The Arizona Coyotes needed a big game against the Florida Panthers. They were coming off a dominant 7-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning a were in desperate need to keep building off that momentum. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way.
In what has become a far too common scene, the Coyotes’ offense dried up. The team can go from scoring seven goals against the Lightning, only to be limited to one goal by goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Tuesday’s game would mark the return for goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper has been sidelined with injuries since December 19th, and he made 24 saves on 26 shots.
For once, you can not blame the loss on a lackluster power play. The Coyotes did not have a single power play during the game and it really could have helped in such a low scoring affair. Given the struggles the Desert Dogs have had with the man advantage, it wouldn’t guarantee an equalizer, but it would have given them a chance.
With the loss, the Coyotes have dropped in the standings. The Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, and Minnesota Wild have all overtaken them in the standings, although they are still only two points out of a spot. Although the Coyotes have still played more games than most of the teams above them, the number is starting to equalize and the Coyotes are still very much in the hunt for a spot.
Things haven’t been good for the Buffalo Sabres this year either. They are poised to miss the playoffs again this year, and being behind ten points there is little chance that they will be able to retake a spot.
Despite the spot in the standings, you still can’t underestimate the Sabres. They are 7-5-1 in the month of February and have some impressive wins like a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They also have a few duds, like a 7-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators last Tuesday.
Tonight will be the third game of a four-game road trip for the Sabres. They have yet to win on that trip, and last night they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Brad Richardson - Richardson had the Coyotes lone goal in their last game. After a career-high 19 goals last season his offense has slowed, but he is still a veteran presence for the Desert Dogs.
Buffalo: Jack Eichel - Eichel hasn’t scored in his past three games, but he leads the Sabres with a career-high 35 goals.
Arizona: Jakob Chychrun (oblique), Jason Demers (questionable, oblique)
Buffalo: Linus Ullmark (leg), Tage Thompson (shoulder), Vladimir Sobotka (knee), Matt Hunwick (neck)
Tonight’s game will be at 6:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and Fox Sports 910 AM.