

  • Do What Worked on Thursday - Arizona was responsible defensively and gave Mike Smith easy saves against Toronto. They need to do a better job of giving their goaltender today those same opportunities.
  • Tread Lightly Towards the Penalty Box - Arizona managed to outshoot the Senators in the first period, a stat made more impressive by the fact that they took five penalties in the frame. The outcome of the game might have been different had Arizona had more offensive zone time early on.
  • Second and Third Chance Opportunities - Even if Carey Price is not in net today, the way to beat good goaltending (or any goaltending, for that matter) is to generate multiple opportunities after the initial shot. That requires players in front and around the net in the offensive zone.

Who's Hot

Sam Gagner now has two goals and two assists in his last four games. We'll see if he can crack double digit goals today versus the Habs.

American Alex Galchenyuk has three goals in his last five games. He has the potential to really blossom as a scoring forward in a couple of years.

Injury Report

Mikkel Boedker (spleen) remains sidelined until at least late February after surgery to remove his spleen. Both Joe Vitale and Martin Hanzal (upper body) are considered questionable for today's game.

P.A. Parenteau remains on injured reserve for a concussion. There is currently no timetable for his return.

Puck Drop

In order to avoid competing with a certain football game being played in Glendale this evening, today's tilt starts at 11 AM Arizona time. There's no TV, so you can listen on AZ Sports 98.7 FM or watch on GameCenter Live or Center Ice.