Sunday, December 19, 2010

Game #34 - vs Phoenix Coyotes

Game 34
Coyotes (15-9-7, 37 points) at Penguins (21-10-2, 44 points)

Why does it matter?
Two straight losses make the winning streak seem like a distant memory. The Pens need to right the ship, and Sid needs to start getting the puck on the net again.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - There has been some time off after last Wednesday's loss to the Rangers. That gave us all time to watch 24/7 on HBO!
  • Coyotes - They've had mixed success on their East Coast trip, going 1-1-1 in New Jersey and New York.
Questions to be answered
  • Can the Pens take advantage of a leaky PK and a goalie not playing well? Bryzgalov is not likely to play, and LaBarbera has been average (three goals per game with a decent save percentage over the last two).
  • Can the Pens plug their own leaks? The PK has allowed a goal in 7 straight games.
  • Can the Pens match the work ethic of the Coyotes? This has been a problem for them in the past.
Keys to the game
  • Sid shooting the puck is paramount. The ESPN preview has the stat of the year so far - when Sid has four or more shots, the Pens are 14-1-1. They're just 7-9-1 when he doesn't.
  • Jump all over Yandle and Morris. Yandle was a minus player in six of his past nine, and Morris in four of the past five.
  • Play 60 minutes. Zone time early on is great, but it needs to be followed up by more zone time later in the game to be effective.

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