After the crazy game against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, the Arizona Coyotes are back at it against the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
We over at Five for Howling do want to remind you that if you are heading to the game from the East Valley that the I-10 is closed from 51st & 75th Avenues. Look for alternate routes so you don’t miss puck drop at 6pm!
View From Pittsburgh
For more info on the Pittsburgh Penguins, check out Pensburgh.
While the Metropolitan Division is tightening up, the Penguins are still holding their own. They have been streaky this season but you can never count the Penguins out, even with all of their injury problems.
With rumors swarming around Marc-André Fleury being moved at the trade deadline, the Penguins have a lot to look forward to. They have a nice grip on a playoff spot, and are still favored to win the Stanley Cup again.
This is the annual Dad’s Trip, so be on the look out for a suite full of Penguins jerseys. Evgeni Malkin is on the trip after missing the game going into All-Star Weekend and could be back against the Coyotes. Sidney Crosby is also on the hunt for two more points to get to 1000 career points, also something to keep an eye on.
View From Arizona
Even though the Coyotes put up a fight against the Canadiens, they did only play about 30 minutes of a possible 62. Martin Hanzal was out with an illness and Peter Holland was playing on the top line.
The kids continue to score for the Coyotes and the veteran scoring has dried up again. Overall the Coyotes have been playing better as of late, with seven points in the last nine games, which is a far cry from how the season started. They just need to keep plugging away, getting two points here and there, or forcing overtime.
There has been a lot of growth in the last month, proving that sometimes it does talk half of a season for the rookies and new vets to click with a team. The future is looking a lot brighter now than it did in December.
It is also Larry Fitzgerald Night out at the arena! If you haven’t seen the video of Larry skating with the Coyotes, please watch it. It’ll put a smile on your face.
1. Can the Coyotes contain Sidney Crosby? - Sidney Crosby is undeniably one of the best hockey players in the world. Sitting just outside of 1000 career points, he will be looking to pick it up before the end of this season. The Coyotes are going to have to just hope to keep him off of the scoresheet. I would expect to see a lot of Oliver Ekman-Larsson pasted to him.
2. Will the Coyotes look for payback from the meeting in December? - The Coyotes were shutout 7-0 by the Penguins on December 12th of last year. This was two games before the nine game losing streak hit. The Coyotes are a better team now, so can they get a little revenge for that cold night in December?
3. Can the Coyotes keep up with the Penguins four rolling lines? - If you take a look at the structure of the Penguins, they have four dangerous lines they can roll out at anytime. The Coyotes will have to match young centers against some of the best players in the world like Malkin, Crosby and defenseman like Kris Letang and Justin Schultz. Not to mention strong wingers like Phil Kessel, it will be a test for the Coyotes.
Players to Watch
Pittsburgh - Sidney Crosby - As he sits at 998 career points in 754 games, he could see himself hitting the 1000 point plateau tonight. Crosby missed so much time with the concussion, it makes you wonder where he would be if he hadn’t missed some of his prime. He is still playing like a young player just hitting it prime, but that’s just how good Sidney Crosby is. Watch his edge work and how he can control the puck with how strong his lower body is.
Arizona - Christian Dvorak- Dvorak had an amazing game against the Canadiens on Thursday. He will be seeing a tougher matchup tonight as they play the Penguins. His game has grown so much this season and he is establishing himself in the 2C position. He could see himself matched up against Nick Bonino or Evgeni Malkin. He is still weak on his faceoffs, but Brendan Perlini is able to retrieve the puck if they need.
Pittsburgh - The injury bug continues to plague the Penguins this season. Carl Hagelin is out with a concussion for the immediate future. Conor Sheary is out for at least a month with an upper body injury, and they just lost Bryan Rust for an undetermined amount of time. The (good) news is that Evgeni Malkin could be returning tonight against the Coyotes.
Arizona - Coyotes centerman Brad Richardson remains out with a leg injury, which he suffered in November 2016. Martin Hanzal missed the game on Thursday due to illness and could be back against the Penguins.
Tonight’s game starts at 6pm in Arizona. You can watch it on Fox Sports Arizona Plus, Fox Sports Go or listen to it on KTAR News Radio 92.3 FM.