The Arizona Coyotes have played two games at Mullett Arena and lost both games 3-2. The Yotes were able to force the game against the Winnipeg Jets to overtime, but they fell in regulation to the New York Rangers this past Sunday.
The Coyotes have improved in a lot of ways, and they have been competitive in the past three games, even if they haven’t always gotten the results they would want.
The Coyotes were disciplined on Sunday, taking only three penalties. But a late penalty led to Mika Zibanejad netting the game-winning goal on a power play, sealing the Yote’s fate. The Coyotes are one of the more penalized teams in the league, and three is down from the 5.24 penalties they average per 60 minutes.
A big issue for the Coyotes this season has been their ability to score their third goal. They had chances against the Jets and Rangers, and with both games being tight, another goal would have made all the difference.
The Coyotes need to step up and find some way to play a full 60-minute game. They are starting better, but they have struggled to close out games and have issues in the final frame.
Unlike the Coyotes’ first two opponents, the Coyotes will face a well-rested team. After losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers, the Panthers beat the Ottawa Senators this past Saturday, so they will have momentum in addition to being ready to go.
The Panthers made a splash this past offseason, sending Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a lottery-protected first-round pick to the Calgary Flames to acquire Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk signed an eight-year extension, and so far, he has five goals and eight assists in just nine games. He also has 18 penalty minutes because he’s Matthew Tkachuk.
Fortunately for the Coyotes, they have the edge when it comes to special teams tonight. The Panthers have the fourth-worst power play in the league and the sixth-worst penalty kill. The Coyotes should avoid giving the Panthers too many chances with the man advantage, but we have seen how vital a successful power play can be.
Florida has one of the more exciting goaltender tandems in the league in Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight. Knight has only played three of the Panther’s nine games and is currently undefeated.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Dylan Guenther - Thanks to two assists against the Rangers, Guenther comes into tonight’s game with five points in seven games. Guenther has two more goals before the team needs to decide to send him down or not, and expect a big push tonight.
Florida: Carter Verhaeghe - Verhaeghe comes into tonight’s game on a three-game point streak, including Saturday’s game against the Senators, where he registered two goals and an assist. Last season he had 24 goals with the Panthers and is on pace to reach that plateau again.
Arizona: Conor Timmins (upper body), Nick Schmaltz (upper body), Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee), Jakob Chychrun (wrist)
Florida: Aaron Ekblad (lower body), Anthony Duclair (achilles)
Tonight’s game will be at 7:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona X and ESPN 620AM.