The Arizona Coyotes are back on the road, facing off against the Winnipeg Jets for the first time this season. The Coyotes come into tonight’s game having dropped their last two contests against the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars.
Arizona can take away some good things from their previous two games. The Coyotes looked good all game against the Stars, and it looked like they were close to finding the equalizer before they ran out of time. Arizona didn’t look as good against the Oilers, but the third-period comeback did show a drive and determination to not go down without a fight, which the team will need.
The Coyotes will need to find some way to take an early lead and build off it. To their credit, they don’t go down without a fight, and we will usually see the team have a big third period if they are down. But it is hard to win games if you are chasing for 60 minutes, and as we have seen, the Coyotes aren’t always able to catch up to their opponents.
The Winnipeg Jets come into tonight’s game having played a back-to-back of their own last Friday and Saturday. They dropped their first game against the Minnesota Wild 7-1 but bounced back and beat the Calgary Flames 4-2.
The Jets have been playing well this season, and as of today, are third in the Central Division behind the Wild and St. Louis Blues. The Jets have made it into the post-season for the past four years, so their success this season isn’t that big a surprise.
Special teams will likely prove pivotal for tonight’s game. Luckily for the Coyotes, they have faced off against much better competition in that regard in the past few weeks.
The Jets currently have the 15th best power play in the league, converting 18.6% of the time. Meanwhile, their penalty kill is one of the worst in the league, and by killing 68.3% of penalties, the Jets are only 0.1% better than the Coyotes.
Given the Jets haven’t had to deal with any significant injuries to goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, it is interesting to see their penalty kill at the bottom of the standings with the Coyotes. However, Hellebuyck has been good to start too, and in 16 games played, he has a 2.70 goals-against average, and .917 save percentage, numbers typical for the 28-year-old Commerce, MI native.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Travis Boyd - Boyd had a goal in the Coyotes’ last game and comes into tonight riding a three-game goal streak. Boyd has never been a big goalscorer, and his five goals to start the season matches a career-high five goals in 53 games with the Washington Capitals, but the Coyotes need all the offense they can get, and Boyd is on the right line to generate offense.
Winnipeg: Kyle Connor - Connor had two goals in the Jets’ last game and currently leads the Jets in both goals (14) and points (24). Laine being traded left a goal-scoring hole, but Connor has been good in the past and seems poised to fill that gap.
Arizona: Jay Beagle (lower body), Christian Fischer (upper body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (upper body), Carter Hutton (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)
Tonight’s game will be at 5:30 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona, SNW, and 92.3 FM.