The Arizona Coyotes were looking for a bounce back game after getting shelled 6-1 by the Detroit Red Wings, and they got that with a win over the Nashville Predators. Nashville is one of the top teams in the league, and the Coyotes win was anything but decisive. Arizona managed a 2-1 win with Darcy Kuemper blocking a career high 45 shots. Nashville outworked Arizona through most of the game, but the Coyotes dug in and found a way to win.
There are a few narratives that emerged from Coyotes’ win against the Predators. The NHL’s number one penalty kill was perfect again and Michael Grabner scored another short-handed goal giving the team an NHL high 10 short-handed goals this season. Unfortunately losing players is also a narrative from the game as Jason Demers is likely out for the season after sustaining a knee injury in the third period. Before he was injured Demers was having a great game, scoring the game winning goal off a great feed from Christian Fischer. With the loss of Demers the team loses half of their top defensive pairing, and with Alex Goligoski also sitting the team is going to have to dig deep in its defensive depth. Luckily for Arizona they may be able to absorb these key losses. Arizona acquired Jordan Oesterle and Ilya Lyubushkin this past offseason and both have been better then expected. In addition to Demers, the team will also be without Josh Archibald for two games as he was suspended for an illegal check to the head of Ryan Hartman.
The Boston Bruins have been respectable this season and come into the game with a 10-6-3 record, good enough for a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Like the Coyotes they have struggled to score in some games, and have been shut out twice this month by both the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars. That’s not to say they can’t score though, they netted 4 goals in a 4-1 win against the Vegas Golden Knights and 5 in a 5-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs and an 8-5 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Their penalty kill is 21st in the league at 77.8%, but they have the second best power play in the league converting 30.8% of the time.
Boston is getting hit pretty hard by the injury bug too and comes to the desert missing some key pieces. Longtime captain Zdeno Chara will be missing the next 4-6 weeks after being injured in Boston’s 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Patrice Bergeron, who leads the Bruins with 26 points, was out during that loss having sustained an upper body injury in Boston’s 1-0 overtime loss against the Dallas Stars. After finishing last season with a record of 7-25-32 in 63 games, Charlie McAvoy’s sophomore season has started with a hiccup and a concussion has restricted him to only 7 games this season in which he registered a goal and 5 assists.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller is a bit of a scoring slump having not scored a goal since the Coyotes October 27th game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was expected that Keller would have a bit harder time scoring as the league gets used to him, but don’t expect him to stay quiet forever.
Boston: David Pastrnak - Pastrnak has an unbelievable 17 goals on the season and 5 goals in his last 4 games including a hat trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also has 3 assists during that time span and he has been key to the Bruins success.
Arizona: Jason Demers (knee), Josh Archibald (suspension), Jakob Chychrun (upper body), Alex Goligoski (lower body), Antti Raanta (questionable, lower body), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Boston: Patrice Bergeron (questionable, upper body), John Moore (questionable, lower body), Zdeno Chara (leg), Brandon Carlo (lower body), Urho Vaakanainen (concussion), Charlie McAvoy (concussion), Kevan Miller (hand)
What scores first, Arizona’s penalty kill unit or its power play?
This poll is closed