Pittsburgh Penguins Gameday 55: Phoenix Coyotes

Pittsburgh Penguins (38-14-2) @ Phoenix Coyotes (25-19-10)
ROOT, FS-A Plus – 8:00 pm/et 
Jobing.com Arena – Glendale, AZ

The Pittsburgh Penguins head to Glendale to play the soon-to-be "Arizona Coyotes." It looks like Kris Letang is still out with an illness. That sound you hear is a bunch of people demanding that Letang be traded because his immune system "lacks composure."


Leading Scorers:

Penguins: Sidney Crosby (27G, 48A, 75P)
Coyotes: Mikkel Boedker (15G, 22A, 37P)

Starting Goaltenders:

Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury (29-12-1, 2.26 GAA, .917 Sv% )
Coyotes: Mike Smith (18-15-9, 2.91 GAA, .908 Sv% )

Last Games:

Penguins: Defeated Los Angeles Kings 4-1.
Coyotes: Lost to Buffalo Sabres 3-2.

Previews from Team Websites: [Penguins] [Coyotes

Opposition Blog: [Five for Howling]
What They're Saying: "Operation Yandle"

's been exactly one month since Keith Yandle was (in some people's opinion) shockingly left off of the U.S. Olympics team. And as we learned from Scott Burnside's incredible piece, it wasn't just Brian Burke that didn't want Yandle in Sochi. Penguins (and U.S.) head coach Dan Bylsma and his staff (including Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato) didn't want Yandle, instead favoring to bring their own guys Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, despite both players being injured at that time.

But this is Pittsburgh, and let's not forget how much they suck. From the bandwagon fans that almost forced the team to relocation to Kansas City before three consecutive number one picks got them a Stanley Cup winning roster and allowed their savior owner to coerce the state to build them a new arena. These so-called "best fans in hockey" will all be sporting one of the several Winter Classic jersey retreads they've been able to design, no doubt with 87 or 71 emblazoned on the back.

To the lovable cheap shot artists that the team employs/employed. Like James Neal. You may remember him from such fine plays as this. Or this. Or this. That last one is a double whammy, made all the better by Neal refusing to answer the bell for either of the hits. And while Crosby may have improved from his younger diving, whining, general cry-baby self, he's still prone to do something like this. Or this. And let's not forget that Bylsma regularly defended (now reformed) winger Matt Cooke when he was throwing flying elbows all around the ice. For all of their skill, Pittsburgh is nothing if not one of the sneakiest dirty teams in the league.

What Happened Last Time: March 5, 2012 – Pens won 2-1 [Our Recap]

Phoenix isn't anything to laugh at, minus Shane Doan and Michal Rozsival's career. The Pens have kicked off a four-game home stand with a win, and they are riding a 6-game winning streak.

And again they did it mostly because of Marc-Andre Fleury. We've seen the coming of age of MAF. It is hard to remember a time where he was more engaged than he is right now. Another stellar performance. Can't complain about this being a tight game, either. The more one-goal games the Pens experience, the better, in anticipation for the post-season tournament.

Penguins Player(s) to Watch: Sidney Crosby. Why not?

Coyotes Player(s) to Watch: Zbynek Michalek. Former Penguin.

Gif that Seems Appropriate for Today's Game: 

Pittsburgh Penguins lines via Daily Faceoff:

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Brian Gibbons
Jussi  Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Tanner Glass – Brandon Sutter – Jayson Megna
Taylor Pyatt – Craig Adams – Deryk Engelland

Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Rob Scuderi – Robert Bortuzzo
Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen

Marc-Andre Fleury

Phoenix Coyotes lines via Daily Faceoff:

Tim Kennedy – Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski – Antoine Vermette – Mikkel Boedker
Shane Doan – Mike Ribeiro – David Moss
Paul Bissonnette – Jeff Halpern – Kyle Chipchura

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek
Derek Morris – Keith Yandle
David Schlemko – Connor Murphy

Mike Smith