Since coming back from the All Star break the Arizona Coyotes haven’t looked like a team making a final push for the playoffs. They have lost three games, and while two of the games were close, their 5-2 loss to the Nashville Predators was not.
There are definitely factors that went into Tuesday’s loss. The team was playing in the second game of a back to back and they were playing against one of the best teams in the NHL. They also were missing some key players including goaltender Darcy Kuemper and defenseman Jakob Chychrun. On top of the general injuries that they have had to endure throughout the season.
At the end of the day, even with all the factors, they were still out played by the Predators. They were outshot by a margin of almost two to one, allowing 47 shots on goal compared to only having 26. They lost 60 percent of faceoffs. And despite having three power plays where a goal could have made a difference, they did not manage a single power play goal. Even the penalty kill, perhaps the Coyotes best asset, allowed a goal on one of Nashville’s five power play opportunities.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are in an interesting position. It seems very likely that they will make the playoffs and currently have the last Wild Card spot by three points. But unlike most teams bound for the playoffs they could be some of the biggest sellers as we approach the trade deadline. Its not certain but it is becoming increasingly likely that the team will not be able to re-sign star forward Artemi Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Most teams this close to the playoffs look to add talent, the Blue Jackets on the other hand will likely end up trading away two of their best players.
Columbus is a solid offensive team, scoring 169 goals good enough for 11th in the league. They also don’t generally allow a lot of goals, 161 for 17th in the league. Columbus’ special teams are very similar to the Coyotes this season. They have a fairly terrible power play (15.8%, 27th in the league) and one of the best penalty kills (83.7%, 5th in the league). Its not much but the Coyotes do have a slight advantage on special teams.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Vinnie Hinostroza - The Coyotes brought in Hinostroza to bring in speed and offense. He hasn’t added as much as the team would have hoped, but he does have goals in his last two games.
Columbus: Pierre-Luc Dubois - In his second season in the NHL, Dubois has managed to match his 48 points last season. He has three goals in the last two games, including two goals against the Avalanche.
Arizona: Darcy Kuemper (questionable, upper body), Jakob Chychrun (lower body), Brad Richardson (upper body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Antti Raanta (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Columbus: Brandon Dubinsky (questionable, hamstring), Ryan Murray (questionable, lower body), Boone Jenner (ankle)
The Coyotes have allowed 5 goals in their last two games. Can Arizona end that trend?
This poll is closed