The Arizona Coyotes entered New Jersey needing to get points. They had been overtaken by the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild, losing their Wild Card spot in the process. And while they managed to score early with a goal from Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson they would allow the Devils to tie the game late in the first. Neither team would score again for the rest of the game or in overtime, and the Devils won the game in the shootout. The Coyotes would exit the Prudential Center with a point, and it remains to be seen if that will be enough.
Things aren’t over for the Coyotes. With seven games left to play they are currently one point behind the Avalanche and tied with the Wild with a game in hand. Unfortunately Colorado and Minnesota both have more regulation and overtime wins, the first tie breaker. Slowing down this time of year certainly isn’t helping their chances, and the season long problems with scoring is something that they need to turn around for the last few games.
The New York Islanders season seemed destined to fail. They lost their star player when John Tavares signed as an unrestricted free agent with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. He will hopefully be spending the next few years telling Auston Matthews about how great it is to sign with your hometown as a free agent. The bright spot of the offseason was they managed to land Barry Trotz as their new coach, fresh off winning a Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals.
Trotz has definitely turned things around for the Islanders, and is a favorite to win the Jack Adams trophy. New York is currently second in the Metropolitan behind only the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. Few teams lose their best player and become better the next season, but the Islanders have done exactly that.
For a team near the top of the standings the New York Islanders don’t score a lot. They have scored 206 goals, 21st in the league. They have found success though with their stingy defense, and the 179 goals allowed is the fewest in the NHL. With those numbers its not surprising that they don’t have a very good power play (12.8%, 29th), but its kinda surprising that they have an average penalty kill (80.5%, 17th). The Coyotes power play has struggled all season, but this may be just the matchup they need to get it going.
Games to Watch
The Colorado Avalanche are playing the second game in two nights against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Ekman-Larsson has two goals and an assist in the past five games. He has been inconsistent this season, but is key for the Coyotes’ offense from the blue line.
New York: Josh Bailey - Bailey had two goals against the Philadelphia Flyers and sixteen goals on the season. He is second on the Islanders in points and fifth in goals scored.
Arizona: Kyle Capobianco (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Antti Raanta (lower body)
New York: Valtteri Filppula (upper body), Linus Soderstrom (shoulder)
Can the Coyotes capitalize on New Jersey’s relatively average penalty kill and score on the power play?
This poll is closed