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GDT: Coyotes finish homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers

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The Coyotes prepare for their last game at home before heading back on the road as they face off against the Philadelphia Flyers for the first of two consecutive games.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview

The Arizona Coyotes started their five game homestand with a mission, show the NHL that they are not to be taken lightly at home. It was close in their most recent game against the Carolina Hurricanes, but with a 4-0-0 record its clear that the mission was successful, and the message that the Arizona Coyotes are to be taken seriously was sent to the NHL. Tonight Arizona is looking to finish with a perfect 5-0-0 record during the homestand and extend their win streak to six games.

In their most recent game the Coyotes found them in a rare situation this season, they were outshoot by the Hurricanes 51-25. The Coyotes came out to an early lead with a short handed goal from Brad Richardson, a power play goal from Brendan Perlini, and a 5-on-5 goal from Nick Cousins all in the first period. An early lead though would prove necessary as the next 40 minutes where pretty much all Carolina and Antti Raanta making some stellar saves. Raanta would keep his team in the game and would force overtime, allowing Clayton Keller to set up a beautiful feed to Michael Grabner who put it home to win. Arizona may have already lost some games they should have won, but for the first time they probably won a game they should have lost.

It's tough to predict what the Philadelphia Flyers will be this season. The past six seasons they have alternated between making the playoffs and not qualifying and if the trend holds true they will miss the playoffs again this year. They have a few solid players, but with the exception of Nolan Patrick they all tend to be on the older side. This season they also don’t have great special teams, they are one of the few teams with a worse power play then the Coyotes (25th overall, 14.6%) but they also have the second worst penalty kill in the league (68.6%). They also have been hit pretty hard by the injury bug, just check out the injury list down below.

Philadelphia comes to the desert riding a three game point streak, which saw them beat the lowly Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings and take the San Jose Sharks to overtime. While you can say that beating the Ducks and Kings may not count for much this season, there is something to be said for getting points when you can. Key to Philadelphia’s victory as of late has been a few key players who have points in all three games, Ivan Provorov, Nolan Patrick, and Oskar Lindblom. Patrick shouldn’t surprise anyone, but Provorov appears poised to build off some modest success last season and Lindblom has already surprassed his points in 23 games last season.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Michael Grabner - Grabner may have started out slow but he has been a big part of the Coyotes success lately. He is a huge part of the Coyotes’ penalty kill which is one of the top in the league, but he is also quietly riding a 4 game point streak.

Philadelphia: Claude Giroux - Hockey is increasingly a young man’s game, but there are still players like Claude Giroux who have experience. Last season Giroux finished with 34 goals and 68 assists and crossed 100 points for the first time in his career and should not be underestimated.

Injuries

Arizona: Kevin Connauton (probable, illness), Jakob Chychrun (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)

Philadelphia: Jori Lehtera (questionable, hand), Brian Elliott (questionable, head), Michael Neuvirth (questionable, undisclosed), Corban Knight (collarbone), Michael Raffl (lower body), James van Riemsdyk (lower body), Samuel Morin (knee), Pascal Laberge (hip)

Poll

Poll

Can the Coyotes finish with a perfect 5-0 on the five game homestand?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Yes
    (36 votes)
  • 7%
    No
    (3 votes)
39 votes total Vote Now