The Arizona Coyotes returned to action last night after a week off and fell 5-3 to the Los Angeles Kings. Hopefully, that game helped them get all the rust off because they are back in action against the Dallas Stars tonight.
Los Angeles comeback wasn’t too surprising. They had been outshooting the Coyotes for the entire game, and even when they were down, they weren’t out.
If there was one thing that really cost the Coyotes last night, it was special teams. The Kings scored twice with the man advantage, a late second-period power play goal to start the comeback, and another midway through the third to cap it off.
Meanwhile, the Coyotes had three opportunities with the man advantage and were limited to just two shots on goal.
Arizona’s power play and penalty kill have been consistent problems all season, and they probably aren’t getting better anytime soon. Last night, the team traded Ilya Lyubushkin and Ryan Dzingel to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Nick Ritchie, so the penalty kill may actually get a bit worse without Lyubushkin’s physical presence.
Unlike the Coyotes, the Dallas Stars have been busy the past two weeks. They have played six games in February and come into tonight riding a two-game win streak.
Dallas is very much still in a playoff race, but they will need to have a big second half to secure a spot. They are currently fifth in the Central Division and are four points back of the Nashville Predators, with two games in hand.
Right now, the Stars are doing the most important thing, finding ways to win. They recently registered regulation wins over the Predators and the Colorado Avalanche, they beat the Winnipeg Jets in overtime, and they topped the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 in the shootout.
Other than the 4-1 win over the Avalanche, the Stars games have been pretty tight. They beat the Predators 4-3, and any game that goes to overtime or the shootout is a pretty tight one. Either way, the Coyotes will need to find a way to win tonight.
Special teams are likely going to play a big factor tonight, which does not bode well for the Coyotes. The Stars don’t score a lot, but they have a lethal power play. They also have three players who already have 21 goals, veteran Joe Pavelski and the relatively young Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz, who have contributed to the Stars’ power play.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller scored last night and comes into tonight riding a two-game goal streak and a three-game point streak. He currently has 19 goals and is easily on pace to set a new career-high in goals scored this season.
Dallas: Joe Pavelski - Pavelski had two power plays goals and two assists against the Colorado Avalanche and currently leads the Stars with 52 points in 48 games.
Arizona: Johan Larsson (hernia), Jay Beagle (lower body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Carter Hutton (ankle), Conor Timmins (knee)
Dallas: Andrej Sekera
Tonight’s game will be a little early, with puck drop at 5:00 pm Arizona time. It will air on Bally Sports Arizona Plus and 620 AM.