It is hard to imagine a better scenario for the Arizona Coyotes right now. They are one win away from advancing to the next round, and we may finally get to see the Coyotes play in the playoffs.
But not everything is perfect. The Coyotes have been dealing with some injuries to key players.
The Coyotes haven’t had forward Nick Schmaltz since their exhibition game against the Vegas Golden Knights. Schmaltz took a high hit from Ryan Reeves and has been dealing with a neck injury.
Schmaltz led the team in points doing the regular season during the regular season. The Coyotes have been getting solid offense, and have scored four goals in two of their three games.
Arizona could use Nick Schmaltz on the power play though. The Coyotes have had 11 power opportunities, and have scored only twice. Schmaltz was third on the team during the regular season in power play points behind Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel.
Schmaltz being out of the line has allowed Michael Grabner to get some ice time. Grabner found himself a healthy scratch throughout the season and was limited to just 46 games. He has made the most of his opportunity, including a memorable short-handed goal in the first game of the series.
The Coyotes have had to deal with just one other injury so far with goaltender Antti Raanta dealing with issues after taking a puck to his head during warm-ups before game two.
The head shot on Raanta during warmups. pic.twitter.com/1VCIKvU4LZ— The Goalie Guild (@TheGoalieGuild) August 4, 2020
Raanta being out of commission puts the team in a difficult position. Darcy Kuemper more than managed in the second game of the back-to-back, allowing only one goal in 40 shots.
With the back-to-back completed, the Kuemper is going to get to rest until the Coyotes play the Predators again this Friday.
Kuemper has played well in the playoffs, so it is not like the Coyotes are desperate to get Raanta back. Adin Hill serves as a serviceable backup goaltender for now, but Kuemper is going to need to rest a game eventually.
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The Coyotes have been lucky so far with their injuries. They have only had two injuries, and neither came during the series itself. The series has been getting physical, and injuries are becoming a bigger possibility. Oliver Ekman-Larsson left the bench at one point, although he was able to return.
Hopefully, the Coyotes will get Raanta and Schmaltz back soon. Arizona’s offense has been inconsistent, but they have survived, and Schmaltz can only help things. And a healthy Raanta will give the Coyotes a bit more breathing room when it comes to their goaltending.