Head Coach Dave Tippett wanted to give his younger players a chance to get experience in a "playoff like atmosphere". The schedule makers did him a favor in that sense.
Matchup at a Glance
|San Jose Sharks||Arizona Coyotes|
|Points||87 (5th Pacific)||54 (7th Pacific)|
|Goals For||2.77 (14th)||2.01 (29th)|
|Goals Against||2.70 (T-20th)||3.26 (28th)|
|Power Play||21.3% (6th)||20.1% (7th)|
|Penalty Kill||78.8% (25th)||77.5% (27th)|
|5v5 SAT||51.0% (17th)||48.8% (22nd)|
|SPSv%||99.7 (22nd)||97.0 (T-29th)|
View from San Jose
View from Arizona
There's little more to be said about the Coyotes. They still struggle to score, they still struggle to defend, and they still struggle to start out games on the right foot. Last night, Arizona was victimized by a couple of posts and one very inopportune fall by David Moss that likely cost them a couple of goals.
Thankfully, Arizona's brightest star in the second half of the year - Mike Smith - will likely get the nod in net tonight after not playing yesterday. Given how stingy Smith has been of late, Smith might provide the Coyotes with a little more margin for error in the middle of a tough slog to end a tough season.
Keys to the Game
- Stronger Start - The Coyotes were down by two goals five minutes into the first period. Chasing the game is hard. Chasing the game from the get-go is even harder.
- More Shots - The Coyotes amassed a grand total of three shots in the first period on Antti Niemi last night, who had been battling illness for the past couple of days. That's not even close to good enough.
- Get Snarly - San Jose wants to play a skill game. If their best playmakers are in the box or jammed up on the boards, they can't play that game.
Joe Pavelski had two points last night against the Coyotes, and he has ten goals in his last seven against Arizona. Somebody likes playing the Desert Dogs.
Mark Arcobello scored last night for Arizona. He is producing at a 0.96 points per game pace since arriving in Arizona. While that's almost certainly unsustainable, he's been a refreshing addition to the team.
Not a whole lot new to report here either. Raffi Torres and Mirco Mueller are sidelined for the rest of the season, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Scott Hannan are still considered questionable after neither played in last night's game.
Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal are done for the season, while Lauri Korpikoski could potentially miss his fifth game in a row with a facial injury sustained in the Detroit game.
It's Saturday night, so that means the game begins at 6 PM Arizona time at Gila River Arena. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or listen on ESPN 620 AM.