Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins head to Phoenix to play the Coyotes. This means that Sidney Crosby and the rest of the team get to play in front of one the greatest to ever play the game, Wayne Gretzky.
The Penguins are coming off a bad game on Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks where they were out-played the entire game, and the seemed to just look down right sluggish out on the ice. If it were not for Danny Sabourin the score of that game could have easily been 6-1.
The Penguins cannot rely solely on their goaltenders to carry the entire load. They have been doing this too much already, and if they continue to do so then the Penguins are going to be looking at a very long season, because Fleury and Sabourin are eventually going to get too fatigued and before you know it they will have dropped five straight games.
Tonight's game may be a good way to rebound and turn this slow play, and lack luster performances around. Phoenix is still one of the teams at the bottom of the rankings. They are at the bottom of their division with only six points, and have a record of 3-4-0. Now they have improved over the past couple of years, but they are not the same caliber of a team as the Penguins are.
The Coyote goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has only two wins and and staggering goals against of 3.41. This could help the Penguin players who have been struggling to get shots, and therefore goals. If they can get the puck on the net tonight they should be able to score a few on him. With this could come a boost in confidence for the players and maybe give them that spark that they need.
Marc-Andre Fleury should be happy as well. The Coyotes have only scored 15 goals in their seven games. That total should not go up at all tonight if Fleury is seeing the puck well, and the Penguins are pressuring the Coyotes a lot in the offensive zone. Fleury has played like an all-star goalie so far in this short season, and he should be able to continue his great play tonight.
The Coyotes do have some players to watch out for though. Two that stick out in my mind are Shane Doan, and Olli Jokinen. These two players can produce a lot of offense when needed, and need to be watched carefully when out on the ice.
If Coach Terrien can keep his lines right he should be able to easily counter those two when they are on the ice, or even send out his top line when they are not out, and try to get a goal off the mismatch.
The Penguin forwards are the ones that need to step up tonight. They looked terrible on Tuesday, and it took them until the last five minutes to get one passed Evgeni Nabokov (that glove save he made off Dupuis was amazing). They need to hit quick and fast and get one on the board within the first six minutes or so and I think the Penguins will be alright.
On top of that they need to shoot the puck more often. I do not care if they are on a bad angle just throw it at the goalie. If they do that they will get rebounds and rebounds mean second and third chances.
That is what they need to do tonight, and have about 30 shots by the end of the game. I like the Penguins tonight, and I think they will turn this little drought around, and help make this road trip a little nicer with two points. Penguins win 3-1.