The Minnesota Wild head to the desert in search of their first road win of the season tonight, as they face the Phoenix Coyotes. Jobing.com Arena (terrible name, by the way) has not exactly been a welcoming place to the Wild in the past, and likely will not be tonight, either. The Coyotes are 3-4-2 on the year, including 3-2-1 at home so far.
The Coyotes, much like Wild teams of the past, are a disrespected, semi-faceless, team that simply goes about their business, plays the games they are scheduled to play, and attempts to fly beneath the radar when it comes to the news. Mostly because all anyone cares to report on when it comes to the Coyotes is the ownership situation and the potential that the team could move.
Anyone here want to talk about uprooting a tam and moving it? As if we don't know what that feels like.
The team is in Phoenix, I would like it to stay there and be given a chance to succeed, rather than be under the constant threat of being moved to some Canadian city that has already proven it can't support a team. But hey... as long as we aren't bitter.
The Coyotes have done a number of favors for the Wild in recent years, having fleeced the Calgary Flames several times in trades that sent lesser players to the tundra in order to bring in some good, young talent to Phoenix. The Coyotes continue to be an annual threat to make the playoffs, and are a team built around defense, meaning they are not easy to play against.
Shane Doan is the name most fans will recognize, especially after landing a gargantuan contract in the summer, but the Yotes also bring guys like Antoine Vermette, Mikkel Boedker, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and former Wild prospect Zbynek Michalek. Their goaltending is always a question, and yet they always seem to perform well against the Wild, so don't expect any easy goals tonight.
The Wild need to start behaving like the team they are, rather than the two headed beast they have become. Secondary scoring kicks in just as the top line dries up. Defense becomes solid, then makes terrible gaffes in key situations. Goaltending comes out hot, then finishes by fighting puck and coughing up rebounds. It has to stop at some point, right?
Oh, and try to stay the heck out of the penalty box in the third period, eh?
This has traditionally not been an exciting matchup to watch. Tonight could very well be different. For the sake of us watching at home, we can certainly hope tonight is different.
We'll see you tonight for the game thread.