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Arizona Coyotes search for a better game in Winnipeg

After a brutal 2-1 victory in Minnesota, the Coyotes are right back in action before the All-Star Break with a game in Winnipeg.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the Arizona Coyotes came away with a victory by the skin of their teeth. With the Winnipeg Jets all that stands between the Coyotes and the All-Star Break, the Coyotes will get a chance to play a much better game and go into the break with 55 points.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes Winnipeg Jets
Points 53 (3rd Pacific) 45 (7th Central)
Goals For 2.67 (T-10th) 2.52 (T-17th)
Goals Against 2.92 (26th) 2.83 (25th)
Power Play 18.3% (14th) 15.6% (28th)
Penalty Kill 76.7% (27th) 76.6% (28th)
5v5 Corsi For 47.0% (26th) 51.5% (8th)
PDO 101.1 (4th) 100.2 (T-15th)

View from Arizona

Sometimes you lose games you probably should have won. Other times, you win games you really had no business winning. Last night's affair versus Minnesota firmly belongs in the latter category.

The Coyotes were thoroughly outshot for most of the game, and could not get anything going on special teams. It took one massive gaffe from Devan Dubnyk to salvage a point for the Coyotes, which they turned into two points in the shootout.

Louis Domingue was the hero of the night, with 34 saves on 35 shots. It's possible that the Coyotes will ride the hot hand into the All-Star Break and play him again tonight against the Jets.

View from Winnipeg

For more on the Winnipeg Jets, check out Arctic Ice Hockey

The Jets are a mess. Winnipeg is now ten points out of the final Wild Card position. Andrew Ladd sounds very non-committal about returning next season, while the team still has made little headway in re-signing either Dustin Byfuglien or Jacob Trouba.

Ultimately, Trouba is a restricted free-agent, which means he should be re-signed this summer with relatively little issue. But losing both Ladd and Byfuglien - both of whom are perennially underrated - would be a massive blow to the competitiveness of the Jets in the ultra-tough Central Division.

There are still some good pieces in Winnipeg however. Blake Wheeler leads the team in points despite getting little attention league-wide, while Connor Hellebuyck has been excellent in net. Unfortunately for the Winnipeg faithful, it just hasn't been enough.

Keys to the Game

  • Seven Shots Per Period - The Coyotes took six shots through the first forty minutes of play last night. They should try for at least seven per frame.
  • Score a Power Play Goal (or two) - Winnipeg is notorious for taking penalties. The Coyotes need to both win the penalty differential and the goal differential on special teams.
  • Keep the Puck Away from the Net - The easiest way to help your goaltender is to bore him. If it is Domingue in net again, the Coyotes need to give him less work to do by playing more in the offensive zone.

Players to Watch

Antoine Vermette now has a pair of goals in his last four games. They haven't been pretty, but whatever gets Vermette going is okay with the Coyotes.

Youngster Nikolaj Ehlers has two goals and two assists in his last five games. He's put together a respectable rookie season in a year where rookies league-wide are having a field day.

Injury Report

Nicklas Grossmann is still questionable with an illness, while Mike Smith and Joe Vitale remain on injured reserve.

Grant Clitsome and Ondrej Pavelec are out indefinitely on injured reserve, while Mathieu Perreault is not expected to play tonight. Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry, and Bryan Little are all questionable for tonight's game.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game begins at 6 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona or listen on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.