“We can’t lose on bobblehead night.” - Keith Yandle, former Coyotes defenseman
Tonight’s game is huge for two big reasons. First, tonight the Arizona Coyotes honor their long time former captain Shane Doan by retiring his jersey. Many fans were unhappy with the way that the team handled the decision not to re-sign Doan two years ago. Doan means so much to the franchise and Coyotes fans so its great to see that he is that things have smoothed over enough for such an honor to happen.
While we can spend all day discussing Shane Doan, what he means to the fanbase, and how great it is to see the team retire his number there will also be a game tonight. A very important game. Arizona is currently four points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand. There may not be a better way to honor their former captain then getting a win tonight and moving two points closer to returning to the playoffs.
The Coyotes come in to tonight’s game after a 3-2 overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks are also in the running for a playoff spot, and they are just one point behind the Coyotes. Giving Vancouver a point was not ideal, but Arizona getting two points nothing to complain about.
Thursday’s game against the Canucks had a lot to love, and a lot you would want to change. Jakob Chychrun scored on a rare power play goal, and going into the final stretch it would be great if the Coyotes power play could get hot. The power play didn’t compromise the penalty kill which was perfect again killing three Vancouver power plays. The Coyotes also managed to turn things on in the crucial third period, outshooting the Canucks 20-5. Alex Galchenyuk would ultimately give Arizona the win with a move that showed why the Coyotes traded for him.
It was by no means a perfect game though. Ideally Vancouver shouldn’t have had the shot advantage during the first forty minutes of the game. And after Lawson Crouse scored to give Arizona a 2-1 lead its a bit disappointing that the Coyotes allowed the Canucks to tie it up less then two minutes later. Vancouver also lead in the faceoff circle, winning 52% of draws. Faceoffs are a very important aspect of the game, and the Coyotes need to look to improve in that area.
The Winnipeg Jets have had a lot of buzz the last few seasons and its not hard to see why. They currently lead the Central Division with 78 points and three games in head compared to the second place Nashville Predators. Fortunately for Arizona they aren’t having the best month, and they have a 4-4-2 record which includes two losses to the Ottawa Senators. Getting beat by one of the worst teams in the league is rough, but getting beat twice in the span of a week is just brutal.
None of that is to say that Winnipeg can’t turn it on if they need to. They last played Friday against the Vegas Golden Knights, a game that they won 6-3. That game was a bounce back effort after a 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche and it ended a three game losing streak. Winnipeg is definitely going to make the playoffs and its very likely that they will have home ice advantage, but they seem a little bit shaky now.
For all the highly skilled offensive players that the Winnipeg Jets have it should come as no surprise that they are sixth in the league scoring 207 goals this season. Defensively they aren’t at that level, and the 180 goals allowed is middle of the pack at thirteenth in the league. Winnipeg has one of the best power plays in the league converting 25.3 percent of the time, but they are weak on the penalty kill at twentieth in the league with a 79.7 percent kill. The Jets are the better team tonight, but if the Coyotes can play solid defense and keep Winnipeg from scoring they can get two points.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Alex Galchenyuk - Galchenyuk had the game winning goal and an assist on Thursday against the Canucks. He has four points in his last five games and is definitely heating up at the right time.
Winnipeg: Patrik Laine - The former second overall pick had two goals against the Vegas Golden Knights. At 27 goals on the season he should be able to have his third straight 30+ goal season no problem barring an unforseen injury or a ridiculous cold streak.
Arizona: Kyle Capobianco (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Antti Raanta (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Winnipeg: Dustin Byfuglien (lower body), Joe Morrow (lower body)
How emotional is the Doan retirement ceremony going to be?
This poll is closed