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Coyotes fans won’t breathe a sigh of relief until the first power play goal is scored

The Arizona Coyotes’ power play struggled last season and in preseason.

Los Angeles Kings v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

There are a few things that doomed the Arizona Coyotes’ chance at a postseason berth last season. It’s easy to point to injuries, or a lack of offense as the main reason why the Coyotes didn’t make the playoffs. The problem is that so many of the problems overlap. But one of the easiest things to point to is the fact that the Coyotes’ power play struggled throughout last season.

After finishing with the sixth-worst power play last season the Coyotes made a few small key steps. The biggest and most discussed was the acquisition of Phil Kessel from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk and P. O. Joseph. They also brought in coach Phil Housley to help the Coyotes’ defenseman generate more offense.

Last season the Coyotes also had to deal with injuries to some key offensive players. Nick Schmaltz, Christian Dvorak, Jakob Chychrun, and Michael Grabner all missed significant time with injuries, and the Coyotes are going to rely on those players to generate offense.

Adding a winger with a history of generating offense, especially on the power play, and switching coaches are highly visible moves. But it remains to be seen if the Coyotes did enough to address concerns over the Coyotes’ struggling power play.

In general, your expectations shouldn’t be too influenced by the preseason. Teams typically are experimenting with their rosters and line combinations, and if you have already earned your roster spot then there isn’t much to play for. But if you were paying half attention to the Coyotes preseason you could have reason for being concerned.

By most metrics, the Coyotes had a successful preseason. They were 4-3-0 and had some impressive wins. But they also were held to two or fewer goals in those three losses, and despite having 33 power play opportunities only scored once with Carl Soderberg recording a goal against the Anaheim Ducks.

This preseason gave a great final example of how important the power play can be. After a goal from Vinnie Hinostroza gave the Coyotes an early lead in the last game against Anaheim, the Ducks would tie the game up in the second period. Then, just over four minutes into the third Jakob Chychrun would get called for interference and Hampus Lindholm would score the game winning goal for the Ducks.

The Coyotes’ power play is a point of interest for Coyotes fans and for very good reasons. A weak showing last season along with a bad preseason causes a poor power play to stick out. It remains to be seen if the combination of a healthy team and some key additions will be enough for things to improve for the Coyotes, but if the Coyotes want to put their fans’ minds at ease they will hopefully get an early power play goal.