The Coyotes are still searching for their first win of the season. Arizona started well against the Carolina Hurricanes, scoring the game’s first goal in the first six minutes, but they failed to keep up that pressure and fell 2-1.
A big issue for the Coyotes was a lack of discipline. It took the Hurricanes five power plays before they finally converted, but they scored the game-winning goal when they did.
The Coyotes can not keep giving teams with top 10 power plays so many opportunities with the man advantage. And even when they manage to kill the penalty, they are giving their opponents opportunities to control the game’s pace.
Thankfully, the Coyotes penalty kill has gotten better. Their penalty kill is still at the bottom of the rankings, but they have killed all nine penalties of their last eleven penalties, but they need to stop giving their opponents so many chances.
A big reason for the turnaround on the penalty kill is the play of the Coyotes’ rookie goaltender Karel Vejmelka. Vejmelka has been phenomenal in his last two efforts, keeping the Coyotes in the game with some clutch saves. He is doing everything in his power to give the Coyotes’ a shot at winning.
Also, a problem, the Coyotes are having difficulties converting on the power play. They had three opportunities to grow their lead against the Canes but failed to convert on any of them. Arizona has the second-worst power play in the NHL, but if they can find a way to turn it around like they have their penalty kill, they may win a few games.
The Philadephia Flyers made a few changes during the offseason. They brought in Rasmus Ristolainen on a trade with the Buffalo Sabres that cost them Robert Hägg, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick. They also grabbed a few supporting pieces, including former-Coyote Keith Yandle, Ryan Ellis, Cam Atkinson, and goaltender Martin Jones.
And with all of those moves, the Flyers have been fine to start the season. They have a respectable 4-2-1 record to start the season and are currently fifth in their division. Their power play is ranked 11th in the league, and their penalty kill is ranked 20th.
They are still better than the Coyotes, but probably a step down from the Coyotes’ recent opponents. Hopefully, the Coyotes will be used to a higher quality of competition and get off to an early start against the Flyers.
The Flyers come into tonight’s game having been shut out 4-0 in their last game against the Calgary Flames. Before that, they won their previous two games against the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Christian Fischer - Fischer had the Coyotes’ lone goal of their last game thanks to hard work and a willingness to crash the net. The Coyotes haven’t been getting much offensive from their top players, and it’s up to guys like Fischer to make up for that whenever they can.
Philadelphia: Sean Couturier - Couturier had a goal and an assist in the last game that the Flyers scored in. He currently leads the team with six assists and nine points.
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)
Philadelphia: Ryan Ellis (lower body), Tanner Laczynski (hip)
Today’s game is the last 4:00 pm start time for a while and the second to last game on the road trip. It will air on Bally Sports Arizona and on ESPN 620AM.