After a bruising 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Arizona Coyotes head further east to get back to work. Their trip will take them to uncharted - albeit familiar - territory, as they take on the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on Monday night.
Matchup at a Glance
|Arizona Coyotes||New York Islanders|
|Points||19 (2nd Pacific)||21 (4th Metropolitan)|
|Goals For||2.82 (T-10th)||2.72 (T-14th)|
|Goals Against||2.88 (T-22nd)||2.28 (6th)|
|Power Play||11.6% (30th)||18.4% (17th)|
|Penalty Kill||81.3% (T-12th)||86.0% (5th)|
|5v5 Corsi For||48.1% (T-23rd)||49.2% (T-18th)|
|PDO||101.7 (T-6th)||100.6 (12th)|
View from Arizona
The Coyotes' road-trip got off to a rough start in Columbus. The team gave up two power play goals, and Shane Doan got a game misconduct towards the end of the second period. The poise that Arizona showed in coming back from three straight first period deficits eluded them Saturday evening.
Even so, the Coyotes' resiliency was on display at Nationwide Arena. The Coyotes still managed to tie the score after falling behind 2-0, thanks to Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Anthony Duclair. Duclair now has a pair of goals in his last four games, while OEL remains white-hot.
How much of the blame for a five goal out-burst should go on Mike Smith? It's tough to say. There were a few iffy goals on the night, but there were also more than a few odd-man rushes and unmarked Columbus players that certainly made Smith's job harder.
He won't get the chance to rebound tonight however, as Anders Lindback is pegged to start. Dave Tippett indicated that the start for Lindback is about getting him reps, and not to do with Smith's play last night. Still, Lindback has looked pretty good in limited action, so turning to Lindback is not a bad plan.
View from New York
For the best, most comprehensive Islanders coverage, check out Lighthouse Hockey
Arena not designed for hockey? Obstructed view seating? No, it isn't 1996 at America West Arena again, it's 2015 at the Barclays Center in New York. The Islanders' fan base is discovering something Coyotes fans have known for decades: a poor-fitting arena does not make for a pleasant viewing experience.
The Islanders are a team stuck in the middle of the Metropolitan Division, but within striking distance of the division lead. They are riding a stingy defense led by Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy.
Leading the offense are some of the usual suspects: John Tavares leads the team in points, while Frans Nielsen is tied with Tavares for the team lead in goals with seven. Conspicuously absent however is Ryan Strome. The brother of Coyotes' prospect Dylan Strome is currently playing in Bridgeport of the AHL after recording only a goal and four assists in 12 games. He likely won't stay in the AHL for long, but the demotion is definitely a shot across the bow for the young forward.
Keys to the Game
- Stay Level-Headed - The Coyotes came unglued towards the end of the second period in Columbus. While not always a bad thing, if the team is trailing, skill players sitting in the box with misconduct penalties will not help them get back in the game.
- Don't End Up in a Compromising Position - Arizona got burned more than once by odd-man rushes against the Jackets. Jumping into the play is expected from the Coyotes' defense, but clean line changes and strong back-checking are easy fixes for the Coyotes to make.
- Just Keep Shooting, Just Keep Shooting - OEL's goal in Columbus came off of a rebound. The Jackets tallied a couple of goals off rebounds. Every shot towards the net is a possible scoring chance.
Players to Watch
Shane Doan has a pair of goals and an assist in his last five games. He's not playing the minutes he used to, but he's still providing Arizona with offense.
Not to be confused with Frans Nielson, Brock Nelson has two goals and two assists in his last three contests. He's well on his way to following up last year's 20-20 season.
Nicklas Grossmann and Joe Vitale remain on injured reserve for the Coyotes, while Steve Downie is still doubtful for tonight's game.
Thomas Hickey is not expected back until late November, while Eric Boulton is considered questionable for the Islanders.
Tonight's game begins at 5 PM Arizona time. The game is radio-only, so if you don't have Center Ice or Gamecenter your place to listen is ESPN 620 AM.