The Arizona Coyotes had a big task on Saturday. The Ottawa Senators are not a good team this season, and in the past, the Coyotes have played down to opponents. But despite taking their foot off the gas in the third period and letting the Senators score twice the Coyotes had a solid 5-2 win at home and have momentum as they head out on a four-game road trip.
Arizona’s offense has really come alive as of late. In four of their past five games, the Coyotes have scored at least four goals, and the offense has been largely balanced. Kyle Capobianco, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Lawson Crouse all scored their first goals of the season against Ottawa, while Carl Soderberg got his second and Conor Garland got his team-leading fourth.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes’ special teams weren’t at the same level we have come to expect. Soderberg did score on the power play, the third straight game where the Coyotes scored on the man advantage, but there were problems as well. Less than two minutes after the Coyotes power play goal Ottawa would score short-handed. Things wouldn’t stop there as the normally stellar penalty kill let Ottawa score on their second of two power plays. Not a terrible showing, but we have come to expect more for the Desert Dogs.
Going into this season it was tough to predict how well the New Rangers would be this season. They finished second to last in the Metropolitan Division, but they took big steps in the offseason by signing unrestricted free agent Artemi Panarin. They also got to move up in the draft, getting Kaapo Kakko second overall, and they traded for defenseman Jacob Trouba. These moves haven’t had too much of an impact though, and they are currently close to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers won their first two games of the season, a 6-4 win against the Winnipeg Jets and a 4-1 win against the Senators, but haven’t won since. Since then they have dropped their last four, being outscored 17-7. They also haven’t managed to score more than twice in a game during that losing streak, a trend that will hopefully continue
Players to Watch
Arizona: Nick Schmaltz - Schmaltz got another assist on the Garland goal against the Senators and is currently on a five-game point streak. It may not last for the rest of the season but Schmaltz currently leads the team with 8 points in 7 games.
New York: Mika Zibanejad - Zibanejad took a major step last season finishing with career highs in goals (30) and assists (44). He leads the Rangers with 11 points, and he has 3 assists in the past two games.
Arizona: Jordan Oesterle (head), Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)
New York: Henrik Lundqvist (doubtful, rest)
Tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden will be at 4:00 pm Arizona time and will be available on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.