On Wednesday, the Arizona Coyotes hosted their division rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. And while the Ducks are at the bottom of the standings, they should still be taken seriously and they beat the Coyotes to start the season.
The Coyotes did manage to get two points from the Ducks, although it required the shootout, one that went to the fourth round. Christian Dvorak scored the first two goals for the Coyotes, although the Ducks were able to come from behind and take a brief lead halfway through the third period. Alex Goligoski, who has been solid this season, would tie it up less than 40 seconds later, proving how important those next shifts can be.
Arizona’s special teams this season have been a bit rough, but they were good against the Ducks. The Coyotes would get their first goal on the power play, with Dvorak redirecting a hard shot from Oliver Ekman-Larsson. And while the Coyotes weren’t able to generate on their second power play, the penalty kill was perfect.
Last time these two teams met, the Coyotes came up on top with a 4-1 victory. Conor Garland scored twice, Schmaltz scored, and even Niklas Hjalmarsson got into the action with his first goal of the season.
After struggling this season, the Vegas Golden Knights have been slightly better in the past two weeks. They are 3-2-1 in their last six games although their wins have been against some of the teams that have struggled this season.
The Golden Knights have gone from being the top of the Pacific to a team that would miss the playoffs if they were to start today. And while they are getting good offense from players like Mark Stone, Reilly Smith, and Max Pacioretty, they also have struggled in goal.
Marc-Andre Fleury has been good, but he hasn’t played in almost a week and allowed four goals against the Edmonton Oilers. Malcolm Subban likely won’t be able to pick up the slack, and in seven games he has a 3.46 goals-against average and a .888 save percentage.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Christian Dvorak - Dvorak had two goals against the Ducks and scored the winner in the shootout. He is tied for fourth in points and is second in goals scored this season.
Vegas: Mark Stone - Stone has 11 goals this season and had a goal and an assist against the Nashville Predators.
Arizona: Antti Raanta (illness), Lawson Crouse (upper body), Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)
Vegas: Marc-Andre Fleury (personal)
Tonight’s game is at 4:00 pm and will air on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.