Zbynek Michalek. Anyone remember that guy?
Yeah. I don’t either.
That was fun.
In all seriousness though, about the only storyline between these two teams coming into the game is Michalek hosting his former team. My joke about Michalek wasn’t exactly intended to be an insult at his play. He’s actually played decent when he’s actually on the ice. The problem is he’s been hurt pretty much constantly since being trade back to Phoenix. He missed 14 games last year and has already missed 22 games this season.
The Coyotes as a whole are just pleased to be out of the month of January. They only won five games the entire month and capped it off with a 3-2 loss to the worst team in the league, the Buffalo Sabres. Shane Doan had some choice words for his team in the media. Not nearly as bad as the way Rob Scuderi or Matt Niskanen called out their team at times this year but in any case, it’s obvious that Doan is not pleased. Especially considering that he could have left Phoenix in the offseason.
Marc-Andre Fleury should be back between the pipes for the Pens after Jeff Zatkoff started for the 4-1 win in Los Angeles on Thursday. He’s 3-1 in five starts in his career against the Coyotes. The no decision came in a game in which he was pulled early.
Smith should also be back in net for the Coyotes after Thomas Greiss started the past two games. Smith had an atrocious month of January which led to the benching and his career against the Pens doesn’t give much hope in him turning it around.
The game at Phoenix is the second of the two game field trip for the Penguins’ mothers who have accompanied the team on this west coast swing. In years past, it’s been the dads to make the trip but it’s been switched this year.
The trip to the desert is the first for the Pens since November of 2010. One Pen that will likely miss the game is Kris Letang who also sat out of the Kings game with an illness. Puck drops at 8pm.