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GDT Game 25: Coyotes return home to defend the desert

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The Coyotes are back in the desert as they host the leaders of the Pacific Division.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview

The Arizona Coyotes were looking for a bounce-back game after their 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs when they played the Los Angeles Kings. It wasn’t their best game, but the Coyotes left the City of Angels with two huge points against a division rival. With the Vancouver Canucks only two points behind the Desert Dogs, getting points even when the team isn’t playing their best is going to be key this season.

Apparently, the Arizona Coyotes can only score on the power play against the Los Angeles Kings. In their first game against the Kings they got two power play goals, and last night they got one midway through the first period with Phil Kessel getting his fourth goal of the season off a great feed from Clayton Keller. That was the Coyotes’ lone power play opportunity, and it is nice to seem them taking advantage of it.

Unfortunately, the Coyotes’ penalty kill wasn’t as good, with the Kings tying the game early in the second on the power play. The penalty kill has declined from where it was last season and is currently ranked 17th in the league. Until yesterday the Coyotes had gone three games without allowing a power play goal, so things do seem to be trending upward at least.

Since the Edmonton Oilers last played the Coyotes things have been a bit of a mixed bag. They have lost to the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, and Los Angeles Kings who are all closer to the bottom of the standings. But they also have wins against the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights so they shouldn’t be underestimated.

Both the Coyotes and the Oilers played last night, and both teams won their respective games. Edmonton is approaching the end of a five-game road trip, where they have outscored their opponents 10-9. The Kings blew them out 5-1, which goes to show that the Oilers offense can be stopped.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Phil Kessel - Kessel scored the Coyotes’ first goal yesterday and has points in four of his last five games. He seems to be finding his game with the Coyotes as of late, and hopefully will be able to contribute more to the Coyotes’ offense.

Edmonton: Connor McDavid - McDavid has been on a roll as of late, which isn’t too surprising considering he is one of the best players in the world. He is currently riding a ten-game point streak, with him getting six points in one game.

Injuries

Arizona: Lawson Crouse (upper body), Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)

Edmonton: Jujhar Khaira (questionable, undisclosed), Brandon Manning (questionable, hand), Matt Benning (concussion)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game is at Gila River Arena at 6:00 pm Arizona time and will air on NHL, SN, and Fox Sports Arizona and will be on the radio at Fox Sports 910 AM.