Going into Sunday’s game both the Arizona Coyotes and the New York Rangers were looking for their first win of 2019. The Coyotes managed to work hard and put forth consistent effort which saw them score a decisive 5-0 win against the Rangers.
Sunday’s win was everything that fans could want to see. It featured balanced scoring with four players netting goals and twelve registering points. The scoring came from top players like Clayton Keller and Alex Galchenyuk as well as players like Mario Kempe and rookie Conor Garland. The Alex Galchenyuk goal specifically was an excellent example of staying with the play and the rewards of playing until the whistle.
It wasn’t just scoring that should make fans excited though, the Coyotes played a solid complete game. They controlled the pace pretty much throughout, outshooting their opponents 40-23. They did let up a bit in the third period, when New York pushed back hard in attempt to not get shut out, but Arizona kept them off the board. The Coyotes won 57% of the faceoffs, scored a power play goal, and the penalty kill was perfect during New York’s lone power power. All in all you couldn’t ask for much more in a win.
Unfortunately after the game Coyotes’ fans would receive some bad news. It was announced the the team will be without Nick Schmaltz for the rest of the season. The team acquired Schmaltz in exchange for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini and before being hurt Schmaltz helped to stabilize the power play and he found chemistry with Clayton Keller. For the Coyotes the injuries keep piling on, and as they head into the second half of the season there are plenty of opportunities for players to step up and fill the holes in the lineup. It will definitely be interesting to see what players do with their shots as we move forward.
In their first season without the legendary Sedin twins the Vancouver Canucks have been playing surprisingly well. They are currently two points out of a playoff spot, although teams in front of them have a few games in hands. Key to this success has been the stellar rookie Elias Pettersson who has 22 goals and 20 assists so far. Luckily for the Coyotes Pettersson will miss tonight’s game with a knee injury.
Vancouver doesn’t struggle as much as the Coyotes in scoring, and with 127 goals scored this season they are 16th in the NHL. Recently they have been having some issues scoring, and last week they were shut out three times, a 5-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, and a 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Vancouver also gives up a lot of goals, their 141 goals allowed is 25th in the NHL. Their power play is only slightly better then the Coyotes (17.6% 20th in the league) and they have a pretty weak penalty kill (78.0%, 22nd in the league).
Players to Watch
Arizona: Conor Garland - Garland’s two goals came from crashing the net. Garland seems willing to head straight to the opposing goaltender and redirect the puck to get goals. Its definitely something that the Coyotes have been missing this season.
Vancouver: Bo Horvat - None of the Canucks have been particularly hot lately. Horvat in second on the team in goals, points, and assists though and did have an assist against the Ottawa Senators.
Arizona: Kevin Connauton (questionable, lower body), Josh Archibald (personal), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Antti Raanta (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Vancouver: Elias Pettersson (knee), Josh Leivo (back)
The Coyotes seem to have the edge on special teams. What will be the biggest difference maker?
This poll is closed
Arizona’s power play
Arizona’s penalty kill
Vancouver’s power play
Vancouver’s penalty kill