Put on the Red Light (Please)
To say it hasn't exactly been an open bar on goals for the Phoenix Coyotes lately is putting things just a little mildly.
Their only win in their most recent stretch of four games has come at the hands of the Dallas Stars, and by a score of 1-0.
In fact, that's just about the only thing Phoenix has done on a consistent basis lately, as they've found the back of the net only once in each game since a narrow 4-3 win against the Islanders on December 18th.
Twenty-two year old forward Brett MacLean of the San Antonio Rampage has been called up as part of a switch-up with Nolan Yonkman, who has been just one of a struggling defensive corps. MacLean has averaged almost a point per game in the AHL this season thus far, leading the team in goals with 14 and points with 31. Probably not difficult to guess what the Coyotes are going for here.
Meanwhile, somehow, Shane Doan has a three-game pointstreak going. Not that there's room for any personal satisfaction in that, especially now that his team is set to face a hot Los Angeles Kings squad who is the mirror opposite of the Coyotes lately, looking to build on a four-game winning streak.
Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 37 points, going 5-9-14 in his last ten games. The division rivals have only faced each other once this season on October 21st, a game that featured a Lee Stempniak hat trick as the Coyotes outscored their opponents 4-2. But those days must seem like a lifetime ago for Phoenix. The Kings are now positioned 4th in the Western Conference whereas the Coyotes have dropped to 11th. However, equally surprising and frustrating given the tone of this post...is the fact that only 6 points separate the two.
Not helping the Coyotes' struggles: Taylor Pyatt and Radim Vrbata, each with 7 goals on the year (Martin Hanzal leads the team with 9), are both out with day-to-day injuries. However, subtracting the fact that Ilya Bryzgalov's return was marred by his allowing three Ducks' goals on his first seven shots faced, having him back between the pipes will be prove to be a boost for Phoenix. On the other side, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Scott Parse and Willie Mitchell are out for the Kings, and their netminder Jonathan Quick is coming off his fourth shutout of the season against the San Jose Sharks this Monday night.