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Coyotes take on Jets for a Night of Hockey

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The Coyotes have a chance to be the second desert hockey team to beat the Winnipeg Jets this weekend.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes are facing off against the Winnipeg Jets in the first game of a home-and-home series. Please note that this game starts later than usual, at 8 p.m., to align with the Hockey Night in Canada TV schedule.

Coyotes V Jets Stats

Stats Arizona Coyotes Winnipeg Jets
Stats Arizona Coyotes Winnipeg Jets
Points 7 (8th in Pacific) 19 (2nd in Central)
Goals For 43 (22nd) 48 (15th)
Goals Against 70 (31st) 45 (13th)
Power Play % 15.8 (T-22nd) 23.1 (6th)
Penalty Kill % 76.5 (26th) 76.4 (27th)
Corsi For % 47.89 (26th) 45.66 (30th)
5v5 Shooting % 7.2 (T-21st) 9.7 (T-4th)
PDO 97.9 (27th) 101.9 (T-5th)

View From Winnipeg

For more information on the Jets and their preview go to Arctic Ice Hockey.

This will be the second desert hockey team the Jets have faced in as many nights (or should it be Knights?). After falling 5-2 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday, the Jets will be looking to rebound against the ‘Yotes.

It will be interesting to see which of the two netminders will get the start tonight in Glendale. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck was pulled for the third period and relieved by Steve Mason who stopped all 5 shots that he faced in his first game since October 27th. If Mason gets the start, he’ll be looking to improve on his .877 Save Percentage and 4.44 Goals Against Average and earn more starts from the club. Hellebuyck doesn’t need to improve his stats (.926 Sv%, 2.44 GAA) but starting him would be a demonstration of confidence in his abilities after a rough loss. On the other hand, the Jets may just want to rest Hellebuyck for the Tuesday night home game.

View From Arizona

The Coyotes played their best game of the season against the best team in the Western Conference on Thursday. Hopefully they can give the same effort to defeat the second best team in the Western Conference.

If they can they may have to do it without Alex Goligoski who left the game against the St. Louis Blues injured and it was determined that he would be a game time decision tonight. If he doesn’t play Joel Hanley who was called up from the Tucson Roadrunners will make his debut as a player for the Coyotes. Hanley previously played 17 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens.

Three Questions

Can the Coyotes compete with only half their blueline?

The Coyotes blueline is getting slowly chipped away as there are three defenders who may be sitting out tonight. The newcomers, Hanley and Dakota Mermis, will be expected to get the job done.

Will Keller outscore Laine?

This will be the first opportunity to see how Clayton Keller measures up against the top picked winger in his draft class, Patrik Laine. In his rookie season Laine scored an impressive 36 goals and 28 assists for a total of 64 points in 73 games for the Jets. If Keller’s current pace of 0.94 points per game continues Keller would have 45 goals and 24 assists for a total of 69 points in 73 games.

Can Raanta stay consistent?

With his stellar play Raanta has brought his save percentage back up to .920 where it was when he backed up for the New York Rangers. Now that he’s back from injury fans will get to see if he can handle the workload of a starter.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Really it could be Keller every time but if you’re looking for a little variety Oliver Ekman-Larsson is coming in with a three-game point streak and looks more and more like the old OEL every game.

Winnipeg: Blake Wheeler currently leads all of the Jets’ players with 21 points.

Injury Report

Arizona:

Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) has been on the IR since November 2nd with no timeline given for his return.

Jakob Chychrun (knee) is recovering from his knee surgery but currently has no timeline for his return.

Alex Goligoski (lower body) left the game against the St. Louis Blues in the final minutes of regulation. He is considered day-to-day and a game time decision for tonight’s game.

Winnipeg:

Mathieu Perreault (lower body) was injured on October 16th and was expected to miss four weeks.

Puck Drop

You can catch the game at 8:00 p.m. MST at Gila River Arena and can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or tuned into on 92.3 FM KTAR.