The last five periods of Arizona Coyotes hockey have been dreadful to watch. After jumping out to a three-goal lead in the first period of last Tuesday's game against the Colorado Avalanche, the Coyotes have allowed seven unanswered goals -- culminating in two more losses to an already losing record.
Arizona's offense has gone as cold as the winters in the city it's visiting on Monday, as the team traveled to Edmonton to faceoff against the only team in the Pacific Division worse than than them, the Oilers. We'll see how much longer they can use the phrase "at least we're not Edmonton."
Matchup at a Glance
|Arizona Coyotes||Edmonton Oilers|
|Points||21 (6th Pacific)||16 (7th Pacific)|
|Goals Per Game||2.29 (25th)||2.25 (27th)|
|Goals Against Per Game||3.04 (T-24th)||3.38 (28th)|
|Power Play Percentage||19.3% (14th)||12.0% (T-27th)|
|Penalty Kill Percentage||79.2% (T-19th)||82.4% (T-14th)|
|5v5 Corsi Close Percentage||45.6% (27th)||50.1% (18th)|
|PDO||98.78 (24th)||96.13 (29th)|
View from Arizona
Absolutely nothing is going right for the Coyotes right now -- even a three-goal lead is not enough to ensure victory. It seems like the Coyotes find new and creative ways to lose, as blame can be placed on different aspects of the game on any given night. It is difficult to find any stat the Coyotes are above average in, sans their 14th-ranked power play, and that is not surprising given the team's lack of current talent and the inconsistencies that come with it. Arizona hopes to end its three-game losing streak (0-2-1). The Coyotes have owned Edmonton in the past and have beaten them twice already this season.
View from Edmonton
For as bad as things are going for the Coyotes right now, the Oilers would beg to have Arizona's struggles. Edmonton has lost nine (!) games in a row, going 0-6-3 since winning two games in the state of New York in early November. The Oilers averaged just 1.78 goals per game over that stretch while allowing 3.44 goals per game. In the battle of the losing streaks, the Oilers may be the more desperate team, especially at home. But for all the talk of Arizona's goaltending troubles, Edmonton's are much worse.
Keys to the Game
- Get on the power play - The only aspect of Arizona's game that's performing above league average is their ability to put the puck in the net with the man advantage. While, Edmonton's PK is slightly above average too, the Coyotes must take advantage of their PP opportunities given the team's 5v5 struggles.
- When in doubt, get it out - Making simple clears and break-outs from the defensive zone has been a major issue for Coyotes defensemen, and occasionally forwards, this season. Make the simple play and don't try to be a hero.
- Own the neutral zone - Clog up that neutral zone and force the Oilers to dump the puck in, especially their top line. Force Taylor Hall, RNH and company to beat you with their forecheck, not their speed and craftiness entering the offensive zone.
There are not a lot of players who are "hot" for either team right now. Taylor Hall gets the nod for Edmonton, leading his team with three points (1-2-3) over the last week, while Antoine Vermette and Michael Stone are the only players with multi-point weeks last week (a goal and assist each).
For Edmonton: Matt Hendricks did not skate on Sunday due to a leg injury; he's listed as day-to-day. Benoit Pouliot is on IR with a broken foot.
For Arizona: Brandon Gormley and Dave Moss both remain on IR with an undisclosed injury and a upper-body injury respectively.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.