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Coyotes Game 9 Preview: Coyotes face off against undefeated Hurricanes

The Arizona Coyotes' rough road trip continues as they face off against the undefeated Carolina Hurricanes.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview

The NHL schedulers didn’t do the Arizona Coyotes any favors this season. There’s no way they could have known that the Coyotes’ would start their season with an 0-7-1 record, but they had to know that this road trip was going to be tough.

After dropping games to the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Washington Capitals, the Coyotes will face off against another undefeated team today, the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Coyotes didn’t look awful against the Capitals on Friday. They did an okay job at limiting the Capitals’ chances and got phenomenal goaltending from Karel Vejmelka. But, unfortunately, they couldn’t get any offense and were shut out for the second time this season.

Arizona did improve their penalty kill numbers. The Coyotes’ penalty kill has been a major weakness this season, and while killing five out of six penalties will help their numbers, it isn’t a great strategy to win games.

The one power play goal they gave up would ultimately prove to be the game-winner for Washington. It also zapped any offensive energy the Coyotes’ may have been building and was a big part of them being outshot 32-16.

The Coyotes are going to need to find a way to put everything together. If they can get decent offense, solid goaltending from Vejmelka, and a solid penalty kill, they should be able to walk away with two points. But who knows how long it will take for them to find a way to put it all together.

The Carolina Hurricanes have been a good team for a while, but they have been unreal to start the season.

It’s a bit surprising how well the Hurricanes are playing this season, given the turbulent offseason. The Hurricanes made some splashes, including a rarely seen offer sheet Jesperi Kotkaniemi, but they didn’t light the world on fire.

Gone is Alex Nedeljkovic, who finished with a 1.90 goals-against average and .932 save percentage over 23 games and in is former-Coyote Antti Raanta. Dougie Hamilton left the team as a free agent, and in his place is another former Coyote, Tony DeAngelo.

But somehow, this has resulted in a perfect 7-0-0 record to start the season. Carolina recently faced the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks in a back-to-back, shutting out the Bruins 3-0 and routing the Blackhawks 6-3.

Unfortunately, for the Coyotes, part of Carolina’s success can be attributed to their special teams. They are fourth in the league in power play (29.6%) and are seventh on the penalty kill.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Barrett Hayton - People weren’t sure if Hayton would be ready for this call-up, but he is looking comfortable so far. He had an assist on Lawson Crouse’s goal but otherwise has yet to make an offensive impact. But his line looks great, and he will hopefully get rewarded today.

Carolina: Sebastian Aho - Aho had a goal and an assist in the Hurricanes last game and has scored a point in every game he has played this season.

Injuries

Arizona: Nick Schmaltz (questionable, undisclosed), Carter Hutton (lower body), Conor Timmins (lower body), Ryan Dzingel (upper body), Alex Galchenyuk (upper body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body)

Carolina: Nino Niederreiter (questionable, lower body)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game is another early one and will start at 10:00 am Arizona time. It will air on Bally Sports Arizona and on ESPN 620AM.