This game tonight might be a preview of the first round of the playoffs. Phoenix has won three in a row, but that's
still only kept them one point ahead of San Jose. The Coyotes can't catch Chicago. They can, however catch Los
Angeles for the Pacific Division lead. That would give them the right to have home-ice advantage in the first round
against the Blackhawks. So the Coyotes are motivated to play hard tonight.
The cool thing about Phoenix being in the playoffs is cool because of their whiteout. Their website is all white. They tell the fans to wear white and give them t-shirts. I think it would be more amusing to do a hockey blackout. So when the puck was elevated, the goaltender would have to think more about self preservation instead of stopping the puck that they can't see.
The only guy I'm going to try and talk about on the Coyotes is Mike Smith. The goaltender is almost as hot as Elliott was before losing in the shootout Wednesday. Smith has three straight shutouts and hasn't allowed a goal in more than 210 minutes. Smith is posting his best goals-against average and save percentage in his six-season career. He's won 36 games this season. His career high before now was 14 wins. Betting on him starting tonight, he'll have started 66 games. He's never started more than 42 in his NHL career. Hell, he's only started at least 50 games in a season twice in his life and those came in the Ontario Hockey League and the American Hockey League. And instead of getting tired, he's playing his best hockey. In his three shootouts he's saved 54, 44 and 38 shots. That's pretty respectable.
It's simple for the Blues. Brian Elliott is the starter tonight, Jaroslav Halak tomorrow in Dallas. Win two games, you clinch the Western Conference.
This is your game day thread. Comment like the conference depends on it.