The Arizona Coyotes had a tough start to their road trip. They were facing the last two Stanley Cup champions on the road back-to-back. It would be a tough trip in the best circumstances, especially since they didn’t get to their hotel until about 3:00 AM. But after two shootout wins, the Coyotes became the first team to beat the last two Stanley Cup champions back-to-back on the road.
Unlike some of their past games, the Coyotes didn’t give up a lead against the St. Louis Blues. Because unlike their previous two games, they didn’t once have the lead. The Blues took the lead twice midway through the first and second periods, only for the Coyotes to come back and tie it up in the next period.
It’s hard not to argue that Clayton Keller had a big night in his hometown. He intercepted an errant pass to the give the Coyotes their first goal and his pass to Conor Garland led to the Coyotes’ second goal. The Garland goal was a power play goal, a welcome change after the Coyotes went five games without scoring on the man advantage.
Few people would argue that the Coyotes played a perfect game. They were badly outshot throughout the game, they won only 39% of their faceoffs, and didn’t hold the lead once. Darcy Kuemper was the big star of the game, with a .943 save percentage and stopping both of St. Louis’ shootout attempts. You can’t argue with the results though, and the results are two points against the top team in the Central who won it all last season.
Despite beating the Coyotes last Saturday 4-3, the Minnesota Wild are still at the bottom of the Central Division. They have played once since that meeting, which saw them lose 3-1 to the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are at the bottom of the Pacific Division, and the fact that they were limited to one goal should be concerning for Wild fans.
While they aren’t a good team, the Wild showed what will happen if you don’t take them seriously. They still have some offensive weapons and a decent penalty kill. Their penalty kill is ranked 12th ahead of the Coyotes, a bit of a surprise since they are 26th in goals against. The Wild’s penalty kill was perfect the last time these two teams met and proved to be the difference-maker.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller had a bit of a slow start this season, but seems to be heating up. He was involved in both of the Coyotes goals against St. Louis and scored against the Washington Capitals.
Minnesota: Matt Dumba - Dumba has goals in the past two games, and scored the Wild’s lone goal against the Kings.
Arizona: Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)
Minnesota: Marcus Foligno (lower body), Greg Pateryn (lower body)
Tonight’s game will be at 6:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and Fox Sports 910 AM.