The Arizona Coyotes are finished with a four-game road trip that saw them take on the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, and Buffalo Sabres. While the Rangers and Devils are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the Sabres and Islanders are closer to the top. And after a shoot out win in Buffalo, the Coyotes are coming home with 6 out of a possible 8 points on the trip.
There are two ways to look at the Coyotes 3-2 shootout win against the Sabres. On the one hand, they were able to come from a 2-0 deficit to force the game into the shoot out and ultimately win the game. On the other, they had to come back from being down 2-0 for the second game in the row, and for the third time in a row, they allowed their opponent to score first. It’s a troubling trend that the Coyotes have had to come from behind recently, although their ability to come back is a welcome sight that hits home how much the offense has improved.
The Coyotes were able to come from behind with some timely goal scoring. Conor Garland started things with his team-leading sixth goal of the season late in the first, another positive trend for the Coyotes this season. Carl Soderberg would get his third of the season in the second period on the power play.
Arizona’s power play is currently ranked 12th in league with a 22.9% success rating, a huge leap forward from last season where they were 26th and scored only 16.3% of the time. This comes with a general increase in the Coyotes offense as a whole. Last season they were 28th in the league in goals scored, and while it’s still early they are currently ranked 21st in goals scored.
Tonight’s opponents the Montreal Canadiens are a tough team to analyze. In FanPulse poll, fans predicted them to be a team that makes the playoffs this season after just missing last season. They are currently fifth in the Atlantic Division and come in having beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Before that victory they lost their two prior games, a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks and a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild. The Wild and Sharks are at the bottom of the Western Conference.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Conor Garland - Garland had a strong game against the Sabres with a goal and a primary assist. He currently leads the team with 6 goals and is second with 8 total points
Montreal: Max Domi - The former Coyote seems to be thriving in Montreal, setting career highs in goals and assists last season. Before being held pointless against the Leafs he was riding a seven-game point streak, which saw him score 2 goals and 6 assists.
Arizona: Brad Richardson (questionable, upper body), Jordan Oesterle (head), Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)
Montreal: No injuries
Tonight’s game is at Gila River Arena and will begin at 7:00 PM Arizona Time. It will air on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and Fox Sports 910 AM.