After a four-game stop at home, the Arizona Coyotes are back on the road. Unfortunately, they embark on a rough road trip where they will be gone for 14 games and not returning home until December 9th.
But a trip on the road may be just what the Coyotes need after their last game at home. After an upset against the Florida Panthers, the Coyotes completely dropped their previous game against the Dallas Stars.
The Coyotes’ slow starts returned on Thursday with a 7-2 blowout loss to the Dallas Stars. The Coyotes gave up goals on their first two shots, and less than four minutes in, they were already down 2-0.
Unfortunately, the rough start was too much for the Desert Dogs, who continued to bleed goals as the game progressed. The Coyotes finally got on the board in the third, with Juuso Välimäki getting his first and Lawson Crouse getting his fifth.
There were a lot of issues in the Coyotes’ last game, and penalties were the biggest. The Coyotes took a penalty after going down 2-0, preventing them from mounting a successful comeback; and a successful second period was cut short with a penalty and the resulting Stars’ power play goal.
Fortunately for the Coyotes, they will face a battered and bruised Washington Capitals team tonight. The Capitals are missing long-time players like T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson, John Carlson, and Nicklas Bäckström.
Missing key players could explain why the Capitals and their special teams are struggling to start the season. The Capitals’ power play is ranked 21st in the NHL, and their penalty kill is a slightly better 15th.
That’s not to say that the Capitals will be pushovers. They still have Alex Ovechkin, who currently leads the Capitals with six goals in 12 games. And right behind Ovechkin in points is a familiar face, center Dylan Strome.
Strome signed a one-year, $3.5 million with the Capitals after not being qualified by the Chicago Blackhawks, and he is already off to a strong start with two goals and seven assists in 12 games.
Scoring a third goal is going to be key tonight. The Capitals were limited to two or fewer goals in their last three games, which were all losses. And the last time the Capitals won was October 29th when they beat the Nashville Predators 3-0.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Matias Maccelli - Maccelli had assists on both Coyotes’ power play goals in his last game, giving him seven points on the season. He is still looking for his first goal, but he should get it in no time if he continues playing like he has.
Washington: Alex Ovechkin - The Great 8 had the Capitals’ lone goal against the Detroit Red Wings, his sixth of the season. He comes into tonight’s game riding a four-game point streak.
Arizona: Zack Kassian (questionable, lower body), Conor Timmins (upper body), Nick Schmaltz (upper body), Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee), Jakob Chychrun (wrist)
Washington: Beck Malenstyn (finger), John Carlson (lower body), T.J. Oshie (lower body), Connor Brown (knee), Carl Hagelin (eye), Tom Wilson (knee), Nicklas Backstrom
Tonight’s game will be at 4:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports AZ Extra and 98.7FM.