Phoenix Coyotes Face a Tough Schedule Ahead

Chris HoelerSenior Analyst IOctober 23, 2008

Well the Coyotes are 2-3 right now. After two wins to start the season at home, they went on the road and dropped three in a row to the Blackhawks, Senators, and Canadiens. Now the young Coyotes return home for a four game home stand where the competition doesn't get any easier.

Coming in to town on Thursday are Alexander Ovechkin and the high flying Capitals. This is the first trip to Phoenix for Ovechkin since his unbelievable goal he scored three years ago and Mikael Tellqvist will get his first start of the season tonight.

The Coyotes need to get back on track and beating a difficult team such as the Capitals will certainly help get their confidence back. 

Unfortunately, the Coyotes will need to be on top of their game early and need to get some offense from their younger players.

Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker are the big names, but I am sure Coach Gretzky would love to see Viktor Tikhonov and Kevin Porter get on the scoresheet, mainly in the goals column. Ed Jovanovski also needs to get going offensively for Phoenix if they want to have an effective offense.

Taking advantage of mistakes made by teams is how great teams are made and Phoenix will have to definitely utilize this mindset against very good teams over the next couple of games.

The powerplay has to be effective while the penalty kill needs to shut down the opposing offense. A strong forecheck will promote mistakes from their opponents as it will be hard for them to break out and create offense. 

The defense needs to stick to their assignments and not just rely on their goalie to keep them in the game. Players like Kurt Sauer and David Hale, who are not really looked to provide offense, need to step up and make sure their defense is top notch.

Physical play helps but being in position to break up opposing scoring chances is just as, if not more important. 

The Coyotes play Washington, Calgary, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota on this home stand and it's an early season test of their home ice play which was not good last season, one of the worst in the league in fact. They need to step it up at home if they want to reach their goal of making the playoffs.