The Arizona Coyotes need to win to stay in the playoff race. With a 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars last Saturday the Coyotes got their first win since the All Star Break. It wasn’t their best game of the season, but it gave them a much needed two points keeping them in the chase for a Wild Card spot.
Two big factors came into play with the Coyotes win against the Stars. The power play was effective, and they got offense from one of their best players. The Coyotes scored on two of their three power play opportunities, with goals from Alex Goligoski and Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk netting his tenth and eleventh goals of the season was another big factor as he unfortunately has been a bit too quiet this season. Additionally the penalty kill was good, killing three Dallas power plays, and they managed to outshoot Dallas 39-35.
That’s not to say it was a perfect game though. The Coyotes allowed Dallas to score two goals in 27 seconds late in the third period. The Stars have some skilled offensive players, so allowing two goals isn’t too bad, but Dallas had a very real chance of using that momentum to tie the game. They also were destroyed in the faceoff circle, winning only 39% of draws.
Given what they accomplished last season, its not surprising that the Vegas Golden Knights haven’t been as successful this year. Winning the division in your first year and advancing to the Stanley Cup Final is definitely a high benchmark that you aren’t going to make every season. But Vegas is firmly in third place in the Pacific Division, and the chances of them missing the playoffs is incredibly slim.
Vegas has been up and down this month. They are 2-3-0 in their last five with a shootout win against the Tampa Bay Lightning and a 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings. Their losses come against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Carolina Hurricanes, and Florida Panthers. The Blue Jackets are playoff bound and the Hurricanes are a bubble team, but the Panthers are on the outside looking in.
The Golden Knights are a middle of the road team offensively (168 goals for, 14th) but they are defensively sound (156 goals against, 6th). Their power play is one spot above the Coyotes (18.1%, 20th) and they have a solid penalty kill (83.4%, 5th). Based off these numbers you probably shouldn’t expect too many power play goals tonight, but if a team can score on the power play it could turn out to the difference maker.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Alex Galchenyuk - Galchenyuk had a hand in all three goals the Coyotes scored against the Stars. The Coyotes brought in Galchenyuk to generate offense, and though its taken a bit he hopefully will keep scoring goals.
Vegas: Cody Eakin - Eakin had a goal against the Blue Jackets and has goals in two of his last three games. At 15 goals on the season he is on pace to have a career high season.
Arizona: Mario Kempe (doubtful, upper body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body), Brad Richardson (upper body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Antti Raanta (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Vegas: Brandon Pirri (probable, illness), Ryan Carpenter (upper body), Nick Holden (questionable, lower body), Erik Haula (knee)
Who is the next Coyote to have a multi-goal game?
This poll is closed
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