The Phoenix Coyotes are not a team geared to run up the score, instead preferring to rely on discipline and tight hockey to win the game.
Having an excellent goalie in Mike Smith never hurts either.
But in the next round of the playoffs, the Coyotes will run head-on into a team that plays a very similar game and has their own world-class netminder to boot: Pekka Rinne.
The Nashville goaltender is easily one of the best in the league and making another appearance this year on the Vezina Trophy finalists list, something barely missed out on by the Coyotes’ Smith.
The Coyotes know the scoring chances will be few and far between.
“Every goaltender in this league is a good goaltender, so I don’t think we should put too much focus on him,” said Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker. “We’ve got to think on our game. We know that we’ve scored on him before and we’ve got to keep it simple just focus on their team and not only one player.”
Boedker may not be too worried about focusing on one player, but you can bet the battle between Smith and Rinne will be a large factor in an otherwise tight series.
“I’m sure both teams will be talking about the same thing, you’ve got to get pucks on net and you’ve got to have people in front of the goaltenders and hope you get some second chances,” said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. “Goals will probably be hard to come by; by the way both of these goaltenders have played so far. You’ve got to find ways to score, that’s the reality of the situation.”