The Arizona Coyotes needed a win on Friday. With a win, the Coyotes would overtake the St. Louis Blues for the fourth spot in the West Division and show that they can still be competitive as the season comes to an end.
And the Coyotes got that win, beating the Anaheim Ducks 4-2.
The win was great, and as of today, the Desert Dogs are still in a playoff spot. But Friday was the first step, and the Coyotes still have plenty of work to do.
Friday, we saw that the Ducks got better as the game went along. Anaheim’s two goals were a result of a defensive breakdown and a bit of luck from the referees, but they played much better as the game went along.
Even though the Coyotes were the ones scoring goals in the third period, the third period was the Ducks’ best played. They seemed to finally wake up, and they were putting a decent amount of rubber on Adin Hill.
The Coyotes aren’t the best at adapting to their opponent, so the Ducks improving may prove to be trouble for Arizona. But momentum doesn’t carry perfectly, and a fast start could wipe away any thoughts of the Ducks winning this second game.
Last Friday’s game was one of the more physical contests we have seen the Coyotes play this season. There were two fights, John Hayden dropped the gloves with Nicolas Deslauriers, and Johan Larsson went with Adam Henrique. Neither were especially great matches, but the game may continue its more physical edge, especially if one team takes an early lead.
The power play proved not to be a factor for either team on Friday. Both had two opportunities, but neither team converted on the man advantage. Arizona had only one shot on their power play, which is something they can hopefully improve on tonight.
The Coyotes are in a good position for tonight’s game. As long as they are careful and don’t underestimate the Ducks, they need to do more of what they already did.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Phil Kessel - Kessel had the game-winning goal on Friday, his 15th goal of the season. After struggling last season, it is nice to see him bounce back and show his offensive flourish.
Anaheim: Jakob Silfverberg - Silfverberg also had a goal on Friday, his seventh of the season. It was also his third goal against the Coyotes, showing he has some offensive flair against the Desert Dogs.
Arizona: Tyler Pitlick (lower body), Antti Raanta (undisclosed), Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body), Darcy Kuemper (lower body)
Anaheim: Ryan Getzlaf (questionable, upper body), Sam Steel (undisclosed), John Gibson (upper body), Rickard Rakell (upper body), Sonny Milano (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (wrist), Carter Rowney (leg)
Tonight's game will be at 6:00 pm Arizona time in Anaheim and will air on Bally Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.