After three points at home against tough teams in the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins the Coyotes were set for a tough road trip. The first opponent was the Toronto Maple Leafs, a very good team that is currently experiencing some difficulties. After the Leafs dominated the first period it looked like they Toronto would get the win, but the Coyotes were able to flip the script and earn two more points.
Despite a score of 4-2 the Coyotes win wasn’t exactly commanding. Arizona definitely had control of the second period and goals from Mario Kempe and Clayton Keller gave them a one goal lead going into the third. Toronto has a lot off offensive pieces though and John Tavares was able to tie the game just over three minutes in with his 30th goal of the season. Vinnie Hinostroza would eventually score the game winner by sticking with the play knocking the puck past Frederick Andersen, not the flashiest goal you will see but good goal nonetheless.
Lawson Crouse would net his eighth goal of the season on the empty net with 38 seconds left, effectively ending any chance Toronto had at a comeback.
With the injuries that the Coyotes have had to deal with this season the fact that they are able to compete against highly talented teams is impressive. The Coyotes definitely needed more offense as they finish up the season but they have been getting balanced scoring as of late which could be enough. Arizona’s defense and goaltending continues to be solid and Darcy Kuemper again showed that the team made the right move in signing him.
Unfortunately for the Coyotes there were a few areas they need to work on to keep winning. They were again dominated in the faceoff circle, only winning 38% of draws. Arizona also blocked 30 shots compared to Toronto’s 11, and while it shows a commitment from the team to protect the lead, it also suggests that they probably spent too much time in their own zone. And while it wasn’t needed in this game, Arizona’s power play went zero for four.
Unlike the last four teams the Coyotes have faced the Ottawa Senators are bad. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, most people predicted Ottawa was going to be bad this season, especially after losing two key pieces in the offseason in Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman. Perhaps the saddest part is that the Senators won’t even have a first-round pick as they traded it to Colorado as part of a package for Matt Duchene. That’s not to say Matt Duchene hasn’t lived up to his end of the bargain and through 40 games this season he is second on the team in points and has 20 goals and 26 assists.
So far in January the Senators have a record of 4-4-1. Three of those wins came against teams that are still competing for a playoff spot, the Colorado Avalanche, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Anaheim Senators. Three of the losses also came against teams that could make the playoffs, the San Jose Sharks, the Minnesota Wild, and the Hurricanes again. All in all the wins were largely impressive for a team at the bottom of the Eastern Conference while the losses were mostly respectable.
Despite losing two major point generators, the Ottawa Senators can still score goals and their 154 goals is good for tenth in the league. Fortunately for the Coyotes they also allow a lot of goals and the 184 goals allowed is the second worst in the league. Despite scoring a decent amount their power play is middle of the pack (15th in the league), and the penalty kill is unsurprisingly terrible (29th in the league). If the Coyotes come in ready to play and are defensively sound they can hopefully take advantage of the Senators weak defense and pull out a win.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Derek Stepan - Stepan had primary assists on the last two Coyotes goals, the game winning goal and the final nail in the coffin for Toronto. Stepan really hasn’t produced as much this season but he has three points in the last two games.
Ottawa: Mark Stone - Stone leads the Senators in points and his 22 goals puts him on pace for a career high season. He has two goals in the last three games.
Arizona: Jakob Chychrun (probable, undisclosed), Brad Richardson (upper body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Antti Raanta (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Ottawa: Mark Borowiecki (questionable, lower body), Colin White (shoulder), Marian Gaborik (back)
Clayton Keller is riding a two game goal streak. Can he extend it to three?
This poll is closed