On Tuesday the Arizona Coyotes lost to the Anaheim Ducks in a game they probably should have won. On Thursday they beat the Calgary Flames when they probably should have lost. Thanks to a solid team effort the Coyotes were able to keep one of the best offenses this season off the scoreboard in a 2-0 shut out win.
With that win the Arizona Coyotes have kept pace with the other teams in the playoff hunt. They are still three points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final Wild Card spot, but at this point they have two games in hand. They are also only one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche, in case you needed more evidence the Western Conference Wild Card race is tight this season.
Not only was Thursday’s outcome a solid win against a tough team it was also the return of another injured Coyote with forward Michael Grabner coming back. Grabner had been sidelined with an eye injury since December 1st. He played well, skating for 17:40 including 1:25 short handed and registering five shots on goal. While the Coyotes may have been quiet at the trade deadline they have been getting back players like Grabner, Jason Demers, and Christian Dvorak. And while they lost Derek Stepan for some time, getting key players back should help Arizona going down the final stretch.
Los Angeles comes into tonight having lost their last two games to the Montreal Canadiens and St Louis Blues by a combined score of 7-1. Those two games were the last of a four game homestand which also featured LA destroying the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3 and taking the Dallas Stars to overtime. For a team that is comfortably at the bottom of the Western Conference 1-2-1 isn’t a bad outcome, especially when you factor in they played three teams in the playoff picture.
During the offseason the Pacific Division teams made some huge additions. The Vegas Golden Knights acquired Max Pacioretty and San Jose went big and traded for Erik Karlsson. The Kings made a big addition in signing Ilya Kovalchuk from the KHL. If the Kings signed Kovalchuk in the hope he would be one of their top offensive players this season then mission accomplished. Unfortunately while Kovalchuk is fourth on the team in points and tied for third in goals scored it isn’t helping the Kings too much.
The Los Angeles Kings have the scored the second least amount of goals this season. At 157 goals scored in 67 games its entirely possible that they may finish with the fewest since Anaheim has two games in hand. Los Angeles has historically been a team that doesn’t score a lot, unfortunately this season they also allow a lot of goals. The 211 goals allowed is 21st in the league and Jonathan Quick has a 3.32 goals against average and .891 save percentage. Like Anaheim this is another team that the Coyotes should get two points from, provided they show up and play a full sixty minutes.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Jakob Chychrun - Chychrun had a goal and an assist in the Coyotes’ last game against the Flames.
Los Angeles: Drew Doughty - Doughty had an assist on the last Kings goal scored and has three points in his last four games.
Arizona: Derek Stepan (lower body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Antti Raanta (lower body)
Los Angeles: Austin Wagner (questionable, lower body)
Which player returning from injury will score first?
This poll is closed