Since leaving the Valley of the Sun the Arizona Coyotes are 2-0-0 on a four-game road trip. Last night they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1, giving the Flyers their second regulation loss at home of the season and pushing the Coyotes up to first in the Pacific Division.
The Coyotes scored early, with Phil Kessel getting his fifth of the season on the power play less than three minutes into the game. Kessel would go on to get his second of the night, also on the power play into an empty net after the Flyers pulled Brian Elliott. Kessel and the Coyotes’ power play have both struggled, and it would be great if they can start going.
Kessel wasn’t the only player scoring last night. Conor Garland would get his 11th of the season in the third period, picking up a rebound from Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun. Clayton Keller would also register two assists, giving him 12 assists and 17 points on the season.
Last night’s win doesn’t mean the Coyotes can take their foot off the gas. The reason they are on top of the Pacific and third in the Western Conference is because of their success on the road. A 7-6-1 home record is respectable, but they are 10-3-3 on the road which is just stellar. The Edmonton Oilers are also only 1 point behind the Yotes, and the Coyotes can’t afford to let them gain steam.
The old adage is that correlation doesn’t equal causation, but Alex Galchenyuk may be cursed. Not only did he miss time last season with the Coyotes and this season, but he seems to be bringing the injury bug to his teams. The Coyotes were decimated with injuries last season, and this season they are dealing with injuries to a lot of key players.
Despite dealing with some major injuries, the Penguins haven’t been terrible this season. They are currently fifth in the Metropolitan Division, but with 34 points they would get the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Phil Kessel - Kessel had two goals last night and three points in his last two games. The Coyotes have been managing without his offense, but they could use the offense to have them move up a notch.
Pittsburgh: Alex Galchenyuk - Galchenyuk had a minor setback in October after a spider bite, but he seems to be rebounding. He had a goal in the Penguins’ last game, and you know he is going to be playing hard against the team that traded him.
Arizona: Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)
Pittsburgh: Jack Johnson (questionable, illness), Bryan Rust (questionable, lower body), Patric Hornqvist (lower body), Brian Dumoulin (ankle), Justin Schultz (questionable, lower body), Nick Bjugstad (abdominal), Sidney Crosby (hernia)
Tonight’s game will be at 5:00 pm Arizona time and will air on ESPN+, Fox Sports Arizona, and Fox Sports 910 AM.