Last night’s game had a lot of the good and bad we’ve come to expect from the Yotes this season. They gave up an early goal, with Sebastian Aho getting the Islanders on the board less than two minutes in, and fell behind 2-0 midway through the period. They also took too many penalties, giving the Islanders five power play opportunities.
But the Coyotes also overcame that slow start with a late goal from Shayne Gostisbehere seconds before the first period expired. They carried that momentum into the second, scoring twice before the game was halfway over, with Clayton Keller and Nick Bjugstad notching goals.
With the game tied going into the third, the Islanders made a mistake we have seen many teams make, underestimating the Coyotes. The Desert Dogs got on the board early, with Travis Boyd scoring his third of the season to give the Coyotes the lead again. Then, a lucky bounce off an Islanders player’s ummm lower body gave Keller his 12th of the year and the Coyotes the eventual game-winner.
The Coyotes may have started the game slowly but responded with solid play in the second and third. And while the Islanders had five power play opportunities, the Yotes’ penalty kill stood firm and gave up no goals. Of course, the Coyotes will make mistakes, but if they can respond well, they will continue to do okay.
Tonight’s opponent will be an interesting one for the Coyotes as they face off against another New York team, the Buffalo Sabres. The Coyotes beat the Sabres the last time they met, so this is another chance for them to sweep an Eastern Conference team.
There are few teams like the Buffalo Sabres this season. They are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, but they lead the league with 119 goals.
The Sabres come into tonight’s game riding a two-game win streak, beating the Los Angeles Kings 6-0 and the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. This month, they have four wins, including wins against other bottom-feeders like the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
The key to tonight’s game is not giving the Sabres too many chances with the man advantage. The Sabres have the second-best power play in the league, including a goal in their last game against the Avalanche.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller had two goals against the Islanders and was inches away from getting the hat trick with an empty netter. He
Buffalo: Tage Thompson - Thompson is one of the biggest reasons for the Sabres’ offensive dominance this season. He had a goal and an assist against the Avalanche and leads the team with 24 goals and 46 points.
Arizona: Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee)
Buffalo: Kyle Okposo (questionable, lower body), Jacob Bryson (questionable, lower body), Owen Power (questionable, lower body), Henri Jokiharju (lower body), Ilya Lyubushkin (lower body), Eric Comrie (lower body), Ben Bishop (knee)
Tonight’s game will be at Mullett Arena at 7:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona Extra and on 98.7 FM.