NHL: Coyotes @ Maple Leafs Preview
The Phoenix Coyotes second stop on the Eastern road trip is in the self-proclaimed hockey capital of the world, Toronto. After a disappointing showing the other night against the Montreal Canadiens (1-3), the Coyotes are looking to bounce back with a win tonight.
Both teams are heading into tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak. Coyotes dropping points against the Hurricanes and Canadiens, and Maple Leafs losing out to Pittsburgh and Florida.
Coyotes will be without captain Shane Doan who has missed the alst five games due to illness. Phoenix will also be without defenceman Zbynek Michalek who is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Yotes called up Rostislav Klesla from the AHL today.
Notable injuries for the Maple Leafs are Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland.
Toronto are currently in the 5th spot in the Atlantic Division with 37 points and a record of 17-16-3. The Leafs have been struggling lately after opening up the season in style. The team is 3-7 in the last 10 games. Phil Kessel leads the team in scoring with 32p in 36 games (17G 15A) and Jonathan Bernier, who has started the most games in net for the Leafs, has a .925 save percentage and a 2.53 GAA.
Coyotes are in 5th place in the Pacific Division with 41 points and a record of 18-10-5. Inconsistency has been the name of the game for the Coyotes who are 4-5-1 in the last 10 games. Mike Ribeiro leads the team in scoring with 26p in 33 games (9G 17A) and Mike Smith has a .911 save percentage and a 2.94 GAA.
Keys to the game for the Coyotes:
Keep it simple. The Coyotes played a great first period against the Canadiens, it was one of (if not) the best road period all season. Coyotes needs to play a structured road game where everyone is keeping is simple and work on the basics.
Stay out of the box. The recurring key for the Coyotes. They gave up two power play goals against the Canadiens the other night and it cost them the game. They can’t afford to give Kessel & Co. more space to play on.
Crash the net. Phoenix shoots a lot, 31.8 shots per game to be exact. That ranks for number six in the league. But all too often there is no one in front of goal to capitalize on rebounds. Coyotes needs to crash the net to take care of those secondary scoring chances and make it difficult for the goaltender to make the save.