The roster that the Arizona Coyotes fielded this morning could potentially look very different from the one that takes the ice tonight at Consol Energy Center.
Arizona rolls into Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins amidst a five game losing streak that has functionally taken the Coyotes out of playoff contention.
Matchup at a Glance
|Arizona Coyotes||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Points||60 (5th Pacific)||70 (4th Metropolitan)|
|Goals For||2.69 (T-10th)||2.62 (16th)|
|Goals Against||3.08 (T-29th)||2.55 (14th)|
|Power Play||18.5% (T-15th)||18.3% (17th)|
|Penalty Kill||77.8% (25th)||83.5% (T-6th)|
|5v5 Corsi For||46.8% (28th)||52.0% (8th)|
|PDO||100.7 (T-6th)||99.8 (T-14th)|
View from Arizona
Arizona is 0-4-0 on this East Coast road trip, and the way they've lost those games has to be incredibly frustrating. The Coyotes have hung around in all four and never played particularly poorly, yet it simple wasn't good enough to translate into any points.
All eyes therefore turn to some of Arizona's most movable assets on this Deadline Day. Mikkel Boedker's departure seems almost inevitable, while Martin Hanzal, Nicklas Grossmann, Kyle Chipchura, are among other possible pieces that Arizona could part with. There won't be a massive sell-off a la 2015, but the Coyotes should still be making some moves today.
View from Pittsburgh
For the latest on the Penguins, check out PensBurgh
The Pittsburgh Penguins look a lot more like Penguins teams over the past few years since they replaced head coach Mike Johnston with Mike Sullivan. The Penguins are three points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Their spot is anything but secure, but the Penguins are trending in the right direction.
Pittsburgh also added former Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz over the past weekend. Schultz has genuine offensive talent, but suffered greatly from having to take on a top-pairing role too quickly in Edmonton. He won't be under nearly as much pressure in Pittsburgh with Kris Letang and Olli Maatta on the roster.
Even with the rise of teams like the Washington Capitals and the Florida Panthers, Pittburgh's championship window is anything but closed. The moves they've made thus far to acquire Phil Kessel and Schultz highlight their efforts to stay competitive. And Sidney Crosby remains Sidney Crosby. The Penguins are still a team to watch in the East this season.
Keys to the Game
1. Help Each Other Out - Today is a stressful day for many roster players. There will undoubtedly be some line shuffling. The Coyotes will need to stay focused and stay responsible on defense.
2. Create Your Own Luck - Antoine Vermette missed on an open net chance late in the third period against Florida. The Coyotes nearly tied the game late in Washington. Arizona has had opportunities, but haven't converted. The more chances they create, the luckier they may be.
3. Get Some Production From the Top Line - Jordan Martinook, Brad Richardson, and Shane Doan have been consistently good all year. But Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, and Tobias Rieder are the team's game-changers. Arizona could use a big game from some of their best players.
Players to Watch
Oliver Ekman-Larsson has a pair of goals in his last two games. He is one goal shy of scoring 20 in consecutive seasons.
Evgeni Malkin returned to Pittsburgh last Saturday after missing nearly an entire month of action. He has 23 goals and 26 assists this year even after missing 10 games this year.
Anders Lindback and Joe Vitale are done for the season, while Mike Smith and Boyd Gordon are still on injured reserve. Viktor Tikhonov will miss tonight's game to be with his wife as she gives birth to their child.
Ben Lovejoy, Eric Fehr, and Beau Bennett are all on injured reserve, while both Evgeni Malkin and Conor Sheary are both listed as questionable for tonight's game.
Tonight's game begins at 5 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona, and listen to the game on ESPN 620 AM.