The Arizona Coyotes left for their four game road trip with a need to score more goals. Thankfully they seem to have solved that issue, scoring three times against the Winnipeg Jets and four times against the Chicago Blackhawks. And while four goals was enough to beat the Blackhawks, three wasn’t enough to top the Jets. The 'Yotes have a chance to finish .500 on the trip though with a win tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first of two match ups this season.
Perhaps the biggest story of the game is that the Coyotes’ biggest offseason acquisition Alex Galchenyuk seems ready to play for the first time this season.
Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said Alex Galchenyuk will be a game-time decision tomorrow. Unless he has a setback, I suspect he’ll play.— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) October 22, 2018
Arizona made a big splash by trading Max Domi to the Montreal Canadiens for Galchenyuk in a one to one swap. Arizona got a goalscorer who is two seasons removed form a 30 goal campaign. Unfortunately for the team Galchenyuk was sidelined before the season started with a groin injury. The 'Yotes offense has struggled in the early games of the season, and Clayton Keller can only do so much.
The Blue Jackets made news during the offseason but for all the wrong reasons. Artemi Panarin who led the team in goals and assists last season and is expected to walk away after this season as an unrestricted free agent. Sergei Bobrovsky is also set to become an unrestricted free agent, and the two time Vezina winner is likely looking for a big pay raise, and its unclear if he will be getting that from Columbus. Columbus managed to acquire two star players but unfortunately it hasn’t lead to post season success for the team and if they lose them for nothing it could be devastating for the team.
Columbus has their own player returning from Injured Reserve, star defenseman Seth Jones is expected to return tonight against the Coyotes. Jones was inured during a preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres and though he was expected to miss four to six weeks he is coming back sooner. The Blue Jackets acquired Jones from the Nashville Predators in exchange for center Ryan Johansen back in 2016 in a move that seems to have worked out well for both parties. The Blue Jackets haven’t exactly struggled without Jones and are 4-3-0 on the season, but getting back one of their top defenseman shouldn’t hurt.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Alex Galchenyuk - The Coyotes expect big things from Galchenyuk. If he’s back he should be given time to adjust to his new team and style but it can only mean good things for the Coyotes.
Columbus: Seth Jones - If both teams can get one of their best players back in the same game it will truly be something to see. Jones has been one of the better defenseman in the league since being drafted by the Predators and should be a serious help for the Blue Jackets as the season moves forward.
Arizona: Jakob Chychrun (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Columbus: Brandon Dubinsky (oblique)
Clayton Keller has goals in his last two games. Will the streak continue?
This poll is closed
No but he gets a point