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Coyotes head back east to play the New Jersey Devils

Can the Arizona Coyotes break their losing streak by heading east?

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Arizona Coyotes will take a four game tour of the Northeast this week, beginning with tonight's contest against the New Jersey Devils. After a frustrating loss to Tampa Bay, the Coyotes will go from playing one of the best teams in the East to one of the worst.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes New Jersey Devils
Points 47 (6th Pacific) 57 (6th Metropolitan)
Goals For 2.19 (T-27th) 2.19 (T-27th)
Goals Against 3.27 (28th) 2.58 (11th)
Power Play 22.1% (5th) 19.8% (9th)
Penalty Kill 77.6% (T-26th) 79.4% (23rd)
5v5 SAT 48.9% (23rd) 47.3% (25th)
SpSV% 97.2 (29th) 100.6 (12th)

View from Arizona

Fresh off of a 4-2 loss to Tampa on Saturday night, the Coyotes were able to shake off their third period woes, to a degree. The problem this time around was the second period, during which the Coyotes conceded two goals without taking advantage of their own opportunities. Mike Smith started the game out strong, but didn't get enough help from his teammates down the stretch.

The loss marks the fifth straight regulation loss for the Coyotes, and the seventh loss in the past eight games (1-6-1). This upcoming stretch of the schedule is no less forgiving, as New Jersey is the only team in the next nine contests the Coyotes play that isn't in the playoffs at this moment.

View from New Jersey

The Devils would likely be coming off of another postseason appearance were it not for an incredible run of awful luck; last year's Devils went an incredible 0-13 in the shootout. Had they even split their shootout games 6-7, New Jersey would have had enough points to beat out Detroit for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.

This season has been far crueler to New Jersey. The team fired head coach Peter DeBoer and replaced him with the rarely seen head coaching tandem of Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. Apart from Mike Cammalleri's 20 goal season, most of the Devils are struggling to produce points; the team's leader is Adam Henrique with 31 (12 G, 19 A).

Keys to the Game

  • Make Good Choices - Like Arizona, New Jersey is a team that struggles to score at even-strength, but is surprisingly effective on the power play. Arizona needs to limit the amount of mistakes and scoring opportunities they concede and force the Devils to beat them straight up.
  • Find Some Chemistry - The Coyotes are likely to undergo seismic transformations before the Trade Deadline next week. The guys that do stick around need to get better at playing with the teammates they do have.
  • Shore Up the Defensive Pairings - The defensive corps remains young, and could potentially get even younger by season's end. The depth pairings need to continue to play well while the top pairing needs to produce points.

Who's Hot

Mark Arcobello has scored three times in four games with the Coyotes. It won't make headlines anywhere, but picking up Arcobello off waivers was a solid move by Don Maloney.

Cory Schneider has played a staggering 51 games this year in net for New Jersey. In his past five, he's posted a save percentage of .913 or better in each game while allowing only nine goals in five appearances.

Injury Report

The Coyotes may be without Zbynek Michalek, who has missed the past two games. Martin Hanzal is done for the year with a back injury, while Mikkel Boedker continues to rehab after his spleen removal surgery.

New Jersey is without Ryane Clowe for the rest of the year after he sustained a concussion. Joining him on injured reserve is Bryce Salvador with a back injury, and Damon Severson with an ankle ailment.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game gets underway at 5 PM Arizona time. You can see the game on Fox Sports Arizona or listen to it on ESPN 620 AM.