After a 6-3 stomping of the San Jose Sharks the Coyotes had another tough match up in the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are a highly skilled team that needed to make up points, which makes them all the more dangerous. The Coyotes would ultimately end up losing in the final minute of overtime. Three out of four points in a two game homestand isn’t anything to sneeze at, especially against two tough teams.
The Coyotes managed to draw first blood in the game with a Clayton Keller power play goal midway through the first period. After being goalless through most of December Keller has two goals through January, and while the team needs more goals from him its good to see him scoring more. Unfortunately Pittsburgh would strike back early in the second, with a power play goal from Jusso Riikola and a 5 on 5 goal from Jake Guentzel. The Coyotes thought that they tied it up, but the goal would be waived off for goaltender interference. Derek Stepan, another player the Coyotes need to score more, would end up tying the game though three quarters of the way through the third. Unfortunately with Richard Panik taking a penalty in overtime, the Penguins would win it with a goal from Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin.
Arizona getting a point from Pittsburgh is good, but there are plenty that they should want to improve on. They allowed Pittsburgh to have four power plays and it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that they converted twice. Pittsburgh ruled the faceoff circle, with the Coyotes only winning 38% of draws. Also despite being up 1-0 and really needing a strong second period, the Penguins would outshoot the Coyotes 13-4.
Toronto is an interesting team. They are currently second in the Atlantic Division with 60 points and have a +33 goal differential. But despite beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 last week the fans seem restless after a loss to the Florida Panthers. The Eastern Conference is tight towards the top so if the Leafs were to fall a spot it wouldn’t be too shocking, but they seem pretty safe.
Some of Toronto’s best players like Scottsdale’s own Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri having been experiencing some scoring droughts, with both only having one goal in the last twelve games. This could be a good thing for Arizona, or it could mean that they are going to be due to score again tonight. But Toronto has still scored a lot of goals this season (166 in 47 games) and they haven’t allowed many (133). They have a top ten power play (21.7%) and their penalty kill is twelfth in the league (81.1%). All in all the Coyotes get to face another really tough team tonight.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - The Coyotes definitely need more from Keller, and although he hasn’t been scoring goals as much as he did last year he does generate offense. He has 3 points in the last five games.
Toronto: Mitchell Marner - In his past five games Marner has five points in the last five games and before facing the Florida Panthers he was riding a four game goal streak.
Arizona: Kevin Connauton (lower body), Brad Richardson (upper body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Antti Raanta (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Toronto: Tyler Ennis (ankle)
Can the Coyotes give Maple Leafs fans something else to freak out about after tonight?
This poll is closed