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Coyotes search for positives in matchup against the New York Rangers

The Arizona Coyotes will try to create something positive out of a disastrous road trip when they play the New York Rangers.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Very little has gone right for the Arizona Coyotes on this jaunt through the New York City area. As they prepare to play in Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers tonight, they hope a little roster juggling might ignite some energy.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes New York Rangers
Points 47 (6th Pacific) 80 (2nd Metropolitan)
Goals For 2.13 (29th) 3.10 (3rd)
Goals Against 3.30 (T-29th) 2.37 (4th)
Power Play 21.2% (5th) 18.2% (17th)
Penalty Kill 77.9% (27th) 83.0% (10th)
5v5 SAT 49.0% (23rd) 50.4% (18th)
SpSV% 97.0 (T-29th) 101.8 (2nd)


View from Arizona

It would be quicker to document the things that did go right for Arizona on the Isle Tuesday night. They managed to hold on to a 1-1 tie up until the third period. But after that, everything unraveled as defensive miscue after defensive miscue allowed the Islanders to score four times in less than ten minutes.

So tonight, the Coyotes have brought up some newer blood. Louis Domingue is back in place of Mike McKenna to back up Mike Smith. Additionally, Henrik Samuelsson, 2012 first round draft pick and son of former Coyotes assistant and current Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson, has been called up and will likely make his NHL debut in the same building his father caused a lot of mayhem in.

View from New York

The Rangers are in a dog fight in the Metropolitan Division for first place with the New York Islanders. While losing franchise netminder and goalie stud (in both meanings of the term) Henrik Lundqvist to injury might seem like a fatal blow to those chances, the Rangers have shrugged the injury off quite nicely. Since Lundqvist went down January 31st versus Carolina, the Rangers are 9-1-2.

Part of that is due to the solid play by Cam Talbot, who recorded a shutout in his last appearance Tuesday versus Calgary. Credit should also go to an electric offense led by Derick Brassard, Martin St. Louis, and of course, Rick Nash. The Blueshirts may be on their way back to the Stanley Cup Final should their offense continue to produce and Lundqvist make a strong comeback.

Keys to the Game

  • Get Ahead - Chasing the game is hard for a young defense. If Arizona can actually get a lead, they will have a much easier time managing the game.
  • Interior Presence - The offense is best when causing havoc around the crease. Some of the Coyotes' bigger players need to do a better job giving opposing goaltenders a lot to think about.
  • Just Keep Shooting - Arizona has struggled mightily to score, even though they've done a better job getting pucks to the net recently. Keep doing that, and goals will follow.

Who's Hot

Mark Arcobello has scored four times in his last six games. Perhaps he should share what's making him find twine with the rest of the offense.

Derek Stepan has two goals and five assists in his last five games. The number of Rangers who can score at will is absolutely terrifying.

Injury Report

It is unlikely that Zbynek Michalek makes the remainder of the road trip with the Coyotes, as he is reportedly nursing a concussion. Martin Hanzal is done for the season after undergoing back surgery, while Mikkel Boedker continues to rehab after having his spleen removed.

The New York Rangers have been without Jesper Fest since early February with a leg issue. His return is expected sometime at the end of the month, but it is not certain whether or not tonight is the night. Lundqvist remains sidelined for another couple of weeks, while Rick Nash is considered questionable tonight with neck spasms.

Puck Drop

Tonight's contest begins at 5 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona or listen on ESPN 620 AM.