Another night, another big win for the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes have been on a tear as of late, and thanks to a six game win streak they briefly held a playoff spot. Granted by the end of the night they were on the outside looking in again, but it does show how close things are in the Western Conference. As of right now they are two points out of a spot with a game in hand compared to the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota does have the tie breaker though with 31 ROW (regulation and overtime wins) compared to Arizona’s 28.
Saturday’s game was a really good effort by the Coyotes. The Coyotes got goals from Josh Archibald, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Vinnie Hinostroza, all players the Coyotes will need offense from as the season wraps up. They did allow Dylan Larkin to score a power play goal in the second period on the Red Wing’s lone power play, but that does mean they only allowed Detroit to get one power play. They outshot the Red Wings all three periods and by the end of the night they had outshot Detroit 44-23.
Tonight’s game may see the return of Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers who has missed much of the season with a knee injury. Things looked good for the Coyotes when he was reassigned to the Tucson Roadrunners for a conditioning stint and he has since been recalled. Demers spends much of his time playing with OEL on the top pairing and his return should help the Coyotes as they finish up the season and look to stay in the playoff race.
It wasn’t too long ago that we were looking at the Anaheim Ducks as another team that would be competing with the Coyotes for a Wild Card spot. Ah how things have changed in just a few weeks. Right now the Ducks are at the bottom of the standings, and if not for the disaster that is the Los Angeles Kings they would be the worst team in the Western Conference. California has gone from having three perennial playoff teams to having two of the worst teams in the league.
The Anaheim Ducks enter tonight’s game coming off a 2-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Before that it wasn’t too great, and they lost their previous five games. Those five losses had only one instance of Anaheim scoring more then one goal in the game, a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. They were shut out by both the Vegas Golden Knights and the Vancouver Canucks and held to one by the the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers.
Arizona has had difficulty scoring this season, but the Ducks have scored the fewest goals this season. They have only scored 141 goals, with the next highest team scoring 156. Defensively they are less bad, and the 201 goals they have allowed is 17th in the league in terms of goals against. It should come as no surprise that their power play is terrible, but surprisingly not the worst in the league (28th, 15.1%). Also not surprising, a middle of the pack penalty kill (20th, 80%). The Coyotes need to get points against beatable teams and the Anaheim Ducks are a very beatable team.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Vinnie Hinostroza - Hinostroza had a goal and an assist on the game winning goal on Saturday against the Red Wings. Before that he had three assists against the Vancouver Canucks.
Anaheim: Jakob Silfverberg - Silfverberg had a goal and an assist against the Colorado Avalanche and currently leads the team in goals scored with 17.
Arizona: Derek Stepan (lower body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Antti Raanta (lower body), Jason Demers (questionable, knee)
Anaheim: Derek Grant (questionable, upper body), Nick Ritchie (questionable, lower body), Devin Shore (questionable, knee), Chad Johnson (head), Ondrej Kase (shoulder)
Can the Coyotes hold the Ducks to 1 goal or fewer?
This poll is closed