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Arizona Coyotes head out on the island for the final time

The Arizona Coyotes will make their last appearance in Nassau Coliseum when they play the New York Islanders tonight.

Courtesy Getty Images
Courtesy Getty Images
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There's a lot of history out on the island in Uniondale. The Arizona Coyotes will be among the last to take part in it.

The Coyotes will take on the New York Islanders for the final time this season on Tuesday night, and the final time before the Islanders move to Brooklyn next year. To win, they will need to shrug off a difficult loss last night in Newark.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes New York Islanders
Points 47 (6th Pacific) 80 (1st Metropolitan)
Goals For 2.15 (29th) 3.08 (4th)
Goals Against 3.27 (T-27th) 2.79 (24th)
Power Play 21.6% (5th) 18.6% (T-10th)
Penalty Kill 77.8% (26th) 74.1% (30th)
5v5 SAT 49.0% (23rd) 53.4% (5th)
SpSV% 97.1 (29th) 99.1 (25th)

View from Arizona

The Coyotes have now lost six games in a row, marking the second time in two months that they've had a winless streak of six games or more. Arizona has conceded 23 goals (3.83 per game) in that span while scoring just eight (1.33). With that kind of production, it is rather remarkable that the team has even been in position to win some of those games.

Many key contributors have simply been unable to find the back of the net during this losing streak. Antoine Vermette has only one goal, Sam Gagner has just a goal and an assist, and Shane Doan has zero points at all during the losing skid. With no Mikkel Boedker in the top six, what the Coyotes do have now is not getting it done.

View from New York

By contrast, the New York Islanders have offense in abundance. A whopping 19 players have double digit points on the season, and 12 of those have 20 points or more. Leading the way is the incomparable John Tavares, who has more assists (33) than all but two Coyotes have points (Keith Yandle and Vermette are the two).

As good as the offense has been, the defense has held the Islanders back. Defensive mainstays Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic have both missed time this season, and the team's penalty kill is worst in the league. On top of that, Jaroslav Halak is having a mediocre season in net (.910 save percentage with a 2.49 GAA), while backup Chad Johnson is even worse (.885 save percentage with a 3.08 GAA). If New York wants to enter the conversation as one of the legitimate contenders in the East, the goaltending has to improve.

Keys to the Game

  • Be Opportunistic - Arizona was done in last night against the Devils by not being able to capitalize on the chances they got. The Islanders' penalty kill is dreadful, so Arizona needs to take advantage.
  • Clog the Neutral Zone - The Isles have some incredible players, and Arizona is playing the second game in two nights. Slowing down the middle of the ice might be the only way to prevent New York's skill from running Arizona out of the building.
  • Minimize the Mistakes - Both of New Jersey's even-strength goals came off of defensive miscues. The Coyotes need to be much more responsible in their outlet passes and when jumping into the play on defense.

Who's Hot

Michael Stone has a goal and two assists in his last five games. Unfortunately, that's probably the closest any Coyote comes to "hot" right now.

The aforementioned Tavares has three goals and four assists in his last five games. The sky really seems to be the limit for the 1st overall pick in 2009.

Injury Report

Arizona will likely go without Zbynek Michalek again tonight, as he didn't even make the initial flight out with the team. Mikkel Boedker continues to rehab after having his spleen removed, while Martin Hanzal is done for the year after undergoing a back proceedure.

The Islanders have a few key pieces missing. Eric Boulton, Casey Cizikas, and Mikhail Grabovski are all on injured reserve, while Kyle Okposo is not expected back until late-March. Frans Nielsen may be questionable tonight with a leg injury as well.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game begins at 5 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona or listen on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.