The Arizona Coyotes are finally back home. There have been points where Arizona couldn’t win a game at home to save their life, but late in this season the Coyotes have definitely found comfort at Gila River Arena. We are just a few weeks removed from Arizona winning six of seven games during a homestretch. More importantly we are days removed from a disastrous road trip where Arizona gained only a point in four games. The season isn’t over yet, but if the Coyotes have another four game stretch like that it may be over sooner then the team would like.
All is not lost for the Coyotes though. While Dallas Stars gained some space with a 5-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets, the Minnesota Wild lost 1-0 last night to the Nashville Predators last night. Minnesota has been one game ahead of the Coyotes for a while now and they seem incapable of capitalizing on that lead. The Colorado Avalanche have definitely been better and are currently 4-0-1 in their last five, but they will face off against a tough Vegas Golden Knights squad tomorrow. The Wild Card race looks like it may go down to the last game, but a win tonight could go a very long way.
Chicago deserves a lot of credit for clawing their way back into the playoff race. It wasn’t too long ago that the Chicago Blackhawks were at the bottom of the Western Conference and they seemed destined to finish there. But as of right now they are are only five points out of a Wild Card spot. Although in a prime example of how stagnated the Western Conference playoff race is, they have just three points in their last four games. They also haven’t won in regulation since March 16th with a 2-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens.
Tonight’s game will mark the return of Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini, who the Coyotes traded for Nick Schmaltz. Strome has played well for Chicago and in 51 games he has fourteen goals and thirty assists. He may be slowing down though and he hasn’t registered a goal in his last nine games. Perlini hasn’t fared as well, and in 40 games he has eleven goals and only three assists, with three of his goals coming the last time Arizona played Chicago where he recorded a hat trick. With Nick Schmaltz being injured the debate as to who won the trade should be put on hold, but Chicago has to be happy with their return.
Games to Watch
The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are playing tonight, both teams five points back from the Arizona Coyotes. Honestly neither has any good chance of making a push for a Wild Card spot, but this year you never know.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Vinnie Hinostroza - As Perlini shows some players bring their A game when facing off against teams that traded them. Hinostroza had two goals the first time he played Chicago and hopefully will solid in tonight’s game.
Chicago: Artem Anisimov - Anisimov scored in Chicago’s last game against the Avalanche. He hasn’t scored as much as he typically does, and this may be his first season where he doesn’t reach twenty goals since his 2014-15 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he can still light the lamp.
Arizona: Kyle Capobianco (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Antti Raanta (lower body)
Chicago: Drake Caggiula (concussion)
Do you think there will be another trade between the Coyotes and the Blackhawks this offseason?
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