After the Arizona Coyotes’ last game against the Calgary Flames it was clear that something had to change. For a while it looked like everything was finally clicking, the team had a five game win streak and won four of five at home, but lately the Coyotes have played far too many games where nothing was working correctly. With GM John Chayka trading Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome for Nick Schmaltz a message has been sent to the team, everyone needs to step up or things will change.
After losing their last two games by a collective score of 11-2 the Coyotes pretty much need to get everything going. The offense isn’t working and the defense needs to be better, and goaltending needs to improve. Clayton Keller scored against the Calgary Flames, but has been extremely quiet as of late. Vinnie Hinostroza was brought in add some speed and offense, and while he brings the speed he hasn’t scored in six games. The Coyotes other major offseason acquisition Alex Galchenyuk also hasn’t scored since for six games, and he is starting to see his ice time reduced as a result. These are the players that the team needs to step up and take some pressure off the defense and goaltending.
The past few seasons the Minnesota Wild have had regular season success while failing to get much done in the playoffs. So far this season the first half of that statement is true, the Wild are 14-7-2 through twenty three games and are second in the Central Division behind the Nashville Predators. They have a pretty solid power play (21.5%, 12th in the league) and a great penalty kill (85.2%, 3rd in the league) so the Coyotes will need to be disciplined and can’t expect much room to get their struggling power play going.
Forty percent of the Wilds goals this season have come from three players, Zach Parise, Mikael Granlund, and surprisingly Matt Dumba. All three have 10 goals this season, and while Parise and Granlund have historically been good goalscorers, Dumba has never had more than 14 goals in a season. Eric Staal is also a pretty dangerous presence on the ice, with 9 goals and 8 assists in twenty two games. The Wild have also been getting solid goaltending, Devan Dubnyk has gotten the majority of the starts and has a 2.48 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. If Dubnyk isn’t able to start Alex Stalock has been good, with a 2.45 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. All in all Minnesota is a well rounded team that will be tough for any team to beat, much less a struggling team like the Coyotes.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Nick Schmaltz - Its likely that Schmaltz isn’t going to make an immediate impact, he is likely going to take some time to adjust to the Coyotes system and develop chemistry with the team. But after being traded he is going to be looking to show what he can do, and hopefully play his best to make a good first impression.
Minnesota: Zach Parise - After missing almost half of last season with injuries, Parise has been great this season. He comes into tonight’s game riding a four game point streak with 3 goals and an assist.
Arizona: Antti Raanta (questionable, undisclosed) Darcy Kuemper (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Minnesota: Devan Dubnyk (probable, illness), Alex Stalock (questionable, personal)
Its been six games since the Coyotes have scored more than two goals. Can they score more than 2 tonight?
This poll is closed