Thanks to shootout losses against the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings, the Arizona Coyotes come into tonight’s matchup riding a three-game point streak. It’s not much, but it shows an important aspect of the Coyotes; they won’t quit.
The Detroit Red Wings never trailed for a second against the Coyotes. They got a power play goal midway through the opening frame and kept that lead throughout. Even when the Yotes cut their lead in half with a goal from Nick Schmaltz, Detroit came back 28 seconds later to preserve their two-goal advantage.
But despite that, the Coyotes didn’t fall back. J.J. Moser got them back within one three-quarters of the way through the second period, and Jakob Chychrun tied things up with 25 seconds left in regulation.
Nick Schmaltz and Jakob Chychrun are playing in only their third game back from injury, and already they are making their presence known on the score sheet. Chychrun got his first goal against the Red Wings and is 1-2-3 in three games this season. Schmaltz has back-to-back goals against the Red Wings and Hurricanes and is 2-1-3 in four games.
But the Coyotes have one consistent issue that has haunted them all season, too many penalties. The Red Wings scored two power play goals against the Coyotes, and they aren’t even a top-tier power play team. So the Coyotes need to find a way to stay out of the box, or they will keep giving up goals.
After finishing second in the division last season, the Minnesota Wild are off to a slow start. They are 9-9-2 in 20 games, giving them only three more points than the Coyotes despite playing in one additional game.
The Wild didn’t make too many moves in the offseason, although those moves seem to have ripple effects. They re-signed Marc-André Fleury to a two-year deal and sent Cam Talbot to the Ottawa Senators for goaltender Filip Gustavsson.
Talbot started 48 games for the Wild last season, and his numbers were on par with Fleury’s, who only played 11 games. This season Fleury has started 13 games and has a .902 save percentage and 2.91 goals against average.
Minnesota comes into this game having lost their last match 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in regulation. They did manage to get a late third-period goal from Mats Zuccarello but failed to get the equalizer against Toronto.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - While Schmaltz and Chychrun are getting all the attention after returning, Clayton Keller continues to be the backbone of the Coyotes’ offense. After being held off the scoresheet against the Predators, he has assists in his last two games against the Red Wings and Hurricanes.
Minnesota: Kirill Kaprizov - Kaprizov is one of the most dynamic players in hockey and comes into this game with 12 goals and 12 assists in 20 games. He is currently riding an eight-game point streak which saw him score four goals and seven assists.
Arizona: Josh Brown (questionable, upper body), Bryan Littel (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee)
Minnesota: Jonas Brodin (probable, illness), Brandon Duhaime (upper body), Ryan Hartman (upper body)
Today’s game is an early one with a noon start time in Arizona. It will air on the NHL Network, Bally Sports Extra, and ESPN 620AM.