I mean no offense here to the Coyotes or to their fans but I never thought that this pre All Star break game between the Preds and Yotes would be so meaningful to both teams.
Seriously...the Coyotes have been awful. Last year, for instance, they finished last in the West and the only team with a worse record was the Flyers. Nobody thought that they woudl contend for a playoff spot but here they are. Gretzky has them playing well with a mix of solid veteran leadership and promising youth. Add to the mix waiver claim Ilya Bryzgalov (who is proving to everyone in the league including his former team that he deserves to be a number one) and they are a team that can beat anyone on any night.
The 07-08 Coyotes are led in scoring by Shane Doan with 46 points and have four players with 30+ points including rookie of the year candidate Peter Mueller. This kid is the real deal and is proving to be just what the doctor ordered for this team. Add in twenty year old Martin Hanzel who has posted 25 points so far this season and you have a dangerous team with a top notch goalie.
The Preds will have to continue their recent game plan which involves heavy forechecking and getting shots and traffic to the net. You will not beat Bryzgalov often with a shot from the point...if he sees it he stops it.
Who Starts? Does Trotz give Ellis the start again following his terrific 39 save performance in Colorado or does Mason get the nod. My guess is that you have to go with the hot hand. Mason has really been playing well lately so either way I think we are in great shape.
Who Do You Love? With the playoff race so tight I thought I would post the schedule of games of interest for Pred fans and who we should root for. The Team that we should be a fan of is in BOLD. That means that I believe the Preds would benefit in the standing more if the result would come out that way. Let me know what you think.
Edmonton at Florida-do you ever root for an east team against a west team?
Columbus at Chicago - Don't want to see OT for sure!
Buffalo at Dallas - C'mon Buffalo!
Minnesota at Colorado - Let's go wild! No OT!
Nashville at Phoenix - Need I say anything?
Anaheim at Los Angeles - Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then!
St. Louis at San Jose- Boy! I hate to root for them!