The Arizona Coyotes first win streak of the season came to an end Wednesday with a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. The Coyotes will play another California team as the Los Angeles Kings come to the desert for the first time this season.
After a historically bad start to the Arizona Coyotes seasons, it's still early but it seems like the Coyotes are finally starting to turn things around. Even before they won their first game they were playing much better, and after getting that first win they seem to be playing more confidently. In recent games, they have had stretches of controlling play, and they have been getting good bounces.
View From Los Angeles
For more on the Los Angeles Kings, Check out Jewels From The Crown
After missing the playoffs for the second time in the three seasons after winning the Stanley Cup it was out with GM Dean Lombardi and Head Coach Darryl Sutter and in with new GM Rob Blake and a promotion for John Stevens. The Kings didn’t change much on the ice though, with Mike Cammalleri’s one year deal be the largest move in the offseason. Cammalleri was ultimately traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Jussi Jokinen.
With the Kings being on the decline the past few seasons and the minimal moves on the ice it seemed reasonable that the Kings would probably finish close to where they were last season, competing for a playoff spot but not being a dominant force in the West like they used to be. But the Pacific Division is crazy this season and the Kings are second in the Pacific behind the Vegas Knights, another surprise in the Pacific.
The Kings’ solid start comes from getting great play for their key players. Jonathon Quick has been solid with a .926 save percentage and 2.44 goals against average, Anze Kopitar is much better this season with 9 goals and 15 assists this season. Even Coyotes villain Dustin Brown has found his scoring touch again this season with 8 goals and 11 assists.
Yesterday, the Kings acquired forward Torrey Mitchell from the Montreal Canadiens for a conditional draft pick, but being as he has gone scoreless in 11 games with the Canadiens, he likely isn’t going to be a difference maker.
View From Arizona
The Coyotes have slowly been playing better as the season went on and they were rewarded with their first win streak of the season which unfortunately ended on Wednesday. But while a 3-1 loss with an empty net isn’t a terrible, having Antti Raanta leave the game with an injury is probably the worst case scenario.
Raanta leaving the game early is troublesome, and yesterday’s emergency recall of Marek Langhammer make it clear that he will miss at least game, although hopefully not too long. Luckily for Coyotes fans Scott Wedgewood has looked pretty solid in most of his games with the team and should be good in the short term.
1. Will Clayton Keller score again?
Despite comfortably leading the Coyotes in goals, Keller hasn’t lit the lamp himself since November 6th against the Washington Capitals. While a cold streak is to be expected, Keller is a much-needed part of the Coyotes offense and the team needs him to be scoring.
2. Can the Coyotes control the game?
Historically the Coyotes and Kings games of the past have been on the more physical side, which isn’t the smart move with the way the team is currently built. Zac Rinaldo can drop the gloves, but the Yotes don’t need Max Domi fighting.
3. Can the Coyotes start another win streak?
It would be nice.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Brendan Perlini. Keller rightfully gets most of the attention but Brendan Perlini has been having a solid sophomore season this year. He is on pace to surpass his 14 goals and 7 assists last season and has goals in his last two seasons.
Los Angeles: Anze Kopitar. Last season Kopitar was named the captain of the Los Angeles Kings after Dustin Brown was stripped of the role and had the worst full season of his professional season. In 22 games though he has almost matched his goal total last season and is just under halfway to his total point total last season.
Los Angeles injuries: Jeff Carter is on injured reserve with an ankle injury and is out until the middle of February. Kyle Clifford is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.
Arizona injuries: Jakob Chychrun is week to week with a knee injury. Antti Raanta is questionable for tonight after leaving the game against the San Jose Sharks early.
Tonight’s game will be Gila River Arena at 7 pm Arizona Time and will be airing on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports Go. Listen on the radio on KTAR News 92.3 FM.