This past Sunday’s game felt very familiar to Arizona Coyotes fans. The game prior the Coyotes won 5-4 in overtime against the Anaheim Ducks, in a game where they clawed their way back from holes they dug themselves into. Sunday they also dug themselves into a hole, allowing an early goal in the first and a goal late in the second. But even with a solid reaction goal from Alex Galchenyuk they couldn’t come back again. Allowing the other team to score three goals in the third, including a short handed goal, is going to make it difficult to come from behind.
Looking at the stats lines its difficult to find an area where Arizona was better then the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas outshot Arizona 37-30, and outshot the Coyotes in all three periods. Vegas also led in faceoffs, winning 60% of all faceoffs. Arizona managed a power play goal which is great, but they also allowed a short handed goal so its a mixed bag. The Coyotes were the more disciplined team though, taking only 3 penalties. The penalty kill, one of the few bright spots of this season, was also perfect again.
Ah the Edmonton Oilers. They have arguably the best player in the world but they aren’t a playoff bound team. The fact that Edmonton has gotten extremely talented players over the past few seasons but they can’t find successful because of extremely bad decisions will always be interesting. Going into this game the Oilers are riding a six game losing streak, with one game being a 4-1 loss to the Saint Louis Blues, one of the worst teams of the year. The Vancouver Canucks also managed to pick up four points from the Oilers with two 4-2 wins. If Edmonton wants to give up points to division rivals that’s fine, the Coyotes need all the points they can get.
Surprisingly enough, the Edmonton Oilers are having difficulties scoring goals. With 110 goals they are tied for 22nd in the league, which is not something you would expect with their front end talent. Less surprisingly they allow a lot of goals, with 126 allowed so far they are tied for 23rd in the league. They do have a pretty solid power play though, converting 22.2% of the time, and a horrendous penalty kill that only kills 76.8% of penalties.
In Edmonton its really the tale of two goaltenders, who have been getting pretty equal starts. Cam Talbot has a 3.30 goals against average and .892 save percentage, which is not good. Mikko Koskinen who spent the past few seasons in the KHL has a 2.60 goals against average and .916 save percentage. With numbers like that its a bit surprising that Talbot has started one more game then Koshkinen.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Alex Galchenyuk - Its taken a bit but Galchenyuk may have finally found his grove as he is currently riding a six game point streak.
Edmonton: Leon Draisaitl - Draisaitl had two goals in Edmonton’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets and has multiple points in his last three games, and points in his last four.
Arizona: Nick Schmaltz (questionable, lower body), Brad Richardson (questionable, flu), Michael Grabner (eye), Antti Raanta (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Edmonton: Kailer Yamamoto (doubtful, upper body), Alex Chiasson (knee), Kris Russell (questionable, lower body), Oscar Klefbom (hand), Andrej Sekera (achilles)
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year?
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