After dropping their last two games, the Arizona Coyotes have a chance at finishing their road trip with a .500 record if they can beat the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. It will be a tough matchup if their last two games were any indication.
The Coyotes dropped both games in their back-to-back in New York City. After being thoroughly outplayed by the New York Islanders, the Coyotes had a solid start against the New York Rangers. Unfortunately, they lost control of the game, and they went from being up 3-1 to be doing down 7-3.
Arizona again learned how important special teams are. The Rangers had two power play goals, and a short-handed goal against the Desert Dogs, and those goals came at pivotal moments of the game.
But while the Rangers used special teams to regain control of the game, the Coyotes couldn’t. The Coyotes had five power play opportunities, but the only one who scored was the Rangers.
The Coyotes will go from facing the number one team in the Metropolitan Division to the number two team tonight as they face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are only three points back of the Rangers but have two games in hand, so who knows if that will last.
Pittsburgh has had an extremely impressive January. They come into tonight’s game riding a five-game win streak and have lost only two games this season, falling 6-2 to the Los Angeles Kings and 3-2 to the Dallas Stars.
Tonight’s game will be the second game of a six-game homestand for the Penguins, having beaten the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in the shootout on Sunday. The Penguins came back from a 2-0 deficit, so the Coyotes shouldn’t take a lead for granted in tonight’s game either.
The Penguins are a good team this year. They generate a fair amount of offense (ninth in goals scored) and don’t allow a lot of goals (third-fewest goals allowed per game). They also have the topped penalty kill in the NHL, although they did give up one to the Jets on Sunday.
The key to the Penguins’ success has been the stellar play of goaltender Tristan Jarry. After splitting games evenly with Matt Murray during the 2019-20 season, Jarry took over as starter last season and took a minor step back, seeing his save percentage drop from .921 to .909, but has been much better so far. His save percentage has jumped up to .928, and his goals-against average is at a career-low 2.09.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Travis Boyd - Boyd had an assist in the Coyotes’ last game and has three points in his previous four games. He already has a career-high 10 goals and is only one point away from matching a career-high 20 assists.
Pittsburgh: Jeff Carter - The Penguins acquired Jeff Carter at the trade deadline last season and immediately scored nine goals in 14 games. He has 12 goals on the season so far, including the game-timing goal in the Penguins’ previous game.
Arizona: Dysin Mayo (COVID-19 protocol), 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)
Pittsburgh: Zach Aston-Reese (questionable, lower body), Teddy Blueger (jaw), Louis Domingue (foot), Jason Zucker (undisclosed), Drew O’Connor (upper body)
Tonight’s game will be in Pittsburgh, starting at 5:00 pm Arizona time. It will air on Bally Sports Arizona, ATTSN-PT, and 620 AM.