Two days ago, we got our first look at the 2022-23 Arizona Coyotes, and it left a lot to be desired. The Desert Dogs quickly dug themselves into a hole, giving up three unanswered goals in the first five minutes and ten seconds before falling 6-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
We knew things would be bad, but it got even worse when the Coyotes announced that Nick Schmaltz would not return after the first intermission. Schmaltz stepped his game up in a massive way last season when Clayton Keller went down with a leg injury, and it sucks that Schmaltz is already out with an injury.
Penalties proved to be a big issue for the Coyotes in their first game of the season. Pittsburgh converted on two of their six power plays, and any time it looked like the Coyotes were building momentum they would end up heading to the box for two minutes.
But we all knew that the Coyotes wouldn’t be a cup contender. Nobody expected them to beat the Penguins, so it’s best to try to find some silver linings.
The biggest bright spot was probably the play of Nick Ritchie, who scored the Coyotes’ first two goals of the season, both on the power play. Ritchie looked good last season, and it’s great to see him continue to play well.
With Schmaltz out for the foreseeable future, tonight will be the debut of ninth-overall pick Dylan Guenther. Guenther had an okay preseason, but it will be baptism by fire tonight against the Boston Bruins.
Boston started their season this past Wednesday with a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals. The Bruins may have some significant injuries, but that doesn’t mean a team like the Coyotes should take them lightly.
Five Boston players lit the lamp in their last game, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, David Krejčí, Hampus Lindholm, and former Coyote Taylor Hall. Boston also won 63 percent of their faceoffs, recorded a power play goal, and killed all four Washington power players.
Boston has elected to go with the tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman this season, and it’s not hard to see why. Both players played in 41 games last season, with Ullmark sporting a 2.45 goals-against average and .917 save percentage, while Swayman had a 2.41 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. Ullmark started on Wednesday, but either netminder should be a challenge for the Yotes.
Boston elected to bring back veteran center David Krejčí this season, and his return should give them some additional center depth. Krejčí spent last season playing in Czechia, and he already has two points after just one game.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Dylan Guenther - Guenther is making his NHL debut tonight, which is always worth a watch. He is a massive piece of the Coyotes’ rebuild, and while he will likely return to Juniors this season, this is where it all starts for the Edmonton native.
Boston: David Pastrnak - Pastrnak had a goal and three assists in the Bruins’ first game of the season, being involved in every goal but Lindholm’s empty-netter.
Arizona: Jusso Välimäki (questionable, personal), Nick Schmaltz (upper body), Bryan Little (ear), Ben McCartney (lower body), Andrew Ladd (knee), Jakob Chychrun (wrist)
Boston: Jake DeBrusk (questionable, upper body), Anton Strålman (questionable, personal), Matt Filipe (lower body), Brad Marchand (hip), Matt Grzelcyk (shoulder), Charlie McAvoy (shoulder)
Tonight’s game will be at 4:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona and on ESPN 620 AM.