January 20 2014 12:22PM
Would a random name generator call anybody 'Mike Smith'?
Going to be a bit of a short LGD today. Justin has his prospect rankings coming down the pipe, and I want to discuss Nazem Kadri's game against the Montreal Canadiens, but I took some time off to go to the NFC Championship on Sunday and have a bunch of checkups at the hospital today. Basically, there isn't a lot of time for me to do much actual hockey writing until Wednesday, so hopefully we'll get to Kadri eventually.
Tonight it's Phoenix and Toronto. Depending how old your older brother is, these are not your older brother's Phoenix Coyotes. They've been cast as a defensive hockey club for a while now, with coach Dave Tippett, but have been having some success with offence this season, as you'll see after the jump. The Leafs play the first of a four-game trip that will see them go to Phoenix (+17 degrees Celsius today) then Denver (+4 degrees) and Dallas (+22) and finally Winnipeg (minus-26).
|Corsi Close %||49.3% (19th)||43.0% (29th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.40 (9th)||2.18 (17th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.22 (15th)||2.43 (23rd)|
|5v5 Diff/60||+0.18 (10th)||-0.25 (21st)|
|PDO||100.5 (11th)||101.3 (6th)|
|5v4 GF/60||7.16 (6th)||7.71 (5th)|
|5v4 SF/60||52.3 (15th)||56.3 (6th)|
|4v5 GA/60||7.35 (26th)||6.68 (18th)|
|4v5 SA/60||61.3 (26th)||63.1 (30th)|
|Penalty Differential||-7 (19th)||-16 (26th)|
Yes, the Coyotes are 9th in goals rate at evens and 6th on the powerplay.
Check out their Top Nine forwards for today's game:
Tim Kennedy - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Shane Doan - Mike Ribeiro - David Moss
Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker
Only Kennedy looks out of place based on his skill-set versus position in the lineup. David Moss is a bit of an under-appreciated player. He's always made his teammates better and is a virtual shot machine this season. Martin Hanzal is a power centreman who would be a No. 1 on most teams in the league and him and Boedker are tied for the team lead in goals.
Despite the Yotes having no player with more than 14 goals, they have some very impressive depth. Oliver Ekman-Larsson's had a bit of a down year after his excellent season a year ago, but his regular partner Zbynek Michalek is back in the Phoenix lineup after an extended absence this season which ought to comfort OEL. Keith Yandle is third on the Coyotes in points and rarely takes minor penalties.
MAPLE LEAFS LINEUP
No changes to Toronto's lineup after the win, I'd think. Nik Kulemin is back on a line with skill players thanks to the re-shuffling after the David Clarkson injury and he might have some fantasy value this week. I like Raymond and Holland together and Troy Bodie gives them an excellent complement. I think at the very least, he's a speedy player that can keep up with 12 and 24.
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Nik Kulemin - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul
Mason Raymond - Peter Holland - Troy Bodie
Carter Ashton - Jay McClement - Colt Knorr
Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf
Cody Franson - Tim Gleason
Jake Gardiner - Morgan Rielly
Starting goalie information hasn't gotten out yet, but I'd expect we see Jonathan Bernier against Mike Smith. The Coyotes have some very likeable hockey players, but they also have Mike Smith, and he sort of cancels them all out. Remember his troll job on JVR back in December? Fast-forward to about a minute in:
You can tell it's a down year because the puck didn't actually stay out for him.