The Arizona Coyotes went into yesterday’s game riding a two-game win streak. Unfortunately, that streak ended, with the Coyotes falling 3-2 in regulation.
Colorado was in control for almost all of the game against the Coyotes. Other than a few brief glimpses of skill and the final two minutes, it was all Colorado.
If the Coyotes want to have a chance tonight, they need to find a way to play their way. Colorado limited the Coyotes’ ability to exit the zone, prevented them from setting up in the offensive zone, and clogged up the neutral zone. It was a type of game that Colorado is happy to play all day, but the Coyotes need to avoid.
The final two minutes did show that the Coyotes could play well against the Avalanche. In less than a minute, both Phil Kessel and Drake Caggiula scored, cutting Colorado’s lead to one. The Coyotes need to find a way to play like that for an entire game and without an extra attacker.
Colorado outplayed the Coyotes for most of the game. When you look at the Coyotes’ shots on goal, the Avalanche outshot them in every period. In the first two periods, the Coyotes had only 10 shots on goal versus the Avalanches’ 20. And while the Coyotes limited a lot of Colorado’s chances, Arizona didn’t have a lot of good opportunities either.
Arizona probably won’t get a chance to face off against backup goaltender Hunter Miska again. Miska played in only his fourth ever NHL game and has never had a save percentage over .900.
The Coyotes will likely be facing off against Phillipp Grubauer tonight. Grubauer has served as a backup goaltender for both the Washington Capitals and now the Colorado Avalanche. He has been playing since the 2012-13 season, and the most he has ever played in a single season is 37 games. His numbers are definitely better than Miska’s, but still, a goaltender that the Coyotes may be able to crack if they get enough shots on goal.
A significant factor in the Coyotes’ loss was special teams.
Colorado’s first goal of the game came early in the second period, with Mikko Rantanen scoring on the power play.
Arizona on the other hand did not score on their power plays. They only had two opportunities, but they also failed to register a shot on goal during the power play. Colorado is an extremely tough team 5-on-5, and the Coyotes need to find a way to convert with the man advantage.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Phil Kessel - Kessel had a goal and an assist last night and has been racking up points lately. He comes into tonight’s game riding a five-game point streak, registering eight points in that time.
Colorado: Nazem Kadri - Kadri is a Coyote-killer in the same way that Clayton Keller always seems to step up his game against the St. Louis Blues. As far as I know, the Coyotes do not have the connection to Kadri’s past like Keller who grew up near St. Louis, but he had a goal and two assists in the last game and played extremely well.
Arizona: Darcy Kuemper (day-to-day, lower body)
Colorado: Dennis Gilbert (face), Erik Johnson (upper body), Pavel Francouz (lower body)
Tonight's game is at 7:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona, ESPN+, and Fox Sports 910 AM.