It’s rare to see, but tonight the Arizona Coyotes head into tonight’s game riding a two-game win streak. The Coyotes had a rough start in their last game against the New Jersey Devils, but thanks to a solid second period, the Desert Dogs walked away with a 4-1 win.
Hopefully, the Coyotes will have a much better start tonight. Last night they were outshot 12-1 after 20 minutes, in what was probably the worst start of the season. The Coyotes have a hard time playing a full sixty-minute game, but they need to find some way to avoid taking an entire period off.
Perhaps one reason for the slow start was the influx of players who had missed time. Anton Strålman and Jakob Chychrun both had a point in their first game back from the NHL’s COVID protocol. Head Coach André Tourigny was also able to get back behind the bench after being sidelined on the protocol list. After seeing himself a healthy scratch, Loui Eriksson also returned and had two assists.
It wasn’t just the returning players; when the Coyotes did start playing they got a balanced offense. Four players scored on Wednesday, Lawson Crouse and Travis Boyd both notched their 10th of the season, Dysin Mayo got his third, and Johan Larsson recorded his sixth. Arizona doesn’t have a lot of start talent right now, but if they can find a way to get some offense from everyone, they have a shot.
Like the Coyotes’ last opponent, the New York Islanders are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. They have only played in 32 games this season and have a record of 13-13-6.
And the Coyotes may be catching the Islanders at the worst possible time. The Islanders have won their last two games and five of their previous six.
The Islanders don’t score much, but they don’t give up a lot either. They have the third-lowest goals for, averaging 2.31 goals per game, ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes and Montréal Canadiens. But unlike either of those teams, they are averaging 2.66 goals against per game, the sixth-lowest in the NHL.
You see that stingy play in their recent hot streak. Only one team scored more than two goals against the Islanders in their last six, the Philadelphia Flyers. Their one loss was to the Washington Capitals, who beat the Islanders 2-0.
It should come as no surprise then that the Islanders have been getting some stellar goaltending. Twenty-six-year-old Ilya Sorokin has been stellar in his sophomore season, and in 22 games, he has a 2.37 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller had his 16th assist of the season on Travis Boyd’s goal and has three points in his
New York: Mathew Barzal - Barzal also notched his 16th assist of the season in his last game, getting a primary assist on the Islanders’ first goal of the game. He leads the Islanders with 23 points in 29 games.
Arizona: Kyle Capobianco (questionable, conditioning), Ryan Dzingel (COVID-19 protocol), Antoine Roussel (COVID-19 protocol), Barrett Hayton (hand), Jay Beagle (lower body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Carter Hutton (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)
New York: Ross Johnston (suspension), Kyle Palmieri (lower body), Ryan Pulock (lower body)
Tonight’s game will be at 5:30 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona and 620 AM.