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Coyotes look for roadtrip sweep in early game in Pittsburgh

The Coyotes travel to the Steel City for a matinee with the Penguins.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes have started this three game road trip rather successfully. They wrap it up with an early afternoon (technically morning for those watching in Arizona) matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Matchup at a Glance

Stat Arizona Pittsburgh
Points 54 (7th in Pacific) 91 (3rd in Metropolitan)
Goals per game 2.04 (29th) 2.72 (16th)
Goals against per game 3.25 (28th) 2.43 (8th)
Power play % 20.6 (7th) 19.3 (9th)
Penalty kill% 77.9 (26th) 85.4 (3rd)
SAT -137 (22nd) 306 (7th)
SPSv% 96.9 (30th) 100.3 (12th)

The View from Arizona

The Coyotes had been scuffling before this road trip. The had lost eight games in a row and 18 of 19 overall. The hadn't won a game on the road since February 9th in Chicago. They couldn't score at all, with 23 total goals during those 19 games. Of course, they then beat the Detroit Red Wings and the Buffalo Sabres in consecutive games while scoring nine goals. In true Coyote fashion, they did blow late leads in the third period to allow the opponent  to get a point, but they did win both in overtime.

The lead dogs for the Coyotes in this short run are the usual suspects: all world blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson and super waiver pickup Mark Arcobello. OEL had four points in the two games, including his historic 21st goal of the season. Arcobello had two goals and an assist in the Motor City and added another helper in Buffalo. Arcobello now has seven goals and 12 points in 20 games with the Coyotes. His .35 goals per game and .60 points per game since joining the Yotes are easily leading the team. Not bad for a guy that three other teams decided they didn't want.

The View from Pittsburgh

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One of the teams that left Arcobello on the waiver wire is the Coyotes' opponent today, the Penguins. He had two assists in ten games with Pittsburgh before the Coyotes claimed him on waivers.

The Pens have lost six of their last seven games (1-5-1). Their only victory in that stretch? A 3-1 triumph over these Coyotes in Glendale back on March 21st. This kicks off a three game homestand for the Pens, who haven't won in Pittsburgh since beating the Oilers on March 12th.

Former Coyote Daniel Winnik was the primary trade acquisition at the deadline for the Pens this year, in addition to Ben Lovejoy. Winnik has four assists as a Pen, but only one goal. But that goal came against Arizona, and proved to be the game winner in their first encounter.

Keys to the Game

  1. Get some offense. People think of the Pens as a high powered offense, but without Evgeny Malkin, the Pens have been nearly powerless. They have nine goals in the last seven games. The Coyotes have nine in the past two. Who would have thought the offensive edge would be in Arizona's favor?
  2. Say hello to an old friend. Pittsburgh is planning on starting former Coyote goalie Thomas Greiss. The Coyotes will once again go with Mike Smith in the crease. Greiss is 2-3 against the Coyotes - all as a Shark - and 1-2 against Smitty.
  3. Stay out off the box. The Pens power play is good. Don't give them a chance to be the difference makers.

Who's Hot

The Coyotes suddenly have a goal scoring dynamo in their midst. After scoring a grand total of one goal in his first 51 games of the season, David Moss has added three in the last two games. All the goals have been on deflections for Moss, which is a nice break given his inability to score on actual shots on goal. Play to your strengths.

Sidney Crosby has one goal and two assists in the last three games for Pittsburgh and Brandon Sutter has two goals in that same stretch, although one of those goals shall not be mentioned.

Injury Report

The Coyotes are without Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker for the season and will be without Lauri Korpikoski, who took a wicked stick to the mouth in Detroit.

The Penguins are without Pascal Dupuis and Olli Maatta. Christian Erhoff is out indefinitely with a concussion. Patric Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin are both questionable to return today.

Puck Drop

The game is scheduled to start at 10 AM Arizona time. That is not a typo. 10 AM. The game will be carried on Fox Sports Arizona and Arizona Sports 98.7FM.