We knew the Arizona Coyotes would be bad this season. The team traded almost anyone who could get them a second-round pick and acquired a bunch of overpaid veterans who are on expiring contracts.
Arizona is looking to load up at the stacked 2022 NHL Entry Draft, and the lower they finish in the standings, the higher the odds of drafting first overall.
Even if you went into the season fully prepared for that, the start to the season is still somewhat surprising. The Coyotes went into the season looking bad, but last night’s loss tied an NHL record for the longest losing streak to open a season.
Arizona was finishing up an extremely tough road trip that saw them face off against some of the top teams in the NHL. Arizona may have lost those games, but they lost against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning or the then-undefeated Florida Panthers or Carolina Hurricanes. They didn’t win those games, and more often than not they were completely outplayed, but they were putting their best effort against the best teams.
But they don’t have that excuse for last night’s game against the Ducks. They were facing off against another bottom team in the league and got a rare shot at a backup goaltender, and they still fell 3-1.
Special teams would again be a killer for the Desert Dogs. They failed to convert on their power plays while watching the Ducks score the game-winning goal on their first power play.
Fortunately for the Coyotes, they get another shot at a bottom-tier team right away as they host the Seattle Kraken for the first time in their existence.
After the Vegas Golden Knights took the league by storm in the first year of their existence, expectations have been pretty high for the Kraken. They have failed to live up to those expectations, though, starting the season with a 4-6-1 record.
But a poor record is no reason to take the Kraken lightly. They come into tonight’s game have just beaten the surprisingly scrappy Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Thursday.
Part of the reason for the Kraken’s slow start has been a relatively ineffectual power play. As Coyotes’ fans know, a poor power play makes it harder to win, and Seattle’s power play is the third-worst in the league, ahead of only the Coyotes and the Golden Knights. The Kraken have scored only one more power play goal than the Coyotes despite averaging 6:00 minutes power play time on ice per game compared to the Coyotes 4:28.
The Kraken also haven’t been getting the goaltending that they thought they would. They managed to get Philipp Grubauer fresh off of three solid years with the Colorado Avalanche, and you would think that would be enough. But Grubauer has struggled, and in nine games played, he has a 2.72 goals-against average, and a .897 save percentage.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Shayne Gostisbehere - Gostisbehere had the Coyotes’ lone goal of the game against the Ducks. He and the other blueliners seemed to be getting more involved with the offense as of late, which could be a sign we will get more from Ghost.
Seattle: Jordan Eberle - Eberle had a natural hat trick in the Kraken’s last win, including the game-winning goal late in the second period. He is currently second on the Kraken in goals and tied for second in points.
Arizona: Nick Schmaltz (upper body), Carter Hutton (lower body), Conor Timmins (lower body), Ryan Dzingel (upper body), Alex Galchenyuk (upper body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body)
Seattle: Colin Blackwell (lower body), Jared McCann (illness), Mason Appleton (lower body), Marcus Johansson (lower body)
Tonight's game will be at Gila River Arena at 7:00 pm Arizona time. It will air on Bally Sports Arizona + and 98.7 FM.