The Arizona Coyotes have played five games this season and started zero on time. It happened again last Saturday when the Coyotes gave up two goals early in the first period against the Ottawa Senators.
Giving up the first goal in a game shouldn’t be the end of the world, but it seems to be for the Coyotes. But the Coyotes’ opponent’s early leads seem to snowball, and before you know it, the game is out of control.
Unfortunately, there likely won’t be an easy solution for the Desert Dogs’ rough starts. Getting Jakob Chychrun back from injury will definitely help stabilize the blue line, but he can only do so much.
The bright spot of the Coyotes continues to be the power play, which will hopefully continue tonight. It’s surprising because the Coyotes don’t have a ton of highly skilled players, but they are finding a way to make it work with the man advantage.
Tonight’s opponents, the Columbus Blue Jackets, are a bit of a mixed bag this season. They have some big wins, including a 5-1 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday, but they aren’t exactly a top team.
Unfortunately for the Coyotes, the Blue Jackets will be getting some reinforcements for tonight’s game. Laine had been out since the Blue Jackets’ first game and was expected to miss more time, but he was skating earlier and is confirmed to be back for tonight’s game.
And it’s not like the Blue Jackets needed more skilled players in order to be a matchup against the Arizona Coyotes. Columbus went big this offseason, acquiring Johnny Gaudreau during the offseason, and he is playing as well as can be expected. The 29-year-old forward is a point-per-game player with four goals and three assists in seven games.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller scored his second goal of the season against the Ottawa Senators and comes into tonight’s game riding a four-game point streak. The Coyotes need Keller to score, and he has points in all but one game.
Columbus: Jakub Voráček - Voráček’s second year with the Blue Jackets is off to a strong start with five assists in seven games, including two in his last. He has yet to score a goal, but he is one of three players tied for second with five points on the Blue Jackets.
Arizona: Conor Timmins (questionable, upper body), Nick Schmaltz (upper body), Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee), Jakob Chychrun (wrist)
Columbus: Nick Blankenburg (questionable, upper body), Justin Danford (upper body), Joonas Korpisalo (hip)
Tonight’s game will be at 4:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Balley Sports Arizona and ESPN 620AM.