The Arizona Coyotes are off to a solid start to their road trip after winning their second straight game. The Coyotes beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 earlier this week, their second straight win since they left Arizona.
Arizona has had problems starting recently, and their last game wasn’t an exception. The Coyotes had two penalties within the first five minutes against the Sabres, and if Crouse hadn’t scored seconds into the game, the early penalties could have completely changed the game.
Penalties have been a consistent issue for the Coyotes this season. The Yotes overcame giving up power play goals in their last two games, but relying on their penalty kill to bail them out is not ideal.
The Coyotes did have strong third periods in their last two games, which is a nice counterbalance to the slow starts. Whether it’s coming from behind or adding to their lead, it’s great to see the Desert Dogs finish strong.
After missing the playoffs by 16 points last season, the New York Islanders dropped Barry Trotz and promoted Lane Lambert to head coach. So far, it’s working out for them, and the Islanders are second in the Metropolitan Division with a 9-5-0 record.
It’s not hard to see why the Islanders have been winning; they score more goals than they give up. They average 3.50 goals per game and only give up 2.57.
The Islanders currently have three point-per-game players, Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, and Anders Lee. Not coincidentally, the Islanders won their last two games, and all three come into tonight’s game on two-game point streaks.
New York is also getting great goaltending from Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov. Sorokin has played 10 of the Islanders’ 15 games and has a 2.20 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. Varlamov isn’t much worse, with a 2.93 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
The Islanders beat the Calgary Flames and New York Rangers in a back-to-back earlier this week. Both games were won 4-3, with the Islanders beating the Rangers in regulation and the Flames in overtime.
Thankfully for the Coyotes, rumors that Connor McDavid was traded to the Islanders have been disproven.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Matias Maccelli - Maccelli scored his first goal of the season against the Sabres earlier this week in his second multi-point game. He is currently tied among NHL rookies in points and leads all rookies in assists.
New York: Mathew Barzal - Barzal has yet to score a goal this season, but he has 15 assists in 14 games. He comes into tonight riding a two-game point streak which saw him tally three assists against the Flames.
Arizona: Zack Kassian (questionable, lower body), Nick Schmaltz (upper body), Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee), Jakob Chychrun (wrist)
New York: Cal Clutterbuck (questionable, undisclosed)
Tonight’s game will be at 5:30 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona and ESPN 630AM.