The Arizona Coyotes had a golden opportunity to start the 2019-20 season. They were facing off against the Anaheim Ducks, a team that is likely not going to make the playoffs, especially important when you look at their next five opponents including tonight’s.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes weren’t able to start their season with a win. They looked great in the first period, dictating the pace of the game, but were unable to score. Despite being outplayed the Ducks would score in the first, and the Coyotes wouldn’t be able to regain the same pace that they had. The Clayton Keller, Phil Kessel, and Derek Stepan line would score for the Coyotes temporarily tying the game, but Anaheim would score again in the second and the Coyotes were unable to catch the game again.
While the outcome is far from what we would have liked, there were positives in the Coyotes 2-1 loss. The Coyotes top line looked solid, and Kessel and Stepan are displaying really good chemistry. Carl Soderberg, Arizona’s other offseason acquisition, also had a very good game and was very noticeable on the ice. Arizona also won 49% of the face-offs taken, an improvement from the 44% face-off wins during preseason.
The Boston Bruins made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final last season before losing to the St. Louis Blues in game seven. After coming so close to the ultimate goal you aren’t going to make too many changes in the offseason, and they didn’t. Being essentially the same team they were last season makes the Bruins dangerous. Not only are they the same good team they also aren’t going to need to wait for anyone to adjust to the system.
Boston won its first game of the season against the Dallas Stars with goals from Brett Ritchie and Danton Heinen in the first period. After scoring twice they seem to have fallen back into a shell, leading to Dallas outshooting them 25-14 in the second and third periods. Not exactly a massive victory, but a solid road win for the Bruins that the Coyotes should look to replicate in the future.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Phil Kessel - Kessel looked solid in his season debut with the primary assist on the Coyotes lone goal. He will be up against one of his former teams tonight looking for his first goal.
Boston: Charlie McAvoy - McAvoy had an assist in the Bruins first game and signed a three-year, $14.7 million deal in the offseason.
Boston: David Krejci (questionable, lower body), John Moore (shoulder), Joakim Nordstrom (foot)
Tonight’s game is the first regular season game at Gila River Arena. Game time is 6:00 pm and will be available on ESPN+, Fox Sports, and Fox Sports 910 AM.