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Devils come down to Arizona

The Arizona Coyotes homestand comes to an end as they face off for the last time this season against the New Jersey Devils.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Coyotes six game homestead comes to an end as they face off against the New Jersey Devils for the second time this season. Last time these two teams met, the Devils shut out the Coyotes 3-0 while the Coyotes were in the midst of a ten game losing streak.

The Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes New Jersey Devils
Points 50 (6th Pacific) 67 (6th Metropolitan)
Goals For 2.04 (29th) 2.21 (28th)
Goals Against 3.25 (28th) 2.52 (11th)
Power Play 20.9% (7th) 19.4% (10th)
Penalty Kill 78.2% (26th) 80.9% (19th)
5v5 SAT 48.95% (22nd) 47.05% (26th)
SpSV% .967 (30th) 1.010 (9th)

The View from New Jersey

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New Jersey has not had a great season this year and is currently in the bottom of the Eastern Conference, all but eliminated from the playoff hunt. Not much has changed since the last time these two teams met; they still aren't generating a lot of offense and they still have one of the weirdest coaching situations in the NHL, with both Scott Stevens and Adam Oates splitting head coaching duties.

New Jersey has been playing better as of late despite their low place in the standings. They are 2-2-1 in their past 5 games, and last month they had a four game win streak. Granted they still aren't going to make it into the post season but New Jersey doesn't seem content to tank for a better draft position.

The View from Arizona

Although the Yotes only have one win in the past calendar month they have been playing better, or at least the games have been closer. Part of this can be attributed to Mike Smith's play, especially compared to the beginning of the season. Although he was pulled in the Boston game after giving up four goals in 20 shots he still has a .928 save percentage since then and has kept the team in the game most nights, even if the offense hasn't been kicking.

The Yotes have had a night off to rest since their 2-1 loss to the Blackhawks. That loss seems to have longer effects than the team would like though, as it appears that defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be missing some timewith a day to day injury after getting boarded by Joakim Nordstrom. That, combined with Mikkel Boedker's injury means that the team will be missing two of their top five point generators for this game.

Keys to the Game

  1. Score. The Coyotes have not been able to generate much offense recently. The Yotes have been held to one goal or fewer in five of their past six games. The Coyotes need to find a way to generate offense, even with a roster that has been diminished with injuries and trades.

  2. Goaltending. Smith had a very rocky start to the season but he has been playing much better. He needs to keep doing that if the team is going to continue playing close games.

  3. Special teams. If the Coyotes were going to miss Keith Yandle it would likely be with the man advantage. The power play, which had been fairly successful this season has gone fairly quiet and for a team that is starved for offense that is very bad.

Players to Watch

Like the Coyotes the Coyotes have been struggling to generate offense and as such they don't have many players on hot streaks right now. Right now Adam Henrique is leading the team in points with 14 goals and 22 assists.

There are very few bright spots this season, although Tobias Rieder continues to be having a good season. He isn't likely to win the Calder Trophy this season but he does have goals in three of the past five games after being held pointless for 12 games.

Injury Report

For New Jersey Ryane Clowe and Bryce Salvador are both out for the rest of the season with a concussion and a back injury respectively.

Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker are both out for the rest of the season. OEL is day to day with an upper body injury and will likely miss tonight's contest.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game will start at 6 PM Arizona time and will be one of the last games at Gila River Arena this season. You can also check out the game on Fox Sports Arizona and AZ Sports 98.7 FM.